Wednesday, 24 July 2013

ElliptiGO 100 mile record attempt

The weekend before last I set off from Leighton Buzzard and headed for Lutterworth on my ElliptiGO. Exactly 50 miles away, it made for a very straightforward out and back 100 miler. In my first effort I managed a 5:54 'moving time' and 6:20 (approx) total time as I stopped a few times on route to take photos and have breakfast at half way. This weekend however i decided to get serious and have a proper crack at the distance and ride the entire 100 mile distance non-stop... This is what happened...

I set off from LB at 4:45am with the sun just rising. It was a cooler day with welcomed cloud cover than the recent super hot temps we've been experiencing. However with the cloud brought wind which is not a good thing when attempting a distance/speed record. My goal for the out section was to average 17mph for the first 50 miles. The previous week I averaged 15.9mph on the out section so this was an extra 1mph which on the ElliptiGO takes a considerably amount of extra effort. Although not preplanned I then had grand plans to ride a negative split and do the return leg to nearer 18 mph average pace. I based this on the fact that I averaged about this pace in my first attempt where my total average pace for the ride was 16.9mph (from 15.9mph at half way) - so the maths said I could do it.

I felt really good on the outward leg taking the rolling slightly undulating A5 all the way from Milton Keynes to Lutterworth. Its an extremely straight and well maintained road (rare in the UK). Much of it freshly resurfaced making for easy GOing. When covering such distances its impossible to avoid hills and whilst the A5 does have some they are for the most part either very gradual where you can still maintain a good pace or short lived affairs where the pace is only momentarily reduced. Having said this I do have a knack of riding hills at a high cadence so enjoy this type of undulating route. It would be very interesting to get someone else's take on it.

I had all the supplies I needed for the entire ride on my person in the very handy 4 rear pockets on my own ElliptiGO designed cycle jersey. In them I had stashed 6 gels, 2 bars, 2 fruit puree pouches, and an emergency packet of Haribo! The plan was a gel every hour, and one bar and one fruit puree on each 50mile leg. I had two 750ml bottles filled with electrolyte drink - one for each leg. This wasn't the intention from the start as 1.5 litres of fluid to cover 100 miles at pace is not enough but I got by on it (just about!).

I hit half way 5 minutes inside my target time and started doing the maths in my head based on what I thought my return pace would be for a total time. I was getting excited already as if it all went well (and I was really really good at this point!) then I could get near 5:40. I cranked out the miles with the plan to increase my average pace from 17.5 mph by 0.1mph every 10 miles so that by the time I hit 100 miles my average pace would be 18mph. Oh how the best laid plans can go to ruin... I was starting to feel fatigue in my legs at 60 miles and the hills especially were more of a struggle than the out leg. Then disaster struck as I found myself on a road I didn't recognise however I had been riding this road for quite a while. How on earth did I go wrong on one of the straightest roads in Britain! The A5 wasn't signposted and when I reaches Daventry I knew it was time to turn back. I kicked myself for this silly mistake and not paying attention. Sure enough after my 8 mile detour I came back on the roundabout that I had gone straight on, when I should have in fact turned left. The fact that I was attempted a 100 mile record meant that the detour didn't massively impact the end goal as I would still stop the clock at 100 miles. However the road on the detour was more undulating with many hills in quick succession.  I tried to forget about this small error and get back to the job in hand of breaking the 100 mile record.

Between 50-60 miles I had managed to get my average speed up to 17.6mph but this was as high as it went. As my legs continued to g

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