Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Climbing up

This weekend was the first time Ide done some big back to back rides (ie 70+kms with big climbs) in a long time. You can see the two rides below.

Two things to report:

i) GPS: is endomondo dead?

after extolling the virtues of endomondo, their servers had a meltdown on the weekend which meant that I couldnt access the ride information afterwards. Annoying. But I found out too that Endomondo doesnt store a gps file on the actual phone either (or if it does its impossible to find). Thats strange and doesnt fill me with confidence. I even started looking at Garmin devices at one point, but as Id take my phone with me anyway, Im not sure what the point would be. Im not interested in seeing how fast/slow Im going when Im out anymore.

ii) The Climbs

on Sunday I rode over Maerdy mountain. I was surprised to see that there's a Conservative club in Maerdy as I rode through, but thats another point. I hadnt ridden over the mountain in a long time (since about 1994 I reckon) but I found it relatively easy. Its 8.3% over a mile. I just stuck it in bottom and rode up - I could have gone harder if Id wanted. Its a bit steeper than the Ventoux, and 10 times longer, but I reckon my experience here shows promise. Mind you the descent into Aberdare was mental, the roads were especially wet on the hair pins. Id love to see Cancellara come down that one.

On Saturday I rode up Bogey road. Id never been along here - a road which cuts through the heart of a massive open cast mine. Id checked the map before hand and saw that it was pretty flat, only to be confronted my a significant hill when I got there. Of course, the open cast mine has meant there are no contours available for the OS maps. The best descent of the day was down into Taff Merthyr Garden Village. Going up it looks good - I shall return.

Sunday was the day after the Grand Slam. There were still lots of Welsh flags flying in the valleys. But the most amusing sight was the rugby club car park at Aberdare jammed full of cars but no-one else there. It must have been a very heavy night for them all.



Thursday, 15 March 2012

Using Strava

This weekend I started using Strava - see my review below. Actually I also imported all my rides that I have GPS data into Strava so I can see how fast I rode up some of the hills I regularly go up. Its quite interesting comparing the times and seeing when I went fastest. It also affects how you ride - on sunday I rode up Gwern y Steeple hard to try and improve my time. I think up until now Ive just thought of hills as things to get over, rather than challenges to get over as fast as possible like I did when I was racing. It was disappointing that I had a GPS fail on saturday as I went up that long drag outside Ponty really hard, so I dont know how fast it actually was. But the rest of the ride was interesting, going past the old Cwm Colliery and getting lost in Tonyrefail. Going past the colliery was something I had planned on doing last year, but got lost when I tried to use Google maps on my new phone. This was 2 rides on the weekend - so things are hotting up. I even went to a bike shop to look at new bikes and have started thinking about arrangements to go to Ventoux.