Posts Tagged ‘stoke’

Tour of Britain – Stoke Tour Ride

Top class goodie bag.

My 2010 Tour of Britain tour ride was not the end-of-season finale I’d hoped for. Struck down by a virus shortly after returning from holiday in early September, I still hadn’t made a full recovery, and opted for the 50-mile ‘Challenge’ circuit instead of the full 161km route.

It was a shame, but a sensible call. I didn’t go too badly for the first 40km, but was off the pace I would have been at. I envisaged a quicker, healthier (possibly semi-transparent) version of myself riding ahead, while the real me lagged behind. It’s kind of crushing, that drop-off of form. Your body cannot produce the strength and speed that your mind (which assumes you still are as fit as you used to be a few weeks ago) wills it to, and there’s no way round that. Your fitter, stronger self seems like a figment of your imagination.

The route began about a mile from my back door, and followed roads that I’ve ridden over for many years. The TOB organisation was impeccable – definitely a must in the sportive calendar for me. After the cut-off with the long route, I was solo all the way back to base. Apart from the chilly headwind, it was a breeze. AND I had some roadside support from the Mucklows, who were anxious to regain face after missing me on the Tour of the Peak District.

As per the photo, the goodie bag was the best haul of free kit from any sportive apart from the Maratona dles Dolomites. It included:

  • A £5 Wiggle voucher
  • A copy of Cycling Weekly
  • Anti-chafing gel (binned it actually)
  • Er – Gillette shave gel
  • 1 x Kelloggs Elevenses
  • Pomegranate juice (needs diluting)
  • A t-shirt (like I need another sportive t-shirt)
  • Highlighted route maps from the Stoke and Devon legs of the 2010 Tour

The maps were the cherry on top.

Tour of the Peak District

Just checking out the route for the Tour of the Peak District in 4 weeks’ time. Stoke-on-Trent is my home town, but I’ve never ridden a road bike out towards the Peaks. I’ve ridden off-road around Edale, Bakewell and Glossop, but when I go home I tend to ride south towards Eccleshall and Telford, partly because of the distances involved, and partly because I just don’t have the right maps. So now’s my chance to do some riding out that way. I think it’s going to be tough – with one long section of A-road in particular that I’m not looking forward to.

As a taster, and on a budget of 50p, the organisers have cobbled together this ludicrous promo video, which surely has no bearing at all on the event itself:

Stoke loop #4

A nice rolling 3hr, 50-mile loop from my house in Stoke.


View Stoke loop #4 in a larger map

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

Stoke: Christmas routes #2


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A 40-miler that took 2hrs 40mins at 140 bpm max. Slow, but good long, steady distance I reckon.

Stoke: Christmas routes #1


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I’m at home at my parents’ place in Stoke, flushing my system of party toxins and doing some easy base training.

The above 18-miler took 75 mins setting a limit of 140 beats per minute on the HRM. On 26/12 I did it in 70 mins on the same upper limit, despite a sore throat.

Incidentally my current weight is 11st 12 – 5-6 pounds over my Southern Sportive form.