Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Train to France

I got a call this morning saying the direct trains from London to Avignon where available. This is our preferred choice of transport as we planned to get the direct train on the Saturday, have Sunday to relax (pace up and down nervously), ride on Monday and then get the train back on Tuesday.

However, while we can book the train down there, the train back isn't direct (the direct train only goes on Saturday) and doesn't go on sale until April. This isn't great as we don't want to wait until April to sort out our transport. Also, I looked at the price of a one way trip to Avignon on the 18th July and its £200 per person which is too expensive.

So, plan B. We are driving. I'll have too sweet talk my sister-in-law so I can borrow their family car as I can't see three bikes, three people and a load of gear fitting into my Renault Clio and neither Ed or Clive have cars. Or we can rent a car for four days. I've booked our Eurostar crossing which was a bargain at £100.

Great Doc

I received my medical form from French Cycling Holidays last week. The French authorities require you to get a doctor to state that you are in good shape to undertake an event like the Paris marathon or the Etape.

Its completely ridiculous as there is no way a doctor is going to know what condition I will be in when the Etape comes around. I guess its to screen for bigger problems but unless the doctor gives me a full work-up with blood tests and screening, he won't know much.

I know that some doctors charge up to £100 but I was lucky. My doctor talked about my asthma, took my blood pressure, looked over my medical history and then signed the form for nothing. What an gem. Its now been posted off which is a relief.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Monthly Stats - December

Again, this month saw me miss my targets by about 50% for cycling and 28% for running. Even though its more failure, I'm pretty pleased given that I did all this months exercise in 18 days with flu wiping out the first 13 days of the month. Had I done the same level of exercise during the whole month, I would have easily reached my targets.

The highlights of December were my runs over Christmas. I ran 13 miles on Christmas day which I must get credit for. After the kids had opened their presents and it had all settled down, I set off and ran the half marathon from Battersea to my sister-in-laws house in Keston near Bromley. I arrived about 15 minutes after my wife and I got to enjoy a huge turkey dinner guilt free.

I also had a great run in Devon at my Dad's over 10 hilly miles and 3 runs in Ireland over new years in a little town called Carlingford, north of Dublin. More hills and more cross-country. It all helped keep the Christmas weight off.

December Goals:
Do over 75 miles running - FAIL (53.3 miles)
Do over 350 miles cycling - FAIL (186 miles)
Complete 85% of my planned training sessions - FAIL (50%)
Break the 10 miles in 30 minute target - FAIL (Did not attempt, again, again)

Even though I failed to reach December's targets, I'm sure I can succeed in January if I avoid illness.

January Goals:
Do over 80 miles running
Do over 400 miles cycling
Complete 85% of my planned training sessions
Break the 10 miles in 30 minute target

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Good couple of weeks

After 10 days of flu, I came back slowly with a couple of short runs and easy sessions on the turbo trainer.

Things really improved with a great long ride on Saturday. It was done on my own as Ed had to work and its the longest ride I've done on my own since I started riding again. Its certainly more fun doing it with someone else. I did take my walkman and listen to 7 podcasts which helped pass the time.

The ride was 78 miles to Box Hill and back. This is the first time I had done this route. Normally I do three hills including Box and then its mostly down hill or flat all the way home through Epsom and Kingston. By turning around at Box Hill, I do the first two hills again from their other sides. This resulted in 5 bigish climbs and over 6500 feet of climbing instead of 5500 (verified by both cycle computer and Garmin watch).

I did the whole thing quite slow but I did take my mates advice and attack all the hills. I'm told that getting miles in my legs coupled with pushing myself up all the hills is the best thing to do at the moment. The overall time for the ride isn't an issue at this stage.

On Sunday I had the day to myself as the family had gone to my mother-in-laws and then to a pantomime so I took the opportunity and did 5 miles running and a quick 11 miles on the turbo trainer with the resistance cranked up. Not bad for the day after a long ride.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Man Flu

Disastrous week. I had Monday off after three consecutive days of exercises. I woke on Tuesday with a sore throat and felt a little rough so didn't do anything all day. 4am on Wednesday I was wide awake with full on flu. This lasted all week including Friday where I had to miss the Dads group Christmas party.

I was getting better by Saturday but I was still achy and tired. It was the same on Sunday so the week was a write-off.

