Fitness is specific. Someone who is fit for 100m sprinting won't be fit for marathon running. Less obviously, a top classics rider won't be fit for GC contention in a grand tour. Unless they are Eddy Merckx. I thought I understood this concept well enough but I had a rude reminder as to how specific fitness is this weekend when I turned out on the teacake ride for the first time in months.
The teacake is Rutland CC's Saturday morning road ride into the Peak District. It's a fast ride by my standards and almost always includes a tear up on the climb through the small village of Cressbrook.
I have been getting out regularly this winter; doing about 200 miles most weeks including a long, steady ride of 60-70 miles most weekends. I considered myself 'bike fit'. Until Saturday morning.
I noticed how many people had no mudflap and I didn't want to take a gamble and end up sitting on one of those wheels so I accepted an invitation from T to ride on the front. It was windy so the going was tougher than it might have been if I'd declined the invitation. While I'm looking for excuses, my winter bike, weighing in at nearly 30 pounds, didn't help either. The same inconsiderate buggers who had no mudflaps were on skimpy summer bikes with clip on mudguards.
I'm not deluding myself though - it was the pace that did me. It started fast and got faster until my legs came apart on Cressbrook where I had to settle into my own rhythm and surrender any ideas I had of hanging in with the fast lads.
I'm sure that if I had some of the class of any of the those who have answered Mamnick's 'local rider' questions, my steady miles fitness would have been enough to see me through the ride unscathed. But I don't. So I am left with sore legs and a lesson learnt.
The lesson isn't all bad though. I might not be 'any kind of ride' bike fit, but I am 'my kind of ride' bike fit thanks to the specificity of fitness. I'll take that. Along with a kicking on the occasions I'm daft enough to turn out on the teacake.