Ride London

Don’t forget to…build your strength and cross train.

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In my preparation for the 2nd RideLondon 100 in August I have obviously been putting in the kilometres to shed some weight, and as spring turns into summer then my rides will get longer. This is great and I am starting to see the benefits on and off the bike.

If it was always plain sailing. Hang on when did sailing come into this, if it was all plain cycling is more to the point, even though it may not sound as good. The fact is that with my extending riding, a few niggles have started to appear. A annoying pain from the neck and shoulders moves down my arm. I can get rid of this with sitting up and moving my head etc, but there is a more serious reason why this pain is here, well possibly and probably two.
A bad posture when riding and potentially my upper body not being “bike fit”

Taking these in turn, starting with a poor posture, or riding technique if you will can be a difficult aspect of road cycling to iron out ones self. Unless you are able to ride with a reflection of your position on the bike you will need to get someone to check out your position when riding. When I do this I bye I will have a hunched back. If so this will be the cause of some of the pain and certainly a case of poor posture. I must remember to keep the back straight, relax and lower my shoulders which can be achieved by not gripping the life of the handlebars. This will be the main focus in my mind when I commute in the morning, as well as avoiding the other road users. I probably need to remind myself to ride with my neck out and not disappearing into my shoulders like a turtle.

This morning in the gym I started work on the second possible cause. When your body completes the same type of training over a period of time other muscles may not get the required workout they need to be strong enough to help out. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the gym and worked on some strength work. Seated row, pull down, sit ups and the plank have now been added to my Monday workout, as I am calling it, to build the strength in my back and core, again with the aim to reduce the pain of recent rides. I will find out in a few weeks, hopefully stronger.

There is another option. Since I have had the bike, which is nearly a year now, I have changed shape. I have lost some weight and maybe the set up which I had last year needs some slight adjustment. I was fitted to the bike when I purchased it, so I am sure I won’t be far out, but maybe the seat isn’t at exactly the right height or position or there are some other small problems. The solution is another bike fit. I will try the other options first and if I get no joy here then I will have another fitting.

Oh the joys of cycling and training to be ready for the biggest cycling day of my life come August. But it’ll be worth it, every pedal stroke of the way!

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Why I commute by bike.

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I am lucky in the sense that I work close to where I live and this gives three viable options to get to work. If I am meeting friends I can hop on the train and take the 30 minutes journey and feel sorry for the people who have to travel into London on a daily basis. Then there is the car, which I have to use when transporting anything big to/from work and more importantly to sheet my shirts in for the third and best option the cycle.

In a strait line it is a nice 20 km commute so 40km in a day is a great way to lose the excess weight. With access to a warm shower when I arrive I can organise my time to have a relaxing shower and be ready for the days work. Then it’s a nice commute home knowing I’ve done my exercise.

The great option is now I have been getting quicker I can now extend the commute to and from work and have a number of ways in and out which helps split up the boring same old ride day in day out. As I am training for Ride London later in the year the extra kilometres covered are all very useful in ensuring the training gets done and I am in the best shape possible come August. On a side issue my fundraising page for Ride London can be found here please leave a small donation as this will help the great work Sue Ryder Care do.

The best part of being a cycling commuter is I have improved my fitness and in the process saved money on fuel costs. I hope my insurance will benefit from not driving as many miles when the renewal comes up, but we will see!
As previously mentioned the commute is helping with the training at the moment which certainly helps when you commute 3-4 times a week which is where I hope to get to over the coming weeks. I have days when I feel good and depending upon the road conditions and traffic I am able to get a shift on and have a go at some of the segments on Strava, and other times I just fancy a nice present cycle to work. I am always on the look out for different routes to take, one to break up the commute plus the opportunity to get to see parts of the local area which you can’t when your driving past at 30 mph.

There are some dislikes which every cyclist has, mine being the slippery road conditions when it has been raining, flat tyres are annoying but, reaching out to touch the wooden kitchen table my Gatorskins have done their job and I’ve not had one yet. You watch on the commute next week I’ll be half way with a big puncture. Just my luck! I don’t mind the cold, you can wrap up against that with the correct clothing, and riding in the sun is just lovely, although don’t forget your sun cream as you could easily burn in the sun, which won’t be comfortable for riding.

So what do you need to get started, my tips!
A decent bike would help
Check out your equipment regularly and if your new to cycling then either search out your local bike shop or learn the basis so you can maintain your bike.
Helmet and lights along with a good pair of cycling shorts are ideal for the commute, especially in the mornings when the natural light isn’t at its best.
Invest in a decent lock to ensure you can keep your pride and joy safe. Thankfully I work in a secure site but my lock is a nice heavy duty one which makes a potential their think twice. Spend more than you think you need especially if you are intending to leave your bike at the railway station. The stronger the better.

