For this Evening’s Bicycle ride I set out with one target in mind, the hill climb in Holywood known as Creighton’s Green road from Browns brae road.
I haved climbed this road numerous times, it never gets easier. Sometimes it feels harder than other times, my fastest ever ascent of it was back in March 2017 when i set a time of 4 minutes 56 seconds and I equalled that time again in June 2017. This evening I was on a mission to empty the tanks on this climb and try to set a new personal best time.
I had studied my data and come to the conclusion that if I could possibly average 300 watts on the climb I could get a new personal best of about 4 minutes 30 seconds. Could I hold that power for that duration? Was I rested enough to allow me to put that kind of effort in? Even if I could not do that effort could I still shave a few seconds of my best time? Time to find out.
The Legs were a little stiff as I turned my first pedal strokes on leaving the House so I decided I needed a good few minutes of a warmup to ease the legs in to it so I took a very leisurely spin down the Greenway to Holywood Arches along the Connswater Community Greenway, through Victoria Park and out on to the Airport Road.
Now it was time to lift the effort level for a few minutes to determine if the Legs were willing to work or not. A good strong but steady effort along the Airport road for 7 minutes told me the Leg muscles were firing well so I dropped the effort level to a very easy pace again to Cycle round by Kinnegar to Holywood and up to the start of the climb. A very brief pause to discard the eye protection as I did not want the sweat running in to the glasses distracting me from the effort and off I went.
I started hard, probably too hard I thought at the time, so I eased back the effort just a little and continued to push on. The smooth tarmac at the start of the climb was gone as I got on to the rougher surface at the first switchback turn, the gradient is pretty consistent for the duration of the climb despite the change in road surface. I continued pressing on and now the heart rate was catching up to the effort, the legs were firing well but the pain of the effort was starting to tell so I got up out of the Saddle to utilise different muscles to temporarily give a rest to the others then back in to the saddle and push on. I looked up and could see the final turn of the climb, it felt like I had got there quite quickly, my power output was now dropping off so out of the saddle again for one last push to the line and pull in to the side to suck in great big lungfulls of oxygen.
Whilst at the side of the road recovering from the effort letting the heart rate come back down I looked at my cycle computer, 4 minutes 30 seconds and 317 watts average power and I knew I had not only set a new personal best time but I had also shaved a good chunk of time off my previous best. 26 seconds of an improvement, very happy with that 🙂
Analysing the stress data for the climb post-ride, that dat did not lie, I had gone deep and emptied the tank.
Just like the earlier long warm-up before the climb I now set off for a nice leisurely spin to flush out the fatigue from the climb. I continued on to the end of Creightons road and on to Whinney Hill stopping to grab a pic of Belfast Lough from my elevated position. There were great views across the Lough to Whiteabbey and beyond.
Back round to Browns Brae road for the descent to CRoft road and around to Holywood but first another quick Photo stop.
From Holywood past Knocknagoney to Belmont Park and down the Newtownards road to Connswater through Bloomfield and back home via the Greenway.