Last weekend was the first for three weeks when I didn’t have an organised Sportive to attend – it was a good job too as the weather didn’t play ball ! My Saturday ride was more like riding in mid March with an average temperature of 8 degrees Celsius, in other words pretty cold with the need for leg warmers, long sleeved top and wind jacket. So different from last weekend with bib-shorts and short sleeves.
I tried out a longer distance, intending to go round the west side of Bridgend. However a wrong turn took me part way into Bridgend before I started to go the right direction to Porthcawl. A look on the map afterwards shows me where to go next time I want to ride a fairly flat ride – only 1,200 m of climbing in 113 km, not bad for the Vale of Glamorgan.
Repeating some of the routes allows me to see the changing of the seasons, definitely darker looking green grass and more leaves appearing on the trees.
Here are a couple of photos taken from the same vantage point from a couple of earlier blogs and hopefully I’ll be able to repeat the process over the coming months.
In terms of training, the last few months are starting to pay off. I did a Functional Threshold Power test last Wednesday, the 20 minute version rather than the hour long test – I do wonder if anyone does the full hour ! For those who haven’t heard of or done a FTP test, it involves warming up for around 15 minutes (minimum) and then riding as hard as possible for 20 minutes on a static bike that measures your power output. I managed an average power of 259 watts over the 20 minutes which is only 2 watts off my personal best set after two weeks of riding everyday on holiday in Greece. Although the test is absolutely horrible to do, I will probably do a couple more FTPs before September to test my fitness levels. I have found the key to the test is not to start too hard but to try and be consistent for the first 10 minutes and then try and increase the output a little – the last three minutes are always the worst!
It’s now less than six weeks to the next Sportive, the Dragon Tour with L’Etape Wales, which involves two days riding in the Brecon Beacons near Crickhowell and then the Dragon Ride from Margam Country Park near Port Talbot. It will be a good test of riding long distances on consecutive days and a few of my new cycling friends from the Deloitte RAB I met on the training ride will also be taking part.
Do remember, I am doing the Deloitte RAB to raise money for Dementia UK and you can visit my Virgin Money Giving page here