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Learning how to eat.

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It may seem a strange thing to say, but at the age I have reached (mid to late thirties) I need to return to mastering a skill which we are born with, feeding. The main difference is when you are first born into this world you are totally reliant on your mother or father for your food. You cry and they feed you and if that doesn’t work change your nappy. As you grow and get older you learn how to feed yourself and where the biscuit tin is kept, plus how to get in and out of the cupboard without anyone else finding out!

So why an I writing a blog about eating again or feeding myself. Thankfully I have not had an accident which has left me having to re teach myself the basic human functions, far from it, I need to learn how and more importantly when to feed my body when put in the bike. I will say the distances are starting to come along nicely as is the average speed for the rides, but as I am required to complete longer rides I need to gain confidence in what and when to eat whilst out riding.

In the past I have used gels and tabs from high 5. The gels taste nice which certainly helps and the tabs contain vital electrolytes, as well as having a pleasant taste (berry and orange have been tried) I need to start to work out the best time to take in board food so I can allow my body to cope with the extra training it will be put through and so that I don’t increase the chance of an injury.

I have read a few articles and blogs on getting your food right pre, during and post ride. I have to say I am a fan of wheatabix or whichever supermarket version I have in at the time as my pre ride breakfast. However it is the feeding whilst riding which is the area which requires improvement. Having practices with gels from high 5 I know they are good stuff and my body is able to cope with them. I feel there is now need to change the brand, it’s just the timing of when to take in board the fuel so my body doesn’t suffer. The key hear is to get the fuel on board before your body needs it so you don’t lose any performance on the bike. My issue to work out is just when. This morning we went out for a nice 48 km ride and I only used the tabs for energy (still need to lose some weight). Any ride longer than this and I will need to carry fuel and take it on board so I can keep up the good work. I feel comfortable riding up to 60 km at quite a good pace (for me between 25-28kph) but fuel will be required if I am going to complete another 100km on top of this in a good time.

My plan will be to try and learn to take more frequent sips from the bidon rather than an larger gulp of the liquid the said bidon contains, in order to keep the speed up whilst riding. Taking in fuel so far has resulted in the speed falling away and having to work very hard to catch up with any fellow riders or group. This defeats the object of taking on more fuel to go for longer.

After a ride I am normally quite good at taking on a good meal which will contain the right stuff to aid the bodies recovery. Pre and post ride is sorted, now let’s get the feeding whilst on the ride itself cracked before the summer.

The fact of the matter is I must practice taking in food whilst on a bike riding. It will take time and this is one thing you need to practice as we are all individual so therefore will require fuel at different times. Saying that it is only learning to eat again, and I have done this once before in life, so can do it again. Just this time I’ll be on a bike and not wearing nappies! >

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Requests

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The other day I received a lovely request via Twitter to promote an event by retweeting the original tweet. I was happy to do this after checking out the event which was being sponsored by TescoBank. Unfortunately I will not be able to take part but good luck to all those who are and I hope you all raise loads of money for such a good cause.

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I was surprised that such a request had come to little old me as the twitter account doesn’t have many followers, but maybe it is a sign that others see the blog and twitter account as something worth following. If this is the case then great. Chuffed to bits I am!

I try just to write things that are interesting and. I know that some of it has been useful to other people and then the blog has met its objective. If the blog grows organically then fantastic but if not and it remains a very small niche then that is great.

Thank you for the lovely people who have read the blog and the tweets and have left their comments. They are appreciated.

The story of a (very) bad Apple

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We all love our technology and gadgets. From the smart phone to communicate (wanted or not) 24hours a day, 365 days a year, recording our very run, ride, tweet, blog update (to catch up with inthepeloton) just to check the weather etc the technology at our finger tips makes live a lot easier, or we have the excuse to be more lazy depending upon your point of view.

I certainly love my gadgets and I bring you the latest instalment from my tablet from the well known fruit company. The said company in question however good the products they bring to market really need to allow their staff to use common sense or at least empower them with the answers to sensible questions.