Its been years since I've had flu this bad so I can't really complain. I'll be back on the treadmill on Monday.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Monthly Stats - November

Not a bad month. Thailand put me on the back foot with the cycling as a did none until the 12th. Then one bad week make the cycling target impossible. But with lots of running and one good long ride, I've at least maintained my fitness if not improved it slightly. I think I have also dropped a bit of weight as I have been better with my food. I need to get some scales.

November Goals:
Do over 80 miles running - PASS (81 miles)
Do over 300 miles cycling - FAIL (200 miles)
Complete 85% of my planned training sessions - PASS (91%)
Break the 10 miles in 30 minute target - FAIL (Did not atempt, again)

December Goals:
Do over 75 miles running
Do over 350 miles cycling
Complete 85% of my planned training sessions
Break the 10 miles in 30 minute target

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Missed Targets

I should be feeling better about my training after this week but I'm not. I was in the gym Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as well as on the turbo trainer on Tuesday night. I also went to the gym on Saturday and Sunday which makes for nearly 10 hours of exercise.

However, whilst I made my goals for running and completed-sessions this month, I missed my cycling goals. It turns out I am a bit of a fair weather rider. Its partly because I haven't got all the correct winter gear like overshoes and a good jacket but partly because its no fun cycling in the wet and cold. I can stay on the bike all day when the weather is OK but add wind and/or cold and its miserable.

Running is OK in bad weather. You warm up quickly, you don't really need any specialist gear, your temperature stays constant and within minutes of getting home, you can strip off, chuck everything in the washing machine and jump in the bath. Cycling, on the other hand, is a pain. I'm hot up the climbs and cold on the descents. I feel like I'm carrying too much stuff and then you have a 30 minute job when you get back to clean the crud off your bike.

OK, its not quite as bad as all that but still, I can see myself swapping a ride for a run more than once over the winter. I wonder how this will affect my cycling ability come next February.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Bad Week

With a combination of procrastination, weather, excessive alcohol and family problems, it was been a very unproductive week. Nothing of note to report or record. One week left until the end of the month and I'm going to have to work very hard to come close to reaching my targets.

Saturday, 22 November 2008


I have decided to do the Etape for charity. I haven't raised money for charity doing an event for a while and given the uniqueness and difficulty of the event, I figure it would be a good one to do. Also, friends have asked about sponsoring me so I set up a Just Giving page and chose Deafblind UK as the charity.

I'm not going to actively start fund raising until after Christmas but I hope to raise around £500.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Good week

Things went pretty well this week. I managed a 6 mile run on Monday, 21 miles on the turbo trainer on Wednesday and a 22 mile ride during the day on Friday. The turbo ride was 30 minutes steady and then .5 mile sprint and then 1 mile steady for an hour.

On Saturday I met up with Ed and headed off into the Surrey Hills for a long ride. We went with another friend of ours, Simon, who I met through running. He recently completed the UK Ironman so was in very good shape and showed it up the hills.

The weather was really good with cloud for the first hour and then broken cloud for the rest of the ride until the last our when it was cloudy again. Not too cold and no rain. We aimed to do a couple extra hills today with an extension of the normal route to include Leith Hill. It was a tough route with the added extra hill when we missed a turn on a down hill and had to go all the way back to the top.

We finished with figures of 88.22 miles in 6 hours of cycling. Not very quick but we weren't pushing it. It was Ed's turn to be a bit below par, he had another puncture and we got lost several times. My computer said we climbed 6743 feet and even if that's a little generous, its good. If we keep up this level of training we will be in good shape by next February.

Sunday was the Epsom 10. 10 miles from Epsom race course on a hilly course. I did it last year in 1:28:29 and was really pleased as it was part of my road to recovery. This time my aim was to beat last years time but I was feeling very sluggish and tired after Saturday's ride and decided just to plod round. The first 3 miles were really painful but I picked it up a bit in the middle section as I kept up with a group of runners. The end couldn't come soon enough but my time wasn't horrific. 1:31:57. I was 267th out of 340 finishers. No medal. I got the same pen as last year.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Week in Thailand

No cycling this week. I have been on holiday in Thailand with my wife (and no kids) for a week. I did manage to get to the gym most days and did around 25 miles running and lots of weights and stretching. Its also hard to eat rubbish food in Thailand with all the noodles and steamed veg so I'm feeling pretty good.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Monthly Stats - October

I have to say that it was a successful month. Doing much better than expected in both events was a real bonus. I did not reach my targets for running or cycling but the Epic and then the Marathon made the weeks after tough going. I also didn't have a weekend where I could have a good go at the 10 mile target so I'll role that over to next month.

