Saturday, 19 January 2013


Today I went out and made my cycling target for the week, which was 30 miles. This month I'm aiming for 100, which looks possible. What I'm trying to do at the moment is build up a selection of routes which I can come back to in the coming months to monitor progress. I've been looking back over my riding history from 2007 - 2010, and I am quite surprised how infrequently I repeated a route! There are a couple which I can use to see some progress with my fitness, but it would of course be easier if there was at least one route I did regularly with the same equipment.

Likewise there aren't many routes from previously that I can use now to gauge where I am compared to then. On the road bike, many of the routes I did before are too long or go up roads I don't think I could muscle my way up at the moment. On the mountain bike, many of the routes go on trails that I don't feel my ankle would like very much at the moment. Although I could try some of them, I suppose.

Hence why I'm trying to be more systematic now. I guess before I was just riding purely for fun, with no specific target in mind, whereas now I want to get back to being able to do the longer rides, races and cyclosportives I feel I need some kind of programme.

Last week I did however repeat a route that I did once before, on February 15 2009. This was the Chinley Loop, out from the house via Thornsett, left at Birch Vale, right at Hayfield, over Peep O' Day, right into Chinley, through Buxworth, onto the A6 and home. It's 11.7 miles. In 2009, moving time was 50 minutes, last week it was 1h 3m. Most of the difference was in the climb up to Peep O' Day, which isn't that bad really, but I'm quite unfit at the moment! It is quite a long steady climb, good for training. In 2009 my average heart rate for this ride was 168, last week it was 177. I've been doing a bit of investigating into this with my historical data, and it definitely seems that my average heart rate goes down when I've been training. I guess this is all well-known stuff to coaches and so on, but I found it quite fascinating to be looking at that in my own data. The program I use to record my rides, myTourbook, lets you see a histogram of your heart rate with time for each ride, colour-coded by heart rate zone. So I can compare my heart rate in zones between these two rides:

Last week.

Compare with 2009.
On the face of it they look quite similar, but if you look at the distribution through the zones, you see that in 2009 the percentage of the ride I spent in zones 3:4:5 was about 21:43:29. Last week it was 4:49:45. That looks quite significant to me. Hopefully I'll be able to revisit this route over the next few months and compare some more!

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