Stepping up the miles


I have been doing more miles on the bike this year than i normally do

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I am nearly 1000km up on where i was at this time last year. I also have been a bit more focused on riding rather than my other loves of kitesurfing, swimming and running.

The end result is that I am doing between 1 and 2  100km rides a week and they are beginning to feel easy.

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This morning I headed west into a 15mph wind on a gravel towpath and then around an exposed headland with nary a thought about the wind. Sure I felt it but i just thought ‘more resistance then’ which I think is a positive.

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It wasnt the hilliest route but even after 80km I was tootling along then came home to discover i had knocked off an impressive 56 Strava trophies – most of them PR’s for sections as well as a mysterious top 10 placing and all this with an average Heart Rate of 121bpm (in my fat burn / low cardio zone)

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So then i thought i really should be cycling either quicker or longer or BOTH. So my next challenge …….

There comes a time for most road riders and this includes me, where you focus on the 100-mile (160.93km) target. This can be in the shape of a sportive, club ride or a personal challenge, alone or with a group.

For some, 100 miles is no big deal, just something they do every Sunday. For others it can be the single biggest physical challenge they will ever undertake on a bike. For me it is something I have never done but feel that i am nearly ready to do it. The precursor to this is the eTape Caledonia in a fortnight,  an 82 mile ride sportive done at a much higher pace with no stopping.

From Cycling Weekly – Many cyclists, however, fall somewhere between the two and may already be comfortable with 50-60 mile rides but are eyeing the triple-figured milestone for their next achievement.

Just how big is the jump from 60 to 100 miles? How will you know if it’ll be a cakewalk or a frustrating grovel ending in a miserable train journey back home?

Let’s take a look at the factors that come into play with the extended mileage and see how best to prepare for 100 miles so you can undertake that distance with a realistic chance of it being an enjoyable and achievable target.

We’ve split it up into five sections, which we think need to be nailed in order to smash the 100-mile barrier. So let’s start with the biggie: training.

Pondering the big one? Start training today!

1 – Train!

The physical aspect of training is usually the most common focus for people with a new goal or challenge, and many folks will think that riding as much as possible in the two weeks leading up to the big ride is sufficient. This isn’t the best approach though, and what we need to do is ‘train smarter’.

This doesn’t mean we are striving for marginal gains like the GB squad; it means that we should be looking to maximise our training so that we are doing the right things at the right times.

Cycling Weekly Box Hill sportive 2014

 

If you are regularly riding 50-60 miles then that is already a great start; you could probably get through a century ride without too much bother, although you could be far better prepared if you have gradually increased your riding time and distance on your training rides.

Remember, to do the 100, you don’t need to be training by doing 100 miles all the time — 75-80 per cent is ample preparation without adding excessive volume.

  • Your physical training should take into account the following points:
    Specificity: Is your 100-mile ride going to be hilly? Then ride hills on your 60-milers! Some riders really struggle on the climbs. If you are one of them then make sure you are addressing them in your training. In many cases, 100 flat miles can seem very easy and very different when compared to a hilly 60 or 70.
  • Saddle time: Try and focus more on the time in the saddle without stopping, rather than miles covered on your training rides. Try riding at a lower intensity and see if you can stick it out for longer. If your average speed over three hours is 15mph, do you think you can hold it for over six hours? If you can comfortably ride your bike for 4-4.5 hours, then you are in a good place to think about the century.
  • Rest: This is so important. Include active recovery in your training weeks and make sure you are resting properly. Keep the legs turning in the week leading up to the big ride, but don’t do anything that will make you excessively tired.

Read more at http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/fitness/training/five-invaluable-tips-to-help-you-step-up-from-riding-60-to-100-miles-170890#h3Z75lQPY2WLY6f9.99

2 – Effort levels

Whether you are riding an individual pursuit over 4km or a whole Grand Tour, pacing your effort will be of maximum importance.

For 100 miles, you will want to make sure you don’t use up all your energy too early and struggle badly in the last third of the ride. You can use a simple speedometer to gauge an average speed which you know you are comfortable with, or a heart rate monitor to keep around a particular BPM, or even old-fashioned perceived exertion — simply going by feel.

>>> Build your strength and big gear efforts

However you pace yourself, it’s a good idea to also have a psychological pacing strategy, such as waypoints you think you should be at during particular times. For example: “I should be at the sharp climb at 40 miles in 150 minutes.” You can adjust your effort to ensure that you avoid blowing up too early, but that you also aren’t dawdling unnecessarily and missing out on a faster time.