October Goals:
Complete the Autumn Epic - PASS
Do a 4:30 marathon at Abingdon - PASS
Do over 80 miles running - FAIL
Do over 300 miles cycling - FAIL
Break the 10 miles in 30 minute target - FAIL (Did not attempt)

November Goals:
Do over 80 miles running
Do over 300 miles cycling
Complete 85% of my planned training sessions
Break the 10 miles in 30 minute target

No targets to big this month. The main aim is to get into a routine with my training as I'm starting a more structured plan. It will look something like this:
  • Mon - Turbo Trainer easy
  • Tue - Run
  • Wed - Gym including core and weights
  • Thu - Turbo Trainer easy
  • Fri - Rest
  • Sat - Long cycle
  • Sun - Long Run
Obviously, it is flexible. I will often swap the long run and long cycle around and move the rest day if I have an event.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Slow Saturday Ride

I had planned 5 rides with Ed after the Epic and this was one of them. I knew it was 6 days after the marathon and I told Ed I would not be quick but I didn't count on being quite so tired. It didn't help that I had poker on Friday night and although I didn't drink, I didn't go to bed until 1am.

After ignoring my alarm, my wife saved me and got me up. I rushed around but made it to the station, just. I made it on the 7:22 train from Clapham Junction to Haslemere. I met Ed on the train at Woking and we arrived on time in Haslemere at 8:16. I had planned a route and Ed had put it in his Garmin so between the two of us, we got round ok.

We started up the hill to Hinhead and then down the A3 a bit before taking the back road to Liphook. Then back to Haslemere, Chidingfold, Witley, Godalming and Shamley Green. The roads we never flat with lots of undulations to slow us down. We then went up an 18% hill that had me really struggling. I just couldn't push whilst sitting and my thighs had no power. I eventually got up to the top, helped along by many riders coming the other way (I didn't want to be embarrassed).

Once up the hill we rejoined our usual route and went via Ranmore Common to Box Hill and then tea (and cake for me) at Box Hill NT cafe. I was hungry and tired by this stage and ready to go home.

The quick run back to Kingson was fun and once we negotiated the idiot Saturday shoppers (what recession!), we were up Kingston Hill. Ed peeled off home and I went to the A3, Wandsworth and home. An overall good ride done with very tired legs.

Distance - 76.3 miles
Climb - 5565 feet
Time - 5:10

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Etape Announcement

Today was the day. The route of the 2009 Tour De France was officially annoucned to the world as well as the stage which will be used as the Etape Du Tour.

As all the rumours had suggested, it is going to be Mont Ventoux. Its not the biggest mountain in the world but everyone who has done it says its a beast.

"Iban Mayo recorded the fastest climb of: 55' 51". For a good amateur, however, the climb can take two hours, so is definitely a challenge, especially as the last 16km average almost 9%."
The ascent of Mont Ventoux will be the classic route via Bedoin, without doubt the hardest way up, with the steep forest section averaging 9% for 11km.

Date: Monday 20th July 2009
Route: Montelimar to Le Mont Ventoux
Distance: 170 kilometers
Total Ascent: approx. 3000 meters
Major Climbs: 1 Haute Category Climb. Mont Ventoux. 21.2 km climb at and average of 7.6%

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Abingdon Marathon

I entered this on the back of my good performance at the Edinburgh marathon but over the summer and more recently, my running has taken a back-seat to the cycling. I always felt I have enough time to get a few long runs in but I didn't plan very well and before I knew it, the marathon had come around and my 3 longest weeks running had been 41, 37 and 33 miles (compared to 3x50+ before Edinburgh) and I had only 6 weeks running over 20 miles. I had done lots of cycling but I had no idea if that would compensate. In fact, I was sure that the lack of even one 20 miler was going to make me pay.

I decided to just run and see what happened. The cut off was 5 hours so I knew that if I ran to the 16 mile marker, I could walk the rest if the wheels came completely off. As it turned out, I got to half way in about 1:54 and felt good. By 16 I was feeling a little sick and my thighs were tight but still ok. At mile 20 I was sicker and tighter but I was on for a PB. The race was no longer just about getting round, I had to go for it.

