The first quarter of this year has to be the windiest I can remember since starting road cycling in August 2009 (5 years). Every time I've chatted to a fellow cyclist on the road whilst out there's been a real concensus that the wind conditions have been challenging to say the least.
This weekend, was the first weekend I've felt the wind has really let up and the conditions softened with a guest appearance from the sun - happy days!
A tough start to the year with mileage down around 30% vs. the previous year. I'd hoped to hit around 900 miles for the quarter start however conditions and personal commitments have simply got in the way so it's time to ratchet up the training April and May ready for a big month in June (Yorkshire Tour de France stages plus London to Paris).
The Heart of the Matter
Coming back from rides, heart rate has been tipping into zone 4 indicating the effort required to hit any kind of average speed in the conditions. Many a ride has seen my heart rate go anaerobic whilst battling into a brutal headwind and achieving a paltry 12mph, pedalling squares. Last Sunday I couldn't even hit 17mph on a downhill without pedalling into it, today on the same piece of road - 24mph.
With those sort of heart rates, it's really important to keep an eye on carbohydrate levels whilst you're out and so extra food is a necessity whilst also staying hydrated. After putting in 100 miles this weekend in more favourable conditions, legs don't feel anywhere near as battered as they have done in recent weeks.
So, drawing a line under the start to 2014, the key positive is average speed of 16.6mph (26.4kph). It's up on last year however taking into account the conditions, I'm happy that the base fitness that I have is OK so now plan to spend more time on core conditioning and intervals during April + May.
Month to Date
Mileage- 254 miles (-30% vs PY)
Ride Time - 15hrs 09mins
Ascent - 7,677ft
Avg. Speed - 16.8mph (+8% vs PY)
Avg. HR - 152bpm
Calories (estimate) -10,442
Ride Ascent Ratio (Ascent/Miles) - 30.2 (Flat) (-22% vs. PY)
Year to Date
Mileage- 687 miles (-24% vs PY)
Ride Time - 41hrs 27mins
Ascent - 19,942ft
Avg. Speed - 16.6mph (+9% vs PY)
Avg. HR - 150bpm
Calories (estimate) -27,300
Ride Ascent Ratio (Ascent/Miles) - 28.8 (Flat) (-4% vs. PY)