My tablet is less than a year old and unfortunately it developed a fault with the charger. No problem I thought I’ll contact the fruit based company for advice. There was the first problem. I logged onto the fruit based companies website and eventually found what I was looking for. I then hoped to have a chat with a member of their customer service team to inform them of my problem. It seamed the fruit based technology company are not that interested in speaking to their customers and I was shocked when I received a message to say we cannot speak to you as you done have the suitable level of cover, and would I like to purchase this. NO the devise is within the warranty and anyone with any common sense and a little customer service training knows that if an item is within warranty and is faulty then you cannot charge extra for the repairs, let alone just to speak to someone. Plus you only have to log onto a number of forums to realise my problem with the charger is actually a common one which they are aware off!

So after work I took the item back to the store and asked for their assistance. The staff at Argos were nothing but excellent. Say what you like about some of the experiences I may have hearted others say, but they were excellent. They explained they would need to contact the fruits based technology company as they supply all the spare parts. No problem so the call was made and then the fruit based technology company managed to again cover themselves in what can only be described as shocking behaviour. They demanded a credit card number for a replacement item to be sent out just in case I decided not to send back the faulty charger. I will remind you I was in the store of the retailer and they were in the phone to the fruit based technology company. The next demand was for the retailer to provide a credit card in case the faulty charger was not send to them. When the customer service manager of Argos explained the item was within the warranty period the fruit based technology company stood firm. As to turned out the retailer raced the whole unit charger and tablet as it was under the warranty and said they would take it up with the fruit based technology company.

So all in all not a good experience, and then they send me an email asking for feedback about how I was treated as a customer. Well I respectfully gave them both barrels and told them my experience. As yet I have not had a response to this feedback with was nothing less than truthful and painting the experience I received in an extremely bad light. I know there are many very happy and loyal customers from the fruit based technology company, but the very bad Apple I took a bite from has left a very sour taste in the mouth indeed. The late Mr Jobs would not have been proud, come on sort it out!!

The nod

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When I was out today I saw many more cyclists than normal for a Sunday. The nice weather, not to hot and no rain we had in my part of the UK helped us I was cycling at a much more sociable hour late morning, instead of the normal 8 am start.

The benefits of seeing fellow cyclists on the road is you give and receive the nod or sometimes a wave to a fellow cyclist coming in the opposite direction. This appreciation of each not her provides a bond between cyclist of all levels from the beginner, regular rider and the full on amateur cyclist. I have no doubt the pros would also ablige but if I ever see Alex Dowsett out on a ride the nod would be long gone as he speeds past. If only I could reach those speeds on the flat he does going down a hill!

Last evening I was also able to cycle up to a friend and this is another enjoyable aspect of cycling, being able to have a chat. I’d you are catching a rider or group don’t forget to announce your presence and if staying with the group do your turn on the front. Its in the rules after all!

It’s good to be back

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After my break in Norfolk and sampling the delights of Norfolk Ales and probably to many fish and chips I finally got back out on the bike.

I wasn’t expecting a lot, just get back into the routine and see how things feel. I did try on a few courses or segments of my normal rides and I could feel it. I could not maintain the power or the average moving speed and this will return over the coming weeks. After all I am not a pro!.

It wasn’t all bad. I am now second on one of the segments a 2.7 km sprint which I felt tonight I could have given a bit more. This effort however did destroy me on the next segment only to prove that this was a first outing and I need to build of back up again.

So next week this will be the plan. Get out more and see what I can do. After all London to Canterbury is only a month away.

Sorry mate I didn’t see you.

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This is the comment I received today just before I set off on another ride. I knew he hasn’t seen me which is why I didn’t start riding as the large van would have done some serious damage to me and the bike. I’ll re-write that last bit, the bike and me, as followers of the rules will know the bike comes first! (see rule #11)

I have never really got into the whole debate about the position and standing of cyclists on the road before now. On the roads I ride you simply can’t ride close to the curb. If I did I would either end up in a bush or tree or after being smashed by a stray branch end up in the middle of the road. I don’t much fancy eating tarmac and damaging the gear. Most of the time I have only encountered ” helpful” or drivers who respect by position on the road. Where possible I will try and wave cars through if I can see they can pass safely, especially I’d they have given me some space and time. 

