Sunshine and suffering


The last few weeks have been very busy and something has had to give and that’s been my riding. Work and family have rightly pushed cycling to the back of the queue and today I paid a bit of a price for that. I went out riding with Warren who showed up with his C59 and Lightweights which is usually a sign he means business. Also out today was Brian (of http://www.ciclobyron.com/) on his Pinarello. I showed up on a NeilPryde Alize and with my Dopers Suck shirt on (http://girodilento.com/dopers-suck-how-to-show-how-you-feel).


It was a glorious day today – not a lot of wind and ultimately baking sunshine (well baking by British standards – it was 29 degrees when we finished the ride). We rode from Goudhurst in Kent on our loop that takes us out east through villages like Smarden and Pluckley before our cafe stop in Appledore. After a couple of weeks off I thought I started the ride ok … in fact the biggest issue at first was that I hadn’t set up my Garmin 800 correctly and it wasn’t giving me instructions for the route we were following. Once I’ve figured out a work around – progress became more steady. Warren was riding well as was Brian who I hadn’t seen on the road for a month or two. Both of them have been doing their homework and I first saw that on a section where Brian got on the front and rode at a brisk pace …. and I got dropped! That was the first real sign that the day was going to be difficult.


As usual I was better when it came to the climbs than on the flat but I was still far from my previous best. I was looking forward to the cafe stop much more than usual. Some coffee and a toasted sandwich and we were on our way again but about to take a major diversion. Only a few hundred yards from the cafe we normally turn down the Military Canal road but today it was closed by the Police for what we guessed was a nasty motorbike accident (as it’s a very popular road with bikers). I have to say this threw us a bit as we don’t know the area well at all. It was here we made quite a major navigational error that turned our 89km ride into a 104km one. Instead of looking at if we turned back what were our options, we instead rode on and thought – it can’t be that far to loop around that road. Well it was 15km and mostly flat apart from a good climb out of Rye (I’d never ridden to there before) and then a 15% climb back up to The Stocks which was where we finally rejoined our route. I can’t say this bit was the undoing of me but I guess it all contributed.


By the last 20km I was pretty much shot and was climbing like I did 3 years ago (badly). Brian kindly gave me a tow as Warren had long since dropped us both and roared on ahead. I just couldn’t go any faster today.

However given all of the above – I really enjoyed myself – it was great to be out and whilst I’m talking a lot of doom and gloom – the data wasn’t that bad. I was only 0.9kmh slower than last time I did the same ride (the correct length though), my climbing segments were decent – the big change was that I was an average of 35 watts less power for the whole ride and that was what I felt. I had a great ride but my average power output was 20% lower than last time. So two weeks off – 20% less power – that’s 10% a week, which is frightening.

Now when can I get out on my bike again and start riding some nasty hills to get those legs stronger again?

Thanks for reading.