I climb out of Elsecar, knowing I’ve hammered it round today. I’ve not used the granny gear once. I tried to keep in the big ring as much as possible, aiming to maintain momentum right from Harley to Nether Haugh before the climbs up to Upper Haugh, Hoober and up home.
Let’s be fair – this is only a short route but it’s enough for a workout. But look at the time and my segments. I did a PB on every single one.
But what’s so different? After all, as I’ve said previously, I’m not on good a form as before, and my weight has creeped up a bit, so why the speed? Apart from the obvious – on the drops when pushing it on the flat, tucking my elbows in on sprints and descents, improving my cornering, etc… I did two other things.
One was technical; quite simply I pushed up hills in a gear harder than I normally would. The idea behind this was two fold: one, I wouldn’t be suffering that much more and two, a higher gear means more speed, so less time suffering. I’d already tried this approach up Lundhill on Thursday, and it worked then. In the past I’ve been dropping down low and keeping the cadence up but that doesn’t appear to be working for me all the time so I’m mixing things up a little.
The other thing that was different tied in with my hill climbing approach was I seemed to be able to ask more of myself. Hill climbing never gets easier, it just gets faster, as the adage goes – but my legs didn’t seem to seize up when I wanted to push a little more. Why this is I’m not sure, but it’s something I’m going to keep an eye on.
The task over the next week or so is to get back into the bigger mileage, the 20 and 30 milers that I was starting to tick off on a regular basis previously. By slowly cranking up the miles I’ll be able to keep it manageable. Last Friday’s 25 miler was great, I felt really good on the Saturday afterwards, and I’m sure that good feeling (the ‘itch’, as I call it) will come back.
Let’s see what the next ride brings. The competitor in me wants to ride over to Stainborough and give it a good hammering. We’ll see. I’m on a bit of a positive, upward trend at the moment and I don’t want to lose that. Perhaps next week we’ll see me reclaim past glories.