Thursday, January 3, 2013


I think it was Greg Henderson who said that climbing hills was like fighting with a gorilla. You don't give up when you are tired, you give up when the gorilla is tired. Well to-day. i was beaten by the gorilla :-(

It seems it is customary with my local CTC group to make the first ride of the year a hilly one, to test fitness, give an opportunity to regret the one (?) mince pie too many, and remind everyone that some serious work needs to be done.

The ride was not that long at about 55 km and the total ascent was around 750 m, but the hills just kept on coming, each one sapping a little more from my legs and lungs. And then we came to the bottom of Nob Inn Lane. I had never ridden around this particular area before and it took me completely by surprise such that I was in the Big Ring when,  going round a corner I was suddenly confronted by a sharp rise at 25% gradient for short distance before flattening out to around 12% for the next kilometre. I just could not turn the pedals fast enough to allow me to change down and so I ground to a stop...and walked.

 Defeated by the gorilla.

All the others had got off to but that is no consolation. I would be kidding myself if I believed that reducing gear would have conquored the beast, the truth is that I was too weak.

That 100 mile ride in Ride London100 suddenly seems so much harder and there I have Box Hill to contend with, more unknown territory.

On other fronts I have started swimming on my non-cycling days. I am not a proper swimmer and my son would be aghast at my style. But the aim is to swim 25 km this year and I am hoping it will help to build up some lung capacity and improve my breathing as I have noticed that on the bike I only ever use the top part of my lungs. When swimming I have to use the lot.

So, not an auspicious start to my training plan


  1. At least you made the effort, but don't finish yourself off before the big event.

  2. Bradley Wiggins says in his biography (My Time) that for every Kilo in weight you can lose you will climb the average hill 23 secs faster. Now I could lose about 5 Kilo which would save a whole minute on my average hill – but I doubt that I could walk that fast. - So, pass me another mince pie:-)Thanks.

  3. Hello Peter.
    Peter, it is only January, Your best strategy, is plenty of long steady miles, at moderate pace, to build endurance, no need to flog an un prepared body up steep hills, this only serves to demoralise the soul. You could try climbing longer even gradient climbs on a biggish gear, as brisk as your breathing will allow! The thirteen bends climb from Baslow to Bakewell, is ideal, about two miles in length. I realise it is a long ride to reach it, but you could combine a long steady ride there n back, Or drive part of the way, then climb the hill several times, Worth a try, it will bring beneficial results, What ever you try good luck, stick at it, best wishes Jeff Bowler