I went to the cottage to train, log extra miles, work on form and lose weight.
There was no way to measure my progress. I didn’t have scales and, because there was so much wind, it was difficult to judge whether I was cycling faster or more efficiently. I would have to wait until I returned home.
Yesterday, I had the chance. I did a 50 km ride that included 3 substantial climbs and a long, uninterrupted flat. The climbs were easier and faster then I have ever done them previously. I climbed in the same gear but was spinning faster. And, on the flat, I was up to 45 kph without the assistance of a draft. No. I was alone. Clearly, cycling in the wind for a month has made me stronger and faster.
As I have mentioned previously, the wind had me on the drops most of the time. This position gets you into a more athletic and aerodynamic position. I am most comfortable there, even when climbing. And, the continual resistance from the wind made me pedal more in circles, to apply consistent power throughout the stroke, to use the quads, buttocks, hamstring, calves and ankles in a fluid motion. Clearly, cycling in the wind has improved my form as well.
Afterward, I went to the club for a shower and steam. Oh, how I have missed that steam bath. And, I weighed myself on the same scale I have been using for a decade. I weighed in 5 pounds lighter, just a few off my optimal weight. Clearly, the fat reduced, natural diet made the difference.
Strength, speed and improved form comes with resistance. It doesn’t matter how it is applied provided you increase your work load. Climb more hills. Cycle into the wind. Ride alone without the benefit of group drafting. Bike longer distances. It is true for all sports.
Progressive resistance. That is the key. The month at the cottage shook things up. I was cycling different routes. Riding almost every day. And, battled wind most days. I didn’t just add more miles. I added harder miles. More resistance. A bigger work load.
The Bolsover Training Camp was a success. A success on several levels. I returned refreshed, stronger, faster, lighter and, with a new look. A goatee. Hair on the face. It wasn’t planned. I cut my chin on a thistle and wanted to give it a chance to heal before shaving again. After a week, I started to like it. I don’t know why. It must make me look older. More distinguished? I have grey in my beard. Nowhere else. Just on my chin. What does that mean?
Maybe I am stronger and faster because of the goatee.