First ever outing with a cycling club

Friday 23rd July 2010

GPSies - Aigueblanche direction Pontchara

Cycle to Bourg St Maurice picking up Chris along the way, then double back to Macot and then head up to Notre Dame du Pré. Manage to get up to Longefoy – about 600m of climbing – before a storm breaks over us and we quickly turn around and descend to avoid the downpour. We arrive a Macot in the dry and part company there with me simply going home to Aime and Chris with the wind at his back and an easy ride back to Laundry where he started. This is one of the few runs that I’ve done on “fresh” legs this year and that feels great. Combine that freshness with a body weight now consistently below 70kg and climbing feels good. There is power in the legs and a real pleasure in attacking any climb or acceleration. This feeling was absent all the way up to the Marmotte because the legs were permanently tired. It’s now that the payoff from the Marmotte training is coming through.

Sunday 25th July 2010

First ever outing with a cycling club!

It was really enjoyable but thankfully I waited until being reasonably fit – or it could have been difficult in many ways. I’ve always been very wary of such sports clubs because of the likelihood of being way off the mark in terms of fitness or performance – so it was great to be at the correct level first time out.
Other than racing it was the first time ever in a “large” peloton – of 11 individuals. They managed to get everyone back together in the end of the day – taking care not to lose anyone. The speeds are so much higher working constructively together like this that it takes a little bit of getting used to. Going at 50km/hr at 6 inches from the next wheel in front can be slightly worrying at times.
Nobody really spoke to me at the beginning but by the end the ice seemed to be broken – perhaps partly because they realised that I wasn’t useless on the bike. Several of the group were suffering after almost 5 hours in the saddle. I was well within my limits and even managed an uphill sprint near the end that felt very good.
Lowering the handlebars to 5cm below saddle height has really improved many aspects of cycling. The biggest thing is that I can feel and use my glutes much more, which is great for power and simply reducing the load on the quads. It’s hard to imagine that a couple of centimetres difference can have such a big effect but it does. This change also makes it much easier to use the top bar of the handlebar and then to flatten the body to slipstream better. Despite a 5 hour ride today there was no apparent discomfort from the lower position – so it looks like becoming a permanent modification.

Morning Weight 69.2kg Blood Pressure 112/74 Resting Heart rate 44 bpm

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