3 Shy

Overall a decent ride today, and bigger than I expected when heading out the door. This actually cost me in family visiting time, but I think the ends justified the means.

When I woke up this morning the first thing I did, as I so often do, was to peer out of the curtains – and for once in recent memory it looked nice and dry. Usually it’s damp on the tarmac even if there’s no sign of rain in the sky. The BBC weather forecast confirmed it, and even though grey clouds loomed menancingly over the morning, no rain came.

That is until I set off, at which point the drizzle arrived. Such luck.

But fortunately it seemed to ease off just as quickly as it came on, and never returned. Another result.

Prior to setting off I’d decided I’d climb Jeffrey Hill today. This all stems back to my Yearly Goal of doing a ‘hard climb’ each month. Well, I did one last Sunday, and felt like I wanted to do more than one a month. How about one a week?

So Jeffrey was on the cards. And with a little look on Google Maps I found a new way up the climb that I haven’t done before. Seemed interesting.

It’s a bit tricky to make out from that picture, but as this was a new route to me anyway, I misjudged where I was going. You kinda had to head out, then double back on yourself. The path was a bit of a farm trial, very bumpy and narrow. Fortunately no cars were coming the opposite way or I think it would have meant me stopping to let them passed.

And it’s a shame I wasn’t able to easily stop and take some quick photos. Rubber gloves was one problem, and having my phone in my jersey pocket, under a gilet and a coat makes it a right palava to get out. I saw some Grouse and also some kind of bird of prey that would have made excellent photos.

Anyway, layered up as I was, I had had the foresight to stop (when I took this picture) and unzip my gilet. I kept it on, but unzipped, then by maybe 1/8th of the way up the initial climb, I had my jacket unzipped and was contemplating unzipping the jersey too. Such was my heat levels. And yes, forget the aero.

So that initial climb was steep. According to Strava, it was Birks Brow, 0.87km at 8.5% for a total of 75m climbed. At one point I saw 13%, I remember that. After that I stopped looking.

The only thing I had in mind was not to blow up.

One thing I’ve found outdoors is that I have a real tendency to push too hard.

It takes a real concerted effort to try and rein it back in. Seeing myself pushing >4.5w/kg is totally unsustainable. I know this now, and without the Garmin to visually tell me my numbers, I think I’d die hard, and fast.

However, when I do slow it down and get it closer to 3.5w/kg or whatever, boy does it feel slow. So slow, in fact, that it can almost feel like I’m going to come off.

And the wind. It’s non existent. Eerily quiet. Just me. Breathing. And occasionally moaning.

Thankfully after that first climb, the rest of Jeffrey Hill felt seriously easy. Sure, I was in the little ring, but I was stomping my way around and made a decent time.

One crazy thing I did see were two guys coming down on their bikes. Jeans. Wooly hats. Casual as you like. Meanwhile I was dripping with sweat in all my “pro” gear. Ha.

Anyway, I made it to the top…

Absolute layer cake.

Once I’d stopped for the sweaty selfie I was very glad of the gilet as I could zip it back up, along with my jacket, and remain very toasty on the >60kph descent. I do love that downhill blast so much, regardless of the chilly ears.

As I was tearing down, I made the decision to take the slope all the way to bottom. That took me into Ribchester, giving me another climb to do. An easier one, for sure, but all good for the legs. And the soul.

So as I was making a start, a lad jumped me – friendly, but he wanted to drop me and teach me a lesson, I’m sure.

Well, I kept with him the whole way up. Ha. I cannot be dropped. Never.

Or, well, maybe he wasn’t trying to drop me and I set a new PB just keeping up with him on his recovery ride. You never know. Still, he did keep turning round to see where I was. Always there friend, always there.

That extra climb is what made me late back. And sadly I was just 3m shy of 500m total elevation for the ride. That 500m was my magic number too. All the way round I was wondering if I’d top that… alas, no.

Right then, an hour or so of Zwifting tomorrow. Stage 4. Should have done that today, but no regrets. This one was a blast.

2 thoughts on “3 Shy”

  1. 246w for almost 10mins, pretty decent! Sounds like he was definitely trying to drop you. He would have been hoping you were back in the distance, reckon it would have crushed his soul to keep seeing you right there!

    • Haha 🙂 I hadn’t looked at the stats in enough depth to notice that 🙂

      I’ve definitely found it easier having someone ahead to chase. I mean, so long as they aren’t a beast that I can’t hope to keep up with, of course.

      One thing I noticed that he was doing was he’d be up, out of the saddle for each little steep bit, then back down and so on. My approach is almost always to remain seated, even when it gets brutal. Keep spinning, keep that high cadence and importantly, keep the heart rate stable. When I’m up and down, my heart rate spikes and even +5bpm or whatever (taking me e.g. from 180 to 185bpm – insane, I know), means I really, really struggle to get it back down. If I stay seated I stay consistent.


Leave a comment