Saturday, 23 April 2011

Dusting off the cobwebs - first bike ride of the year

Hi folks

Well 6 days has passed since the marathon and I now feel recovered.  So much so that I can sit on my butt no longer.  The Marmotte is only just over 2 months away so I need to start my bike training as soon as possible.  I decided this weekend would be the start.

I haven't used my bike since last autumn so I wasn't sure how I would get on, and was wondering how much my running fitness would translate into bike fitness.  Quite well as it turns out!  I chose a route that didn't have too many hills as a good intro.  I have to remember that although I feel recovered my body is still getting over the stress of the marathon internally.

The route went towards the airport and then out into the countryside towards Dielsdorf.  Actually this is the route we used to do every Monday night after work in our informal UBS cycling club.  The problem was that as I was heading back into Zurich my Garmin showed I had only done 40 miles and I really wanted to do something closer to the distance of the Marmotte (approx. 174km with 5,000 vertical metres of climbing).  So once I got back into Zurich I headed down to the lake and decided to do a lap of the Zurichsee (around 70km).

There were lots of cyclists out on their bikes along the lake.  Most of them are pleasure cyclists but there were a fewer faster ones.  I overtook a couple of guys and then they started drafting me.  For those of you not too familiar with the term, drafting is when someone cycles in your slipstream and when you are going at a decent speed it can make it about 20-30% easier for the person following you, especially if there is a headwind.  The effect is so noticeable that you often think the guy infront is going too slow and then when you pull out to overtake him you lose the slipstream effect and realise you have got no hope in hell of overtaking him.

As I knew I had a couple of people drafting me I decided to give them a good draft and picked up the pace.  From Kussnacht to Rapperswil I was doing 35km/h most of the way.  By the time I got to Rapperswil I needed to stop for some refuelling.  So I headed down to the lake and stuffed my face with an orange juice, a power gel, a protein bar, a banana split and some macaroni.  Now that may sound a bit extreme to some of you in terms of calories, but looking at my Garmin it says I have burnt 4,686 calories.

After refuelling I hopped back on my bike and headed along the other side of the lake back towards Zurich.  The pace this time was much gentler as my butt was sore as hell.  I had to keep standing up out of the saddle at regular intervals to take some of the pressure off it.   As Zurich came within site there was joy in my heart as I knew that I could rest my butt soon and take a nice long soak.

The total distance covered was 84.69 miles (136.30km), calories burnt 4,686, and total time including my food and drink stop was 5 hours 48.  Not too bad for the first ride of the season and less than a week after my first marathon.

Time to rest now.  Happy easter to all!

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