Today I went for a training ride with a fellow Deloitte Ride Across Britain participant, Carl, who lives in Cardiff. We are both taking part in the Dragon Grand Fondo ride next Sunday (10 June) and didn’t want to over do things today so limited things to 100 m short of 100 km (and 1,150m of climbing). The Dragon Ride is 223 km with over 2,900m of climbing though the Welsh Valleys and into the Brecon Beacons.
Both Carl and I are similar ages (either side of 50 !) and manage to ride at about the same speed on the flat and slight inclines. Where things differ is when we go up hill and Carl starts to pull away with alarming ease (or at least to my viewpoint – Carl may say he is working very hard). I blame gravity for this state of affairs!
I think our respective sizes had a lot to do with it. I’m 189 cm tall (6’2″ in old money) while Carl is probably 170 cm (5’7″) with weights of 88 kg and 67 kg respectively.
This means I’m having to get an extra 20 kg or so up hill – the equivalent of 20 bags of sugar. I can try and increase my power to weight ratio by increasing my power output – the amount of energy I can put through the pedals. My training over the last six weeks has concentrated on power improvement. I can also try and lose a bit more weight – I’ve lost about 6 kg since Christmas, so could expect to get rid of a further 2 kg by September. Losing extra weight after shedding the initial excess weight is always more difficult. However, I wouldn’t want to affect my ability to put out the power. Plus, I really don’t want to end up looking like Chris Froome (sorry Chris). For one thing, buying lots of new suits and shirts would be rather expensive … and I like chocolate far too much.
In the end, I think I will have to accept that some riders will be quicker uphill and I can use gravity to help me on the downhill – lighter riders then sit on my back wheel and use me as a moving windbreak. They’d better watch out for the braking distances as I have disc brakes which generally allow shorter stopping distances than rim brakes. I have to remind myself to allow more time to slow down when I ride other bike with rim brakes, particularly if it is wet.
Next weekend is going to be real challenge. I have rides on Friday (105 km or 65 miles) and Saturday (85 km or 52 miles) with quite a bit of climbing in each ride in the Brecon Beacons near Crickhowell – the routes go up Gospel Pass and The Tumble (on different days thank goodness). I’ll have to see how the legs are feeling on Sunday – I will have the option part way through the ride of dropping down to the Dragon Medio Fondo, a distance of 153 km (95 miles). Look out for the next blog to find out how I get on.
As a reminder, I am raising money to support Dementia UK I am 40% of the way to my target fundraising (I don’t have a minimum amount to raise because I am totally self-funded and not taking a sponsored place). You can support my by donating at my Virgin Money Giving page here