Today I got in the last ride of 2018 – on the Specialized Tarmac road bike of all things. 40 miles round the Innerleithen loop at a respectable 17.9 mph average speed. I think it took me longer to clean the bike and my gear afterwards than it did to do the ride itself – everything came back a uniform shade of brown.
Getting back on the ass hatchet has started me thinking about training for 2019. It seems to me that although you get a little bit more for your watt on a recumbent overall (in varied real world hilly Scottish terrain – we’re not talking about the Florida flatlands here where things are skewed much more in favour of a recumbent), you can get an overall bigger aerobic workout on a road bike. It just seems to incorporate more muscles and consequently you put out a slightly higher wattage. It’s not much, we’re talking a normalized power of maybe 10W more over 40 miles, but it’s enough to make me feel like I’ve worked a bit harder overall.
This has made me think that perhaps the ideal training plan should incorporate work on both platforms. If you do pure recumbent training, you potentially miss out on a bit of aerobic fitness, although practically all that training translates perfectly over to the upright platform. Do too much road bike work though, and the bent legs might get a bit deconditioned as you put less work through those muscles on the upright. I’m thinking maybe an 80-20 split in favour of the recumbent might be good. I’d also like to enter a couple of events on the Tarmac in 2019 so I need to at least get used to the darn thing again. We’ll see how it goes!
Some numbers for 2018:
- 5873 miles ridden. My target was 5000 so this was pretty good
- 3 (!) new additions to the stable – M5 CHR, ICE Sprint and Specialized Tarmac
- 1 stable removal – Cruzbike V20. Now happily living with its new owner down south
- 375 hours spent on the bike
- 199,449 feet of ascent ridden (I know Garmin height accuracy sucks but it will be somewhere in that ball park)
- 1 permanent scar on my right wrist – the obligatory dues now paid learning to ride the CHR at slow speed up silly steep hills
- Countless hours of fun had, particularly with Mrs RecumbentCyclistUK on our Quetzal tandem.
Highlights of the year for me have been many, but my favourites were:
- Riding round the Isle of Arran on the Quetzal with my wife. That was something we had been wanting to do for a year and it was every bit as fantastic as we hoped
- Breaking 4 hours on the Tour o the Borders on the newly acquired CHR – hoping to break 3:30 in 2019
- Getting back on a road bike after 25 years and realising that I can still ride them. It’s going to take work and a lot of lower back strengthening, but it’s doable and will open up a lot of events and social opportunities that you just can’t do on a recumbent
All in all it’s been a great year from the bike point of view. Personally things have been extremely challenging this year, and the bike has been one of the main ways I have kept myself sane. Looking forward to doing more of the same in 2019.
I hope you, your friends and families all have a peaceful, healthy and happy 2019.
See you on the road!