Clair Parfrey is a Women's Bike Ambassador and Expert Bike Fitter at our Pitsford store. After competing for Team GB at the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships last year after qualifying at the Tour of Cambridgeshire Chrono, Clair has been working hard ahead of her second crack at the infamous event later on this year.
Time trialling needs efficient and consistent pedalling, which I'm good at but it also needs good cornering and general bike handling skills (which I'm not so good at). So my coach has also got me doing regular mountain bike sessions! Its not something that I thought I'd enjoy being a bit of a scarredy cat. But actually I am. So far I've ridden around the reservoir and along the Brampton Valley Way at Pitsford on a Trek Marlin, around Rutland Water on a Giant Trance and at Fineshade and Wakerley Woods on a Cannondale Trail. Over the next few weeks I'm aiming to try other mountain bike centres and am hoping to be able to test out some Cyclocross bikes too.See our Ex-Hire bargains >>>
I am also working on my strength off the bike at a local gym, not only am I working on increasing my power output but I'm also working on my core and arms. In order to stay in a comfortable but aerodynamic position on the bike the body needs to be supported well. An added bonus is that in doing these sessions I'm also getting rid of body fat which will in turn increase my power to weight ratio. I also include some yoga or Pilates in my training schedule to help stretch out the muscles that become tight through pedalling. Having alternative sessions that I can do at home or off road has been a real help during the recent bad weather when it isn't safe to go out on my road bike but I do wish the ice would go away so that I can get out there again, I need some miles in my legs, I was aiming for 4000 miles this year and am currently at 3600!
Until now I've been using a Garmin 820 to display and record my performance data. With advancing age I've found my eyesight worsening and it was difficult to see all the data I needed clearly enough, so at Christmas I got an Edge 1030. It's bigger (about the size of some mobile phones) and heavier too. The screen is larger and crisper making seeing the data and maps much better. The new screen is sensitive but is no longer affected by drops of rain or sweat falling on it! The mount has been remodelled to and now allows for a battery pack to be plugged in whilst on the bike - reassuring when out for a full day ride in unchartered territory. Another feature that us useful when exploring new areas is the 'suggested routes', you can ask the Garmin to select a route if a chosen distance that will bring you back to the start point, the route will be based on roads that local cyclists use (this is based on Strava uploads). Even without using a set route the 1030 links to Strava and will notify you if any sharp turns in the road which is great when your riding in a group and can't see to far ahead. I found the device really easy to set up, it connects with seniors quickly and can have multiple profiles - perfect for swapping between your turbo bike, race bike or mountain bike. It will even link up to a Wattbike. The performance data given at the end of the ride is good - so much so that my coach has increased my FTP 3 times in the 650 miles of training that I've done in the 6 weeks I've had the Garmin 1030.
Garmin Edge 1030 Bundle
Weighing in at just 123g, the all new Edge� 1030's 3.5" body features a battery life of up to 20 hours. This bundle version includes a heart rate monitor, cadence and speed sensor.
- Battery life - up to 20 hours
- Weight - 123 grams
- Dimensions - 58mm x 114mm x 19mm
- Display size - 58mm x 114mm x 19mm; 88.9mm diagonal
I'm not the best hill climber, for quite a long time I would plan routes to avoid any hill! There are many that I've walked up. I decided that I could go on like this, and changed my mind set - from thinking 'I hate hills' to 'hills make me stronger'. I've got much better and no longer walk, except that is for one hill. Edge hill, You may have heard of it, it's in the 100 best climbs in Britain book and regularly features in professional races. I've ridden up steeper and I've ridden up longer but there is something about this one. If a planned club ride is going up it I feel anxious all week, I really dread it. There's just something that flicks in my brain that says 'you can't do this' I unclip and stop. I then feel I've let myself down and what was a great ride in beautiful weather and great company is totally ruined. Something had to be done, you can't do as much riding as I do and be stopped by one hill. I talked to my coach about it and he cleverly set me turbo sessions that would prove to me that I had the ability to ride the 7min climb ( there are 2 sections of 14% with a short flatter section on the corner between them). A date was set and the challenge accepted. We would meet up and ride up the hill together then come back down for coffee and cake. There was another issue though - the descent! I like a nice straight long descent but short, twisty and sharp I definitely don't like! I chatted about this with the mechanics at Rutland Cycling's Pitsford store and it was agreed that better brake callipers with Swiss stop brake pads would give me better braking and more importantly CONFIDENCE!
So the day dawned, strangely I didn't feel anxious (well not until I arrived at the meeting point). We warmed up on a smaller hill then road to the bottom of the climb. After a short stop to discuss the best way to ride the hill we tackled the first ramp then rounded the bend onto the second ramp. With watts and heart rate rising and cadence slowing the demon on my shoulder was shouting 'you can't ', and 2 thirds of the way up it won and I stopped. We turned round and rode back down, by the time we had reached a laybye I'd already decided that I was going to try again, which was fortunate as that was exactly what my coach asked me to do! We realised that I had attacked the hill too hard and over done it. I needed to lower my power output and take control. So we set off again. This time that pesky demon started shouting on the first ramp, part of me wanted to give up but I kept going, keeping control of the power and not using too much. We rounded the second corner and through the fog I could see the sign at the summit. I pushed on. And I did it! It felt great. Shame we couldn't see the view though. We rode back down and celebrated with a mug of tea and a toasted tea cake. The buzz lasted for days, I felt like a different rider. I don't think I'll be taking up hill climbing but a hill will never have that much power over me again.