Sunday, 27 April 2008

Into the Hills of Harris

In the week before a big race, I tend to build things up before tapering off the days leading up to the event, to ensure recovery come race day. I guess it's just a psychological thing really, I like to be sure in my own mind that everything is in order. So, after a hard effort on the Mountain bike on Saturday, I wanted to check out my endurance status and decided to go for one of my favorite training runs, the 75mile Stornoway to Tarbert and back route on the Road.

As far as training routes on the Isle of Lewis go, this is one of the closest training routes you'll get to that of a Mountain stage race. The route takes you south over rolling hills, and then into Harris, where you will encounter the Clisham road climb, (Highest Hill/Mountain on the Island) and Ardhasaig climb as well as the rolling climbs between them, all with respectable gradients. This is a ride that has in the past had me pushed beyond the limit and "abandoning" before completion.

Today was going to be no exception, as when I set out at 9am with my pockets stuffed with snacks, I discovered the forecasted SW wind was a lot stronger than expected. Despite this, I paced well, climbed the Clisham road feeling fresh and arrived in "ghost town" Tarbert (geez, it is quiet on sunday!!) after 2.5hrs of riding with a slightly disappointing 14mph average speed. Things would change on the way back however, as the wind that had me nearly blown off my bike at points was now a tailwind. This certainly helped up the rather steep Ardhasaig climb, and 30mph+ along flat sections wasn't unseen, which had me arriving back in Stornoway in a pleasing 4hrs and 7mins. No camera with me, so here is a shoddy pic taken by Ardhasaig that I found via google images.

Feeling suprisingly fresh after that, so I will perhaps try a 30min recovery ride or short walk later to clear out the legs. What better way to spend a Sunday :-)


Nate Dawg said...

that reminds me of when i go skiing. if the wind is going in the right direction it will literally push you accross traverses making slope transitions a breeze!

Good luck in your race!

Paul C Smith said...

Thanks Nate Dawg. I came 2nd at Scottish Round 2. Very pleased, and was closing down on 1st in the last couple of laps. Report up soon when I get pics, i'm away again this weekend for British NPS round 2, hopefully my form will be just as good there :-)