Posts Tagged ‘cycling’

Appalachian Trail virtual challenge

Thursday, October 21st, 2021 | Sport

For the past six months, I’ve been cycling along the Appalachian Trail virtually. After 90 rides and 3,168 kilometres covered, I’ve finished! This was the longest Conqueror challenge until they added Pacific Crest and the last one I have on the go. Time to give my legs a break, I think!

Tour de France 2021

Thursday, July 29th, 2021 | Sport

The story of this year’s Tour de France was Mark Cavendish. Why? For two reasons. On is Cavendish’s amazing comeback. After years of trying to recover from Epstein–Barr and everyone writing him off, he returned to form to win four stages at The Tour.

This is particularly notable because it equalled the long-standing record of Eddy Merckx for the most Tour de France stage victories. This is a huge achievement for anyone but Cavendish wasn’t even supposed to be at the tour: he was only added to the Deceuninck–Quick-Step when Sam Bennett pulled out.

The second reason that this year’s tour was all about Cavendish was that Tadej Pogačar crushed everyone in the general classification. He finished with a gap of 5:20. In the past 20 years, the only other rider to win by more than five minutes was Vincenzo Nibali in 2014.

White Rose Classic

Friday, July 2nd, 2021 | Sport

The White Rose Classic is an annual sportive organised by Ilkley Cycling Club. I chose to do the medium route but it was still a challenge: only 133 kilometres of riding but with over 2,300 metres of climbing along the way.

It took me six hours to get around the course. This divided into three parts. The first two hours were a sociable ride with other riders around as we headed over some familiar roads to Grassington. Most riders then split onto a different route and I didn’t see anyone else for an hour. This was lovely: the roads between Grassington and Settle are beautiful and I had them mostly to myself. The final two hours were hard. I was empty, despite munching my way through 2,000 kcals, and it was a case of getting my head down and suffering for the final 50 kilometres.

I was very pleased to get back, especially as they were serving hot food to all competitors. Nice preop for Outlaw in four weeks time. We did have timing chips but I am not sure what happened to those as they do not seem to have published any results, so I am using my Garmin edge for numbers.

Here is a comparison to the 2019 Tour de Yorkshire which had a similar profile.

Stat White Rose CLassic Tour de Yorkshire
Distance 132.71 km 123.24 km
Climbing 2,341 m 2,384 m
Moving time 5:46:39 6:21:44
Average moving speed 23.0 kph 19.4 kph

Also, I may have a new least favourite climb: High High Road out of the back of Settle goes up to 15%+ and then just stays there for ages. At least it made Lang Bar feel easy by comparison.

Cycle Sense TT: Tadcaster

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021 | Sport

I finally made it to a second Cycle Sense TT last week! It did not go well. But it could have gone way worse.

it was a Thursday evening and the skies were grey with a chance of rain. However, I don’t have any clear or photochromatic sunglasses. Do not blame me! I have spent nine months trying to find a way to get a pair of Smith Attack MAG or Roka R1s but neither of them supplies their full range to the UK. I am not big fan of the Oakley look and Rapha do not do clear lenses. What am I supposed to do?

As a result, I decided to race with no glasses. However, as I started, the rain came down and got quite heavy halfway through. I was struggling to see so I reached into my pocket to pull my sunglasses out. This combined with my second piece of poor planning: keep my car keys in the same pocket. They came out with them and fell into the middle of the road. Luckily, the cars behind me missed them. But I had to stop, take my bike off the course, run back, recover my keys, get back to my bike and get back onto the road and up to speed again.

This added a lot of additional time on and I ended up with:

29:56

Two minutes slower than my first TT. Said performance earned me the lanterne rouge, placing 20th out of 20 riders and a full 1:29 behind the person in 19th. My power numbers were similar to the last time so I may well have come last even without said incident. And it is not like I crashed or got hurt, you know, beyond the bruised ego from it happening right in front of the photographer! He was very nice about it.

Daffodils sportive 2020

Friday, May 28th, 2021 | Sport

Daffodils sportive is a Velo29 event that starts in Thirsk. It usually takes place in March, when the daffodils are out, but has been delayed for the past two years. Bogdan and I did the short route in October and decided to come back this May for the medium route.

Bogdan was made significant gains over the winter and his FTP is now much higher than mine. This was evident on the climbs that he powered up while staying in the saddle. I was worried I would be holding him back (and maybe I was!) but we got around without issue and my endurance came in helpful towards the end of the ride as I was still feeling pretty good.

