Well, Stage 1 of the Tour du Nord is done and quite a stage it has been. A crossing of The Pennines is a challenge at the best of times but Scott and I were today not only faced with all the hills but a very strong gusting headwind for the majority of the 100 miles of the stage, this was tough indeed. The constant ups and downs of the ride are very different to the long climbs in Europe which I find suit me far better as one can get into a far better rhythm.

As you can see from the data below we racked up a huge TSS score today, this was only about 30 points short of the total I recorded in La Marmotte last year and approaching 10,000 feet of ascent is never going to be fun, even without the wind.

Anyway, we ploughed on and I was grateful to Scott for breaking wind on the front, keeping the wind off me that is! ;-) We finally arrived in Brough mid afternoon tired but very pleased. The hotel we are staying in provided a simple but excellent 3 course meal for the amazing sum of £7:50 which it would be very hard to beat. The rooms are very clean and comfortable, I'm not quite sure why Scott has a room with a four poster bed and I'm not about to start asking ;-)

Tomorrow is another very challenging day and I reckon I'm going to end up walking up part of a couple of the climbs in the Lake District as I haven't had my compact chainset re-fitted yet but I'm not worried about that, I just want to do my best and that's good enough for me. We are meeting up with a guy called Nicholas who is riding part of the stage with us so Scott and Nic can have a chat at the top of the climbs whilst I make my way up :-)

It's all about recovery now and I'm going to be wearing my Skins recovery clothing overnight which I find enormously helpful. More on this later but to cut a long story short I am delighted to say that I am being generously supported by Skins for my Tour de France ride which came as a bolt out of the blue for me a little while back. I was approached by some great guys at a company called 1000Heads who are working with Skins and a working relationship developed from there. The plan is that I am being provided with Skins cycling and recovery clothing which I am going to be using in the run up to the Tour de France ride and for the ride itself.

I will be testing the gear out and writing up my impression which will, you can be assured, be completely transparent and honest, that's how both I and Skins work. Basically if the gear is no good I'll be saying so, at the request of both Skins themselves and 1000Heads. This link-up came about as a result of my having already selected and started using Skins recovery gear a while back as readers of this blog will already know. I'm looking forward to the trial of the gear.

Stage photos above, from top to bottom:

The start on the coast at Alnmouth.
The stone heads at Wallington Hall.
The bottom of the climb from Edmondbyers.

Ride Data:
Ride Time: 06:39 hh:mm
Work Done: 4790kJ
Training Stress Score: 425
Intensity Factor: 0.8
Normalised Power: 244W
Variability Index: 1.22
Ride Distance: 101.2 miles
Cumulative Tour Distance: 101.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 9451 feet
Cumulative Tour Elevation Gain: 9451 feet
Maximum Power: 654W
Average Power: 200W
Average Heart Rate: 138bpm
Average Speed: 15.2mph
Acute Training Load: 125.6
Chronic Training Load: 99.1
Training Stress Balance: 2.9