It was agony over the last 6 miles. They seemed to go on and on and my quads were very painful. I slowed constantly and mile 24 and 25 were very slow (10:50 minute miles). As you can see, my time was pretty constant until mile 16 when it went up a little and then some more until mile 24 and 25 which were the really slow miles. That's where I missed out on a PB.

I knew my Dad's PB of 3:55 was gone and my PB of 3:57 was gone. The only thing left was sub-4. I went for it and got to the track with 3 minutes to go. One lap of the stadium should not have been a problem but it felt very long. I was out sprinted by a girl who was being yelled at by a bunch of friends and I guess she was trying to get under 4 for the first time. She did it and so did I. 3:59:10 official chip time. 424nd place out of 647 finishers.

I can't describe just how surprised and pleased I am. A fantastic day.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Cycling Events for 2009

After a great day at the Autumn Epic, I'm really keen to do another sportive. However, its the end of the season and not much goes on between now and next February. Shame. Instead, I've worked out which rides I will do next year.

The Surrey Rumble
Date: Sunday 8th March 2009
Distance: 78 miles (126 kms)
Climbing: 970 meters (3,182 feet)
Web Page

Fred Whitton Challenge
Date: Sunday 10th May 2009
Distance: 112 miles (180 kms)
Climbing: 3,950 meters (12,960 feet)
Web Page

The Dave Lloyds Mega Challenge
Date: Sunday 21st June 2009
Distance: 150 miles (241 kms)
Climbing: 5,000 meters (16,400 feet)
Web Page

Dartmoor Classic Cyclosportive
Date: Sunday 28th June 2009
Distance: 101 Miles (163 Kms)
Climbing: 3,407 meters (11,178 feet)
Web Page

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Run AND cycle session

I managed to rescue a potentially disastrous week. I took the first half of the week off after the Epic to give a chance for my knees and adductor to recover. But then with a combination of apathy, events and my wife's birthday, I had done nothing come Saturday evening.

So, with the weather looking good, I decided to make the most of it. I was up at 6:00 am and as I have the marathon next Sunday, I thought I better have a run. So after some porridge, I left at 7 and did a 10 mile run along the Thames. It felt good apart from a need for the loo for the last couple of miles.

Then, when I got home I changed into my cycling gear and went out for a cycle. I had planned to do more than I did but my right knee was hurting a little so I went to Richmond, did a lap and came home via Chelsea for 23 miles in 1:23.

Saturday, 11 October 2008


So it looks like its official. I've sent off my initial £50 deposit to French Cycling Holidays along with Ed's and Clive's deposits to secure places in the Etape 2009. What have I done.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Climbing Glascwm

I can't believe I'm smiling!!!

Monday, 6 October 2008

Epic facts and figues

According to the Garmin, out of the 7:06:08, I spent:
2:37:42 ascending (37%)
1:31:19 Desecding (21%)
2:20:48 On the Flat (33%)
0:36:20 Stopped (8%) - 13 stops

My official time was 07:06:27

Only 532 out of 1000 started
423 did the long course
53 did the short course
56 Did not finish

I was 312th so I beat 220 on the day or 688 people of the 1000 who signed up.

Of the long course 63 got gold, 224 got silver 132 and got bronze. First guy finished the long course in 4:59:49 and last was 9:42:54.
I'm well pleased.
Breakfast - Porridge, 1 High5 gel and an apple
During the ride I ate - 3 viper bars, 5 sachets of SiS PSP22, 2 fig biscuits, 2 cheddars and 3 quarters of cheese sandwhich.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

The Autumn Epic 2008

Not much to report. I picked Ed up at 4:00pm and drove straight to Worchester to Ed's sister's. 3 hours and minimal traffic. Pasta, lots of water and bed by 10:00pm.

We were up at 5:15, porridge, apple, water, coffee and then away at 6:00. A terrible drive in the dark in heavy rain on roads which had huge puddles just right of aqua-plaining. We arrived at 7:30 on the dot. We registered, got a chip and got ready. After faffing around getting a parking ticket, we were ready to go just after 8:10am. It was raining when we started with lots of surface water making turns and downhills tricky. Before very long my shoes were soaking right through to the socks. I wish I had had overshoes like most other people. My gloves were also very wet as they were not waterproof. This resulted in both my toes and fingers being frozen.

