Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Sunday is GO GO GO

On Sunday I swapped the usual long run for an even longer ride with my buddy Idai on our ElliptiGOs. First off was a brand new shiny replacement ElliptiGO that Idai had sorted out for me. I can't say enough good things about this company in terms of their customer-centred approach. It's so refreshing in this day and age of big business who tend to say all the right things but all they are really after is your £££.

So off we went on a 30 miler around the outer villages South West  of Leighton Buzzard before doing a large loop heading back East and North (http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=4246368). Idai was riding my old ElliptiGO to test the hub and shifting issues that I had been experiencing. My new GO was riding smoother from the start with noticable less drag from the hub and bike generally.

30 miles would be my longest ride to date and I had also thrown in a good few hills to test the GOs climbing ability. But before we reached the hills we had a fair few miles to put down first.

There are two very distinct ways that you can approach riding the GO. Both revolve around the cadence (the speed that you pedal - or in the case of the GO the time it takes to complete one stride). With eight gears on the GO there is the tendency to find a higher gear quickly like you would on a conventional bike, thus the resistence is greater and you go faster but pedal (stride) rate is slower. And in my first few weeks of riding the GO this is exactly what I have been doing, seldom riding in anything less than in 7th or 8th gear. This is a classic beginner approach to riding the GO apparently.

However instead one should select a lower gear (less resistence) so that your stride is far quicker and increases your cadence. It then feels far MORE like you are running and LESS like you are riding a bike. There are also far greater training benefits from this quicker turn over including a far better cardio workout and the firing of those fast twitch fibre muscles. This should hopefully all help when I actually do find time to run!

I could see first hand on Sunday that Idai tended to be in 1 or 2 gears lower than me on the flats, whilst going at the same speed hence he was putting in far greater effort to cover the same distance. It really requires a new mind set to want to make things harder for yourself rather than easier. But the GO is designed as a cross-trainer after all and I've bought it specifically to train smarter and improve my running endurance and speed. Therefore I should be looking to get maximum reward for my efforts and get out of the mind set of looking for the easy gear, and increase the work rate instead. Hence get greater bang for buck!

So back to the ride. It was a great morning and the route I mapped out found us enjoying some nice long smooth roads (some recently resurfaced too!) Bumpy, rutted roads are definitely the GOs worst enemy as the smaller wheels and standing position mean that you feel every one! The scenery through many of the areas we rode also fitted perfectly with my vision of how a Sunday morning ride in the country should be.

Idai - Top of Bison Hill
 There were many others enjoying the scenery too with a lot of touring cyclists out and about. Idai and I got a fair few looks from passing cyclists where you couldn't help but wonder what they were thinking as we passed. I still do feel very self-concious on the GO (at least for now anyway). I think general puzzlement is the common reaction.

As I said eariler I made sure that I incorporated some nice hills into the ride, the main one of which was Bison Hill which is about a mile long and a 10% gradient. When we reached the hill it seemed many tourers had had the same idea as we rode in convoy up the steep incline. Being the competitive soul that I am and wanting to test the GOs climbing ability I gave it what I could and reeled in those infront of me passing two cyclists on the way up to the summit. 1-0 to the ElliptiGO :-) haha.

Top of Bison Hill
It climbs well especially considering it has only 8 gears to select from which is an area I'm especially interested in because I've been recently looking at a number of 100m cycle event to really aim at. And one of these is the Devil's Ride in the Breacon Beacons which boasts a 25% incline on one climb. Sounds like fun and very tempting.

Monday saw me and two colleagues take on some hill reps at lunchtime. I thought this would be ideal training for this Saturdays Parliament Hill fields XC race, whilst also seeing what effect the previous days 30m ride had on my legs. The answer is 'worn'! I could certainly feel those 30 miles as I tried in earness to attack each hill rep with the same intensity that I had the last and keep each I consistent time wise. My splits slipped after 4 reps. The first 3 were all around 65 secs. My 6th was the slowest at 85 secs, but I finished with a flurry and managed to break 60 secs with my last (8th) rep. A  great session and bloody hard work. I should really do more of these (note to self).

The rest of the week will see me rest today (Tuesday), ride to and from work tomorrow on the GO (probably in the rain! UPDATE: now not riding in due to work commitments and time :-( Then it's two days recovery before Sarurdays XC race. This is a Southern Counties championship race and promises to be a lot of fun (he says). Over a 1,000 runners will start the race with climbs throughout and the mud, bogs and water notoriously deep with zero grip - I can't wait :-) just need to find a pair of spikes from somewhere first though.

Race report to follow...

1 comment:

  1. Good luck at the weekend on the XC, Stu. It's probably a good thing you're not riding the E-G any more this week. You'll need strong, unmolested quads.