Posts Tagged ‘ride’

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.

World’s Most Dangerous Road



My workmate Felipe sent me a link to an article about biking the ‘World’s Most Dangerous Road’ – which turns out to be in Bolivia, not at Elephant & Castle, as I previously thought. It’s added to the ‘I will ride this before I’m 60’ list.

Cheat the week

A gentle climb on the way to Codicote.

A gentle climb on the way to Codicote.

Today, thanks to the flexible working policy of my employer, I was able to ‘cheat the week’ and go on a sunny 4hr ride straight from my flat in north London.

The expression ‘cheat the week’ originated when Andy and I used to ‘work from home’ (whilst working for former employers I might add) and head out riding off-road during office hours when the weather was good. 

Well this one was guilt-free. A fantastic loop from my door, provided by Tim C at London Phoenix, that heads north through High Barnet and Potter’s Bar, getting quieter and more rural all the way. The above shot was taken near the northern limit of the route, in some stunning countryside with barely a car to be seen. 

I rode completely inside 80% max HR (with only a couple of exceptions slightly over, see below), in readiness for Sunday’s sportive, and rightly so because even then my legs felt heavy after 2hrs. I’m now going to have 3 days rest before Sunday – a little experiment to see if I feel better or worse for not commuting. Although there are supposed benefits to ‘active recovery’ I’m not sure whether in fact my daily commute just wears me out and results in general staleness. TBC.


North Downs Century 1

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Here’s the route I rode Saturday with Jock and Millsy. I started out from Archway at 8am, stopped off at Regent’s Park to pick up Mills, then met Jock at 9.15 at the café on Richmond Park. I made it all the way round Crawley and back to Epsom for about 3.30, I guess with about 30 mins of breaks / map-checks along the way.

Unfortunately it was a day of injury niggles for my two comrades. Jock actually bowed out after riding 2 sides of Richmond Park – he has shin-splints and an Ironman to do in 3 months. Mills had a back-of-knee issue that saw him head back north from Rusper for a more sedate 80-miler.

The 100 mile route (which includes the 6 miles back from Waterloo to Hornsey Lane) takes a pretty decent line out via Richmond Park, Kingston, Esher and Cobham, where it finally gets properly rural. The big drag over to Ewhurst from Shere gets you going, then it’s mainly flat until the little spikes around Ardingly. The killer is the climb up Pebblemill Road from the station at Betchworth. I’d swapped my 13-29 cassette for my older Veloce 13-26 so it was a real grinder. Then I sat down for a break on an ants’ nest.

If this route sounds like your cup of lukewarm SIS maltodextrin, check out the route of the Granfondo Luciano sportive on 28 June, which I followed parts of.

Hell of the Ashdown


Thanks to Catford CC for organising the above event on Sunday and finally kick-starting my ‘season’. (more…)

Stoke: Christmas routes #3

This morning I rode Stoke loop #2 in reverse, via Beech extension #1 (a different way of reaching the Yarnfield roundabout – this adds 1 mile and means more climbing straight off). I set the HRM to 150 max after reading Joe Beer’s zoning article which indicates that Zone 1 is 60-80% of HRmax. 150 isn’t 80% of my max, but setting an upper limit at 140 was leaving me feeling cold on the bike, so considering it was 3 degrees out today, I upped it.

Even though I was riding harder, the ride took 2hrs 45mins, 5 mins longer than when I rode loop #2 on Christmas Eve. I did extend the route, and put more hills in as a result, but even so it was surprising. I did also have to deal with some pretty strong headwinds though so perhaps they were a major factor.

Felt good though. Compared to 140 max, riding at 150 max results in:

  • significantly more sweating
  • marginally more pressure on the legs
  • very slightly harder breathing
  • more speed and aggression