So, we were back in the UK after a couple of weeks away, dining on French food and pedaling up various Alpine passes. You can follow that trip at Fatman in the Alps. Now it was time to find out how my normal, Hampshire rides felt.
On Saturday, some 5 days after completing the Col d'Izoard, my last ride in France, I set off around a slightly modified version of one of my normal weekend rides. The track is available on Garmin Connect.
This ride includes the steepest hill we have locally, which tops out at 12% but for less than 50 metres, as well as some longer climbs in the 5% to 7% range. Of course, this being England, the gradients don't remain constant for very long. There is little chance to settle into a rhythm before a hill kicks up, or flattens off. Nevertheless, the tricks I learned in France paid off. Watching power output and heart rate and modulating effort on the steepest parts in order to attack as the gradients eased certainly seemed to pay off. The confidence to use 220 watts as my normal climbing power also made the ascents faster. I was in higher gears than before too, and happy to push power output beyond 350 watts for specific sections.
The ride certainly felt faster, and the average speed was pretty good too. It would have been better but for the strong westerly breeze that picked up while I was out and which I was cycling into for the latter part of the ride.
All in all, this felt pretty good.