And my last tip is join Strava! Just so you can keep track of your rides and progress. It’s great fun sharing your rides with other like minded people and seeing how you shape up. You’ll then get the bug, which acts a motivational tool to keep going. The benefits are a fitter you and potentially one which has a new more pounds (sterling) in your pocket (obviously if not in the UK then more of your own currency).

What is stopping you. Go out and make 2104 your year to commute by by lice and feel the health benefits in the process.

Training update and allowing my mind to drift into the future…. The possibilities?????

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It’s going well, very well so far. I might only be in the second week of my training plan but cycling to and from work with a ride on a Sunday is allowing me to hit the numbers for the early weeks. I am also starting to feel the strength come back to my legs I had last year so all is good, especially as the weight is finally starting to fall off as my body adjusts to its new regime.

I have to say I am enjoying the training too. I think this is a vital way to ensure I maintain the levels I will be required to do for August. It Is easy to training when you enjoy putting in the hours. I have to say using the bike as part of the commute to work really helps as the training for these days is complete with me just getting to work and then home again later in the day.

I still need to work on some items and I will share one of these with you. Whilst I fuel my body before a ride in the form of breakfast, but more importantly the food the previous day, I still send to work out what it the best food to eat whilst on the bike. I am a fan of the high 5 gels as they taste nice and come with the caffeine option of your wish, which from what I read are very useful towards the end of a ride.

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I also love the high 5 tabs which you drop into your water bidons as these have the electrolytes which need to be replaced when cycling.

The reason I still need to practice which fuel works do me is last year I think I might have overdone the gel consumption during the London to Brighton night ride. Let’s say I was more than wide awake for the ride and the whole day following the ride and only started to feel slightly tired when I finally got home that evening. I also don’t like fig rolls which are a good source of fuel when cycling. Looks like it’s jelly babies or Haribo for the sugar content or Jaffa Cakes, but it’s the other eagerly types I need to practice with. Well I am going to have plenty of opportunities to get the right mix of fuels for me. We are all individual but I will post what works for me if and when I find out.

I think I could be even more hooked by the bike and cycling is starting to be the main choice of transport, at least in the head, even though it might not be the best option. An example of this is not wanting to reserve something in the well known catalog store here in the UK (the red and blue one) as I can’t collect in store as I want to cycle to work. The item will just have to wait until the day when I use the car again. It was only a bed anyway, it can wait.

If I am going to be regularly cycling 150-250km per month when the training ramps up in the near future, what happens when the events are completed? All this work for 2014 and ride London gets me in hopefully fantastic shape but then what? This has got my mind working, well drifting again. I may need some time off from the charity bike rides, and focus a bit more on the personal challenge. I like the idea of cycling over a number of days from locations within the UK to start, but then entering Europe. The latter will certainly be 2015 at the earliest due to the planning involved for such a journey.

I suppose I should look at completing one of the London to (enter a European capital here) events before I turn 40, which means I have three years left to plan and then execute my plan, however lose they are at the time of writing this post. Whatever the far fetched ideas I have for 2015 and beyond I suppose I better return to the matter of 2104 and very much the present plan and ensuring I am ready for RideLondon come August. Right in that case it’s off to bed to get the legs ready for the cycle to work in the morning.

Thank you for reading.

Back cycling to work… and home again (with a full days work in between just to add!)

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Yesterday I decided I was going to start cycling to work, lights checks and all working, a change of clothes already in work waiting and the items required for a nice shower once I arrived. The ability to get some training in whilst travelling to work, plus I can do some later as I have to get home. I don’t class myself as a fair weather cyclist but the winter months have played havoc with the road and this year there seem to be more pot holes and cracks in the road. Well I say pot holes more like the metal drain cover is still there but the tarmac around it has been washed away. Literally in some cases! However now the weather seems to be on the turn the council can start fixing the roads and I can use the lighter mornings to cycle in a slightly more safer environment to work. Training on the road is far better than training in the gym, if nothing else so the rides completed on Strava can count towards challenges rather than just the MTS (Monthly Training Series).

