26 September 2011

Falling into Fall: The first cycle ride of autumn

On Saturday we wanted to get out and do some training in preparation for next week's audax. Unfortunately, Alberto needed to get back early in the afternoon to work on his thesis, so we settled on a 100km route through Hertfordshire and decided to try to push the speed a bit.

We got a very early start, catching the 07:41 train from Finsbury Park, and managed to start cycling from Potters Bar before 8am! As soon as we got on the road, we realised that it is indeed Autumn. The forecast called for a beautiful, sunny, 22 degrees C (71 F) day, but now that the sun is rising later in the morning, it takes longer for the day to heat up. For the first two hours of the ride, we could see our breath and our fingers were very cold in their fingerless gloves. There was also a mist in some areas, so we turned on our back lights.

We moved along very quickly for the first half of the route, averaging around 23 kph. But around the midway point I noticed my legs were feeling tired and I was sore in the back as well -- a consequence of not having ridden the Boardman in two weeks. Still, we made good progress, and stopped in Dane End to fill out water bottles in a village shop -- the problem with riding early in the morning is that the pubs aren't open yet to fill you up!

In the last third of the course, we encountered some unexpected big hills! Fortunately they were compensated for by some equally big downhills -- Alberto reached 62 kph and I broke my all time speed record at 56 kph. The countryside was beautiful, especially with some of the leaves starting to turn for fall. The roads were pretty quiet and the drivers surprisingly respectful.

You could almost say it was a perfect day out on the bike, until about 5km from the end, when I again had a clipless fall, resulting from trying to do a U-turn. Virtually a repeat of the one at the end of my first century! I again was not too injured, but feeling annoyed that I had fallen again and ready to be back at the station.

All in all it was a great day out. 101km with a moving average of 22.5kph (14mph). Our moving time was four and a half hours.

In total it took us a bit over 5 hours to complete the 100km, with an overall speed (including stops) of 19kph. This should stand us in good stead for the audax next week, which is twice as long and needs to be completed in under 14 hours (for a minimum overall speed of 15kph).

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