Centurion

Posted on May 10th, 2010 by Tim Bell in Cycling Training around London, The Road to Tourmalet

Forgive the slightly camp / Pythonesque title of this blog post, but there’s only one time I will get to write about riding 100 miles for the first time, and this is it. There were four veterans of Nice and a couple of new faces meeting up in Hackney for the Essex run on Sunday morning, and shortly after rolling out along the Lea Bridge Road we picked up ‘random Gus’. I need experience of riding in groups, so this was some good practice. One of the new faces had just picked up a titanium bike which looked magnificent, almost as good as my new Campagnolo Raytech Thermo Txn Gilet; possibly the best piece of kit I have bought so far.

Tan Lines
I have to say though, I’m not impressed with the weather in recent weeks. Over the last three weekends I’ve gone for three long rides, totalling 1,018 minutes and 270 miles in the saddle. I have not seen the sun once, just white clouds, rain and a fair bit of wind. The only upside I can think of is that I don’t have any comedy cycling tan lines, but that is really scraping the barrel. The Essex leg of my ride passed by without much incident; a couple of bursts up Toot Hill and the Col du Theydon Bois and I was back in Marylebone for lunch having clocked 55 miles with a leisurely average heart rate of 137, and having briefly hit my maximum (so far) of 188.

Raising the Pace
With just over half of my distance target done, a belly full of gnocchi bolognaise and a fairly fresh set of legs, I set off towards Richmond for a few laps of the park at a higher pace. I couldn’t have timed my ride down the King’s Road worse, as thousands of Chelsea fans were getting oiled before their coronation as Premiership champions and, as I discovered on the return leg, smashing a lot of glass on the pavements and streets… I should add at this point that I’ve had my fill of cycling in traffic for a while and am looking forward to some luxury riding (when no longer feeling the need to get miles under my belt) without any A roads involved. I quite like cycling through the centre of London when the traffic’s not too bad, but can do without riding the trunk roads in and out of London.

Aerobic Capacity
But it was good to meet up with my brother, who is a proper climber, and whip round the park a few times. He stayed with me until I had clocked up my record distance, then I set off for home needing another 20km to make my target for the day. I must be doing something good for my aerobic capacity, and it does feel strange when I’m riding at a decent pace in and around my distance limit. I am much more out of breath, and find talking much more difficult, than when I’m working at the same level (in terms of heart rate) earlier in the ride. Having got back to central London I needed a lap and a half of Hyde Park to nudge over the target, and tried to maintain some intensity until the end. I know that when I do the Etape, the last 40km or more will be uphill so keeping my heart rate up at the end of long rides seems like the thing to do. I had averaged 144bpm for this second portion of the day’s work, compared to 137bpm in Essex, and was 0.6mph quicker at 15.3mph. I have ridden quicker on long rides, but never this far. This was 16% longer than I have ever ridden in a day, sneaking over my target at 100.94 miles. The altitude gain was just 1,300 metres and I’m going to attempt 113 miles and around 2,800 metres uphill for the King of the Downs in a fortnight. That is going to be difficult, but maybe if the sun decides to come out it won’t be impossible…

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One Comment on “Centurion”

  1. Cycling in The Chilterns | Tour Climbs

    […] only a week before the King of the Downs, I wanted a fairly easy fifty miles having put in my first hundred-miler the previous weekend. Step forward Royce, a business contact and my first random bike acquaintance […]

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