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A trip to Brummy La...
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A trip to Brummy Land

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Reputable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 273
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Today was my longest training ride ever and will also be the longest one before my 24 hour race as I will be gradually backing off the endurance rides now with about 6 weeks to go, as long miles require a lot of recovery and I'm starting to feel this in the few races I'm doing. The focus will now gradually switch to shorter rides and a bit of speed work to sharpen me up and gradually taper.

I made the most of this mega ride by going to some new roads to make the 8 hour ride a bit more interesting. As usual I didn't use a GPS navigating device or carry a map, I simply memorised the route and trusted my homing pigeon instinct. I left the house at 8 am and it was actually quite warm but there was a definite headwind although not too strong. The first 50 miles of the route went due South through Hartford, Winsford, Church Minshull, Nantwich, Audlem, Market Drayton, Newport until finally reaching the A5 not far from Wolverhampton. Most of this route is rolling and the wind was a bit tough in places but generally the 90" fixed was turning nicely and I was riding at evens (20mph) most of the time. Due to the 10 minute warm up and the hills my average speed took a bit of a hit so I averaged 19.5 mph when I turned left down the A5. I had two 600ml bottles so stretched them out to 80 minutes per bottle thus I had to stop at 2hrs 40 min and again at 5hrs 20 min to get a refill of both bottles. I had a Power Bar every hour on the hour and this was my entire intake for the ride. I had my first stop at about 53 miles which was quite welcome after that 50 mile headwind.

The wind was on my shoulder for the next 17 miles so my speed picked up significantly, but the roads were not very cycling friendly as they were narrow but fast A roads in a busy area of the midlands. I passed through Gailey, crossed the M6 at the Toll Rd near Cannock and then went via Brownhills to Lichfield. I turned at this point (70 miles) and I had 3 hours 3 minutes on the clock so my average was creeping up back to the planned 20 mph average. The wind was now a cross tail so my speed was still good and generally I was cruising along at 22 - 23 mph. The A51 is a not wider than the A5 and not quite as busy so although not exactly a "cycling lane" it was OK. At Rugeley my average speed recovered back to 20 mph again but I knew that I would have to build on this as later I would be turning into the wind and riding rolling and not so well surfaced B-roads. It brought back memories of an old 25 course that went from Stone to Rugeley and back when I rode along the return stretch to Stone. This used to be a popular course until some bright spark from the council decided to put 2 sets of traffic lights smack bang in the middle of it! ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

By Stone my average was up to 20.3mph after a long stretch at about 24 - 26 mph. Then I turned left and was immediately hit by a long drag up a badly surfaced B-road into a cross headwind. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ I've never ridden this road before so despite the conditions it was nice to get on to a cycling road again away from the traffic and to see new scenery. I've passed through Eccleshall before but only from East to West so today I went South to North and continued along the B road to Loggerheads which is also a nice road although a bit lumpy when approaching Loggerheads. My average dipped over this section but was still just over 20 mph. The A53 to Market Drayton was fast decent and I had my second stop at Market Drayton to look forward to for my final bottle refill at 5 hrs 20 mins. I still felt good and no real problems to speak of which was pleasing as I passed 100 miles in 4hrs 55 mins.

I continued to Tern Hill island where I was tempted to turn right back to Press Island but that would have been too easy and would have brought me home too soon, so I went straight on to Hodnet and then took the picturesque but challenging hilly road via Hawkstone Park to join the A49 at Weston. I dipped a little at Hawkstone Park so took a gel and the instant sugar rush picked me up a again almost immediately. The A49 was fast due to a direct tailwind so I clawed back the lost average speed of the previous 30 miles or so as I romped around the Whitchurch by-pass and down the A49 at about 25 mph. I realised that the strong tailwind would get me home too soon so changed my planned route and turned right at Cholmondeley School to take the pleasant but slightly undulating road to Nantwich (This road used to be used for the 24 hour finishing circuit many years ago - not a lot of people know that. ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

I then made use of the wind again from Nantwich to Middlewich and turned left to return to Northwich via Winsford Industrial estate. Due to my OCD I have to do exactly the time prescribed on my training plan or slightly over but not 1 minute under. Failure to do so would cause great mental anguish ( I know I'm sad but it's just the way it is). ๐Ÿ˜ณ Therefore when I got to Northwich I couldn't go up Winnington Hill and home as I knew that this would get me there with a finish time of about 7 hrs 57 mins. However I could also se the dirty black cloud rapidly approaching on my left shoulder. Any normal person would have headed home but no I had to turn right and go down Marbury Lane to got up to 8 hours. I still felt really good so opened it up a bit for the last 3 miles, stopping the clock at 8 hrs 41seconds. Shame about the 41 seconds but I can live with that.

For the record I averaged 20.1 mph (target 20 mph)and covered 160.9 miles (target 160 miles) with an average heat rate of 123BPM, normalised power of 206 watts (target was 200 watts). This was a very satisfying session which I managed to control perfectly which is what I need to do on race day. It's a sobering thought though that I was only on the bike for one third of the race duration. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ



Estimable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 135

Well done Dave. An excellent ride and report. I think the behaviour you describe as OCD is simply good discipline with 'perfectionist' tendencies (and perhaps a pinch of masochism thrown in for good measure!!). Either way, you wouldn't do what you do without these traits.