Monday? Long ride day?
Well, in truth it was more to do with the fact that Lorna and I will climb tomorrow, so there just isn't time for a long ride in the morning, and when we have finished climbing, it's almost dark!
So I proposed to get up and out early to give me enough time for a decent Long Ride.
I like to plan these things, and it is quite convenient living in times when GPS and Mapping Software are so readily available! So I looked through the various routes that I'd 'created' and saw one that seemed to fit the bill - and downloaded onto the GPS.
It is incredibly convenient to be able to 'follow the Blue Line' and not have to worry too much about navigation and map-reading when you are riding a longer route that you don't know.
But you DO need some idea of where it is headed and how to get back in case of catastrophic technology breakdown.
That didn't happen today - it all went very smoothly!
The route I chose was 70 miles. It's been a while since I rode that far but I thought it would be a good plan to see where I'm at in terms of endurance at the moment! The first 20 miles and the last 10 I know really well, and the bit in the middle I've ridden as parts of other rides, with one section having only been done once, and in the other direction. So I pretty much knew where I was going!
It was a ride that broke down into 3 distinct sections. Up to 40 miles - stuff I've ridden before and is very gently undulating (almost flat in fact!) 40-55 miles - the bit with a decent amount of updulation and downdulation.
And the last bit - a gradual climb, into the prevailing wind!
My legs got a bit bored in the first section, to be honest. I was purposely keeping the effort level down, reflected in the average pace at the point at around 10 miles (most of my rides start off the same) where I first note these things.
It was 15.4mph!
I'd also decided to be disciplined about eating and drinking on this ride. So calorie dense food things every 20 miles, and aim to finish a water bottle by 40 miles. I took an electrolyte mix in one bottle, and water in the other. There is method in this! I'm contemplating having 2 bottles with electrolyte in them on the Fred Whitton, and a Camelbak bladder for the water. That way I can easily alternate between the two, as I find that electrolyte drinks ALL get too salty if you drink them exclusively.
So, as I was saying - my legs were getting bored in the first section. And they actually felt quite tired!
I was looking forward to having some gradients to climb and descend, though. Although in the back of my mind I was hoping that it wouldn't work me to the point that I ground to a halt.
In the event, quite the opposite happened. They suddenly woke up
"HILLS," they exclaimed. "Awesome!"
And they experienced a whole new lease of life!!
Now I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. As a runner I far prefer running on significantly undulating terrain. So why would it be any different on the bike? That 15 miles absolutely flew by!
The last 15 was a bit of a grind! The wind had increased and was straight in my face on fairly flat ground that basically climbed gently for almost all of the ride in.
At 60 miles I found myself in a village, and it being Snack-time, I decided to have a 5 minute stop just to relax, stretch out a bit, and eat and drink without having to dodge vehicles.
That worked well!
Suitably refreshed, somehow the head-wind seemed less strong, and the gradual climb, flatter.
So I finished the route pretty strongly.
OK I have to admit to doing some numbers geekery as well! Cycle computer and Garmin both concurred that as I reached the house, I was 0.12 miles short of 70 miles!
Now that was just untidy, so I did a little loop to make it up to just over 70. ;o)
And the average pace for the ride? 15.4mph! Now where have I heard that before??