Teenage Cancer Trust

A new challenge

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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.

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You know you’ve come a long way when…

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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.

First sportive of 2015

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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.

Stansted flyer midi

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. 

Happy cycling.