A blog about cycling...especially the long distance stuff

Sunday, 25 March 2012

The Cyclists Marathon

100 miles is loosely considered "the cyclists marathon" - and this weekend it was time to give it a crack. The weather for riding was outstanding; almost no wind, clear skys and mild enough temperatures. I set out south towards the coast, more or less following the traditional London - Brighton route.

I made great progress heading out of town and for once was careful to keep my speed down, knowing that it was going to be a long day. I had no trouble at all getting to the coast and the only hard bit was the steep Ditchling Beacon. Some nice camaraderie there when I ran into a few friendly riders also puffing their way up. One guy commented "your doing well to get up here on that thing" (referring to my bike).

I rolled down to the beach for lunch bang on 1pm and had about an hour there sitting in the gravel watching the crowds build...first warm days of the year and Brighton goes a bit silly...though nothing like last year @ easter when I biked there one way:

Where's wally?

Anyway, heading back north I went up the main road for a while before diverting to quieter side roads. There was one wonderful section of supposed "road works" that had an entire section of country road closed off with not a road worker in site, and no one to stop me cycling through it. Tiredness kicked in around 110 km and any uphill sections felt especially rough. Just had to push on through it, and as the m25 got closer and closer, I knew I wouldn't quit once I was past that so just kept peddling...eventually something of a second wind kicked in.

Past the m25 marking the London border and onto the home stretch and was delighted to see the odometer reading 171km as I pulled up to the house, an awesome ride!

Today, just a short 30km recovery ride down to Dom's birthday drinks and nice to meet some of his friends, including another Dom who rode the same challenge to John O'Groats and had some very good advice to share. On the way another friendly rider stuck with me for a while to chat, and he too commented "your doing well on that old thing" - PAH how DARE he - poor Bianca (my bike - yes it has a girls name I'm afraid) may be looking a little worse for wear but she's never let me down! Point taken though, she has been quite creaky and is overdue a proper servicing.

I've got her booked in this week as a treat.

All up, a 300km training week and my best yet. My muscles are feeling ok and I have noted all the small niggles from a long ride that I'll need to stay ontop of for 10 days at a similar distance for the actual challenge. Till next week!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Pub quiz help! Oh and yet more training...

My biggest news right now is a shift to the start date, which was on the cards after working a couple of 7 day weeks a while back that killed any training plans. So I’ll now be underway just after the June bank holiday which now ties in with my work thank goodness. A BIG thank you to everyone who has donated, shared the link, said kinds words, or said abusive words that have nonetheless inspired me.

I now need a hand organising a pub quiz night and if any of you reading this have experience of doing this, or better still can help, please drop me a line! The first thing I need right now is a suitable central London venue.

In the meantime, at the moment it’s all about training, training and more training…apologies if this bores the pants off you, look away now if it does…

Last week was not a bad week just past. I got out for 1 medium sized ride before work one morning, and one long weekend ride across Hampshire along with my usual smattering of commute rides. For the long one, I rode down the A30 south west which was quite good riding once I’d got out of London (though that seemed to take for ever). Weather was quite good for riding, despite the odd heavy shower, but there was very little wind and it was nice and mild. It ended up being a bit under 100km with no major hills and I made it good time, probably need to slow down more still in fact.

I’d love to do some more riding around the country lanes down there and may well make a special trip to do so. The ride had the added bonus of a reward of an amazing dinner with friends at The Pot Kiln where my wife and I were treated to venison and a lovely Cotswold lager that I wish I could remember the name of…

As a result of staying up late and catching up with friends, I was feeling a little worse for wear the next day and didn’t get in a second long weekend ride…the best I could manage was 30km and that left me about 40 short of where I’d wanted to be by the end of the week. As a result, have been putting in some extra miles this week and managed to get up at 6am today and do a 45km circuit before work.

This coming weekend I'm planning on doing a really big ride on Saturday, and hoping this mild weather plays ball for it...time to have a go at 150km+ - bring it on!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

A beautiful mind

Back in the saddle today at last! I had the morning off work at least, and took full advantage of the great weather, heading south and over the North Downs hills before turning west and heading past Dorking, back over the North Downs, and back into London. Today was the best weather I've had all year and it was a such a nice change riding in semi-warm conditions.

Also with the help of my wife, (it was fiddly) I'd finally fitted a new pair of Specialized SPD shoes and what a difference it makes being able to pull up on the pedal stroke. Especially up hills. I'd ridden with them before years ago but forgotten how much extra power you can get, and they should also help reduce the chances of tendon problems as well.

So it was 109km today and the my first triple figures ride for 3 weeks. I'll aim for a longer midweek ride before work one morning if it stays this warm. The target for this months is 1000km and that's going to be frankly bloody hard. Lost 2 weeks with work.

Last night my wife and I watched an excellent film: A Beautiful Mind If you haven't seen it, stop reading this now as I'm about to spoil it!

The movie is about a brilliant mathematician who struggles to cope in social situations and who slowly spirals downhill with hallucinations from schizophrenia. The great thing about this film is that it touches on a taboo subject that Hollywood films don't normally dare go near - at least not from the first persons perspective. Whilst in true Hollywood style its far from being factually accurate, and the main characters experiences are probably far less frightening than what many may experience - its enough to get your attention and enough to think about how tough it could be both for the person with an illness and those close to them, trying to understand whats going on.

John Forbes Nash
whom the film is based on, was also very fortunate to have opportunities in life that many people with a mental illness don't get, and so this also was something of a feel good film.

But watch it, its beautifully done - Russell Crowe totally surprised me with his portrayal of schizophrenia, and the point of the film is a good one. I was very moved.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Thank you for donating! And adult babies...

A big big thank you to everyone who has shared the link to this blog, given words of encouragement, and best of all donated to these causes. I hope karma comes your way in great quantities! It took a while to get off the mark but am underway at last and so far have collected....

....Hang on, this is better presented by an adult baby*:

Dom Pardy Trust: £120.00
Rethink: £223:50

Still a rather long way to go on the £2000 target but am glad to be off the dreaded duck...

As for training, well this turned out to be a demoralising week again in terms of training. I found myself at work well beyond midnight every night and in the weekend too- so not a single long ride achieved. Just peddling home at 3am was hard enough, and didn’t manage to do that every night either. Whilst this puts a big dent in momentum, I’m still confident I’ll be able to make up for it at some point…even if it means delaying my start date by a few weeks. Thankfully the planned start date was late spring so maybe I can move that...will see what happens.

So I just need to stick out this period and do enough riding to stop the fitness falling too far…am going to make myself ride no matter how late I finish work!

On the whole, February was nearly on target:

I was aiming for about 800 and 1 weekend off pretty much killed that, but 650km is OK and will just try to add to that in March.

*Markus if you are reading this, I want to get you one of these suits