Posts Tagged ‘cheattheweek’

The perfect ride

The Downs, from the crest of the bank.

Ah. How many times do I have to ride in the cold, wet and grey before I get a day like this? Yesterday was a cheat-the-week classic: 3 hours, 45 miles or so, plenty of hills, bits of tempo. I was test-riding the new Easton EA90 SLXs (of which more later), it was warm enough for a single layer, traffic was sparse, my legs felt strong.

My girlfriend asked me, as I was pulling on my lycra after lunch:

Shouldn’t you be working?

My answer was yes, I probably should. However I have a real problem not riding when I’m inside and the sun starts shining. This may be the one factor that prevents me becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg: when he was coding, I was out riding.

Riding comes first. I realised this 45 minutes into the ride, as I broke my first sweat of the day, and heard my phone ringing from my jersey pocket. It was a call from a client. I knew who it was – I had even asked them to call that afternoon, before I decided to go riding. I listened to the call ring off, imagining the testy voicemail, the urgent deadline reminder. At the sound of the message alert I kicked up a gear, filled my chest with air, and rode on into the afternoon sunshine.

Cycling is higher up in my pyramid of needs than work. Naturally, I need some work to have money to buy a bike in the first place – but if you offered me 50% extra salary with no more riding, or even with only 1 ride permitted per fortnight, I’d turn you down flat. I need to ride. Riding bikes has been something fixed in me since I was a young boy. Cycling has been a hobby, then a pursuit, then an obsession. Sometimes it’s a yoke I feel compelled to put my shoulders into (training – it has to happen, lots of it).

Sometimes I wonder if I could ever sit inside on a sunny day with a bike waiting to be ridden, and just not ride. Currently it’s not possible.

January redux

With the snow and ice washed away by rain and milder weather, I’ve spent the weekend pulling January’s shoddy training schedule back into line.

Despite waking up on Saturday morning vowing to spend two days at my laptop, I braved the drizzle for an hour on Regent’s Park. As ever, the hardest part about going for a ride in bad weather was pulling on the lycra in the first place. I rode the hack, and got soaked.

Today I rode the Finchley – Knebworth ‘cheat the week’ route – for one last time before the move south. To be honest, it’s not one of the classic routes (no hills to speak of, plenty of A-road) but from North London, without taking a train, it’s about as good as it gets. I’ve never Google mapped it before, so here it is for posterity:

View Cheat the Week in a larger map

It was 3hr 30 – the majority in the small front chainring. Conserving le jus at this stage. Joe once told me one of his club mates didn’t go into the big ring before March – excessive or the best way to build an early-season base?

Hilly Denham loop

I rode this hilly 60-mile loop from Denham yesterday. It goes up Whiteleaf (double chevron) then cuts back round to take in another couple of chevron ascents to Dunsmore:

View Denham loop in a larger map
Denham is 25 mins from Marylebone, is just further west than South Ruislip, and is pretty much the quickest way to bypass the traffic out west of the smoke. Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth the hassle and extra time, but actually it’s much more pleasant to sit with a latte on the train then ride straight into the countryside, than to sweat through traffic lights and exhaust for 90 mins to reach the same spot.