Saturdays Team MK club ride to Upper Stowe was not a good one for me. It had all started OK. I had decided to intercept the group en route at Hanslope village which would save me having to ride all the way to Stony Stratford for the start. It was about 8 miles into the ride for them and about the same distance from my home but it saved me a 25 mile round trip to the start and back on top of the club ride distance. I took a very steady ride over to where I was to join up and as I was early I went some of the way towards Stony Stratford.
Pretty soon after I joined up with the group though I could sense it was feeling harder than usual. Every time we came to a hill I was struggling to keep my place in line which is quite unusual.
As we progressed and I thought about what the problem was two things came to mind.
Firstly on Friday I had replaced the Sti (gear/brake) levers on the Colnago. They originally had Shimano Sora levers but I had a pair of Shimano Ultegra levers sitting in my garage unused. The problem was that the left hand one was a triple gear changer and it was also faulty. I wanted a double one to make up the pair for the Colnago. I managed to find a used one in good condition on eBay and duly purchased it.
On Friday I swapped them over and late in the afternoon decided a test ride would be a good idea before the club ride the day after. I thought a steady 20 miles on my Ouse valley ride taking it easy seemed like not a bad idea on a fine early evening. After starting I thought it might be a good opportunity to practice upping my pedalling cadence. This was a good idea until I got carried away and tried to keep up the usual speed for the circuit as well. I did manage an average cadence of 90rpm against the usual average of 80 or under. It could have been this that came back to bite me the next morning or….
Secondly, I was five days into a course of antibiotics and maybe this was affecting me. I had heard that Mark Cavendish was struggling in the first few days of the Tour de France and this was put down the fact that he had been on a course of antibiotics for bronchitis. So I thought to myself, whats good enough (or bad enough) for him might also apply to me.
In a similar way to the way I had started the ride I had also planned to leave the club ride on the way back before the end of the ride. I turned off at Whittlebury and headed across country with Steph, one of the clubs lady riders for company as she was also headed back to the village next to mine. It was quite hilly and not easy going but I was pleased to have her company, it saved me uttering oaths to myself all the way back. (This doesn’t mean that I was uttering them to her though, perfect gentleman that I am)
I was feeling quite depressed about it all when I got back. However when I downloaded my Garmin data later and studied it, it didn’t seem that bad really. I had done 59 miles at 16.5 mph average and 2800 feet of climbing compared to the figures of those that did the standard ride of 51 miles and 1900 feet of climbing. Also the lap times of the 5 mile segments were not so bad.
So why did I keep dropping back and not keep my place in the line on the climbs? Its still a bit of a mystery to me, maybe it was just the extra exertion the day before. I hadn’t been short of riding miles this week and I had coped quite well on the club ride the previous week when I had less miles in the bank.
I finish the course of antibiotics tomorrow so maybe next weeks tale will tell a different story. I cant say I will be sorry to be finished with the medication because it has been very hot and sunny the last few days and I have really been fancying a nice cold beer and as we know, alcohol is taboo. Whats the betting the weather changes tomorrow ?