After a long and fruitless search for a road bike I decided that, in the end, the bike I already have is adequate for the type of riding that I do. It’s not a shiny new road bike from Giant or Felt, but after looking for an age, comparing gearing ratios and component specs, the best way forward for me was always going to be to upgrade some of the parts on my current bike. So I have. Not only that, I’ve bought a new cycling jersey to make me more aerodynamic (it won’t of course but it does pull me in a bit around the middle so perhaps it will help).
I didn’t really know how I would get on with clip in pedals, but it was going to be worth a shot if I wanted to get faster, ride further and harder. Like most people I had the quick test in the garden, followed by the falling over still attached because I tried to unclip when almost stopped instead of whilst moving, something that I keep in mind all the time I ride now.
To go with my shiny new pedals I have also bought some commuting tyres. Basically slicks with a bit of a tread pattern instead of the chunky, knobbly tyres that you normally find on a mountain bike. Hopefully the combination of the tyres, pedals and SPD shoes would propel me to greater speeds around my most trusted windmill route, so it was time to give it a go.
Since fitting the new kit I have ridden the windmill route three times, with mixed results. I was initially happy with four PBs first time out on the way out (towards the windmills), but nothing on the way back in. Something to do with pushing hard on the way out but not having the strength or stamina to bring that speed home. Since then I have had no PBs just a few decent segments but nothing to shout about. One issue is that I have pushed hard on individual segments all around the windmills route, I just can’t put a good run together that has consistently good segments throughout. The only way I am going to do that is to get fitter, so that I can push hard on every segment, not just on bits on one ride and bits on another.
At least I know where my weaknesses lay now, I think the way to sort this is to take up running as that will improve my overall fitness no end. I did make a start but have given up for now. I will take it back up again when I can commit to doing the C25K (couch to 5k) three times a week. This is basically running and walking to get your fitness up enough to run a 5km distance in eight weeks.
The first two outings of this sequence I took the same route, drive near to (about a mile away), then cycle round the windmill course, for a change on my final ride of this sequence I stopped and took a picture which is below. It looks at the windmills but as I have never been this way before (slight variation along a back road) it has a slightly different viewpoint. There is also an image of the hill I had just come up, with a view of the valley in the background.
The last three rides are listed below – all three started after driving up the first big hill just so that I can get used to the new pedals on more flat roads to start with, not that the road in the picture above is particularly flat!
Distance: (i) 8.3 miles (ii) 8.4 miles (iii) 11 miles
Time Taken: (i) 40:06 (ii) 41:01 (iii) 52:20
Elevation Gain: (i) 415ft (ii) 419ft (iii) 597ft
Average Speed: (i) 12.5mph (ii) 12.3mph (iii) 12.6mph