Cycling

Still time, but how fast will I be?

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As the sun starts to shine and more riding can be done in daylight without the need to wear extra layers, again my thoughts turn to how fast could I complete Ride London 100 in this summer?

The first goal however is to finish and the second raise loads of money for Sue Ryder. You can help by visiting my page here. However being the type of person I am and from reading peoples accounts of last years event I have started to think about the time.

When I found I had a place I thought if I could complete the course around 6.5 hours then this would be a good time. Also something I could achieve with an average speed of just under 25kph (24.7). This is well within the 8.5 hours allowed to complete the course even with a few rest stops thrown in. However my training has got me up to around 28kph which would give me a time around 5 hours 45 mins. I have even calculated 5 hours but this is a stretching 32.2kph and outside my reach. But you have to dream.

Well I suppose I have now set myself another challenge, to complete this in sub 6 hours. I have a history of this as last year I set a target of sub 4 hours for London to Brighton only to be hampered by light failure, but I am sure this will be achieved soon. However this challenge is different. The last hill comes at 109.4km which then leaves a final 50k to get the power down for a grandstand finish on the Mall being cheered on by the large crowd which will no doubt push me on. London to Brighton has the big hill at the end which drains your energy and then you have no time to recover before the finish.

Well it looks like the training will continue to be hard to ensure I build the power, strength and aerobic ability to allow me to travel faster and further for the same amount of input. Time to update the training plan.

When you have been cycling for about 3 months then you will have the basic strength to build upon to complete your sportive or event ride. I have built this up with commuting to and from work plus the weekend longer rides. Now it is time to step up the training to improve my ability. I have found some longer routes to commute to increase the distance cycled each week, which will help, but I am going to start using the normal commute to work as shorter time trial rides and for interval training. In theory this will improve my overall moving time (average speed) to allow me to achieve the magic sub 6 hours. Then the weekend rides are for the social aspect as well as getting the time in the saddle completed. I will target certain segments on Strava and use these as markers on my progress. Hopefully come the end of June I will have seen some improvement in my general average speeds on rides and then the plan would be to keep these up on the longer rides come the weekend.

Let’s see how I get on.

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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.

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.

Running away with it

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It is not something I am very good at and which is probably why I have refrained from running in the past. However this changed last week when at work there was a 10km charity team relay. Basically team of five members who ran two laps of the school field on a course which had been measured out at 1km.

As the winter approaches and the evenings become darker it isn’t as easy to get out on the bike in the week. The dark evenings also provide a suitable amount of cover for when I pull myself around the streets close to my house. If I manage to continue to keep this going it will really help with the winter training which until now has fully stopped due to the pressures of work etc. I have managed 2 runs since the weekend the first being quite frankly horrible. My breathing was out and I had to walk more than I felt I should and I managed 3.5km in a very sorry 26 minutes. At least the second run last evening was better as I managed 4km in 25 minutes so at least there has been some progress. I know these figures are hardly earth shattering (that is just the effect when my heavy body smashes into the ground), but I suppose it is a start and we all have to start somewhere.

What do I hope to achieve? I hope the end result will be less weight which will help when on the bike (and running) and improved cardiovascular ability which means I can go further for longer. This combined with the full on training programme come the spring should have me fully prepared for 2014 and the rides which I aim to complete, Ride London 100 (if I get through the ballot), either London to Brighton or Dunwich Dynamo and the possibility of the school cycle event which I will need to organise.

So there could well have been a shift in activity, along with a change in the season, but the end goal is still less weight and go longer on the bike. All through hard work and more hard work. No turning to the dark days of cycling to help me through the long dark winter which faces us.

Cycling adventures, the possibilities

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I have been away from the blog for a few days and there has been good reasons for this. Work has started again and this is taking more of my time. I have access to the gym again and this has again taken me away from the road and the blog but still helps with the general cardio work. I have also taken to reading as a leisure activity and reading ebooks. I have downloaded a few and will work my way through these over the coming weeks and months.

This may seem as not much of a big deal as thousands of people read ebooks and real books on a daily basis. I am coming to the party very much as a latecomer and if I left it any longer it could be argued I could have missed the boat all together. The fact is I have never felt I had the time to read but after trying it I have decided that I need more of a work like balance and reading is helping me in this regard, for the time being.

