Yesterday I took a day off work to do a recon of the Tour de Lauder route on the M5. It was below freezing when I woke up so I waited until around 11 a.m. before setting off. Even at that time it was still pretty cold!
It was one of those days where all my well laid plans for being able to sustain a particular power and complete the route in a time that seemed perfectly reasonable a few days ago were crushed by the reality of my rather more average fitness.
I had assumed a normalized power of around 220W was doable, but after 63 miles I was completely done in at a NP of 206W. Additionally, I am susceptible to asthma when the air is cold and dry and I spent too much of the day riding without my mouth covered, and by the time I got back to the granites my lungs had started to seize up. A 10 minute forced stop for a couple of puffs on the inhaler was required, but after that I had to limp back down the road to Stow keeping my heart rate low. Note to self – take inhaler BEFORE lungs start to seize up! Now that reality has settled in, I will readjust my goals accordingly. 5:30 might be doable if I feel strong on the day….
On the plus side, the weather was beautiful and the view from the top of Witcheyknowe was fabulous. If anybody reading this is doing the full route, note that the cattle grid on the Berrybush descent just before Tushielaw is in a bad state, with one bar warped and raised which is definitely capable of causing wheel damage. It also has a big gap between the bars on the left side that has been packed with stones. Probably best to slow down for it unless you’re running wide tyres at a low pressure.