Fitness

3 – Getting in the zone

We all know how powerful the mind can be, and how it can affect performance both positively and negatively. If you are riding 100 miles alone, the mind can be a helpful ally, or a destructive pest. We want to enjoy our ride, so learning during training how to disassociate ourselves from feelings of discomfort is a useful skill.

Try to focus on other things, like the scenery, your pedalling technique, or holding an aerodynamic position. The small ‘process goals’ of each waypoint within your pacing strategy will also help to break down the ride in your head into more manageable sections.

Remember, no matter how demoralising the weather, the hills or the headwinds might be, think about how amazing you will feel at the end of the ride, and always look ahead, up the road to where things will be changing.

Nutrition

4 – Fuelling

How you approach your nutrition both before and during the ride can be the difference between a great performance and a trip to A&E.

How you refuel afterwards can also be a factor, which will have a huge influence on your general health and your future riding plans.

Nutrition tips
Before: The day before your 100-miler needs to be seriously considered — this is where the ride actually starts. You may have heard of ‘carb loading’ but the simplest advice here is to make sure you take on a healthy, balanced meal with fresh vegetables and low glycaemic index carbs. It’s also worth considering a bowl of cereal two hours before bed as a booster.

Leave off the alcohol or fizzy pop, and drink plenty of water. In the morning, go for the cereal and fruit, and drink at least 500ml of water before you set out.

During: Avoid taking on a whole bunch of energy gels; these are mostly designed to help riders through the last few demanding kilometres of a road race.

You might want to take along something with caffeine and sugar just in case, but don’t be tempted to break into this unless you are getting really fatigued and have already covered a good distance. All you really need is adequate carbohydrate to fuel from. An average sized cereal bar of about 30 grams for every 45-60 minutes of riding is ideal. Take along some bananas too.

Don’t forget to keep eating! A critical stumbling point for many riders is the inability to fuel while riding, so make sure you are able to take a drink from a bottle whenever you need to.

When drinking, tilt the bottle up and to the side to avoid tilting your head (so you can still look where you’re going) and keep your food to hand in jersey pockets. You will need around 500ml of water per hour (more if it’s very hot and you are losing it through sweat). And to help replenish the lost minerals, your second bottle should contain a small amount of an additive which contains electrolytes. Go for the powders that are aimed at hydration rather than energy. Don’t try anything you haven’t already used and are happy with — the big ride isn’t the one for experimenting with nutrition and hydration.

>>> Six steps for healthier eating

After: Your muscles need glycogen now, so this is the time for fruit juice or a purpose made recovery shake. Get those sugars in within 20 minutes —even ‘bad’ sugars like fizzy drinks and sweets (in moderation) can help at this point. Remember to keep hydrating and sit down to a decent meal containing some good protein within about an hour.

Bike fit

5 – Bike fit

When you are on the bike for several hours, little imperfections in position or fit can evolve into very major issues. If you have any niggles or particular localised discomfort during your normal rides, then it pays to get these seen to before the century ride.

A professional bike-fit can improve comfort and performance, while reducing fatigue and the risk of injury. It’s not just how the bike fits you though — how you fit yourself to the bike also matters.

What we are talking about here is your ability to hold your position, your pedalling efficiency and flexibility.

>>> Cleats explained: how to set them up correctly

Check out the pros with their slightly bent elbows and stable upper body, their flat backs and aerodynamic positions. OK, you might not be able to emulate them immediately, but you will probably be able to improve your current position with a few tweaks and off-bike exercises and stretches.

Get advice from a physio if needed, and make sure that you don’t attempt the big ride without properly testing new positions or bike parts beforehand.
Read more at http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/fitness/training/five-invaluable-tips-to-help-you-step-up-from-riding-60-to-100-miles-170890#h3Z75lQPY2WLY6f9.99

reblog: You do strava? You probably do some (all?) of these


ORIGINAL The proliferation of GPS bike computers and online ride sharing sites like Strava has seen our cycling habits change a little bit in the past few years.
Instead of carrying an Ordinance Survey map in your back pocket and working out your route like the olden days, we can now get all the information we need delivered right to our face.
That means that sites like Strava are havens for stat fiends, but there are always the same kind of rides on there. They may be from all over the world, but virtually all of them share the characteristics of the examples below.
The club ride
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Check your Strava feed on Saturday or Sunday morning and you’ll invariably see that many of your friends have ridden between 35 and 60 miles with likeminded individuals at an average speed that is favourable to everyone.