Hill 1 at 15 miles (550 feet) - Our first taste of a hill. A hairpin-like zig zag similar to Box Hill and then a long climb onto a bleak and windy moor. It was freezing here and I saw three people turning back complaining of the cold. After the gentle start, it suddenly seemed a whole lot more serious.

Hill 2 at 25 miles (450 feet) - Can't remember exactly. Will add detail when I remember.
Hill 3 at 28 miles (450 feet) - Can't remember exactly. Will add detail when I remember.

In the village Rhayader was the feed station. We stopped to go to the loo, fill our bottles and I ate 2 fig biscuits. I also realised just how wet and cold I was. I was trying to hold a map to see where we had to go and I couldn't read it I was shaking so much. In hindsight, we stayed way too long (about 24 minutes) and we should have stayed less than half that. When we got going, the rain had stopped and I did start to dry out which helped a lot.

Hill 4 at 35 miles (900 feet) - This was the hill I knew. The Longest hill from Rhayader which I had run with my Dad on the Rhayader 20 a few years previous. I knew it wasn't incredibly steep but went on and on. It was exactly how I remembered but I managed to keep an even pace and get up ok. The result was a fabulous view and a great ride down and around the Elan Valley. There had been so much water, the dams were overflowing and it looked great.

Somewhere between hill 4 and 5 I got myself onto the back of a chaingang. This was my first real experience of it and it was terrific. Initially, I was on the back of a group of 3 guys but after half a mile I realised Ed had joined me along with several others. We got up to over 25mph on the flat and it felt so good. At one point a girl came past me and pulled in front which was fine until she started to slow down and lose the first few riders. So I was straight out of my seat and round her to take back the wheel. That felt very sweet (almost like a proper cyclist).

Also, somewhere here we got caught in a flood. Well, one lane had a large puddle that came up to water bottle level. It didn't look that deep so I wasn't going to follow the bloke in front's idea and walk through it as my feet were beginning to dry. However, even with my pedals level, my feet were completely submerged. I should have guessed it was deep by the motorcycle outrider monitoring the situation.

Hill 5 at 60 miles (650 feet) - This included a really nasty section at 20%. I had to stop half way up for a breather but busted a gut and did it. The 2nd feed station was at the top which was something to push for. I had a lovely cheese sandwich and some cheddars which were divine. About 8 minutes stopped there.

Hill 6 at 73 miles (650 feet) - This was the killer. Glascwm. I knew there was one really steep climb but I had thought we had done it at mile 60. However, as we entered the village of Glascwm, the name jumped out at me as I had seen people mention it on cycling forums. I prepared myself for what was around the corner and was horrified to see a long, straight hill with varying gradients from about 15% to 25%. Giving my claim that I have never ever walked
a hill, I had to go for it. I decided to take it in sections, powering up the steep bits and weaving up the shallower bits with stops where I could. It was very very hard with two-thirds of all the riders I saw walking. I refused to let it beat me and with shouts of aggression, I slowly made it up. I had to almost sprint the steeper bits as I would fall off if I had tried to go slow. I eventually did it and was over-the-moon. It was such a buzz.

Hill 7 at 77 miles (350 feet) - A short climb but painful after Glascwm. By this time I was counting every mile. When I got to 14 miles to go I just imagined 2 laps of Richmond Park which didn't seem too bad

Hill 8 at 85 miles (350 feet) - Not a big hill but for the first time I was beginning to really feel it. It all seemed a lot harder and I really had to push to get up. I flew down the other side but it was not very long until the next hill.

Hill 9 at 90 miles (500 feet) - I knew there was one final hill as I had been told that the last two miles into Knighton were downhill. And low and behold, there was a sign saying 2.5 km of hill with a max gradient of 8%. I knew that this was it and cycling with another ride, I got into a good rhythm and went up. It was slightly annoying as it had several false tops when I thought it was finished but there was a small downhill before another up. Once that hill was down in was left for a 35 mph blast down to the finish with a huge smile on my face.

Result: 7:06:08
Wonderfully happy with this. I was completely amazed I was only 28 minutes from a silver. With over 35 minutes of stops and only 4-5 months of training, I know I can beat it next year.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Last cycle before Epic

As the weather was OK (cold and windy but not raining) I decided to get out and check my bike during Yvette's nursery time. Just 10 miles to Wimbledon and back up including Wimbledon Park hill which is steep but short. I forgot my inhaler and only remembered 1 mile into the ride. I didn't need my inhaler but as usual, as soon as I realised I had not got it, I got wheezy. I managed to get round without dying.

