Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Competitive Male Instinct

What is is with blokes? This morning I was cycling in to work and just pulling away from a set of traffic lights when I heard the sound of changing gears on another bike. A quick glance showed a rider in light blue-green. Slowly I began to up the pace and then in to the upper chainring and soon I was tearing along at 40kph with my shadow close behind. All this wouldn't have been so bad if there wasn't the one uphill section of my commute ahead, not a steep slope but an uneven surface in places and just long enough to catch you out if you don't pace yourself.

True to form I tore at it, barely dropping below 38kph, by the time I reached the crest I was in severe oxygen debt but no time to stop and we hurtled on to the next set of lights which turned green just in time - I was turning left and my shadow went by with a cheery "see ya!" I looked across at a beanstalk and managed a croak in return. And I was meant to be taking it easy!

Most of this week's activities have been biking related. Saturday I went for a ride over to Bolton by Bowland and back via Gargrave. I set off early in the hope of avoiding the heavy rain forecast for later in the day. I just caught the edge of a shower when leaving Gisburn, not enough to worry about putting a waterproof on for, then it was all clear back to Gargrave (except for the two groups of heifers that had escaped on to the road and calling in on the farmer to let him know). Gargrave to home meant the big hill of the day and I was nearing the summit when I heard the first rumble of thunder, then the first spots of rain. By the time I reached the summit a minute later it was chucking it down, since I was already wet the last couple of Km didn't really matter so I got home soaked. Five minutes earlier and I'd have been home and dry :-(

Sitting at home drying out and the thunderstorm zapped our phone line so our internet connection has been somewhat flakey for the past few days. I rang the ISP who tested the line and couldn't see anything wrong with it (they aren't BT so there's often a finger pointing exercise between the two companies) but after getting passed around a couple of departments I was informed I was on the wrong tariff and that our monthly bill would now be £10 less! Result!! (When I got home this evening the line has been fine all along- strange)

Following Andy's assertion that Eller's Bank above Sutton is the meanest, gnarliest road climb in the area I had to test it, so after work last night I came up with a circuit that also included Side Gate Lane out of Lothersdale which I reckoned could be just as tough. As it turned out the toughest part of the ride was along the tops to Earl Crag right in to the face of the strong westerly. Both climbs felt about equal in difficulty taking 13 minutes a piece to climb.

There's one other road locally that is a steep and reasonably long climb, also climbing out of Sutton: West Lane. So given the strong wind again I decided to try it on the way home from work. It's quite a bit harder than either Eller's Bank or Side Gate Lane and I was glad there was no traffic coming down the zig-zags on the steepest part near the top. Not sure how long I took to climb this one but I was certainly in a lower gear.

All this hill training should help with the Skipton Sportive in a couple of weeks.

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