Those that know me won’t be surprised to learn that I meticulously log every detail of every ride I do (isn’t gps wonderful?). I love the plethora of websites that let you spend longer analysing your ride than you did in the saddle, and I currently record my activities on no fewer than 3 websites. However, I’m under no illusion though that biggest improvement in my cycling over the last couple of years has come from shifting 35kg of beer belly rather than the marginal gains from analysing my sausage or donning an aerodynamic skinsuit.
Admittedly I fully subscribe to the equation that shows that cycling at a higher cadence allows you to cycling for longer and recover quicker, and I have made a conscious effort to ride with a cadence of between 90 and 100rpm over the last few months – for which these websites have been very useful in monitoring. What that’s actually done to my sustainable wattage output I have no idea, but the main reason I keep coming back to them is that they run regular ‘challenges’.
As most of my training will be in the form of going to and from the office, after a while it does start getting a little dull cycling alone along the same of roads all the time (with only the occasional bit of silly commuter racing to break the monotony). These challenges however at least make my cycling rut a little more interesting by getting me doing more than just pootle around the coast road. This month I’ve got to climb 30,000ft, whilst trying to put in an individual ride of at least 40miles and 2,000ft of climbing in under 2 hours 35 minutes, but being mindful of the need to bash out 1,098 miles (being the total length of the Spring Classics) over the next 50 days.
There are occasionally random prizes for those that complete the challenges (I won a DVD once!), but it’s not like I get ejected from my LEJOG ride if I don’t complete them. In fact, I even use a pseudonym on one of the websites so people don’t even know it’s me who spectacularly failed to climb anywhere near 10,000ft let alone 30,000ft (seriously – you try it in Guernsey!), but I find it’s just enough motivation to get me hitting just one more hill, rounding just one more headland, or putting in just one more mile before I head for home. Surely that makes my statto-ism worthwhile?