With not being able to get out for any rides until the second week in January this year, I was concerned I was starting training later than planned. So it was a nice surprise to find that once I added up my rides since then, I’ve managed 1,000 miles – and it’s only the start of March!
I didn’t get out as much as I had liked during the Christmas period, so I knew I had to make a conscious effort to get some miles in at the start of this year. But with our great British weather, I found it hard to stay on the bike for long periods of time without turning into an ice block!
I don’t know about everyone else, but I always seem to feel very lethargic when riding in the cold. It seems like a lot of effort and very little progress. At first I just blamed it on too much Christmas Pudding and chocolate like everyone does at Christmas, but then once February hits, that excuse starts to wear thin I guess. It wasn’t a nice feeling and I started to think I had lost all the training I had done last year, just because of a quite month (December). It was only when we started to get milder day’s, that I realised it was simply down to the temperature at which my muscles work efficiently. So with 100 mile rides on Saturday’s, 50+ miles on Sunday’s and 30 milers’ 3 days a week after work, the miles started to slowly add up.
This weekend, on Saturday, I cycled from my front door (South tip of Cumbria) to Carlisle (North of Cumbria) and then into Scotland to cover 100 miles in just over 5.5 hours. There was a slight tail wind for the majority of the route, which was a welcome change. I always think cycling with the wind at a constant 25mph, with little effort, gives you a sense of what it must be like to be a pro cyclist. It’s nice while it last anyway, then you turn the corner and you’re back to reality.
The next morning (Sunday) I woke with heavy legs and that lovely tail wind I had yesterday decided to ‘flip’ around, which left me with a slight head wind for my 51 mile trip to Penrith. Although my legs were heavy from the 100 miles on Saturday, it’s amazing how much extra effort cycling into a head wind actually takes. This ride took me over Shap Fell, a well know hill for any LeJOG cyclist. Getting to the top is quite tough at the best of times, but I actually found the decent harder! I don’t think there is anything more frustrating than busting a gut to get up a hill, only to find you have to pedal all the way down the hill to simply move forward. After a short blast of hail stones in the face to accompany me on the way down, I made my way into Penrith to complete the ride and for a well earned rest.
Now, there is no going back. Every weekend is set to be an even longer ride on the Saturday, followed by a mid distance ride on the Sunday (50+) as well as the 90 miles during the week. This should make my weekly average between 250 – 300 miles for the moment, until I can start my 15hr and 24hr training rides.
Next weekend, I’m travelling to Monmouth to then cycle back up to Preston, around 150+ miles with the chance to see what the roads are like and familiarise myself with the directions through Shewsbury, Wigan and Warrington for this Summer’s attempt.
One helping of nice weather please!