Some evenings are just too good to spend on the trainer!

Some moments are just too good to waste on the trainer. My plan for the evening was to get home from work and jump on Zwift for an hour’s sweetspot session, but perfect weather (combined with an internet outage, hehehe) convinced me to unshackle myself from the trainer and head outdoors for some magically mellow miles.

A quick photo stop on the jetty to capture a perfect late summer evening…

I took my trusty time trial bike out for a spin as I need to clock up some more time in that position. Well, what a fantastic evening for it! I wasn’t pushing super hard or staring at my Garmin stats, just enjoying the fresh sea air, but I still managed to pick up some Strava PRs (including a couple of Top 5 times). Some days, there’s just no better way to spend and evening than outside on two wheels. #moremilesmoresmiles

* Photo critique: Yeah I know, I didn’t remove my light, saddle bag or water bottle and also forgot to line up valve stems properly. At least it’s in the big ring! ;-)

Ten Percent

That’s right folks, 10% of 2017 has already passed you by…

What have you achieved?

img_2978I’ve been pretty busy. I’ve been pushing at work for more control over the web development and Photoshop side of the business. That has meant I’ve basically created a new job for myself, instead of the work being outsourced. This has taken me from three days per week up to five. Working part time since leaving Sigma Sport has been great, but it’s time to step it up again.

My cycling has been going strong with a mix of road and virtual. I’ve been getting in a bunch of regular evening Zwift sessions. Team WBR have weekly group training rides that include tough intervals, sprint training and races. It’s a great way to clock up some really intense time in the saddle. On the road I’m still seeing the positive results from all that hard work.

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I hope 2017 is falling into place for you all too. Those “up North” must be starting to feel the end of winter approaching now with thoughts turning to Spring and warmer, brighter outdoor miles! :-)

The 5000 mile mark

I was looking at my Garmin Connect stats this evening and realised I’d just recently rolled over the 5000 mile mark for the year! I know it’s not much compared to some but it’s a good milestone for me. Last year I finished on a shade over 4460 miles.

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I don’t really set mileage targets, but with any luck I should hit 6000 miles by the end of the year. Next year I may aim for 6215 miles (which is 10,000km).

Surrey Sportive 2015 by SussexSportPhotography.comMy favourite ride of the year (and I’ve had MANY great ones) was probably the AAT Surrey Sportive that I blasted around with a tight bunch of my Woking CC mates. A well organised event and a thoroughly enjoyable 95 miles breaking in my newly built Kinesis.

Monday morning is looking like the first truly freezing ride of the year. It’s forecast to drop to zero degrees so I’ll  be dusting off the full winter jacket for the first time this season!

#keepcycling

September Wrap Up

Well that’s September done and dusted. Where does the time go? Now begins the slide into the chilly and dark depths of the British winter.

Photogram-20150930060101This month has been a big one for me on the bike. A shade over 900 miles in total, riding every day except four.

My legs were pretty shot over the first half of the month but they’ve almost gotten used to the regular mileage now. Just got to keep going forwards! I’m looking forward to some Autumn commuting – one of my favourite seasons – and plan to continue riding as much as possible through the winter months and cycle commuting to work as long as the weather permits. Here’s what my cycling month looked like:

Sept-2015

#keepcycling

Strava – Is it Art?

The answer of course is a resounding YES!

Strava art is a movement that has been gaining ground recently. It involves using the GPS trace during your ride to “sketch” out pictures or words on the roads. The file is then uploaded to Strava where the “artwork” is displayed.

strava-giraffe-flippedStephen Lund has a blog called SKETCHBOOK OF A STRAVA ARTIST featuring his own Strava artworks and how he creates them.

They are nothing short of sublime and I bow down to his creativity, patience and epic Strava artistry. I was most impressed by this rendition of a giraffe! It took around 60 miles of cycling and I’m sure many, many more hours of planning to create this masterpiece. He’s like the Banksy of the digital world!

Over on his blog he also has a post about how he plans out these pieces. It’s an aspect of Strava artistry I’ve often wondered about and has got to be the hardest part. It must take quite the imagination to look at a road map and see such fantastic images. I could stare at Google maps all day and never see anything like this.

There’s a few people here in the UK who have also created some fantastic Strava artworks. This drawing of a bike by David Taylor took over 180 miles to create and is one of my favourites, especially as it’s been “sketched” in the New Forest!

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Cycling Weekly – Five of the Best Strava Art

Sketchbook of a Strava Artist

Power never lies…

“Power never lies to you.
It is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver.
Friends may come and go.

But two hundred watts is always two hundred watts.”

The above quote is a modified version of one by Henry Rollins who at the time was talking about lifting weights. It’s a quote often thrown around in bodybuilding circles, but one that can easily be adapted to cycling when looking at power data.

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Your heart rate, average speed, perceived effort and Strava segment times are subject to so many variables that it can be difficult to accurately gauge progress from month to month or even year to year.

1387214112155-108t6xppkov9l-700-80Were you stronger along that particular segment today? Or was there a slight tailwind. Heart rate higher or lower than normal? Is that good? Knowing your power data would conclusively answer those questions and many more.

Sure, all the factors I’ve listed can be used to train effectively and before the advent of the power meter it was more than enough. But if you want to know exactly what’s going on, exactly what you’re putting through the pedals, then there is only one metric worth worrying about. Wattage. Because at the end of the day…

Two hundred watts is always two hundred watts.

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