I rode it up to the top of the hill and I rode it down again x10

As I type this, the air outside is nearly still, but at 2000 hrs today the wind was blowing hard enough to send small twigs and branches skittering down onto the road. Inspired by Jez who wrote about going for a run on his blog I decided to get in a few Hill-Circuits. In his blog post, he quite rightly (in my opinion) rants about spinning, the intensive exercise bike training. I went on a sponsored ride once with some team members who thought they could build up cycle strength by ‘spinning’, they had done weeks of intensive sessions at the gym, but when it came to the crunch they fell apart. You get no wind resistance in the gym, how can you prepare for a big bike ride without confronting the biggest enemy of the cyclist who wants to go at speed? Above 14mph you are losing power as you expend energy trying to overcome the barrier, you yourself create, to pushing the bike forward; namely your own wind resistance as the shape of your body smacks into the air you are attempting to move through. You will get fit travelling over 14mph on your bike on a regular basis, I guarantee it! I get a lot of hits to this site from people who have been searching for the average speed you should be going on a bike. I’m going to build a separate page soon to cover that question as there are so many variables. What I will say now is that if you can keep your average speed above 14-15mph over around ten miles of variable terrain (and I’m talking road riding here really, but if you can find a nice track like the Ridgeway in Wiltshire then you could do that on a Mountainbike offroad for ten miles too) then you are not only ‘spinning’ the cranks, driving you forward and giving you some nice exercise, but at that speed and above you are fighting enough wind resistance to give you a really good workout. It will also be better, more fun and a damn site cheaper than hitting the gym on a regular basis.

Anyhoo, the wind was blowing UP the hill so that was a good enough incentive to actually get out and ride. I managed ten circuits and was a bit amazed to discover that was about 4 miles or so. Varying the pace going up the hill seemed to work well, I could ascend out of the saddle easily at 10mph. 14mph meant I was gasping by the time I reached the top and the final ascent at 16mph nearly did me in. I took two circuits at 9mph sitting down in lower gears, and after a fast ascent I freewheeled on the descent to get some rest or take on water. Here’s a satellite picture of the circuit for your viewing pleasure:

My route on the hill circuit.

The hill runs upwards left to right, I ascended on the bottom road and went down on the top road. After circuit ten I raced off down past The Mill onto the freshly relaid link road. What a contrast from my ride down the same route of a few days ago. For much of the way I was stood on the pedals battling against a brutal headwind and a light spattering of rain. Then left at Woolverton onto the main road and round the outside of the village again. By the time I hit the Beckington roundabout I was blown and not just by the wind. Funny things happen to your mind as you start to experience the bonk like “which button changes my gears again?”, luckily I recognised the signs of fast plummeting blood-sugar and was able to slip down a few gears and just trundle back slowly, conserving as much energy as possible. I made it back just as the cars were putting on their headlights.

Finally here is my regime for getting fit on the bike: Eat less; Ride more. That’s it.

Published in: on June 28, 2007 at 11:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

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