Today I rode over the Bwlch, on a new bike!
Its surprising, the Bwlch seems a lot easier than the Rhigos, just a little further up the valley. Maybe its because it doesnt start off as steep, but when you look at the profiles on Strava, they are not too dissimilar. Take a look: here's my time up the Rhigos 2 weeks ago, and here is today's time up the Bwlch. Actually, even though the Bwlch feels easier, my stats arent that different either. Maybe its got something to do with the way the Bwlch is in stages whereas when you ride up the Rhigos, apart from a hairpin half way up, you can just see the road ahead of you all the time - and that can be a bit demoralising. When I got to the top of the Bwlch, here's the view I had.
On the way back I went over Penrhys again. Im beginning to like this climb, even if it is very hard. Today I went up it 30 odd secs faster than two weeks ago, but I didnt just chuck it into bottom gear and ride up this time
Thursday, 19 April 2012
Why is it called "Death Valley" I thought as I made my around the Vale. Im sure someone told me it was because it always had a headwind, but thats nonsense. Today I rode up it quite hard, reminiscing about the time I rode everyone off my wheel going up here during the Welsh RR Champs in about 1995. Mind you, the break with all the big names had gone so it was really just a bunch of third cats. And I packed on the next lap as I had run out of drinks after one bounced out of the bottle cage over a cattle grid. At least the rest of today's ride was nice, and after 55 miles I felt like I could have gone much further...
Sunday, 8 April 2012
Quite a big ride today - first time over 50 miles in quite a while, and a new climb too. But today was about retiring my Terry Dolan road bike that Ive had for 10 years. I have a new one waiting in the wings, and I wanted to treat it to a last decent ride. So I went up the Rhigos and on the way back up to Penrhys. I havent been up the Rhigos in two years - the last time I went on through Penderyn, but this time I turned around and came down the descent. There was quite a headwind at the bottom, but it seemed to die out when you got towards the top which I found a bit strange. It got a bit boring as the road is quite straight and the view not great - at least not until you get to the top: this was what was waiting for me. Apparently my time was the 72nd fastest in Strava (!) - a lot of people who do the Dragon Ride must record their time. I wasnt rushing, but then I imagine a lot of them arent either. The descent is easy too - apart from the hairpin halfway down, you don't need to touch the brakes at all. There were a lot of other people on their way up when I came down. And then it was onto Penrhys. If you don't know about Penrhys then Google it - but its the sort of place that no-one in their right mind would consider building these days. The climb was horrendous. It averages 10% over just over a mile. The bottom is relatively easy, but then you hit this really hard stretch. I just dumped it in bottom and rode up. There's a good view from the top, but thats about it. So that was the last time for the Terry Dolan, probably. It might get another outing in the week if it is raining, but then itll be making its way towards Ebay.
Saturday, 7 April 2012
I did some intervals yesterday. For the first time in a long time I went out with a heart rate monitor on. I used to use them back in the 1990s when Peter Keen made them popular with his coaching of Chris Boardman - levels 1,2,3,4 and all that. I grew to hate it. And it was so fiddly and it never picked up the signal correctly. So I was amazed with the HRM strap that came with the new Garmin - so light, easy to adjust, you wouldt know you had it on really. I rode up to Ponty and then up the climb/long drag past the poly as hard as possible, and then went round and did it again. It was good fun. I used to do it in 52x12 as one of those power climb intervals to develop your strength. And of course the chain gang used to go up there. I can remember going up there at around 28mph hanging on to the back of 2 others people and we never saw anyone else again. It wasnt that fast this time. The day after I went out on my 40 mile ride around the vale, which was meant to be more sedate. I took it easy. My average HR was about 139. Its interesting, I have no idea what my max would be these days - and have no desire to find out really - which means that these numbers are just numbers and dont really mean anything. But I am aware of the old 220 minus your age formula, and thats what worries me more...