Harder, faster, stronger

Got out yesterday with London Dynamo and Rhyddid and got in a grand total of around 70 miles. So I’m feeling a bit better and back on top of the mileage.

Went out with the slow/steady group which got a little too fast on the third lap but that’s longer than I usually last. I feel so much better for having put in that longer ride today as now I’m not fretting so much about where I am up to in my training and know that I can get a good long ride in before the afternoon on a Saturday.

I got a few twinges of cramp on my way round, mostly in my right calf and quad. I suppose I might have been a little low on electrolytes so might have to ensure I remember to pack something in future that’s a bit salty to deal with it or I could just give myself a lick – when I got home and wiped my brow it felt like I’d been attacked with a salt shaker.

I was quite pleasantly surprised that getting round that sort of distance on the relative flat of Richmond Park only took about 4 hours. I’m not feeling too sore despite ending up in a chain gang of sorts trying to stick with the “rather quick bloke with one leg”, who is one of the cult figures among Park cyclists. As one of the more experienced riders who had been out with the steady group said “If he had two legs we’d all be fucked.”

About five of us got round at about 30kph for a lap or so, even into the headwind down the Roehampton side, and the other three laps were of an equally steady pace. I’m definitely feeling more comfortable with riding in group now although I still fret a bit about moving onto the front of a group for fear of clipping a wheel. As I understood it, it’s up to the person behind to worry about what’s in front in general but I do glance under my arm before I move in again.

Similarly I’m still nervous about reaching down for my water bottle in a group. We discussed this on our second lot of laps and it seems like the best thing to do is to grab a swig whenever you can, thirsty or not. So whenever the group is sorting itself out, eases up or is coasting. I live in fear of dropping it and taking down everyone behind me.

Rhyddid, who I’ve been riding with since January, reckons I’m doing stronger than I was at the beginning of the year but if he decides to attack he still leaves me for dead on Spankers Hill. I’m tryng to figure out whether I need to put in more leg strength work or whether I’m riding too hard on the flat and just don’t have anything to spring out of the saddle with. But that can keep until April or when the longs come off. Next weekend it’s probably the Surrey Hills on the Sunday after the regular Saturday morning.

And this week I might buy some bib shorts and a vest to complete my kit list. A pair of Lusso Coolmax bibs seems reasonable and Rapha may see more of my money for a sleeveless base layer.

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