I also cycled to and from the pub. It is my monthly pub night with my friends from the Dads group. I thought about missing it as I didn't need a late, booze fueled night, but I decided to cycle there and not drink. That's 10 more miles for the spreadsheet and 4 or 5 less pints in me.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Monthly Stats - September

Not a bad month. I smashed my previous monthly cycling mileage doing more than double any other month. The running was a bit of a let down with too many running sessions giving way to cycling. It will make the Epic better but I'll pay at the Abingdon marathon two weeks later.

September goals:
Break the 200 miles cycling for a month - PASS
Do over 100 miles running - FAIL

October Goals:
Complete the Autumn Epic
Do a 4:30 marathon at Abingdon
Do over 80 miles running
Do over 300 miles cycling
Break the 10 miles in 30 minute target

So my bike is back from the shop and all tuned, cleaned and ready to go. I just have to do one small ride to make sure everything is OK.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Final Epic Prep

No real cycling this weekend. I went away to Newbury for my 10th wedding anniversary but I did manage to get to the hotel gym on Friday and Saturday and then again on Monday when we got back. A bit of cycling, running and stepping and lots of stretching to ease the pain in my right knee. Its now just an occasional dull ache so its looking ok.

My plan for the rest of the week is a couple of trips to the gym and maybe a 20 miler on the bike to see if everything is ok. I changed my rear tyre after wearing the last one out on the turbo trainer so I need to make sure I've fitted it correctly.

I'm now taking the bike to the shop for a quick tune-up. Its my one free basic service I got when buying the bike. I had hoped to save it for sometime in the winter but the gears have become a bit clunky so I guess it needs doing.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Sore knee

So I went for a gentle 5 mile run around Battersea Park, nothing too strenuous but at a reasonable pace - around 8:30 minute mile pace I guess. By mile four my left knee was aching a little. By the time I got home it was more than aching. An hour later it hurts. 9 days 16 hours to nurse it to health.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008


So, I'm sick of spending money. Running was relatively cheap. 2 or 3 pairs of shoes a year at £70 a pair, socks, tops, shorts, watches etc. Probably £200 for the outfit including hat, glasses, gloves and everything else.

But cycling is ridiculous. Every time I think I have everything, I think of something else. Today it is cleat covers (£7) in case I have to walk on the Epic (always be positive) and new tyres (2 x £14.99) as I set the turbo trainer too tight and its worn my tyre away.

Also, I stupidly left my saddle bag open and my tyre levers (£3), mulit-tool (£10) and CO2 canister (3 x £2) fell out on Sunday so they all need replacing. Finally, more Viper bars (5 x £2) for the Epic. I might do a list of things I've bought for cycling. Then again, it would hurt to see the final bill.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Epic Map

I received my Epic details today. I am number 644. I can't really believe I'm doing it. I'm going to feel really out of place.

I used the map to enter the details into Bike Route Toaster so I could save it as a .GPX file for Ed's Garmin 705. Once I'd done it, I go to see the profile. Wow. That makes Sunday's ride look very small.

Although it looks like the big hills are at the beginning, I am told that the hard ones are in the second half. I'm guessing they are the ones that are so steep, over half the people walk.

Getting the info has prompted me to make a list of things I need to take with me to Wales.

Bike, Track Pump, Computer, Garmin, Water Bottles, Glasses - light lenses, Glasses - dark lenses, Road Pump
Shoes, Thin Socks, Shorts, Bid Shorts, Tights, Base Layer, Orange Jersey, Waterproof Jacket, Fingerless Gloves, Thick gloves, Underhelmet Hat, Helmet
Inner Tube x 3, Tyre Levers, Multitool, CO2 Canister x 3, Money, ID, Inhaler x 2
SIS PSP22 - enough for 4 bottles, SIS PSP22 sachets x 4, Viper Bars x 4

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Almost a century

Up at 5:30 to eat breakfast and be out of the house at first light. At Ed's by 6:45 and then off to the Surrey Hills to follow a Kingston Wheelers route. It was mostly a route we had already done a few times but it replaced one short hill with two bigger ones.

