RM2LC training ride 35

First ride after a week-long break today, and I did a 21 mile brisk ride. The purpose of the ride was to get back into riding after my short break, but without taking it too easy, given the fact that we are now less than two weeks from the day of the challenge. On the way out I felt quite empty of energy and slow, but soon I realized that the reason was the massive headwind. The route was out and back, so on the return I was flying and in fact achieved several personal bests. 

http://www.strava.com/activities/185718981/

 

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RM2LC training ride 34

Despite the slow pace (16.7 mph) and the short length (27 miles), today’s ride was not a recovery ride. The purpose was to stack a bit more mileage to yesterday’s century to see how my body responds. I felt very tired throughout and was actually very fortunate to find my friend Mike 5 miles before the end, because at that point I was counting the ft to the end. Nevertheless, I am satisfied with my pace given the fatigue from yesterday and the windy conditions. My pace today was a bit faster than my target for the challenge.

http://www.strava.com/activities/181326285

Now it’s time for a well deserved week-long break in Cyprus away from any sort of cycling!

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RM2LC training ride 33

After the gear problems I encountered last Thursday, I was very fortunate to even ride today. A huge thanks to the guys at theBikeYard who sorted my bike out quickly, and I was able to be on the road by 10 today. Despite the slightly late start, my friend Tzvetie (who I thank for her patience this morning) and I did a century on a quite hilly route through the north-east Cotswolds. I am usually very conservative on the climbs when doing long rides, but today I consciously pushed a bit harder to simulate the fatigue that I will have after the first 60 miles of the challenge, which are quite hilly. I have to admit that my legs felt very tight after the first 50 miles and I was very happy to make a quick stop for lunch at Bourton-on-the-Water. That said, when we restarted our ride my legs felt even tighter but then I got a bit into the zone and for the next 20 miles or so I felt better. Towards the end I was really tired and counting the miles until home; maybe the wind had something to do with this as well.

So, 101 miles today at 15.8mph on a quite hilly route and in windy conditions.

http://www.strava.com/activities/181117550

If you would like to support my fantastic charity Ambitious about Autism and the awesome work they do, please click here!

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M2L training ride 32

Today’s route was a flat 32 miler, at a brisk pace. After heavyish rain in most of the afternoon I was not sure whether to go for it, but thankfully I was lucky to have mostly dry weather. Legs felt a bit tight but I believe this is normal and is due to the accumulated fatigue of the last couple of weeks.

http://www.strava.com/activities/180265185

Throughout the ride I felt that my high gears were a bit problematic. Indeed, by the time I got home I could not shift to the smaller cogs at all :(. Hopefully I will have them fixed by the weekend so I can do my planned longer rides.

 

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RM2LC training ride 31

Today I did another “recovery” ride, although the pace was not slow. When I say recovery ride, I mean that I did no hard efforts at any point in the ~35 miles of the ride. To my surprise, my legs felt quite fresh from the start of the ride and I only felt them a bit tight towards the end. 

http://www.strava.com/activities/179333149

Returning to my posts about autism, today I post another article about Rapha founder Simon Mottram whose son, Oscar, has a severe form of autism. Oscar was on an Applied Behavioural Analysis program (see article in post about ride 27) and he was improving until unfortunately he caught a bug at the age of 3.5 years and lost all the progress he’d made. Simon talks about the importance of the TreeHouse school for autistic children, which was created by a group of parents and is now run by the charity Ambitious about Autism

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/relationships/fatherhood/10998174/Rapha-boss-Simon-Mottram-my-life-with-autism.html

If you would like to sponsor me and support my charity Ambitious about Autism, please click here!

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RM2LC training ride 30

Today I did a 40 minute recovery ride on the turbo trainer as the weather was quite unstable outside. I am delighted to report that I still don’t have any particular pain from Saturday’s ride. I did however have a general feeling of exhaustion yesterday and to a smaller extend today which I believe is perfectly reasonable. 

http://www.strava.com/activities/178856771

 

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RM2LC training ride 29

Yesterday’s ride was my first audax (300km), which I completed with my friend Tzvetie! The route was a diamond shaped one starting from Tewkesbury and heading north east towards Evesham, then north west passing Worcester and then all the way to Tenbury Wells, then south west into Wales and the Usk valley, then south east and over River Severn and finally north east through Gloucester and back to Tewkesbury. A very nice route with beautiful views especially in Wales towards Brecon Beacons and though many wonderful picturesque villages. The elevation profile was not particularly hilly, it was mostly undulating with just a couple of long 4-5% hills which allow you to settle into a pace. A big thank you should go to Mark Rigby for organizing this beautiful event and for cooking food for us both at the start and finish!

Here are my thoughts about yesterday’s experience. There were checkpoints and stops roughly at three of the four corners of the diamond (north, west, south but not east as it was too early in the ride) which divided the ride into four parts. We did the first part at a conservative pace which was good for saving some energy and then started picking up the pace in the second part which was also the hardest one as there was a constant headwind and it was quite undulating (it was also the most scenic part). The only part of the ride that I felt my legs to be really tired and heavy was the first half of the third part (after the second stop) which again included some long drags, for example a 2 mile hill at 5% gradient which normally wouldn’t be that hard but after 120 miles of riding it felt very tough. Fortunately, after a quick stop at a convenience store close to Chepstow and a bit of refuelling, my legs felt a lot better and all the stiffness in the muscles disappeared. We were also very fortunate to catch up with three very nice fellow riders, who were happy to allow us to use their navigational skills (I was really worried about navigating through Gloucester as it looked quite complicated on the map) and so the five of us finished together quite comfortably.

Don’t get me wrong, this was a very hard ride mainly because of the sheer time on the saddle but at no point was I thinking that I needed to stop immediately, or that I couldn’t go on; I believe this was because of eating a lot on a very regular basis throughout the ride, and even eating a bit extra at the times that I felt that I was running low on energy. Moreover, I was generally comfortable on the bike and at the end of the ride I didn’t have any aches and pains on my back or neck, just the general tiredness and stiffness of my legs (and left hand due to gripping the handlebars like mad on a couple of off-road segments). I am very pleased about that and I am sure this is entirely due to the bike fit I did with Bike Dynamics last Wednesday. I only had some pain on my right ankle, probably due to the recent change in cleat positioning.

A lesson that I learned yesterday is to always bring lights in longer rides, even if you think you won’t need them. I fortunately did (although reluctantly) and I did use them for around 1 hour towards the end. Another lesson was that I may need a bigger saddle bag, especially if the weather requires currying a proper rain jacket. Yesterday I used an Ortlieb micro saddle bag which is a brilliant and very practical bag, but small for this kind of rides. I was lucky that the forecast (which was spot on) predicted just brief light showers so I survived with just my Rapha Gillet which doesn’t take much space. I really hope that the weather on the day of the challenge will be good, but you never know so a bigger saddle bag may be a necessary purchase.

http://www.strava.com/activities/177992359

Please don’t forget that all this is in preparation for the Rapha Manchester to London Challenge, which I am doing in support of Ambitious about Autism. I would be enormously grateful for any donations through my fundraising page!

 

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