Training diary: week 7

Excellent week this week. Very focused on the bike: tested my legs with hilly a route from my home in Henfield, West Sussex to Ditchling Beacon – 7 mins ascent and pretty easy now, after my sojourn in the Pyrenees! – then on to Devil’s Dyke, before heading out into West Sussex on a medium length loop via Handcross then back home. Monday was even better: mountain biking with my brothers down the Downs Link – a former railway line now a mixed terrain public footpath – then up Truleigh Hill and east along the South Downs Way. Great cross-training. Reps on Weds; somehow managed to miss Al – also doing reps on Regents Park and Swains Lane – but this 6/4 session felt great, and is an excellent way to tune up. I’ll be doing more of these as race day approaches. The foot is also feeling better; there’s still a bruise-like pain to the touch, but thankfully no adverse reactions to steady running.

Devils Dyke

Devil's Dyke, Sussex. An historic beauty spot with a good pub at the top; it can be reached by road from Brighton (to the South) or Poynings (to the North), or off road along the South Downs Way.

Week 7 (w/c Sunday 23rd August)

Sun: BIKE (2.5hrs, Ditchling Beacon-Devil’s Dyke route); Mon: BIKE (5.5hrs,  MTB ride Downs Link and South Downs Way); Tue am: SWIM (1hr, drills and lengths London Fields); Tue pm: RUN (1hr, steady); Wed: BIKE (2h20, 6 x Regents Park reps @ 85% max HR + 4 x Swains Lane hill reps); Thu: RUN (1hr, steady) ; Fri: SWIM (2.5k, The Triangle LC) ; Sat: RUN (1hr, steady with hills)

More Training Diary posts here.

Hills of North London

Where are the best hills in North London? And how can I fit them into a training ride?

Last Saturday I experimented with a route that took in as many hills as I could remember – without specifically sitting down and planning a well-researched route. I set off from my flat and headed for Alexandra Palace – a nice hill to warm up on – before doubling back at the roundabout back down to the foot of Muswell Hill in order to tackle something a bit sharper. Staying in the saddle, Muswell Hill certainly got the blood pumping and the coast down through Queens Wood was welcome.

My route joined Highgate Hill midway – although a slight diversion would swing down and take in this little stinger in full too – then turned right through Highgate village, over the mini roundabouts and left on Hampstead Lane towards Kenwood House. This takes you on Spaniards Road – past The Spaniards Inn – then down through Hampstead itself. From here I went straight south on Avenue Road to Regents Park for four laps (fast/easy/fast/easy) – this could be extended or cut, depending on time/session – then out of the park to Primrose Hill and the little rise of Elsworthy Road (see Tom Boonen pic from my Paris-Roubaix post). The next hill came in the form of Belsize Park back up into Hampstead and the reverse of Spaniards Road towards Highgate.  Approaching the village I turned off right down The Grove and Highgate West Hill to the Heath.

Saving the best for last, a left turn took me up Swain’s Lane. This is Al’s favourite hill in North London and – being the first attempt I’ve made on the bike – I’m inclined to agree: it’s a little stinker! but great fun at the same time. It brings you back out on Highgate High Street, so a loop could be added back round Highgate West Hill for hill reps. I finished off with a nice draft from the traffic down Holloway Road to Highbury and my flat, just in time for lunch and the FA Cup semi final.