Cassette

So after servicing the bike last week and replacing the chain, the annoying creaking noise has disappeared, but I now have a skipping chain any time I try to accelerate hard or standing up. It only happens in a few gears so it would definitely appear to be a worn cassette – the derailleur is fine and shifts correctly when not pedalling hard. It’s a bit annoying as I generally check the chain wear quite regularly as I have the tool to do it! The new cassette is on order and should arrive in the next couple of days.

I went out for 25 miles on Tuesday, after a terrible night and generally feeling like cycling was the last thing in the world I wanted to do, but as I was planning to meet up with someone I had to get out. I’m thankful that I did because after a few miles I felt OK again, and despite the skipping chain had a reasonably good ride, including a fifth place on a segment called Silky Smooth. I’m especially pleased with this because a) the skipping chain meant I couldn’t accelerate hard at the beginning, but had to accelerate more gradually and b) because I hadn’t planned to go for it – it was only a few metres into the segment that I really thought about going for it. I’m 4 seconds off the KOM – it’s only 600m and the KOM is 37s so it’s a relatively large gap, but I know I could easily get closer if I was going faster at the start and the end (I eased off a bit) and if I could accelerate harder. The wind was also not super-strong like it has been at times, so a stronger tailwind would help things 🙂

Here’s a video of my effort on that particular segment – yes, my camera is a bit crap and at an angle! It really doesn’t look that fast when watching it back but it’s over 50km/h!

My legs have certainly felt the benefit of all those squats, but I’ve given up following the 30 day challenges – my best was 120 seconds of planking and 110 squats. I’m going to keep doing them but not as many each day, otherwise my legs ache and I don’t feel like going out cycling.

Cold

It’s been very cold recently, and I have also been very constrained time-wise, so all I’ve managed in the last week is a 30-minute turbo session. I took the time today to try and service the Carrera, and discovered that the chain is worn and needs replacing (an excuse to look at the Wiggle sale items, woo-hoo!) I’ve regreased and oiled the pedals to try and stop the annoying creaking noise, but it may be the chain contributing too.

I bought an app called The Roadie Bike Fit to try and improve my position on the bike, as I occasionally get knee pain. It costs £3.25 which is good value compared to how much a proper fit would cost, but obviously it isn’t going to be as good as the proper fit. I gave it a quick try today and it suggested lowering my saddle as my knee angle was too great. I’ll try and do it properly another day.

I’ve been doing some off-the-bike exercises – I started 30 day planking and squatting challenges, with the aim to get to 250 squats and 5 minutes planking by the end of the 30 days. I’ve got to the end of day 10 and can do 110 squats (albeit with a rest or two inbetween!) and plank for 60 seconds. Hopefully the improved core and leg strength will translate to better bike performance.

Great that pro cycling has started again, with the Tour Down Under and the Tour de San Luis both starting yesterday. Shame that Cavendish missed out yesterday but hopefully he’ll improve as the season goes on.

Not long until the RideLondon ballot results are announced!

2015 targets

Here are my targets for the year:

  • Complete three century rides, aiming to beat 5 and a half hours for the distance.
  • Ride at least 5,000km
  • Complete the Alpe d’Huez segment on Vicarage Hill
  • Use my voucher for a taster session on the Lee Valley velodrome
  • Win back a few KoMs on Strava

I’ll add a few more as I think of them, but these are the big ones. Hopefully I’ll get a place on RideLondon which would make the 5 and a half hour century a bit more achievable!

Hey Let’s Go

First proper ride of 2015 today after three weeks off due to illness and work – I’m still not 100% which was really obvious today. It didn’t help that there was a strong southerly wind, so it was pretty tough on the way home!

I was out for around 1 hour 40 minutes, and managed 41.7km of mainly low efforts apart from one short segment where I had the wind behind me. Definitely time to plan some proper base training and get in shape properly. I’m also going to write out a list of targets for the year to motivate me.