I have not cycled to work for about 6 months so it was nice to get back in the saddle early in the morning. As the regular reader (all 2 of them!) will know this week I have started my training seriously for Ride London and any other sportive which takes my fancy before then too. The fact I can complete part of my training just getting to and from work is an added bonus and gives more time for other activities in the day apart from work. And it felt good! I managed the 20km in 43.11 (average speed 27.8kph) and I could have gone faster as I am sure the legs had more to give. I also lost about two minutes on a very busy roundabout, but better to be safe than dead! I have said in previous posts I wanted to get some shorter rides in at a higher pace to build up the power and fitness which will help on the longer rides and this was just the start. When I uploaded the activity I was rewarded with three PB which gave me an extra spring to my step, so as you can probably tell Tuesday is a good day, just because I can cycle to work and feel the benefits. This is why more people should do it, just think of the money you could save on the fuel and the health benefits cycling will bring to you.

The ride home was a far more gentle ride and I was not going to smash any records here. a gentle 25.6 kph was the average speed. I think the body was feeling the effects of a busy day plus a good paced ride in the morning. On reflection I didn’t fuel the body very well today either, which doesn’t help a quick burst of energy. I must ensure I have a good breakfast from the canteen on arrival in the future.  Anyway soon into the ride I knew that is had to be an easy pace so took the opportunity to  take in the lovely countryside views which we are blessed with in the south of England.

The joy of cycling had never really gone anywhere but today I dusted it down from winter hibernation. The cycle commute is back. Yes!

Getting there!

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The weather was lovely this weekend and just ideal for a cycle, so I have done just that. In the last four days I have ridden a total of 93.5 km which is ideal to kick start my training for Ride London later in the year. Last week I achieved my weekly goal of cycling 80 km mainly helped by the work on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I will say that of the 93.5km cycled 39.5 has been in the gym and the rest on the road, so prober cycling. However the result will be a fitter me and km in the legs for later in the year.

I didn’t write this post yesterday as I was a little disappointed with a 10 mile TT which a friend of mine had set up. We both had a goal of achieving this in sub 35 minutes and unfortunately I was 29 seconds over. I am sure next time I will achieve the sub 35 minutes goal. However I need to take heart from the fact the ride yesterday the ride had a number of PB’s on segments which I have to take heart from. A PB is a PB after all.

I am also glad I didn’t post this when feeling down and took the opportunity to look at one of the segments from my Saturday ride. There was a segment which I had set a goal of completing in 9m30s and actually completed this in 8m39s. This cheered me up as to take 51 seconds of this time is a real achievement. So on reflection I am happy with this. I must remember in the grand scheme of things I am only battling against myself and my times. If I keep achieving PB’s then I know I am improving.

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I aim to increase the km ridden each week from now as the training plan kicks in. Cycling to work will certainly help. In the past I have looked for an average speed on rides of 25kph which is 4 hours for 100km and 6 hours for 150km and just under 6.5 hours for the big 160km (100 miles). I do think I might need to increase the speed for the shorter training rides as this will help my training. If I can get some 30-50 km rides in at 27-29kph and then up to 30kph this should be able to enable me to complete the longer rides at a good average speed.

Well the weather is grand so far this week so let’s start cycling to work. As a famous supermarket has as it’s slogan “Every Little Helps”. If only I could earn the relevant points on that supermarkets loyalty card for every km ridden. Now there’s an idea for another blog.

Ready for 100 miles. In eight weeks I will be!

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From the previous post you will know I now have a Garmin Edge 200 to assist with the training rides for #RideLondon. One of the benefits of having a Garmin Account for recording workouts is you have access to a wealth of training assistance. The plan below was created by Robby Ketchell who knows his stuff from is work with Team Garmin-Sharp, yes the pro team of David Millar!

ROBBY KETCHELL

Robby Ketchell is the Director of Sport Science for Team Garmin-Sharp. He is responsible for aerodynamics, equipment, technology, nutrition, biomechanics, data analytics and human performance. Told you he knows his stuff!

Well this is the plan I will be following for the next eight weeks to ensure I am ready for the big one come August. Yes I am starting early but If I can get into shape come May, then I can complete a few sportive’s to ensure I am fully ready for August!

Robby states “The purpose of this training program is to gradually increase your mileage over 8 weeks to achieve completing a Century ride. By increasing the distance gradually, you will build the fitness needed, avoid injury, and prevent over-training.

To start, count back from the date of your Century 8 weeks and use the following program as a guideline for managing your mileage and efforts. This program assumes that you are starting with the ability and fitness to complete a 25 mile ride. If you are not beginning at this level, consider reducing your goal to a half century”.

The training plan is outlines below on a weekly basis.

