Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Edale Skyline - and how to really destroy your legs on a bike...part 2

(Running round to Grindslow - Picture courtesy of Lizzie Adams)

Last Thursday I did the second part (of 3) of the dissertation study that involves cycling as far as you can in 30minutes. This week there was a twist, it was 34 degrees in the environmental chamber. I also had to wear full length skins...

I set off and boy was it hard to keep the rpm above 125! The first 5 mins I tried to keep over 120rpm which was hard as the hot air felt like it was burning my throat. I quickly settled to a less fast rpm, probably averaging 110rpm overall.

I had a target of 20km in mind as previous performances in heat have not been good, but I surprised myself by getting to 23km, 0.3km shorter than last week! Apparently my core temperature shot up at the start, but progressively came down as I went on, showing I can actually adapt to/cope with heat!

2 days later and I was stood on the startline of the Edale Skyline which originally had been planned to be a race I would target as my first long race of the year...ehem...

The minute we set off I thought 'oh dear' as my quads were not happy with uphill! The start up Ringing Roger was fast and I almost set off too fast until I heard somebody say 'Hi Nicky', turned round to see Nicky Spinks and so slowed down....
I found the edge running ok and downhill fine, my legs felt well rested, but the minute it got even slightly uphill it was a battle with my quads.

I was happy to be within a couple of minutes of Judith at Win Hill (she was coming off the top as I was heading up), with Nicky and another woman between us. The descent to Lose Hill went well however on the next climb I was aware we were not even half way and my quads were screaming. So I had a nice chat to Robin from Pennine all the way up.

When I glanced behind Sandra Cooper was gaining at speed, so I ran fast down and along to Hollins Cross. My legs still felt fine for flat or down. The climb up to Mam Tor however seemed to go on forever and I really struggled to keep moving which was worrying, there was a stream of people coming past me including Sandra.

Thankfully by the time we reached Brown Knoll, the quads were happier with the softer ground so I started gaining a few places back. I hit the edge path to Grindslow and for the first time felt my legs were a bit tired for flat running. I forced them to keep moving trying to keep relaxed and by wool packs had caught up most who had overtaken from Hollins Cross.

This was decision point, nobody was taking the cut through behind wool packs so should I play it safe and stick to the path, or go for it anyway......
I went for it and for a moment worried I'd got it slightly wrong, before seeing the target exit from the groughs! I came out ahead of where I had been and Sandra was back in sight :-).

The little climb up Grindslow nearly finished my quads off and it felt like I was barely moving along the edge path back to Ringing Roger. But I was overtaking all the way and gaining slowly on Sandra! I suddenly realised how many people had set off too fast!

Heading down from the last checkpoint was almost too much for my legs and I lost a place, it also meant I was not going to catch Sandra downhill like I'd hoped....

I came into the finish in 3hrs38 in 5th position, very happy to not have blown up en route!

For the last two days I have found walking difficult, so have managed to destroy my legs much better than last week! Whether I can cycle on Thursday for the final study visit...well watch this space...Would quite like to be able to move for the Open 5 on Sunday :-)

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