Club rides are an important part of cycling – they make you feel welcome, they give you something to do at the weekend and they can form the basis of many people’s enjoyment of cycling.
The massive ride
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Normally you stick to rides of around 40 miles, but every now and again you’ll post a ride well exceeding 100 miles to the shock of your friends.
As such, the kudos will fly in from all angles, mostly from people who didn’t think you had it in you to be able to ride such a distance without dropping dead.
The ridiculously short ride
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For every massive ride there is a ride so short that you might as well not have bothered recording it on Strava. Popping to the shops, or commuting approximately 1600m to work each day would fall into this category.
The out and back
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Rather than bothering to work out a nice loop to do you just pick a point and ride there, returning by the exact same roads because it would be too much hassle to find alternative roads in that area.
The same ride as last week
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Everyone has their preferred training route and there are many riders who don’t like to change it up at all. It’s not the same as doing a club run, as many clubs tend to mix up four or five different routes in the area.

Instead you simply find a route that provides you a series of different challenges and allows you to get some fresh air. These routes are particularly good if you just fancy a spin without having to stop every mile to look at the map.
The turbo ride
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Love it or hate it, the turbo is a great training tool. So much so that Strava now accepts stationary training as a ride option. Set your GPS computer going on your ride and you’ll sometimes finish to find the Strava ‘route’ shows you having moved violently across your living room.
If the GPS doesn’t kick in, Strava just shows that you rode in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, making some people wonder if you’ve popped away on holiday.
The abandoned ride
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Ever looked at someone’s Strava ride and seen that they finished absolutely miles away from where they started? They got to the out point, but on their way back it just looks like they packed it in halfway?
It’s something that cyclists dread – getting stranded in the middle of nowhere having run out of inner tubes after puncturing three times on the first three-quarters of your ride.
A quick call to your partner/mate/mum/mate’s mum and you’re whisked off in the broom wagon. Thankfully the excuses are clear for everyone to see in the ride title.
The ride that inexplicably gets mountains of kudos
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Remember that 30-miler you did last weekend? Well 40 people gave you a thumbs up for it. You didn’t break any records; you didn’t even cycle particularly fast, but for some reason everybody is loving your work.
Whenever you see this phenomenon it generally means someone has about a billion followers, hands out kudos willy-nilly themselves so everyone feels the need to give it back to them.
The balls-to-the-wall ride
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These rides generally occur on the ‘same route as last week’ rides, because sometimes you want to ride your normal route as fast as you can.
You may have limited time to ride, or you may want to try and set a few Strava KOMs – whatever the reason, you decide to go full throttle and set yourself a little challenge rather than just pootling like normal.

Radavist Calendar Pic – NOVEMBER


RAD_NOV2015_Fixed

you are thinking ‘that looks gnarly/fun/stupid/scary’ did they land smoothly – what is with the front wheel angle?

That’s when this happened. Bummer.

Falling on a tandem isn’t fun. It’s also not fun to watch. Luckily no one was severely hurt. Kyle and Robert could both get back and ride without major issue. It was once we stopped moving that joints began to seize up and expectations for me to wrap up the photostory ended.

But hey, you take what you can and tell the story.

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Peach autumn days


it was one of those magical days. I dropped my car off this morning for its first service and cycled back along the canals on the Brompton …. The sun was out with hardly any clouds so I thought that work could wait and I would head out on the bike. I didn’t fancy a Lycra clad road pelt out on normal routes so I got the Steel Mercian touring bike out and headed for the canals.

  

   
Popped in to friends studio but he was down in London so phoned the gf and met her for lunch at the Beeb

  
Canal loop is nice through older parts on the g with the sport of old – pigeon racing still practiced as evidenced by all the dovecotes. 

  
30 miles all in – nice

the eTape Caledonia 2015


What a day – the forecast was grim but the weather was grimmer. Registered the day before Saturday and it was pretty niceetape 2015 -2 Went to friends 40min away to stay the night, had a nice meal a glass or two of red and then bed by 10:30am. Alarm at 4:40am shower quick bite then drive back to Pitlochry and the start. etape 2015 -5 a train of cars arriving with bikes to park and this was at 5:45am – the last starts were at 8am. On the bike £2 in my hand to buy a quick coffee. Bumped into 2 friends as my wave was called – they were also starting but are so quick I knew i wouldn’t see them again – and I didn’t until after the finish. Boom off went – the weather was grim and I think that after 10 miles my hands and feet were frozen – and least I wouldn’t feel their complaints of ache although it made trying to drink water or eat quite difficult. Screenshot 2015-05-11 10.14.33 I worked in with a large group and it all went well – the KOM climb split the group and I found myself at the top of the mountain cycling into a 20knot head wind and rain by myself unable to catch the faster group in front.

