Saturday, 26 November 2011

Chasing Targets – The Numbers Game

This is a blog for everyone who regularly rides with a cycle computer. The moment you fit one, ever ride will be as the French put it so beautifully, ‘contre la montre’. Whether it be your regular CTT, or a ride over a known route, this small and simple device changes the game.

In direct contravention of Rule #74 I’ve been using a Garmin Edge for a number of years now, and I would not be without it. As a true believer in the spirit on n+1, I wanted something that I could easily switch from bike to bike, and the Edge fitted the bill perfectly.

It wasn’t until late 2009 though that I started to use it more seriously to keep a track of all the Kms covered, and in 2010 I set up a log to keep a closer eye on what I was doing. Setting up a ‘km log’(please note I am not operating a training log!) is quite a significant step, and gives you the opportunity to set, and measure your progress against targets. My initial targets were modest, 100km a week. This would give me over 5000km for the year. I’d started……

Just having a target changed the way I rode. Go home the long way? Why not? An extra lap of the town? Go on then. All in the pursuit of the target. It quickly became clear that I’d been quite conservative in my initial target, and mid year I was just shy of 4000km, and was close to 150km/week. I kept up the pace, and in spite of a few problems towards the end of the year ended up clocking up 6863Km for the year. Not too shabby, and this in itself had raised the bar for 2011.

So, 2011. After not all that much deliberation, I settled on 160km/week, which would equate to 8000km for the year.

Things started well, and after the first couple of months I was well ahead of target. I was trying hard not to start thinking about adjusting it upwards but the temptation was proving difficult to resist. March and April were shaping up to be big cycling months, with the first ever Shifnal Sportive planned, as well as a trip to Paris-Roubaix, and the Spring Boston(Lincs) to Shifnal Epic. Things were going well, so I upped the target to 200km/week, and a nice round 10,000km for the year.

June and July flew by, and included a truly epic trip to the Tour.  Not one but two assaults on the legendary Alpe D’Huez, as well as the Col du Lautaret for good measure. Truly awesome cycling! If you ever get the opportunity to cycle in the Alps grab it with both hands.

Summer Holidays meant that August was a pretty quiet month, but September and October more than made up for it. The inaugural Shifnal Cycling Society Sportive was the highlight of September, whilst October included another first, the Tour de Shropshire. 210 km over two days taking in some of the finest roads the county has to offer.

On the surface it was just another of our regular Tuesday night rides, but on 22nd November, just as we were coming back into Shifnal, the target was passed. With over a month in hand, I’d passed the 10,000km marker for the year. To some this may seem like a modest achievement, but I’m well pleased.

I’ve now got a month to think about what I’ll be aiming for in 2012…….

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