Very early, it became clear that this week’s training target was unachievable.
Sunday was spent driving back from a wedding on the Wirral, Tuesday was the England v New Zealand ODI in Cardiff and I discovered that today (the day I was going to add a bit to the club ride to do the 85km) I was down to lead the club’s short, slower ride.
With already Monday washed out with rain, I prioritized the climbing and managed 15 reps of Dragon Hill Road on Wednesday and another 8 on Friday – both into very strong headwinds. With today’s ride I managed 3169m of climbing (against a target of 2750).
The 15 reps (with the ride there and back) was about 18% of an everesting.
Could I have done more – yes. Did I want to do 5.5 times that – no.
Three weeks in, training so far:
|Week||Single session hill reps||Longest ride km||Total km||Total m climbed|
Next week is also going to be compromised – I have it on good authority that 30th wedding anniversaries are not celebrated entirely by riding a bike.
I’ll keep the focus on the climbing and aim for over 3000m with a single session of 18 reps.
Key lessons learned so far:
1 The wind can be a real issue
Dragon Hill Road starts to the south and then doglegs to the west. The contours mean that any sort of southerly or westerly winds create a headwind most of the way up. This week it’s done exactly that. On Wednesday and Friday the wind was around 16-20 mph and meant I was climbing in a full gear lower than normal.
I don’t know how accurate it might be but I’ve seen a suggestion that 5mph of headwind is like a 1% incline, so my 9% hill might have been riding like a 12+% – it certainly felt like it.
When it comes to the real thing, everesting a hill into a wind looks like a really bad idea. My planned hill should be ok judging by usual wind direction but I think I might look at an alternative, just in case.
2 Training on a steeper hill looks like a good idea
I did a few reps on a 7% hill last week. After Dragon Hill at 9% it felt (relatively) easy.
3 Mental strength is going to be vital
Mental strength (or sheer bloody-mindedness) is so important. Every time I go out for a hill rep session I feel like I can only do a few but, just taking them one at a time, I find I can keep going. On the last three sessions I’ve even had enough left in the tank to make the last (the 10th, 15th and 8th respectively) the fastest of the set.