Its been a while since my last post. The last post also seems quite apt as this weekend its the 100th edition of Ronde Van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) and this time tomorrow I will be crossing the channel en-route to Belgium to sign on and prepare for the cobbles and climbs which await us on Saturday. I will try and post an entry on Saturday evening after 129km of pain but we will see! At least to least I will be able to watch how the cobbled climbs should be done on the Sunday when the men and women pro races take place.
Why? Why indeed cycle and be involved in these mass cycling events. Well first up its to raise vital funds for Blind Veterans UK as these men and women have literally given everything to keep us the public as safe as possible from those who wish to cause us harm. And on a personal note as a cyclist what an achievement to say, yes I’ve done that!
Whist I will not be participating in my new Blind Veterans UK jersey (the dust and dirt wont come out and it is required for Ride London) I will be flying the flag for my fundraising on the Sunday. I am to get as many photo opportunities as possible to help. After all this weekend is just 129km of the overall 10000km for the year!
As I said earlier there are more challenges to come over the summer months to help me achieve my overall goal.
March, on the bike has been kind, with a good week training on Mallorca. was he first time I had cycled more than 3 days consecutively and I managed to cycle 621km with over 6000m of climbing. The toughest day was day 3, Sa Collabra. 18 minutes to descend and over an hour to climb back but worth every peddle stroke. We were based in Peurto Pollensa so get to tackle Sa Collabra you first have to climb Lluc. The whole day was 2000m of climbing Sa Collobra was just under half of the days total.
Other climbs covered in the week were Randa and the Coll d’Honor. I can say I was not last to complete a climb and on one occasion I actually was the first up. Ok yes it was a short one at 5.9km with an average gradient of only 6%, but its technical and still has to be climbed.
Overall the week was a fantastic experience and one I cant wait to repeat. The quality of the road surface for one is excellent as well as the weather. next I suppose is one day to complete the 312 which is a ride around the whole island 312km in 14 hours.
The overall total for the year so far is 2941Km so ahead of schedule. Now time to back the bags for the Flemish weather.
You can support Phil reach and exceed his £450 fundraising target for Blind Veterans UK at his just giving page, www.justgiving.com/philcycles10000kmin2016 #philcycles10000kmin2016
My challenge #philcycles10000kmin2016 is going well as I have now completed just over 1400km in 6 weeks. I am now in a position to announce the charity which I will be raising money for this year. I have decided to raise money for Blind Veterans UK and you can help me achieve my target https://www.justgiving.com/account/your-pages/Philcycles10000kmin2016.
I was listening to a story on the radio whilst on the way to a meeting the other week and heard the story of Shaun Stocker who in 2009in the last six days of a tour of Afganistan hit and IED. As a result he lost limbs and vision. However thanks to phenomenal medical procedures he was able to have his sperm frozen to allow him to have children later in life. On Christmas Day his son Theo was born. This story really hit me and this is one of the reasons why I have chosen to work with Blind Veterans UK so they can help people like Shaun who have given so much for this country.
More on my fundraising effort as well as the challenge update to follow in the coming weeks.
Today we are 12 days into 2016 and I am taking a well earned rest day from the bike today. Tomorrow is another ride, probably with the club on the midweek ride and then a 4 hours ride on Friday.
316km down so just a big 9684km to go! However the best way to look at this is the target is need to have completed so far is 328.8km by the end of today. This means I am minus 12.8km but there is a big day in the saddle tomorrow again on Friday and a club ride on Sunday, so I am on track as it stands.
The fundraising arrangements are coming along and hope to have these finalised by the end of the month and then I can start the second part of the challenge, raising money for good causes.
You can follow my progress on Strava here #philcycles10000kmin2016
I have decided to changed the hashtag to include the word “cycles” as this is the main part of the challenge. so the full hashtag is now #philcycles10000kmin2016. Today was a day like many to follow where there is just enough time for a ride as well as get to the other commitments and appointments so just 34.1 km covered. This however brings me to 150km completed and slightly above schedule, so a good start. From my calculations the target after five days was 137km,so just a small credit.
Today was not all plain sailing. I managed to pick up my first puncture on the new Giant Defy provided the opportunity to have the winter Continental 4 season tyres fitted for much better winter riding. They say tomorrow is another day and will be and if the tyres are as good as the reviews then I will be a happy man.
I have been asked what the point of this challenge is. Each ride isn’t going to be groundbreaking in terms of distance, elevation or speed, but the mental effort to keep going for a year to achieve a distance I have just covered in the last three! I will of course be attempting to raise valuable funds for charity and I have a few areas to tie up before launching a fundraising page, but more news on this in the coming weeks.
Well that is it for now, happy riding!
2016 could, no most probably will be the year that the world endurance cycle record finally goes as Bruce Berkley attempts to cycle 330km a day to enter the record books. More about his attempt can be read here.
As we approach the end of the year and the time where we reflect upon the past 12 months and having a week of the bike it was a good time for me to reflect on the past year. So far, according to Strava, I have cycled 5668km in 2015, taking in Ride London, Tour of Cambridgeshire and other Sportives, plus a trip to the Yorkshire Dales and Trough of Bowland, as well as officially joining a cycling club.
So as Bruce will be attempting a phenomenal effort to cycle 330km a day and if I could do that in a week it would be a grand effort, I started to think about the distance I could travel in 2016. There are advantages, the extra day will help as its a leap year, and I am completing the same Sportives as major events, plus I will be attending a pre season training camp in Mallorca in March so plenty of opportunities to get the miles in. The question is what to have as a target? If I have cycled nearly 6000km, then I think a conservative, but challenging target should be 10,000km in a year. This would average 192.3km a week which is quite an effort, so I would need to commute to work on the bike as much as possible. Or a more modest 27.39km each day for 365 days, so giving myself one whole day off in the year, well in 2016 anyway. When you put it like that 27.4km a day then yes it sound possible.
