Friday, August 11, 2006

Another weekend; another long ride!

Ok, I just thought I would share in my excitement that I am going on a 65km ride over the weekend. The route is Ziegelbrücke - Kaltbrunn - Wattwil - Nesslau - Stein - Amden - Ziegelbrücke and reportedly includes a 10km climb of 600m (this is significant for an amateur cyclist!). So why do I blog about this? well with inspiration from Martin Dugard's excellent blog I look forward to the physical challenge before me.

I have only been cycling for the last 2 months - but whoa it really is enjoyable especially over long distances. You get to see wonderful scenery, there is no impact to old, sore muscles (like running, which I do enjoy also) and there is a some exhiliration when you are flying down a hill (current top speed recorded is 75km; man that feels quick). I also like the challenge of cycling. With cycling, it really is easy to cruise (especially with a good carbon fibre bike which weighs next to nothing - here is mine) ... and that is the crux - you can either stay within your range / cadence or push beyond. So whenever I can, I try to be a little uncomfortable when riding, especially on the flat.

All this is void once you start climbing! On my climbs of Birgenstock, Engelberg, you notice that in the lowest gear on a triple crank that there is no anaerobic impediment (i.e. leg muscles) to climbing, however, there is significant aerobic strain. So what does this mean? well I haven't been wearing a heart monitor (on the way - will blog about it when I get it), but it feels like your heart rate is resting at its top 10% range - and this goes on, and on for the entirety of the climb. And typically when I am in the lowest gear I am only averaging 10-15km/h so those climbs can take some time - but what a feeling when you get to the end of the climb - wow! To exert yourself to the limit and to achieve (this does not occur too often in daily life). I will hopefully have a profile of the cycle next week. Until then ...

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