I’ve been cranking up the riding of late with one eye on the climbing fest that is the Wild Wales Challenge at the end of August. With this in mind I’ve been throwing in a few commutes to work - a good 35 mile round trip - a couple of times a week, coupled with my weekend long ride.
The weekend of the Great Oggie run saw me and my fellow men in green clock up a 75-miler to St Asaph (birthplace of Ian Rush if my memory serves me right). My commutes have been getting faster and faster with one of my most recent seeing me average 18.7mph for just short of an hour.
I’ve been using the commutes as almost a time trial. I tend to leave at 6.15am to miss the worst of the traffic and then snake my way to the cycle path that conveniently runs most of the way into Chester. Aside from a 4 or 5-mile stretch, most of my commute is in the safety of a designated traffic-free cyclepath, so it is ideal and great interval training.
This weekend was the Liverpool-Chester-Liverpool 100 - an event that bills itself as a 100 miler, but is in fact 97 miles! The event starts at the Liverpool end of the Mersey Tunnel and then you get to cycle through the traffic-free tunnel to the Wirral before heading to Chester, around the hills of Frodsham and Helsby, before heading back under the River Mersey through the tunnel again.
The 7am start for the event mean that with no public transport the only way I could get to the start line was to cycle there, so I’d already been through the tunnel and added 7 miles onto my day. At least that meant I would clock up a century ride for the day!
The plan originally had been for a group of four of us to ride together, but from the off it became clear that one of us was itching to go faster. I went with the pace, but we left the other two in our wake. My suggestion to slow down for the others to catch up was dismissed, so we settled into a good pace and latched on to some riders from the Mersey Tri club who gave us a good tow at a really decent pace.
The decent pace remained for the remainder of the day, and it would be fair to say it was the most testing 100 miles or so I’d ever done pace-wise. What is amazing is the guy I was riding with is over 20 years older than me (he’s even got his own free bus pass now) so it gives me hope that my riding will improve further even as my years advance.
The two we’d left behind said afterwards they were glad we’d gone our own pace, so that they were able to go at theirs, so I didn’t feel quite as guilty as I had earlier. Usually I would have stuck to the plan to all ride together whatever the pace.
We also bumped into a few other we usually ride with, who had done the 50-mile event, so there was the opportunity for the obligatory post-ride pint. Now it’s hill work over the next couple of months, and I’ll even book a few Wednesday’s off over the next few weeks in order that I can get some extra training in as the August Bank Holiday event fast approaches.
Some stats of the day for those of you who like this sort of thing:
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