Saturday, 24 September 2011

Getting faster

Nice day today - not too windy, no rain, dry roads.

Went out from Chester on my usual route, up to Minera, and skirted round to Acre Fair and down towards Llangollen, and went up the Garth and onto Panorama Walk (which seems to have been recently resurfaced) and then on to World's End. Got off the bike to carry it over the ford, then cycled over the rest of World's End on my lowest gear (39-28). Might be tricky to go up this climb if the roads are wet as you could get wheelspin.

Anyhow, very pleased to be able to cycle all the way up World's End for the first time.

Total distance ridden 55.9 miles, total time taken was 4 hours 2 minutes, which I was pleased with (considering the two big climbs of the Garth and World's End + some smaller climbs up to Minera).

Looking in reasonably good shape now for the Cymru Etape.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Feeling Fitter

Went out today, even though it was wet and windy, and cycled over the Horseshoe Pass and the Shelf.

Total length of ride was approx 68 miles, and I managed it in 5 hours, which I was reasonably pleased with.
Also timed myself up the Horseshoe Pass, and managed 29 mins 45 seconds, which isn't great, but is about a minute faster than last time I went up, and on this occasion there was also a headwind to contend with.

The descent from the Horseshoe Pass and then down towards Ruthin was good. The Shelf was easier than I expected. Now that I've done all the climbs which will be in the Cymru Etape, I would definitely rate World's End as the hardest - partly because getting off and carrying the bike across the ford breaks up your rhythm, but also because just after the ford there are parts of the climb which are between 15 and 20% gradient.

I'm targeting a time of 7.5 hours for the Cymru Etape, so if I ride like I did today, there's a good chance I can do that. Will take tomorrow off, and maybe Monday too, with a gym session Tuesday and possibly a short bike ride Thursday. Next saturday may try to go over the Garth and World's End again. Will update you on that if I do it.

Map of today's ride is below, together with the height profile.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Back on the bike

Arrived back safely from Japan, despite staying one extra day due to Typhoon Talas.
Leg not completely back to normal following training crash three weeks ago, but managed 12 miles on my mountain bike (down the Chester cycle path) on Monday 5th Sept, then had a gym session on Tuesday (rowing, cycling & cross trainer).
Did a quick 20 mile round trip to Frodsham and back on Wednesday, which included quite a steep hill.
Another gym session on Friday, then on Saturday did a 5 hour ride down to Llangollen, over the Garth and World's End and back to Chester.

This time I did actually go up the Garth - quite a steep climb but ok to ride up (at least now I have a bottom gear of 39-28).

When I got to the Ford at World's End, I carried the bike over, but found the section just after the Ford too steep to ride up so had to walk :(

Mapped the ride on mapmyride,com, and the route is shown below:

The elevation profile is shown below:

It looked like the bit I struggled on had a gradient of between 15 and 20% !

Managed a pretty lousy time of 4 hours 23 mins for the 53.5 miles - however it was quite windy and wet. I'm thinking of changing my tyres for some with better grip since if the roads are wet on 9th October, there is a chance the wheels will spin on some of the steep hills we're going up. Also felt a bit knackered before the start of the ride - should have eaten more and drank more before I set off.

Hoping to go over the Horseshoe Pass and the Shelf on Tuesday - from what I've seen so far, I think World's End will be the toughest climb on the Etape Cymru.