Week 16 – Climbs

I thought that after an enjoyable few days on the bike last week it is maybe time to stop messing about and try and get fit for the Lincoln sportive. The main aim going forward it to be hitting over 100 miles a week and making sure the intervals.icu fitness graph is going in the right direction (I’ll post more about that next week as I’m late posting this and there are some rides from next week on there now – time travel innit).

Tuesday 19th April

In keeping with the tradition of a Monday rest day this week starts today with Zwift Racing League. A couple of sprints and a couple of hills were on the cards with my aim to be in the mix for the sprints then try and finish as best as I could after that.

I set off far too early on the first sprint (as usual) and was caught before the line. No points. Second sprint I faired a little better and managed to get 6th with a long and sustained effort. After that I totally lost the group as I struggled to recover with the heat in my office. I made the mistake of not opening my windows early enough and it was mafting!

After that I managed to employ a bike change on the second climb and make some places back ending up in 28th place. Not too bad.

Wednesday 20th April

Quoits has stared again so that means no riding on Wednesday nights so I managed to get 2 shorter rides in during the day on my way to dog walking. Ended up with 20 odd miles in the bank which kept up the fatigue a bit.

Thursday 21st April

Fancied a couple of little climbs tonight to keep the legs tired going into my Friday rest day. Tried Hauxwell and Finghall which are short but steep but enough of a test on a 25 mile ride. Forgot my HR monitor so just plodded up the climbs. 

Saturday 23rd April

Today was van trip to Newbiggin which is just past Barnard Castle. I’d spotted three climbs from the 100 Climbs and Another 100 Climbs books that looked doable on a 40 mile loop. The climbs in question were:

  • #152 Yad Moss – 9.71 miles long, 1018 ft hight gain, summit at 1950 ft with average gradient of 2% that maxes at 10% – ranked a 4/10
  • #185 Killhope Cross – 3.23 miles, 818 ft gain, summit at 2002 ft with average gradient of 5% that maxes at 17% – ranked 8/10
  • #62 Chapel Fell – 2.45 miles, 1050 ft gain, summit at 2060 ft with an average gradient of 8% that maxes at 16% – ranked 9/10

 

Yad Moss was a nice easy warm up. We parked up and cycled past High Force and took in the amazing views. We were heading up to Alston for a cafe stop and as we rode commented that the predicted 30 mph wind gusts were absent… sadly we were wrong! The descent into Alston was pretty sketchy and the cafe was very welcome!

 

Got to say that was the nicest Victoria Sponge I had ever tasted and the coffee wasn’t too bad either. Quite cheap too!

So we set back off into a block head wind that really slowed our progress up Killhope Cross. The climb started off quite tamely but soon ramped up with three false summits that ramped to 17% seemly on each summit. The wind was harder than the gradient and you can see from the photo above that when I picked my bike up it was blown upwards. The weather app later said it was 40mph gusts but it really seemed stronger.

The descent was horrific. I have 45mm rims and they were uncontrollable. After the first decent ruined by wind it was very disappointing that I could barely get over 15mph on the second. Not that average speed maters on such rides but it really ruined mine and made it seem that I was super slow!

 

Finally Chapel Fell. When I read it was a 9/10 climb I was pretty worried but thanks to that brutal wind it wasn’t as bad as it could have been! I was suffering terrible lower back pain which nearly caused me to stop for a rest just short of the top but when I got out of the saddle for one final push the wind came to my rescue and blew me the last few yards. I think it would have been really brutal without the wind as I think I would have gone a bit harder but as it turned out I thought the previous climb was harder.

At the top we took in the views and then remembered we needed to be home so descended back to the van.

The legs afterwards didn’t feel bad at all – in fact they felt far worse after the Cinder Track last week which surprised me. Overall it was a really enjoyable ride, nearly spoiled by the wind but not quite. I was super happy to tick off three climbs and was so impressed with the views I will be returning to tick some more off soon.

So at the end of the week 120 miles had been clocked up and things were going in the write direction. I should have written this blog on Sunday when it was all a bit fresher in my mind but with family visiting that took priority.

Got a big ride planned next week so I will try to blog about that when it is fresher! Have a good week!

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