The challenge of maintaining form


For much of the last month it feels like my kids have been on holiday, thanks to the Easter Holidays, The Royal Wedding and some other Bank Holidays also in there (including today). During this time I’ve tried to not do so much riding so I could have some quality time with my family and it’s been great. I’ve really enjoyed it and we’ve had a lot of fun together.

From a riding point of view this has made my outings on the bike more sporadic both in terms of timing and of length of rides. This is fine as it’s all part of the ups and downs of balancing family life with road cycling – a core premise behind this blog. But I’ve noticed some interesting things as a result of these last few weeks.

Today’s ride brought these thoughts together. Originally I was supposed to ride the Wiggle Ups and Downs Sportive yesterday but a sick son changed all that, so I stayed at home and helped out and thankfully he’s been much better today. To be honest I hadn’t been feeling on great form in the last week. I’d had a bit of a cold and struggled on a ride with Warren on morning of the Royal Wedding:

You wouldn’t necessarily notice that by all of the gongs awarded by Strava but I felt full of cold and it was a battle – I definitely rode more slowly than I could have as I felt pretty wiped out. This was only one week on from probably one of my best rides for a long time, where I felt strong, full of energy and fairly tireless. I raced up the only climb to note getting nearly to the top in the bike ring and getting a Strava KOM (for now). This was ride that I felt I could have gone faster on apart from the fact that we kept getting lost and I thought it would be a bit rude to my companions.

Today’s ride was a repeat of a previous ride with Malcolm and Warren back on April 10th that again I’d felt pretty strong on

On the 10th, I’d also been riding strongly and had been holding back for good parts of the ride until when it looked like I was going to be late for a family commitment Warren and I upped the pace significantly and rode the last part of the ride at a really good pace.

So this brings me back to today’s ride. I felt ok out there – pretty good in fact but not as strong as on the 21st or the 10th but better than the 29th. I was out with Warren who probably rode the best I’ve ever seen him ride today. On the second half of the ride he dropped me completely and I was riding as hard as I could (today) to minimise how far I was left behind. When I got to the end today he said he’d been there for a couple of minutes but I suspect it might be a bit more than that. Today I just couldn’t have gone any faster and Warren rode fantastically well. I’m actually happy with my performance today – given the kind of form I was in – I think I went as fast as I could and it’s actually a record time for me. I averaged 29kmh over 89km. Last year I averaged 28.9kmh once on a 65km ride with about the same climbing as I managed today. So today is a win – I just happened to get dropped by my riding buddy. He had the speed today and went for it – and good on him.

Today’s ride:

But it has left me wondering how I manage my form better. If you’re reading this and you have any ideas or suggestions – I’d welcome them.

When I was riding on my own on the second half I could see on my computer that I was doing a good speed and actually my best 30 minutes of the ride were almost the last 30 minutes where I was basically climbing the whole way and averaging 27.3 kmh while I climbed my way back to the end of the ride… and I’m pleased with that. I had thought that I’d popped or blown up but I don’t think I’d have managed that sort of speed climbing – so perhaps I just hit the form wall for today.

The fact that I’m in my 40s and have only been seriously riding for 2 and a half years is probably also a decent factor here but I’d like to work out how to manage my form better and get it back up to where I was even just a few weeks ago. Perhaps more hill climbing is the answer – a bit more strength work on the legs…. and yes I am just guessing.


Thanks for reading