Sunday, May 24, 2009

Long Cycle Ride in the Sun

Today I did my longest cycle ride (excluding races), it was a massive 68 miles (110 km).

It took a bit over 4:30 which makes it an average of 15 mph (24 kmph). My main goal was the distance but also had over 1,500 ft (450m) of climbs along this route which was not helped by the temperature reaching 28c (82F).

I was fully GPS'd for this ride. I had my main cycle GPS with the route uploaded so I could easily navigate the route, as I only knew about 1/4 of the route. I also had another sports GPS device which was also tracking me but this does not have maps on (which I had forgot to setup for HRM and Cadence sensor). In addition to this I had my GPS enabled mobile as a backup which was turned off until if I needed it. In addition to the GPS data that also included Heart Rate and Cadence information I had another (non-GPS) cycle computer on the bike which I just used for the actual time, temperature and speed. So I have quite a lot of real time information available to me with most of it available to review afterwards!!!

The route was nice with it all being in the countryside which was effectively a big loop around the town about 15 miles out. The route was ok until I got about 1/4 the way round which I was meant to go down a lane which was a ford that had water at the bottom. Instead of attempting to go through it, there was only one other route I could take without a going back for a few miles this took my on a single lane A road for less then a mile, luckily it was a slow section but had a few short inclines.

After that there was a few more inlinces for the next 10 miles with a couple of serious inclines which I was in lowest gear with my heart rate getting high. A bit after half way I stopped at a shop to fill up my water bottle as I was unsure how many more shops there would be on this countryside route and wheter they would be open on a Sunday. While setting at the bench I noticed that pond had a duck island, I wondered if that was claimed on expenses like a recent MP has allegey done.

Floating Duck House

The next section of road was narrow for a few miles before got back to a normal. There was not that many cars around there were a few cyclists which I overtook a few and none overtook me. At this point I was using my aerobars a bit more as the road was better and I was getting a good cruising speed. I then turn back north (heading back) about 2/3 the way round on a B road which was really good and for over a mile I was doing a good time trail keeping the speed at about 25 mph (40 kmph) until an incline next to a RAF base. This was the third airstrip along this route.

I was then on lanes and hills that I have cycled on before which there was another couple of inclines and A roads to cross and one with less then a mile to go along. At least I did not get stopped by the rail crossing this time a few miles for the end. However I did see somebody coming out of a shop with an ice-cream and I did think about stopping and going back for one but I carried on. To only then go past a fete of some sort which I could smell the BBQ and there was also an ice-cream van.

I was pleased I made it round and I was happy with the nutrition but could have done with some more sports drinks but I was eating more solid food (about 100 calories) every 30 minutes which was helping.

Before doing this route again I will make a few more changes in particular near the start in the top right of the loop to extend out a bit to use hopefully better roads. Plus the top left of the loop to avoid the ford and any water in it. But the cycle GPS was good as it just showed another maps to quickly navigate I had to stop only a couple of times were there was two roads going roughly in the same direction until I zoomed in on the map.

Technically I may need to improve my cadence rate which the average was just 67 it is recommended to be about 80-90.

However this was good training for my first triathlon of the year which is in a few weeks which just has a 40km cycle route and I have done 3 laps of a few weeks ago.

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