I struggled from the word go with Ed moving ahead on every climb, even smaller ones. I think his fitness and confidence on a bike has really improved and I was suffering from the excesses of Friday night. He waited where necessary and I was ok on the flat. When it came to the two new hills, we was first up the first one but on the second, he realised he wasn't as good on the very steep sections and we both puffed and panted to the top. He also fell off after he stopped for a breather half way up a steep section. It looked very funny.

He was a minute ahead of me on Box Hill where we stopped to have tea. After the stop, we went round to do a second climb of Box Hill while I had to get home by 12 so didn't follow. I had to push quite a bit but was home by 12:10. 76 miles covered and more than 5500 feet climbed. All good.

I then had to take the family up to Clapham Common and then into central London on the London Freewheel. A slow ride but with Yvette on the back and 76 miles in my legs, it was hard work. 17 more miles and 93 in total. 1 mile short of the Autumn Epic but about 4000 feet short. Gulp.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Turbo Trainer Session - 22 miles

I used the turbo trainer again. Just over 22 miles in 1 hour 10 minutes. I did 30 minutes of continuous cycling at a constant rate before doing 5 minutes solo legged on each side i.e. take one leg out of the pedal and just use the other one. This was surprisingly tough. Apparently, it helps to teach you to pedal smoothly and to use the up as well as the down stroke. I then put the resistance up and did 20 minutes of hills before doing 10 minutes easy to cool down.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Turbo Trainer Session - 20.18 miles

12 miles cycle to Dad's group in the morning with Yvette on the back. Then in the afternoon I did another 20.18 miles on the turbo trainer. I did it in 1 hour so my average speed was over 20 mph for the first time. The difficultly was set to about a third and I was in the big ring and half way on the rear cog. I might be getting a little quicker.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

London Duathlon

I rode my first Duathlon today. It was the London Duathlon in Richmond Park. I did the Challenge course which was the longest option.
Run: 9km with a climb of 70m
Bike: 21.5km (2 laps) with a climb of 224m
Run: 4.7km with a climb of 32m

It was fabulous weather in Richmond Park and was warm by the time I got there at around 7:30 to get my chip and rack my back. I felt like a complete fish out of water wearing my usual running gear with my number pinned to the front compared to lots of skinny people in one piece lycra outfits and race number belts. I found out that belts are used as you have to wear your number on your front for the runs but on your back for the cycle.

I found a spot for my bike and tried to remember everything my friends Simon and Stephen had told me. Lay towel out, place on bike shoes and gloves and drink. Helmet on bike. Glasses out. All set. Check again. Walk away, Walk back and check again.

I walked to the start, watched the elite duathaletes go off and wait for my number to be called. You set off in waves of 10 every 20 seconds. I got going at around 9:30 and started the 9K run. My legs felt very heavy as I had 71 miles of cycling in them from yesterday and I took a bit to get going. I had no watch so I had no idea how fast I was going but it felt ok and I was passing people and few were passing me.

Transition 1 went ok. A little too long but I was out on the bike before too long. I had to keep telling myself that the transition was not a rest and I was still racing. The bike section was great fun and I was hunting down other riders and passing them. Apart from the hills I felt I was close to around 19-20 mph but looking at my time it seems I was more like 16mph average. I wasn't very happy about this.

The final 5K was tough as my legs were leaden after the cycle but by 2K I was speeding up and going for it. I'm sure the 5K was a negative split. I pushed to the end and I a nice medal for my toils.

It was a really great event that was both big and well run. I would definitly do it again.
Run1 00:45:03 (8:03 mm)
T1 00:03:01
Bike 00:47:12 (15.8 mph)
T2 00:02:04
Run2 00:24:06 (7:44 mm)
Time 02:01:25

Saturday, 13 September 2008

71 miles in the Surrey Hills

I was up at 5:55 to get ready for my longest ride in years. I got to Ed's at 7:00 am and then off for our cycle. We rode into Richmond Park before heading through Kingston and then starting our basic Surrey Hills route before going back through Kingston, into Richmond at Kingston Gate and then towards home. I stopped for a puncture on Ed's bike after about 30 miles and then for a cup of tea on top of Box Hill.

