Tag Archives: Dragon Hill Road

Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and Berkshire hills – lovely, but not quite the alps

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Dragon Hill – again

We got back home from the alps late on Thursday night. Despite too much cheese, bread, potatoes and wine, I managed to return weighing a little over 66 kg which is better than I’d feared.

I got out on the bike this morning despite still feeling a bit jaded – it’s not that I’m worried about a lack of training for next weekend’s sportive, of course.

It was breezy but I went gently, looking for some hills – typically that means heading for the Ridgeway.

First I went up Dragon Hill Road to the White Horse at Uffington – I make that the 177th ascent of it this year after using it as a key training climb in my everesting training. Then along the undulating Ridgeway road, turning off for a climb up Sincombe Hill and a descent into Lambourn (with a lot of race horses out on the gallops).

Climbing back out of Lambourn I rode through Baydon, Bourton, Shrivenham and back via Highworth and Coleshill (which is largely a National Trust village but was also the home of the late, lamented, Sir George Martin).

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Coleshill … er … hill

… and Badbury Hill …

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Looks OK but it kicks up in the trees with bits at 15% and 16%

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Why do hills never look as steep in pictures as they feel when riding them?

Clocking up a few more metres of climbing in and around Faringdon I did a total of 73 km with 1008 m of ascending. It felt pretty tough and I rode it at only just over 24 kph – but somehow managed 36 Strava ‘achievements’. I have no idea how that happened.

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Everesting training – one week in and I’ve not failed yet

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Lower part of Dragon Hill Road, Uffington

Well, that might not set the cycle training world alight but there was every possibility that I would fail in the first week. I’ll take the fact that I didn’t as a success.

The aim for last week was a ride of 60km and two rides with at least 15 reps of Dragon Hill Road in total. There was also the expectation of two runs with Mrs Omil. As it turned out I did the two runs  for a total of 12km (on Sunday and Wednesday), a ride of 64.5km (Monday) and two hill climb sessions with a total of 16 reps of Dragon Hill Road (6 on Wednesday and 10 on Friday).

In total the rides were about 136km with 2,178m of climbing. The longer ride was done at 30kph for the first 40km but then suffered from a strengthening headwind! It’s a bit worrying that the total rides were less that a quarter of an everesting!

The 10 climbs on Friday felt easier than the 6 on Tuesday – partly because I’d already had a run on Tuesday and partly because I’m still getting over the chest infection. What is clear however is that I’m likely to do the minimum to (just) exceed my targets! I’ll need to keep them challenging!

Naturally, I’m more grinder than spinner when it comes to cadence so I’m working hard to climb in a lower gear than normal. I guess that will help when I come to the real thing but I’m avoiding using bottom gear so as to keep it in reserve for when I really need it.

Another thing I’ve decided is to se if I can lose whatever weight I can now, rather than waiting until July. I don’t know if I’ve ever damaged my power output by weight loss in the past but if I lose it now and then stabilise it, I assume power is less likely to be compromised. Weight this morning 64.4kg.

I don’t want to end up bored with (or hating) Dragon Hill – and nor do I want to become great at just that one hill (fat chance) and rubbish at any others (more likely). Accordingly I’m changing the formulation of next week’s targets to:

– a ride of over 75km,

– at least 12 reps up Dragon Hill and

– a third ride with over 1000m of climbing.

Plus the usual couple of runs, of course.

With some social commitments I can’t miss, it looks like a challenging plan.

Upping the training (literally)

A mixed bag. I went for a run with Mrs Omil doing hill reps but suffered afterwards with Achilles/planter faciitis problems in my right leg/foot. Next time I did laps of the old fort at Badbury Hill while she did the hill reps and that was better for me – but I still suffered a bit with my leg/heel. It feels like a bruised heel and a strained Achilles tendon just above the heel. I guess it’s a tight Achilles that is hurting and causing issues with the planter faciitis. Whatever it is, it hurts and I limp about all day.

As a result, I’ve ditched the running this week and went out on the bike on Thursday and today – both times heading out to Dragon Hill Road. On Thursday I did 9 reps and today (into a 20+mph headwind) 6 more. Today’s ride felt as hard as 50% more reps on Thursday – presumably in part due to a bit of residual fatigue but mainly, I guess, because of the wind. At times I was standing on the pedals and hardly making any forward progress.

This idea of training by tackling hill reps had better be a good one!