Today was my long ride training day. I had checked out the forecast and it was sunny until about 11 and then predicted rain, as a time crunched cyclist I don’t have the luxury of being able to pick and choose so I can train in good weather. So I pulled on an extra layer and headed out towards dark clouds but with the sun on my back for now…
On long rides it’s as much about mental preparation as physical if your head is not in the game your body might as well pack up and go watch TV. So I always have a goal to keep my head focused on something other than the minutes ticking by.
My goal for the past couple of weeks has been 100km in 5 hours, after my race result on Saturday I had seen how capable I was of pushing my body further for longer, so today my aim was get over the 100km barrier.
I set off at an easy pace knowing it takes me about 30 minutes to settle in and then I pushed on trying to keep my heart rate above 150.
When you’re trying to stay in a heart rate zone on the road it is pretty difficult because of the natural rise and fall in the landscape, however hard you push up hill when you get to the downhill fitness will decided on how rapidly your heart rate falls, I am pleased to say my fitness is really good at the moment and my heart rate drops really quickly as soon as I start going downhill.
After 2 hours I was making really good progress and had worked my way up a few good hills including Butser. It was half way up Lynch hill when the heavens opened and it started to hail, yes hail, with such force that it stung my arms through my jacket. With nothing to do apart from keeping pushing on that is what I did, 20 minutes in and I was soaked through and now desperately wishing for a long hill climb to get warm! I decided to start making my way home (which was at least an hour away) and to maybe have a shorter ride, I could deal with rain but hail was a joke.
As I made my way through the backroads I could see patches of blue sky in front of me and the hail eased off giving me a new perspective and I decided to take a longer route home, I was still on target for over 100km, I had been playing games with myself to keep heading for this target for example: when I got to quarter to I would try and fit in 8km to up my score for that hour. It may sound daft but this tactic worked.
After 4 hours I had done 85km leaving only 15km to go. The last hour was hard fighting into the wind most of the way I felt like I was being pushed backwards. Rounding the corner to my destination I had 11 minutes still to go but had ridden 100km I was really happy to have beaten the 100km barrier but didn’t have any energy left to push out too many more k’s and settled with 3!
I am so happy with my achievement today; I set out with a goal and achieved it, even against bad weather and a head wind! My fuelling was good today and I have a new love salted peanuts in the same bag as jelly babies! Don’t knock it until you try it!
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