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The joys of working from home… and non recommended base training

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One of the things I like best about working from home is the ability to seize the moment and a break in the weather and jump on your bike. Thursday afternoon I popped out for a brisk 35km as I only had just over an hour spare. I’m trying to build a little momentum back into my riding and with that in mind, I’m trying to do something on the bike every couple of days. Following a turbo session last Tuesday, I hit the road on Thursday and rode via Frant to Groombridge and looped back again over one of my shorter bike testing loops. 

The weather is cold, damp and pretty miserable at present but getting out on the bike lifts my spirits. At this time of the year, I know we’re supposed to be doing more contemplative base building or slower paced rides but I really struggle to do these. As soon as I’m out on the road, I’m picking up the tempo within 15 minutes or so and looking to build up my average speed on any ride regardless of length or time of the year. This is particularly the case when I ride on my own – I just can’t cruise along, I have to press on. No pain, no gain and all that. 
The stats are a bit deceiving though – on paper my brief ride last Thursday was the 3rd highest average speed I’ve ever managed and I’m not enormously fit at present. My average speed was 28.6kmh over a rolling 35km. A similar ride this time last year averaged 22kmh. So on paper it’s a big jump – but I was riding a lightweight carbon aero bike – a summer bike, not a winter bike – so that’s a big chunk of the difference. I also know that my speed plateaued towards the end of 2010 at around this level – so I’m going to need to try something new (in addition to lightweight carbon aero bikes which do seem to be helping) to get the next level of performance improvement from my riding. I am working on a plan for this and will reveal more as it comes together. 

So whilst it was delight to be out on Thursday – the stats are a bit too flattering for my condition for now. 
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Yesterday (Sunday) I went out on a longer bike testing ride out and up and over the Ashdown Forest, through Nutley, Chelwood Gate, Wych Cross, Hartfield etc to get a few more miles on the NeilPryde Alize. It was another gray, dismal day and pretty chilly but again it was great to be out on the road. I saw very few roadies out and all of those who I did see were sensibly on their winter trainers – not me though. 62km in 2 hours 15 minutes felt pretty good. Pleasingly I climbed a bit better than I had for the last couple of months – not amazingly but some progress back towards fitness is being made and my legs feel fine today (no sign of DOMS so far this week). I do need to think about some more sensible base training though and might need to get a new battery for my heart rate monitor soon, so I can try the zones approach.
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Yesterday’s ride took me over 300km for the month and I’m hoping to get to between 400 and 450km by the end of the month. Time will tell. 
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