One of my brothers often entitles his runs, on the app. Strava, as “Fartlek” runs. Curiosity got the better of me and I Googled the term to find that it is a Swedish word meaning “speed play”. It’s an unstructured form of interval training where you intersperse periods of high effort with more relaxed parts. The idea is to improve your speed and also ability to recover from the harder bursts of activity. Mountain biking often forces you to do this anyway because of the changing gradients and trail conditions but due to the wet conditions I decided to do a road ride again today. I’m still waiting for the return of my wheels for the Boardman which is having new bearings fitted and I’ve yet to replace the broken gear cable on the Trek. This leaves me with only the choice of 3 classic bikes which I’m a bit precious about. I prefer to only ride them in drier weather. Since my pedals were fitted to the Whyte PRST4 I used it again today.
I had another ride option due to my friendly rivalry with “O”, a man who I’ve never met. We’ve competed on a Strava segment called “Birkacre Race Route?” Earlier today he beat my King of the Mountains time by 9 seconds, reducing it to 14 minutes 23 seconds. This is exciting because I know I can retake the title. On my successful attempt I’d been held up by walkers then had a broken gear cable. Without these disadvantages I hope to beat 14 minutes. O has also suffered misfortunes in his efforts. On his try on Saturday he had a blowout of the rear tyre and today the mud would have made it hard work. He also mentioned a stray cow but due to his well known witty writing style I don’t know whether the cow was real or metaphorical. A bit of Fartlek training will do my speed no harm since I’ll hope to recover better from the harder climbs.
Today I started gently but upped the work rate on the first climb. I later found that my climb was slower than my last effort here. On that occasion I was saving my work for the race route challenge but today I had a strong westerly head wind. It just proves what a significant factor the wind is when cycling. I decided that I’d work hard on all the climbs and take it easy on the levels and downhills. The Whyte bike has gears which are too low for road use. You soon reach a point where the pedals are spinning too fast to put the power in. I enjoyed my ride and can feel the effects of pushing myself on the hard climbs. I rode some roads which I rarely use nowadays and stopped by a small lake to take some pictures. I recommend the Fartlek method of training because you can work hard when you feel like it and relax when you don’t. All this whilst getting some valuable training done.