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Having fun, writing about the stuff I like

Epic Training: Week Ten

Oscar Foulkes November 13, 2016 Cape Epic No comments
If you’re a yachtie, or a kite surfer, or take part in other wind-dependent sports, wind is good (unless it’s gale force, of course). On the other hand, if you’re a cyclist, there are few circumstances that make wind desirable.

Yes, this was a ‘wind week’, and it looks likely that strong winds will persist next week as well. Over the next four to five months, weeks without southeasterly winds will be rarer than windy ones. So, wind will have to go into the “do it anyway” category of factors that might cause one to not train.

Most of week ten has been about recovery, with the result that the first ride was on Thursday. Fitting in 150 minutes of spinning (preferably not anywhere too steep) is impossible around the City Bowl. The only choice, really, is to venture out to Chapman’s Peak on the road. Finding that much time on a weekday is also a challenge. I had to be in Paarl anyway, so I planned to leave from Pearl Valley soon after 4.00.

So far, so good. I decided to ride into the wind first (going downwind first generally results in one creating a very long return ride). The ride to Franschhoek was directly into the wind, so I just put my head down, turned the music louder, and pedalled until I got there. The ride back – as you can imagine – was a lot quicker. The round trip took a bit less than two hours, but I gave myself a ‘wind credit’ for the missing time.

Friday night involved a social commitment with some great wines, with the result that Saturday morning’s three hours started off slowly. I followed the off-road and greenbelt routes to Tokai, and then back to Newlands to retrieve my car.

Sunday’s ride (in the wind, like the others this week) is what I call an ‘interval sandwich’ – opening with an hour’s warm-up, followed by said intervals, and closing with 30 minutes of cool-down. I may live in one of the windier parts of Cape Town, but I’m fortunate to have so many climbing opportunities on my doorstep, even if the southeaster generally blows straight down the mountain (yes, that’s a head wind when riding uphill).

Pleasingly, I recorded several new Strava PRs. The majority, admittedly, were downhill ones, but all of them count towards riding faster. I suspect there are two factors at play. The Yeti simply descends faster, but it also builds confidence, which is ultimately the thing that slows most people on sketchy descents.

The one technical element of my new bike I haven’t mentioned is that the South Industries rims are wider, which results in greater surface area of tyre being in contact with the trail, thereby improving control.

Did I mention that I love my bike?

This is why…

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