So who was screaming at the television on Sunday night as Wiggo set the Lee Valley VeloPark alight during his phenomenal ride into the cycling record books? It was an incredible performance and he’s really set the bar high for any future attempts (and let’s just spare a thought for Alex Dowsett who held the record for just a month). Yet again, Sir Bradley Wiggins has shown himself to be almost superhuman in what he can achieve – way beyond what most of us would even dare dream is possible, but then most of us don’t have an entourage of experts to support our efforts or the time to dedicate to honing our levels of fitness and endurance.
Yet this iconic event should still be seen as an inspiration for even the most average rider. An hour seems like no time at all, yet look at what Wiggo (and all those cyclists who have ever held the record over the years) managed to do. Admittedly, 52.937km probably isn’t going to happen – us mere mortals take somewhat longer to ride that distance. And besides, we have to deal with cars, junctions, traffic lights, refreshments, HILLS for goodness sake!
Just one hour of cycling does you a fantastic amount of good. Look at any decent plan for riding a sportive and you’ll see that much of the training is based on cycling for an hour – long hours in the saddle don’t necessarily prove anything. Those one hour efforts several times a week are where the magic happens.
If you find yourself getting up a bit late on the weekend, don’t give up on your plan to cycle that morning. Skip breakfast and try a fasted ride for an hour – apparently, this is something that Wiggo is fond of doing. It teaches your body to burn fat in the absence of carbohydrates and can make you more efficient over longer distances without bonking through lack of nutrition. Don’t go mad during the hour to actually risk a bonk and do eat a decent breakfast afterwards to aid recovery.
Got home late from work or just feeling a bit lazy and can’t face pulling on the lycra? Do it anyway! Plan a route that will take no more than an hour and get yourself on the road. If you’re struggling to feel motivated give yourself challenges along the way – remember, even Bradley had to break that hour down into 12-minute sections in order to succeed. Use landmarks, such as a tree, postbox, streetlight etc, as markers to sprint for. See how far you can make it up a particular hill before you have to go down a gear. Keep a note of how you do in a training diary and compare your efforts over time – you might just surprise yourself!
None of us will be breaking any world records during our own hour sessions, but a personal best every so often is something to be pretty proud of. So what will you achieve during your next hour in the saddle?!