So when to start, and what motivational tools to help. Strava has to be a way to keep track of the progress for the year. It does it anyway so doesn’t need any special setting up. Now to set up my rules. All rides would have to be out on the road, not on a trainer or in the gym, otherwise the challenge distance would be too easy. They would also be on my two new bikes as well as this would be a fantastic way to get to use them in the first year of their life. Therefore all rides would need to be recorded in Strava. Then come the motivational part, Stravas challenges. These themselves are hard, but with an overall distance goal in mind for the year might become a little more achievable on a regular basis. If I have to ride 834km each month, which will be a challenge in the cold winter months of January and February, then aiming for the distance challenges in the summer months could be a valuable catch up opportunity if it was required, or spinning this around a chance to get ahead and enjoy the longer summer days.
Why do this in the first place? And who would benefit, apart from me with improved fitness. This brings in another motivational tool and the opportunity with this to raise money for charity. Again I will be raising money for Tennage Cancer Trust, with cycling Ride London, but the 10000km in a year could be an other opportunity to raise some valuable funds for a great charity. This part is still to be finalised and emails need to be send to officially set this up.
So the 2016 challenge has been set. I will make more of an effort to update via the blog about my progress. So this just leaves me to wish you all a happy new year and I hope 2016 us a positive year for you all.
For many cycling or any other activity we do to keep fit or for enjoyment of a physical nature, we can normally see improvements over time. There are people out there who just go by the feel of a particular ride or run and those at the other end who analyse every last detail aided by a range of technology measuring, well everything. For me, there is no one better method, and it is personal preference, and I know where I sit along the line, somewhere closer to the analyse everything end than using pure “feel”.
I know I have improved when I look at my data, but that is not the purpose of this post. As part of my career I have used reflection to improve my own performance (as many others do) and this has been transferred to my cycling. I reflected on the club ride yesterday and the first ever club ride I completed back in March. First yesterday was a higher group, so the first baromitor of any improvement. When I reflect upon the first ride when I was not fit enough and I could not close the gap which had developed, and yesterday when I was leading a large peloton of 17 riders at a much higher speed, is the second. I didn’t think I would be in such a position. Maybe the club secretary was right in his statement I could be in the second group by September! These improvements are backed up with the data (on Strava), but the improved confidence of riding within a group, and leading them is another sign of my improvement as well as others having the belief in my abilities to do the job.
Confidence. I now have this, and back myself, and I will even try a TT before the end of the season. TT bars have been aquired from a friend (who joined the club ride for the first time yesterday and loved it). I have ridden the TT course so know what to expect but not yet with the TT bars which will, I am sure aid my goal towards a PB. The think here is just having a go. If I come last, so be it, but for me a TT is just about being able to beat my own time over a period of weeks.
The improvements I have seen in 2015 will keep me more motivated during the winter months when on the trainer and then come the spring knowing a good winter training programme has followed a good summer, will allow an increase in confidence for the summer of 2016, and pushing those boundaries further. The only problem with this is the requirement for another new bike which I suppose is never a bad thing!
This is all good of course for the main event which is just under a month away, Prudential Ride London raising fantastic funds for Teenage Cancer Trust. My link is here if you can help in any way to reach my target.
Whatever works for you, is what you should use, and enjoy it, unless your a pro cyclist and they get paid for their hurt, however we feel great when we can see ourselves improve and for that I just love Strava!
Happy riding, enjoy the ride.
Again in 2015 I will be completing the Prudential RideLondon , but this time for Teenage Cancer Trust. This is a fantastic charity and I hope to be able to do all I can to help teenagers and young people, and their families who are dealing with cancer. As I work with teenagers on a daily basis and I get to see first hand how great they can be at a wide range of problems and solutions it feels right to be helping such a great charity. You can help me and them from my fundrasing link here.
So with a centry planned for early August (this year lets hope the rain keeps away so the organisers dont have to cut short the route) I decided to get an early season sportive into my legs and assess the results.
I originally signed up for the full 101 mile route but I am glad I opted for the slightly less 73 mile route insted. If it was later in the seson or the preperation had been better then the 101 would be on. Also I had the option of rideing with a collegeue from work and as we experienced head and cross winds for most of the ride I was glad I opted for the middle distance. It was a nice warm day and ill take the ave moving time 4.42.46 for the 73 miles.
What would I change?
before I reflect on this I need to remind myself, as well as inform the reader, that May is near the start of the long training rides for August. Yes I am cycling in club rides and the commute to work, but these are not the long rides to help with thr endurance, although they will help. Overall it was a good test of where I am at fitness wise etc.
So the answer to the question is…
I would change or rediscover the feeding whilst in the ride. The energy sources from high five is great and I dropped a few zero tabs in for good measure due to the heat, but I think I would pop a few more in my pockets for the refill at feed stations. I also need to get used to when I need to take a gel and how often, something I will have to practice on club rides.
I also would benefit from being able to switch off the wind, as this was a nightmare as it normally is but as I can’t I need to go back to the article about how to ride well in the wind. Saying that is was difficult when there was just the two of us. I do much prefer cycling in a group as it works together, but this is a luxury reserved for club rides.
Apart from these few changes I feel ok for 118.2km without the ideal about of winter and pre season training. Now to get my gear ready for the commute in the morning.