There has also recently been the driver who doesn’t seem to care for other road users, not just cyclists but cars, pedestrians and others. This week I was out and I had the driver who passed me without much of a turn of the starring wheel. If I was any fatter I would have been the polish on the car. It was an expensive make an model too and my bike would have make a lovely scratch in the metallic paint work and my heavy body weight would have made the body very much less aerodynamic! Saying that the driver could have had the attitude of why are you in my way or just didn’t see me. Only they will know!

The way forward is clear. Since riding a lot I have gained an appreciation of life as a cyclist, especially in the commute. All drivers should have to experience using the road outside of their vehicle, especially on a bike. This real life experience won’t solve every car v cyclist incident but if more drivers experienced the viewpoint from the cyclist it would help. On the flip side cyclists also need to not jump red lights etc and help vehicles out by not riding unresponsively.

We need to have more people cycling to help the environment, save money in these financially difficult times, help with the health of the nation which are all personal benefits, but the state need to help out too. More cycle to work schemes need to be available, all future road plans in the UK need to include the viewpoint from the cyclist, car, lorry and bus etc. Only then we will start to get a system which work for everyone and not just the vehicles.

If other countries can make the change I’m sure the UK can as well. Come on Government, take the road by the handlebars and make the UK the envy of the world for cycling and not just in sport on the track and in the Tour de France!

Getting better

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When I started this blog I would be happy if I achieved a moving average speed of 25.0 kmph on rides. In fact riding before the blog started on the old bike 24 kmph was a target set by the very small peloton (just 2 people). It wasn’t long before this was achieved but it didn’t really move on from here.

The new bike arrived with cleats (being clipped into the pedals) meaning I am able to put more power into the pedal, generating a higher wattage and as a result I am now achieving average speeds up around 28 kmph for my last three rides. These three have all been over a similar distance and terrain so I feel a good judge of my progress.

It isn’t just down the the cleats, although they make a big difference, the stiffer frame of the bike helps control the power, but the engine is getting stronger too. My weight has come down slightly but my legs  have changed shape and I feel more power from them. The work is slowly working and I am becoming healthier. Benefits will follow. Training for charity bike rides has certainly helped as this acts as a goal to aim at. As a result I am now looking on a regular basis for more sportives and rides to complete just to keep me going. The goal will be to complete tides with a decent time and then see if these can be improved in the future.

The next step I thing is to really look at my diet. At the moment it is all to easy to snack on the crap and not really lose weight. According to the NHS chart for BMI I am just in the overweight category, not that this is a major problem, but as I get older I don’t want to remain in this “red zone”. The yellow one looks much better and as cycling goes yellow is the premier colour as we all know. To achieve this I either need to grow another few inches, which as an adult isn’t going to happen or control the weight. The second option it is then. More protein less fat and snacks.

To help my quest I have increased the distance and frequency of the weekday rides but this is easy as I’m not working at the moment (summer holidays). Just need to remember the nights are starting to draw in so lights are required on evening rises. This is all good training and I will tackle another 65 mile charity ride in mid September. This will be the last one for this year but the appetite is there for 2014. I also think I need to adapt a training schedule to keep at a constant weight then step this up for rides and sportives. At the moment I am still in the 100 km area but an looking at increasing this into 2014.

So what does 2014 hold. Depending upon dates the BHF London to Brighton bike ride again to achieve sub four hours, the possibility of the Dunwich Dynamo plus a number of local sportives and organised rides just as an excuse to get on the bike. I’d love to be able to complete a something 100 (a one hundred mile bike ride) and completing the Dunwich Dynamo would tick this box as its only about 190 km (120 miles). If you want to know why I refer to km for distances please check out rule #24.

So I am well on my way in this additive world of cycling and pushing yourself in an attempt to lead a better life. I well an truly have the bug and I love it. Enjoy the rest of the summer and the rides you complete.