Stage 3 completed and 306 miles under our belts, a total of 24633' of cumulative ascent over the tour so far so tomorrow is comfortably going to take us past the height of Mount Everest barrier that I strongly suspected that we would reach on this four day tour.
Once again today has been very tough going with relentless sequential elevation gain and loss, often on poor roads, and always into a headwind with intermittent rain throughout, very testing indeed.
At about the half way point, as you can see in the second photo above, we completed our rendezvous with Scott's wife Michelle which was great and we rode to the stage end together through some truly spectacular moorland scenery which, on a good day, would have been some of the finest riding countryside I have seen. Unfortunately on this occasion the weather was unkind.
Delighted to report that having switched the auto-pause off on the Garmin 705 the data extraction went without a hitch so that's certainly a lesson learned for the future. The data itself is interesting and illustrates well how repeated very hard days of riding have an impact on your ability to sustain normal power outputs and how this inability results in lower average heart rate values as the legs are simply unable to do the work to make the usual demands on the cardiovascular system. A common mistake people make on multi-day event is to see a falling average HR and to interpret this as an improvement in fitness, it is no such thing, it represents rising fatigue. This distinction becomes very obvious when a power meter is in use.
Based on the above I'll certainly be keeping my wattages down on the first few days of the "Leading The Tour" ride and hopefully this will prevent any really drastic fall off in my available power output as the ride progresses. No doubt at all that this has been a tougher outing that the Tour of Ireland ride last year as there was such a huge advantage to be gained on that ride from draughting in a large group, also been a heck of a lot cheaper and the scenery has been better!
My first experience of the Skins cycling specific clothing today was extremely positive. The initial impression is one of the clothes feeling "different" from the usual clothing simply because they are closer fitting. I quickly got used to this and I very much liked the lack of flapping of clothing and I found them very comfortable indeed. Of particular note, on the long sleeved jersey I was wearing, was how incredibly quickly it dried after a rain shower, almost within a few minutes. Temperatures permitting I think I shall soon be dispensing with carrying a rain jacket in all but the worst of conditions and safe in the knowledge that if it does rain I'll dry extremely quickly and just use the very lightweight and close fitting gillet to keep warm. Remember, close fitting clothing also saves precious watts :-)
Forecast for tomorrow, unbelievably, looks like another headwind, we simply couldn't have scripted this but no matter what this has been and still is an extremely worthwhile and memorable experience, a super ride.
Ride Time: 06:15 hh:mm
Work Done: 4115kJ
Training Stress Score: 313.7
Intensity Factor: 0.708
Normalised Power: 216W
Variability Index: 1.18
Ride Distance: 97.25 miles
Cumulative Tour Distance: 306.35 miles
Elevation Gain: 6682 feet
Cumulative Tour Elevation Gain: 24633 feet
Maximum Power: 620W
Average Power: 183W
Average Heart Rate: 132bpm
Average Speed: 15.6mph
Acute Training Load: 173.6
Chronic Training Load: 111.2
Training Stress Balance: -49.8