I say “without issue” but I did lose a cleat bolt. This has happened a few times so it is definitely not me failing to tighten it correctly as I checked it after each incident. I had the mechanic tighten it at one of the feed stops and luckily it held in place for the rest of the ride.

We are clearly faster. The 2021 event was 65 km with 863 metres of climbing and we averaged 23.7 kph. The medium route was 120 km with 1,682 of climbing, so roughly double both, and we averaged 24.6 kph (0.9 kph faster). My average power was 18 watts higher while my average heart rate was 13 bpm lower, suggesting my fitness has improved.

We were very lucky with the weather. It was predicted to be wet and I came in full rain gear. But barely a drop fell the whole time. We were able to sit down on the grass with our sausage in a bun at the end and relax. And yet, by the time we got back on the motorway to go home, I had to slow down to 45 mph because visibility was so poor due to the heavy rain. Perfect timing!

Cycle Sense TT

Tuesday, May 18th, 2021 | Sport

Back in 2019, I joined Alba Rosa with the intention of taking part in some cycling time trials. Then COVID happened and everything was cancelled. Thankfully, it appears that we are on our way out of the pandemic, and last week I finally got to try my hand.

I was second to start and second to finish with an overall place of 32 out of 37. Happy with all of that. This was my first time trial and over the 10 miles, I averaged 34.6 kph. There was no wind and the course was flat and straight so it was easy to stay aero. I think it will take a while before I really dial my effort in.

Yorkshire Duathlon

Monday, April 26th, 2021 | Sport

Racing is back! Last weekend, we headed up to Croft Motor Racing Circuit for the Yorkshire Duathlon. There were both a sprint and standard distance race that formed the national championship. Amy and I did the standard distance that is a 10-kilometre run, 40-kilometre bike and final 5-kilometre run.

The field was competitive and hundreds of people came running past me on the start straight. I wondered if I was going too slowly but my first kilometre came in at 4:10 and I held this throughout the first run section averaging 4:13 per kilometre. When I went through the 5-kilometre mark I realised I could easily run a 10k PB, and possibly take the family 10k PB as well. Alas, the run course came up 100 metres short on my Garmin so I cannot in good conscience count it.

Running so fast was a continuous decision to sacrifice the rest of my race and I collapsed over the barrier in T1. Luckily I managed to recover well enough to put in a sub-80 bike split. The final run was dogged by a stitch but I still managed a 23:09 for a course that measured a little over 5 kilometres so I was happy with that.

Disapline Time
Run 1 00:41:41
T1 02:06.2
Bike 01:17:00
T2 01:59.4
Run 2 00:23:09
Total 02:25:5

Amy put in a smashing performance that won her age group, including a sub-39 minute first run and sub-70 minute bike.

Racing on the motor circuit was excellent: the super-smooth tarmac and generous width really contrast with riding on the roads. There are constant pot holes to dodge and bumpy toad surfaces that make getting down on the aero bars unpleasant. There was none of this on the motor circuit which was as smooth as can be. It was a joy to cycle on.

The organisation by TriHard was very good.

Ring Road virtual challenge

Sunday, April 25th, 2021 | Sport

Earlier this month I finished cycling around Iceland, virtually. It took around two months so I think I might start doing some of the longer Conqueror challenges on the bike so that I get more out of my money! The medal is really nice: not only does it have a cool design on the front but the runic wheel on the back spins around.

Route 66 virtual challenge

Monday, February 22nd, 2021 | Sport

Since June, I have been cycling along a virtual Route 66. Earlier this month, I finally finished it. At 3,670 km, I had set myself a year to finish it. It’s been with me like a trusted companion all this time. On to Iceland next!

Weight loss goals

Sunday, February 14th, 2021 | Health & Wellbeing

You msy think that Ironman training is great for weight loss. But training so heavily makes you ravenous, and I like to eat plenty in the first six months as I am attempt to build muscle and get stronger. Then the next three months is race season and I am busy having fun. That leaves the final few months of the year for weight loss.

This means dieting through Christmas which is always a pain. But this year has gone extra well and I made it through the festive period without any cheat days. This wasn’t easy, for me or Venla. I started Christmas Day with a two-hour run to pre-burn all of the calories and El Junior was not impressed at having to wait to open her presents.

But, earlier this month I hit my weight goal and it proves promising for going up hills faster. An FTP test suggests I am still the cyclist I was last year (4 watts down, so negligable) but seven kilos down from October. My time up the climb in Innsbrook (29:37) beat my previous time by three minutes. Although it should be noted that I am now riding a Specialized Shiv Disc with DT Swiss wheels, rather than stock Zwift frame and wheels.