Today I took part in the Rossendale Road Club Hill Climb in Burnley. The course is a half a mile long and is fairly consistent with an average grade of 10%.
I had never ridden this climb before and was unsure of pacing or effort required. I probably started out a bit slow but with the encouragement of Transition Cycle Coaching I finished strong (but with a bit too much left in the tank).
It’s certainly getting cooler. A thick fog covered Lytham this morning and it was a brisk 5 degrees when I walked the dogs first thing. I was still full from yesterday’s Curry but the legs felt decent enough and I was looking forward to the climb. Especially as Jody from Transition was going to be there. It’s always nice to have a catch up with him, he’s a great dude! And has become much more than just a coach over the past few months we’ve worked together.
For reasons unknown I decided to mix it up a bit with breakfast this morning and have Sweet Potato pancakes. A simple recipe that consists of a Sweet Potato that’s been baked and cooled, mixed with two eggs to form a batter. It was delicious, but oats and a banana would’ve done me better in hindsight.
Anyway, I packed the car up and was ready to roll at 8am. My start time was 10:24 so we had plenty of time to get set and for me to warm up once we arrived at HQ. Which was a lay-by at the top of the hill today!
The motorway was a bit of a nightmare because of the fog but we arrived with no major drama, just as the sun broke through the clouds and the fog lifted. One of the best parts of doing hill climbs are the views you’re rewarded with after the effort!
Warming up my legs felt good but in general I was a bit uncomfortable. I hadn’t been able to complete my ‘morning ritual’ (Anyone who races bicycles knows how important this is) and yesterday’s food was sitting rather heavily in my stomach!
I did my usual routine of a few spin-ups with 3 minutes at around Sweet Spot pace, followed by a good five to ten minutes of easy spinning to recover and keep warm. I timed the warm-up well and had plenty of time to switch over wheels without worrying about time. All I had to do now was roll down to the start. I wish I’d kept my jacket on for that though – the descent was cold! I got a bit chilly waiting around at the bottom, meaning the legs started to feel a bit heavy.
I completed the climb in 3 minutes 3 seconds and came fourth place.
Power output fell just short of previous bests, but not by much. Putting out 421w / 7.5wkg.
I didn’t have the best ride ever, but it definitely wasn’t the worst. I put out a good amount of power and felt strong at the finish. The legs just took a bit too long to get going at the start.
The extra motivation and strength I found though when Jody ran alongside me shouting encouragement was crazy! I realised I could’ve gone that much harder!
I did find it difficult to focus half way up though and seemed somewhat distracted. Normally my pedalling and distribution of power through the pedals would be on my mind, but if anything I was blank. Generally that might be considered a good thing but with the legs feeling a little heavy early on I never really found my rhythm.
It was great to have my sister and my coach there today. I had fun and know I have better performances in me yet this season. The best thing about today though was that my bike is looking fucking great!