So what am I reading. Well I’ve the summer I have read two “normal” books as outlined in an earlier entry, and the cycling theme continues with the latest read. However the book of the moment is a very interesting account of a teacher who cycled from England to Italy over 5 weeks during the summer holidays. Crossing Europe on a bike called Reggie by Andrew Sykes. Since the first adventure Andrew and Reggie have cycled across Europe again (along a different route) and I will no doubt read about this latest adventure in due course. I am yet to finish the book but after 129 pages it is a good read and I long for the time I can read the next chapter. I will be doing exactly that after this entry has been completed.

This has also got me thinking. They say teachers should, inspire people. Andrew has inspired me to take on and complete a long distance cycling challenge. At this stage I don’t know what this could be but I will give it some serious thought over the next few months and like Andrew I might take some inspiration from you people out there.

Andrew can be followed via his blog as well as on Twitter or @cyclingeurope. You can also follow Reggie on Twitter to @ReggieTheBike. At this stage I would like to thank Andrew for sharing his adventures and the fact that if I copy him and complete my own challenge I would also have to set up a Twitter account for my bike. This would have to take part of the planning and could take a serious amount of time.

The question is what will be my challenge? Will it involve Europe. I would like to say that at this stage I can’t see me doing this alone and would feel a lot safer with another cyclist present. If nothing else to talk to and share the experience with.

What every cyclist experiences….. Eventually!

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It’s not the forts time and I’m sure it won’t be the last time today will repeat itself, but on the afternoon ride today just at the end of one of the courses I complete I has a crash. Quite a big one for an amateur cyclist. The first thing you need to know is about the bike. Rule 4 “It’s all about the bike” is so true in this instance. In the coming week the bike was due to be in for a service and now it looks like the service will be also a repair to some areas of her lovely frame and other parts. However despite the crash she has held up fairly well despite having me land on her which is never a nice thing to happen!

So the action. As previously mentioned I had just finished a course which I get up to about 40kmph at the top speed and I was on a section of road which I use to slow down after finishing the run and I was overtaken by a car. Nothing strange here except the car didn’t give enough room in my opinion and I then clip the kerb in the verge. Bang crash whallop, my foot was stuck in the pedal and I was on the way down. It felt like an age before I actually hit the ground with a crunch right on top of my bike, then the momentum rolled me over and shoe still in the clip-less pedal I have a bike on top of me. A very intimate position indeed for my bike and me to find ourselves in. At this point the world is looking a very strange place. Thankfully I was, as always, wearing my helmet. I still believe it is personal choice if you want to wear one but I always do and today my decision worked in my favour.

After checking the bike over and doing the best repair job to be me the 4 km home I pop back on and gingerly ride home. I have a few scraps and dents in me legs and arms but this will heal with time and rule 4 kicks in here with some help from rule 5! It really is all about the bike and harden the fuck up! Without the bike I cannot be a cyclist or enjoy cycling. Without a bike I am not a full member of the cycling community. I suppose this is why rule 12 come into its own. With more than one bike you can deal with these incidents and continue to get out on the road. Thankfully I have a spare and this will allow me to return to the road once rule 5 has been fully completed.

I am ok as far as I can tell. I can walk and communicate, although you may not know the difference, and despite a few aches and pains which will no doubt make sleeping difficult tonight I know I will be fine for the return to work in a while. Oh yes work, the joys of being employed and returning to work after your summer break. Oh well I’ve had my rest and now it is the turn of my bike to receive some professional pampering as the service and repair job starts mid week. My quest for the London to Canterbury bike ride will not be affected by this timely crash is ever these was such a thing.

The rules are here’s for anyone who is unfamiliar with them.

The power of Twitter

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Six minutes!

That is how long it too the cycling community on Twitter to start responding to my plea. In three weeks, Sunday 15th September I will cycle from London to Canterbury raising money for The Children’s Trust. Chapeau to the cycling community on Twitter.

This will be the second charity bike ride I will/have completed this year and this time lets hope this one is completed in sub four hours. 4h 38m for London to Brighton back in July was a good effort especially with the light problems we encountered but this time, in daylight that problem/has been removed. Fingers crossed for a dry day! However I am amazed by the speed at my first donation. I cannot say who it was from as they haven’t left their name, but a massive chapeau to them as they have got the ball rolling right from the off.

the next job is to get a few more fundraising ideas going ore the big event to ensure i reach my target. only 40 to go. Please help if you can and change the live of some seriously disadvantages children. My page is here.

Thank you.