FTP Testing

It was time to do some testing in coach Paul’s shed – AKA the Pain Cave! This involved a 20 minute effort in order to establish my FTP (Functional Threshold Power). I averaged 220W for the effort, which gave my a power-weight ratio of 3.9W/KG. According to a chart I was shown this is decent numbers for a Cat 3 rider. So okay for this time of the year, but not brilliant. This is good because it means I have something to work on. I know once I get rid my “winter insulation” and put in some focused efforts in training that power-weight ratio will rocket up.

I’m off to Spain early tomorrow to get some decent training in, so will keep posted on that front.

Cafe ride to the Velo House

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Getting into the swing of winter training now after having two weeks of resting up. This week has been about clocking a decent mileage through steady rides. After meeting up with Mikey and Luke in East Grinstead we trundled down to Lingfield then up Crockham Hill near Edenbridge. A consequence of always talking myself up as a climber is I feel like I have to show off to whoever I am riding with whenever the road rears upwards. Today I used Crockham Hill for this. Luke established a good pace on the front before I came through and slowly upped the pace so it didn’t look like an all out attack. I am very competitive even on training rides so I do have to admit I was pleased when I looked behind me and could only see Mikey about 15 seconds back. Very satisfying, and a 3rd overall on the Strava segment was also appreciated!

What was even more satisfying was reaching the Velo House in Tunbridge Wells after a series of nasty ramps. The Velo House is a personal favourite and for those who have been there before will understand why. Ample space for bike parking, delicious food and a cyclist atmosphere is perfect after a few hours outside in the cold. Coffee and banana bread went down very nicely indeed.

After that it was a swift pedal back to Forest Row, doing 78kms in the end.

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Corima 32mm Tubular Wheels

With the UK Hill Climb season rapidly approaching I looked at my bike and worked out where I could save the most weight. I ride a Cervelo R3, a lightweight bike that served my well throughout the season. However, as is with most bikes sold complete; the wheels were a little more heavier than I would have liked. So after having a good look on the internet I bought this snazzy wheelset in September from Strada Wheels. I wanted something I’d be able to use in road races as well as hill climbs, which I knew would be fine with the Corima’s as they are used by the Astana Pro Team.

What was frustrating was that delivery took 8 weeks rather than the 4 weeks that was stipulated, which meant that I was unable to use them for 10 of the 11 hill climbs I did this season. Despite this I would still recommend Corima wheels and Strada to other cyclists for several reasons:

  1. The wheels are lightweight but are still extremely stiff
  2. The Strada team did a fantastic job on the rim build
  3. Handling and acceleration is perfect
  4. £1,100 total which includes wheel bags, brake pads and delivery is good value for money

The only event I was able to use the wheels for was the National Hill Climb last Sunday. Having ridden up Bank Road the week before with my old wheels (Fulcrum Racing 5’s), I am prepared to say that I saved as much as 10 seconds with the reduced weight. That’s a fair amount for an 800 metre climb.

Fulcrum Racing 5 with inner tubes and Specialized Roubaix tyres: 2,430g

Corima with Vittoria Corsa Speed G+ Tubular tyres: 1,575g

Total weight saved: 855g

National Hill Climb Championship 2016

Bank Road. It’s steep, its nasty, it’ll leave you gasping desperately for air to enter your lungs. But then that is what I love about it!

Having done last weeks event as preparation for this weekend i had a pretty good idea of what to expect, although the National course is about 150 metres longer. On that day i clocked a 2:22, but knew i could go faster. Today i was aiming for between 2:40 and 2:50.

I had as near a perfect run as possible, taking Mr Parker’s wise advice of starting “firm” but not too fast. The steepest part is around halfway in where the road cruelly ramps up to a 20% gradient, forcing you out of the saddle in the process. Past the finish for last week, i looked at the Garmin and was about 2 minutes so had improved significantly from last week. Then round the right hander into the relatively flatter section of about 8% gradient, but instead of easing up this is where you have to find that extra bit in you to pick up the speed and sprint for the line!

I stopped the clock at 2:50.7 official time, which although i knew would not be fast enough for first junior was pleased with anyway. I dont think i could have got much more out. It was good enough to take 3rd in my age group, with Harvey Weinberger doing an impressive 2:36. Adam Kenway took the overall honours with 2:18, which is remarkable considering he was knocked off his bike by a car only last week!

So thats my last race of the season, and my last as a junior due to being born in December. I am glad that next year’s championship is on Hedley Hill, which is a 1.7km climb at an average of 7.5%.

Results can be found hereNational Hill Climb Championship 2016