For many cycling or any other activity we do to keep fit or for enjoyment of a physical nature, we can normally see improvements over time. There are people out there who just go by the feel of a particular ride or run and those at the other end who analyse every last detail aided by a range of technology measuring, well everything. For me, there is no one better method, and it is personal preference, and I know where I sit along the line, somewhere closer to the analyse everything end than using pure “feel”.
I know I have improved when I look at my data, but that is not the purpose of this post. As part of my career I have used reflection to improve my own performance (as many others do) and this has been transferred to my cycling. I reflected on the club ride yesterday and the first ever club ride I completed back in March. First yesterday was a higher group, so the first baromitor of any improvement. When I reflect upon the first ride when I was not fit enough and I could not close the gap which had developed, and yesterday when I was leading a large peloton of 17 riders at a much higher speed, is the second. I didn’t think I would be in such a position. Maybe the club secretary was right in his statement I could be in the second group by September! These improvements are backed up with the data (on Strava), but the improved confidence of riding within a group, and leading them is another sign of my improvement as well as others having the belief in my abilities to do the job.
Confidence. I now have this, and back myself, and I will even try a TT before the end of the season. TT bars have been aquired from a friend (who joined the club ride for the first time yesterday and loved it). I have ridden the TT course so know what to expect but not yet with the TT bars which will, I am sure aid my goal towards a PB. The think here is just having a go. If I come last, so be it, but for me a TT is just about being able to beat my own time over a period of weeks.
The improvements I have seen in 2015 will keep me more motivated during the winter months when on the trainer and then come the spring knowing a good winter training programme has followed a good summer, will allow an increase in confidence for the summer of 2016, and pushing those boundaries further. The only problem with this is the requirement for another new bike which I suppose is never a bad thing!
This is all good of course for the main event which is just under a month away, Prudential Ride London raising fantastic funds for Teenage Cancer Trust. My link is here if you can help in any way to reach my target.
Whatever works for you, is what you should use, and enjoy it, unless your a pro cyclist and they get paid for their hurt, however we feel great when we can see ourselves improve and for that I just love Strava!
Happy riding, enjoy the ride.
I have been out with the club for about 4 months now and it’s fantastic. I have learnt so much and reminded myself of things I had forgotten from reading blogs and articles last summer. Tomorrow it all comes together when I will lead my first ride at 7.30 am tomorrow morning (UK time).
Others have faith in my ability to lead the ride, and I am confident I can do a good job. After all I have been assisting in an official capacity as ride assistant for the past few months, learning the ropes, and now I have the opportunity to ensure everyone has a good ride.
The route is quick and flowing and all going well we should roll quicker than the planned average, but we shall see. We do have a no drop policy for the group I lead tomorrow, so a good opportunity for me to roll through the groups having a chat with people and getting to know more about them and their cycling, and more importantly to ensure everyone gets back safe.
As normal I have checked the bike over and ensured she is ready for the task, and she received a little more attention than normal to ensure she is looking her best for leadership responsibilities. The kit is ready, drink chilling in the fridge, and the Garmin fulling charged with the route loaded, so we don’t get lost.
Just now need to chill out with a cold drink this evening and watch the highlights from the first stage of the 102nd Tour de France.
Enjoy the ride.
I received a great email at the weekend to say that my jersey had arrived and I was able to collect. The bib shorts are still on their way and I can’t wait for them to arrive in a few weeks. However I now feel even more part if the club (if that were possible with the phenomenal welcome I have already received).
I have to say the quality is very impressive. It is clear this is not a cheap Jersey. It feels very light and fits very well, as you would expect from IMP Sports. The pockets are large to fit your ride essentials and some food for the long rides. If your club kit is as good as this then you, like me are a very lucky and happy cyclist. I suppose the question is what next to order after I have taken out a mortgage to pay for it all!
I can’t wait for the commute in the morning so I can get to ride wearing my new club kit for the first time. And yest rule #16 will also be applied, respecting the jersey, after all I am now always on club duty wearing this little number.
i suppose the answer to the above depends upon the goal and how you have decided to measure it. If I want to lose weight and I am getting lighter in the scales then success? But how can you measure your improvement on the bike.
You could wait for a sportive and complete this year in year and see if your times are tumbling, but this is a long time to wait and we need feedback more often, well I do anyway. There are a number of measures you can use and they will all have their benefits as well as drawbacks. I have been using Strava’s Fitness and Freshness tool which is available to premium members. I am sure it has many drawbacks, but it is working for me and I can feel the improvement in the bike, where it counts.
This is what you get! A sImple graph with a nice positive upward move the more rides you put in. You do need a HR monitor as this measures your suffer score and estimate power. If you have a power meter this will provide even more data to analyse. You cannot share this with other Starva users directly but a screenshot onto a blog post or other social media can be easy complete for those who want to do so. I have chosen only to do this for the purpose of this post as at the end of the day the day it’s used my me, and I know I am improving if the fitness number it going up over time.
If you wish to use this you do have to be a premium member which doesn’t appeal to some. You will also need a HR monitor as previously mentioned. As it says in the site its best to ignore the numbers or not pay too much attention to them and look at the trend over a period of time, and if you have a positive upward movemnet you are getting fitter and probably finding your rides a little easier.
I have been using this tool for about 11 months now and I find it has really helped me. Also getting out for the weekly club rides does wonders for the body, but at least with this tool from Strava as well as recording your ride you can analyse the data so see how your are improving.
