Monday, September 7, 2009

Fitness gains are good

Once upon a time there was a lovely princess who was passionate about cycling. She wasn’t very fit though, and she was carrying a lot of extra weight. Luckily for her, the fabulous thing about cycling is the more you do it, the better you get. The princess was blessed to live in an enchanted land full of hills and valleys and trails aplenty for riding her bicycle on. Initially the princess was quite intimidated by these enchanting tracks, but with the help of her handsome prince and some neighbouring princesses she overcame her fears and began to acquire magical biking powers. To her delight she became strong and a lot of her cuddly layers disappeared.

At the start of this blog I was larger and not very confident, now things are different!

Ok, I think everyone gets the point of this story now, it’s not a fairytale, but it does have all the joy a fairytale can bring (a Disney one, not the cool menacing old school ones where all the children get eaten alive). As you can see from the photo’s above I’ve definitely lost a fair amount of flab since starting this blog, but more importantly I’ve really improved my fitness a lot. This year I’ve been using my roadbike in a more structured way to try and improve my cadence, rather than just heading out on longish rides and not paying any attention to the quality of the ride. I’ve been doing a couple of lunchtime rides out to Sumner during the week, which is a nice 30km spin and each ride my average rpm has improved. On Saturday I headed out for a 2.5hr mtb ride with DirtDiva which tootled to Rapaki and then up it (much like last weekend), then across the Traverse and up the road to Kennedy’s Bush and down to home. A nice 37km trip in the sun. The reason I’m writing about this ride is a couple of amazing things happened on the ride.

As we headed up Rapaki we were going at a fairly good pace, but not really pushing it, until DirtDiva zoomed off ahead of me on the steeper final section. I looked at my speedo and realised that if I dug in I could probably get to the top in under 30 minutes, for the first time ever. So I took off after her and really pushed it. It hurt, but all those roadie rides paid off and I got to the top in 28mins 51 secs! I was over the moon. I was also a little light headed, but I recovered really quickly and we headed up the road to the Traverse. Amazingly my legs felt fantastic and as we cruised round the road they felt better and better. By the time we hit the Traverse I was ready to tackle it at speed, which I did. Happy sigh. It was fantastic and with my front fork set up properly, thanks lovely husband, I was faster than a speeding bullet (well, not really, but really fast).

Then over to Kennedy’s and down. With my suspension set up properly it was great, which was good because my back brakes aren’t really working well at the moment. We then headed up the little bit of singletrack on Kennedy’s and to my surprise my legs still felt strong. Then down the front and down the Crocodile. Trail pixies had been hard at work, Thank You!, and the track was flowing well. My cornering was really good, despite the lack of rear braking power and then we were done.

Last year this ride, even when I was fit, was hard work and left me feeling broken for days. This year I’m fit enough that this ride left me tired, but not broken and amazingly I am really enjoying climbing now. So much so that I’m going to take my bike up Rapaki again on Tuesday and see if I can knock a bit more time off my pb! In fact I’m hungry for bigger, harder rides this summer, the Poulter, Double Fenceline, Wharfdale, and Craigieburn have all been riders that I’ve read about and known I wasn’t strong enough to tackle them, but this summer will be different. Wahoo! I can’t wait.

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