Week 1: The total amount of miles to complete this week is 60 miles with the furthest ride being 25 miles long. This week, you should complete 4 total rides, giving you 3 days of recovery. The first two rides should be 12 miles long, the third 25 miles, and the fourth 11 miles. You can use the recovery days for this week and any other week moving forward to spread out the rides appropriately given your schedule. The intensity this week should be very low (at the level that you can still carry out a conversation while riding) and you should avoid big climbs.

Week 2: The total amount of miles to complete in week 2 is 75 while doing a maximum distance ride of 35 miles in one day. The mileage for each of the 4 days of riding is: 10, 20, 35, and 10 miles respectively. Again, use your rest days wisely to make sure you don’t push yourself too hard during the second week of this program. The intensity should be similar to week 1 but allowing you to increase your intensity above week 1’s on any hills that you encounter.

Week 3: The total mileage for week 3 is 95 miles with a big ride of 40 miles. Rides for this week are: 20, 25, 40, and 10 miles. Intensity should not increase from week 3 and you should pace yourself on this week’s long ride. It is important to make sure you are eating food regularly now that your distance is increasing.

Week 4: This week’s mileage increases to 105 miles with the biggest ride at 50 miles. Again, this week you will ride for 4 days including 15, 20, 50, and 20 mile rides. Once again, keep the intensity low and especially manage your pace on the longest day of the week.

Week 5: Now the distance is starting to increase beyond a half century, you should be considering the weather and time of day that you are leaving for your rides. Make sure to carry the right clothing with you if it looks like it is going to get cooler as the ride goes on or if rain is likely. Also, if the sun is setting early, make sure you are wearing the appropriate reflective clothing. The maximum one-day distance ride for this week is 60 miles, making a total of 125 miles for the week. These rides should be 20, 30, 60 and 15 miles long. Intensity this week can increase as you feel comfortable, but remember that the main goal is to complete the distances, not to do them fast.

Week 6: This is both the longest total distance week and the furthest single day ride that you will do to prepare for a Century. The longest ride is 70 miles long, and the total distance for the week is 135 miles. These rides are 20, 30, 70, and 15 miles long. Remember to use your rest days to help recover from each workout. Once this week is completed, you should feel confident that after a week of tapering you can complete a Century.

Week 7: This week has less miles than last week for a reason – you are giving your body some rest before you complete your Century. The longest ride should not exceed 55 miles and you should not complete any more than 70 miles for the week.

Week 8: Century! For me I will either complete the London to Brighton Night Ride aiming sub 4 hours for the 60 miles or the Dunwich Dynamo which again at night is double the distance at 120 miles. Yet to be decided!

If at any time during this program you have an injury or feel over fatigued, you should back the mileage off to your needs. Never push through a training program just to complete it and make sure that your general health is the main priority.

So as you can see this will be my riding plan for the next eight weeks. I plan to complete the distances with riding to/from work again which is what I have done in the past with the Sunday ride being the long ride. I will also use the gym to ensure the miles are completed as this has to be the main goal here.

Right less blogging and more cycling!

2014 a clash what should I do part 2

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A few months ago I blogged about a clash with the Dunwich Dynamo and the third London to Brighton night ride, both happening of the weekend of 12/13 July this year. This is of course 4 weeks before I will be cycling in the second RideLondon-Surrey 100.

In the first blog I suggested the more sensible plan would be to complete the “dun run” as this would be the longest ride I have ever completed and therefore would put me in tip top condition for the August ride of my life.

Well I am still undecided and have now started to think a stab at getting the #l2b ride close to 4 hours as possible would be a good test of how the training has gone. I know I can complete the distance, having done the ride twice before but this year with better lights, spare batteries and the target of posting a sub four hour time could just be the ticket for getting me through the 100 miles the following month. After all 60 miles will come at the right time in the training and would be ideal preparation I am starting to think. Another thing is if I can ride 60 miles in 4 hours I have a good chance of riding 100 in about 6 hours 27 minutes which on last years times would put me nicely in the middle of the pack, well in the top 70% and I’d take that!

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As you can see from the info graphic last year the average time for men was about 6 hours. This is a good pace and certainly a goal to work towards. Completing #l2b in under four will give me an outside chance of hitting the average from 2013. As previously mentioned first time out the goal has to be to complete, raise the required target for Sue Ryder and then a good time if possible would be the priority.

Whatever the final decisions, which need to be made, the fact is it all has to be about what would be best for the final prepeations fior August. I now have some idea of what the pro teams have to do to get their riders in form for the grand tours and other events throughout the season. The training plan leans towards #l2b as the shorter ride which will act as a final conditioning ride for the big one come August. However lets see!  Any advice is greatfully recieved. What are other #RideLondon cyclist planning on doing?