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a photo of some grimness

Eventually 6 of us got together and worked until we caught back up at the bottom of the climb. (the sticky out bit bottom left on map) then the turn home. 2 abreast down single track roads and everyone cautious in the wet and rain. I had to stow the glasses as I couldn’t see through them which meant that my face was showered by rain spray and grit from the road. Road widen and group relaxes and Bammm the crunch of carbon as 5 or 6 riders fall. I get hemmed in behind – everyone alright apart form bruised egos … but the group is gone and again there are 8 of us playing catch up although the others are bust so just 3 of us taking turns to drag. Get to the last wee hill and kick and look at my time 3h45min – I could break 4 hours I reckon. So pedal harder and realise my right shifter has actually worked loose but my hands have been so cold I hadn’t realised it … this last section has a lot of wee rises so working the gears more with loose shifter …. last corner and finish line in sight. Over the line celebrate ease forward and realise my gps still running 4H01 but did I take it. Get back to car and official eTap text arrives congrats 2015-05-11 10.30.32 Hooray only 1min 40sec slower than last year and that was in good weather. etape 2015 -7the Bike as ever was flawless

A pile of bling
A pile of bling

Saturday Ride – or why I didn’t leave the flat today.


yesterday decided to go down and get the ferry across to the Isle of Arran and do the circle route around it. Looked at the weather and initially it seems to show the weather as being fine with 5 degrees C temp. But this being Scotland you have to be prepared so I had rain cape in my jersey pocket and velcro bootie covers on.

on the ferry I checked the weather again and it said the wind was up to 20mph from the north west so decided a anti-clockwise route was on the cards – that way I would have the wind on my quarter for the west side of the island.

stormy 'changeable' weather
stormy ‘changeable’ weather

Straight off the ferry and the wind came up and the ice and sleet descended. Sheltered behind a rock for a while – luckily the weather arrived horizontally and I stayed pretty dry PRETTYDRYno1

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then up the road to Loch Ranza – but I had to stop to take some photos of Goatfell and the other hills still beautifully snowcapped.

selfie wrapped up
selfie wrapped up
panorama
panorama – click to see larger
that road in detail - sweet
that road in detail – sweet

The descent to Lochranza was a bit cautious as the road was pretty wet still. The west side of the island was then baked in sun but the wind had swung more west so no tailwind for me.

Stopped at the great Machrie tea room (this place is mobbed by cyclists on nice summer days) for a bowl of soup as a toast. Missed squall 2 here PRETTYDRYno2. Today there was only two of us cyclists in  – an older lady from the ferry on a touring bike that was doing a shorter jaunt.

post soup  yumm
post soup yumm

Then further down to Blackwaterfoot – but by now there were squalls crossing the sea every 15min and bringing with them sleet,snow,driving rain and wind.

here comes another squall
here comes another squall

Luckily I made it to Blackwaterfoot just as one hit and took shelter in a bus station – no the chair wasn’t mine – just something a kind local had left in there. PRETTYDRYno3

waiting it out
waiting it out

Then with 11 miles to Brodick and time running out before the ferry I decided to cross the centre of the island up the String road. About 1/3rd of the way i was trying hard to stay ahead of the next squall and as i hit the most desolate section armageddon arrived. I kept going as the thin trees wouldn’t give any shelter. The descent was icy hands blurred vision and failing light.

Arrived in Brodick drenched brushing bits of ice off me.

Quick change – warmed up then got the ferry back to the mainland – and oh how the beer tasted good.

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On strava I seem to have some best sections for 2015 and that includes stopping – not because I was fast rather because the season has yet to start properly.

strava summary
strava summary

Sunday Ride – Meetup Group Glasgow


A large group of us set out – I was joining for the first group ride in months as had new wheels and new Ultregra groupset fitted and wanted to give them an airing … but the ride was a bit chaotic – no cohesion no working together and we seemed to stop every 5km to regroup ….

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But still a fun burn to an area SE of the city that i have never ridden through before. Stopping for soup at a local cafe too – and the weather was pleasant at 6 degrees.

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Chaos obvious to everyone

Strava
Strava