Whatever you chose to use to measure your progress you will be able to confirm the data as you will feel better or stronger on the bike, which in itself is a fantastic feeling! Enjoy your rides, safe cycling.
Again in 2015 I will be completing the Prudential RideLondon , but this time for Teenage Cancer Trust. This is a fantastic charity and I hope to be able to do all I can to help teenagers and young people, and their families who are dealing with cancer. As I work with teenagers on a daily basis and I get to see first hand how great they can be at a wide range of problems and solutions it feels right to be helping such a great charity. You can help me and them from my fundrasing link here.
So with a centry planned for early August (this year lets hope the rain keeps away so the organisers dont have to cut short the route) I decided to get an early season sportive into my legs and assess the results.
I originally signed up for the full 101 mile route but I am glad I opted for the slightly less 73 mile route insted. If it was later in the seson or the preperation had been better then the 101 would be on. Also I had the option of rideing with a collegeue from work and as we experienced head and cross winds for most of the ride I was glad I opted for the middle distance. It was a nice warm day and ill take the ave moving time 4.42.46 for the 73 miles.
What would I change?
before I reflect on this I need to remind myself, as well as inform the reader, that May is near the start of the long training rides for August. Yes I am cycling in club rides and the commute to work, but these are not the long rides to help with thr endurance, although they will help. Overall it was a good test of where I am at fitness wise etc.
So the answer to the question is…
I would change or rediscover the feeding whilst in the ride. The energy sources from high five is great and I dropped a few zero tabs in for good measure due to the heat, but I think I would pop a few more in my pockets for the refill at feed stations. I also need to get used to when I need to take a gel and how often, something I will have to practice on club rides.
I also would benefit from being able to switch off the wind, as this was a nightmare as it normally is but as I can’t I need to go back to the article about how to ride well in the wind. Saying that is was difficult when there was just the two of us. I do much prefer cycling in a group as it works together, but this is a luxury reserved for club rides.
Apart from these few changes I feel ok for 118.2km without the ideal about of winter and pre season training. Now to get my gear ready for the commute in the morning.
Lots of things have happened since my last post, probably too much to mention.
June has not been a good month for my training. Only managed 192km last month which isn’t ideal before I cycle Ride London next month! However when you spend 4 days in hospital with abdominal and then associated heart problems the the cycling takes a back seat. The result of this is I have has a couple of biopsies taken from my bowel for further tests and we are now playing the waiting game. Fingers crossed.
Well as the new month is here, the month of the Tour de France, I can start to think about repairing some of the training as part of my recovery. Loads of commuting to work and the longer weekend rides are the order of the month, as well as trying to catch the tour highlights, the final week of Wimbledon and the final stages of the World Cup!
When I was in hospital I however did get a boost as my blood pressure is coming down as is my resting heart rate. As we know the fitter you are the lower these become as part of the health benefits. Having a resting heart rate in the mid to low 50’s was a nice piece of data to take away. At least I put in some hard work during April which will pay off next month.
So with the recovery in progress, I had my spirits raised further when my Sue Ryder jersey arrived in the post.
As you can see it looks good and I have to say I am looking forward to getting out there and giving it it’s debut ride. As well as this I received my start time and option to book a car park place. All this has been done and I am nearly ready. Later today with a bit of luck my new bidons should arrive and then can be fitted to the bike.
Am I ready? Well the training could have gone better without illness but I still feel I can perform well. I now have a cadence sensor and HR monitor so I can better manger my effort on the bike. I have to say the cadence sensor has helped me increase the speed slightly without entering the red for effort and wasting energy. Let’s see how we get on next month!
Please support me at http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/PhilWheeler5 for a great charity Sue Rider!
First you can help at my page http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/PhilWheeler5. As you know I’m cycling 100 miles for Sue Ryder in the 2014 Ride London-Surrey 100 on 10th August.
If you read my previous post, or should I say watched the video about the fantastic work Sue Ryder do then you will know that every little bit counts. Here is a more detailed list of how Sue Ryder use the donations they receive.
How your donation can help Sue Ryder
£7.80 provides one hour of incredible care from one of our trained carers.
£15 pays for two stress relieving complementary therapy sessions for someone living with cancer.
£50 covers the cost of a day care/therapy session for somebody with dementia.
£150 enables three family members to each receive three bereavement sessions in one of our hospices.
£570 covers the cost of a highly trained nurse for a week providing care and support for patients and their families.
£1,000 pays for a clinical nurse specialist for a week working in the community offering individual and tailored support to patients in their own homes.
Sue a Ryder has 13 care centres across the UK which offer this incredible service for people. 1in 4, a massive 25% of us will suffer with some form of illness which we will require assistance from organisations like Sue Ryder. Let’s do something about making like better and being pro active rather than reactive.
You can help sue Ryder continue to deliver the incredible service they offer as well as finding vital research to improve the lives of us all by visiting my page http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/PhilWheeler5 just think £15 pays for two stress relieving complementary therapy sessions for someone living with cancer.
I would like to think if I am ever in the situation of needing specialist care the fantastic UK population would help out to make my end a little more comfortable.
Of course when you have sponsored me you can relax and enjoy me suffering with the pain in training and on the day when I aim to complete the RideLondon-Surrey 100 in a decent time. If I can achieve my target it would be the same as providing:
The cost of a day care/therapy session for somebody with dementia.
Three family members to each receive three bereavement sessions in one of our hospices.
One highly trained nurse for a week providing care and support for patients and their families.
Pay to have me suffer and helping people less fortunate than ourselves. Sounds like a good deal.
Thank you for your support.