Posts Tagged ‘swainslane’

Top end outage

I rode 90 minutes this morning when I was supposed to be working not cheating the week (ssshh, don’t tell work). I wanted to punish myself. 5 and a half weeks since the Marmotte and any really serious riding, and the layoff is getting to me. The first 3 weeks were OK – a relief in fact – but the last fortnight has been increasingly rough. Despite pinging it around town on the hack as often and as fast as possible, weekend commitments have kept me off the Wilier – stood reproachful, and a bit grubby, in my bedroom – and my general mood graph has recorded a marked slump.

Clearly, I need to set a new goal. Clearly, I need to get back on my bike, pronto. To this end I headed out today, aiming for a 6/4 Regent’s / Swain’s (in layman’s terms, 6 laps of regent’s Park followed by 4 hill repeats up Swain’s Lane. Here’s the graph:


I felt like my batteries were fairly flat from the start – even though my eating and sleeping have been fine over the last few days. In the end I managed 3/4, i.e. only 3 hard intervals on Regent’s Park. I was climbing OK, but my power output felt about 30% lower than I remember it being last time I did one of these sessions.¬†Compare the above graph with a similar ride I did on June 24th, just prior to the Marmotte, or this one around Easter time. On both of these, I remember / blogged that I felt good, my heart rate went higher, and I did 5/6 or 6/6.

So evidently my top-end fitness has taken a hit over the last month or so, while my weight remains constant (or even slightly less, incredibly), my endurance is solid, and I can still climb. It seems like the most fragile, short-lived part of my form, that needs to be kept topped up lest it wane. It’s time to bring back the power.

Final pre-Marmotte Regent’s Park & Swain’s Lane

Just back from a 2-hour Regent’s Park / Swain’s Lane session in the warm sunshine. Nice to have it back after quite a few cloud-covered outings.

My technique in the park today was, rather than ride at threshold for 5 minutes, start from the same corner but go all-out to the traffic lights, then recover. On my first one of these I hit 193 bpm, which I think must be close to my maximum. Needless to say the 2 boys attempting to follow me were toasted, burned, then binned.

Ignore (again) the ridiculous 240bpm peak in the first 5 minutes.

Ignore (again) the ridiculous 240bpm peak in the first 5 minutes.

I’ve identified a definite bug in my Garmin heart-rate monitor, reviewed earlier on this blog. Occasionally, in the first few minutes of a workout, the monitor will display a massively erratic reading, e.g. 240 bpm, while I’m coasting downhill. This is kind of annoying, because it throws my nice heart-rate graph out of whack.

On the subject of Garmin, it’s great to see continual enhancements to the user interface on the Connect website. The whole Garmin project feels fresh and innovative – I will certainly be investing further.

Here’s one example: the ‘Player’ workout playback function, with variable speeds and micro-controls to view exactly when and how hard you were training. However, I guess it’s supposed to show a graph in the middle – my version didn’t.

Garmin's workout 'player'. Cool.

Garmin's workout 'player'. Cool. Fresh. etc.

Swain’s Lane


Last summer I used to train on Highgate West Hill, adding some reps of that after riding Regent’s Park. Now Swain’s Lane is my new favourite hill in north London.¬†

It starts gradually, and you can big-ring it all the way to the cemetery gates, but then rounds a slight corner and kicks up, and the final gradient is severe. Today I did 4 reps, alternating seated and out of the saddle. 

Thanks to greenpiano1 for the above shot of the corner where it gets steep.