I left Ed at Tibbets Corner and cycled home. I finished doing 71 miles in 4 hours 30 minutes. No real excessive pains, I could have ridden another 20 miles and I enjoyed it. A good day. The only note of caution is that we only climbed 3,800 feet but the Epic is 10,000 feet so it will be so much harder.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Turbo Trainer Session - First one

I did my first ride on my new turbo trainer today. I was sceptical about the usefulness of a trainer but it turns out that its great. I did a 20 mile workout in just over one hours with a mixture of easy, tempo and hills. I got a good sweat on and felt like I had an ok workout.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Surrey Badger Half Marathon

With very very heavy legs, I was out the door by 7:20 to cycle the 17 miles to Leatherhead. I thought I would get there in time but I arrived as hordes or runners were coming the other way, walking to the start. I quickly locked my bike, dumped my bag and put my number on. I got to the start line and realised I had 2 t-shirts on and I had not put vasaline on so my nipples so I wase going to suffer. I started and I felt very sluggish. If it had been a flat half I might have got into my stride and been ok but it turned out to be a wet, muddy, cross country, hilly half marathon. It was a struggle. By mile 8 I had nothing left. I was shuffling along like an old man with piles. I ended up walking at times and was feeling worse and worse. I was being passed by so many people, I forced myself to run all of the last mile. I can't remember ever wanting the finish line to come so much. I finished in 2:09 which is terrible by my recent standards.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Brick session

My first ever brick session today. I did:
1 - Cycle to Richmond and then 2 laps: 16.6 miles in 1:05:51
2 - Richmond Park 5k: 3.11 miles in 23:59
3 - Start Brick Session - 2.5km run: 1.86 miles 13:09
4 - Transition 1: 2:00 minutes
5 - 10km cycle: 6.15 miles in 21:43
6 - Transition 2: 1:09 minutes
7 - 2.5km run: 1.86 miles in 15:46
8 - Cycle home: 5.57 miles in 23:45

I found it very tough, even getting a big dose of cramp after the 10km cycle but it was well worth doing. Great excercise, finally did the RP 5k TT, met up with Stephen, met some nice people from the Clapham Chasers and got some valuable tips for the Duathlon next week.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Monthly Stats - August

I'll post my monthly exercise starts for each month. I'm hoping that I find the time to maintain my running but increase my cycling although I'm not sure that is going to be possible.

I probably won't include gym sessions unless its a spin class or treadmill.

September goals:
Break the 200 miles cycling for a month
Do over 100 miles running

Sunday, 31 August 2008


Was on holiday in Spain and France for two weeks and managed a couple of days cycling with the family but mostly ran. I would have loved to have taken my bike on holiday as the roads were perfect for riding but it was too complicated.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Autumn Epic - Signed up

I have signed up to my first sportive today. Its called the Autumn Epic and starts and finishes in Knighton in Wales.

"The Autumn Epic is a European-style cyclosportive, starting in Knighton in the Welsh Marches on 5th October 2008, and taking you through the superb scenery of the ancient county of Radnorshire. The route in 2008 will, as in 2007, be a little longer than in previous years, at over 150km, but with a similar amount of total climbing (around 3000m)."

As you can see, its rather hilly and we've (My mate Ed is also doing it) probably taken on more than we can chew but the cut off points see very generous and the last person finished in around an 11mph average last year so fingers crossed, we can beat that. If not then I'm sure we will learn loads from it.

As the kids were away, I had the day free. I rode to Dad's and Littluns and had a coffee with my friends before setting off to Richmond Park. My aim was to ride the three laps and get an official time I can work on over the coming months. It was sunny to start with but the clouds rolled in and it rained for a while. Getting my bike wet for the first time was unnerving.

As well as the rain, it was quite windy especially up the first uphill stretch going anticlockwise from Roehampton gate. I complete the first lap in 22 minutes which seemed ok. I pushed on into the second lap but the wind was stronger and then it rained which slowed me down. The second lap was done in over 24 minutes which was disappointing. I tried to go a bit faster on the third lap and I was doing ok but had to slow down a couple of times for deers and cars. I finished in 1:09:10 (average of 17.5 mph) which is quite a bit off what I was hoping for but gives me a target I'm sure I'll break. I did 38 miles in total.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Richmond - 3 lap PB

3 more laps of Richmond and with the wind less and no sign of rain, I had a go at beating Monday's time.

It felt quicker from the off as I got up the first hill in good shape and pushed on. I passed a couple of "fit" looking cyclists which gave me hope that I'm not that useless. I ended the first lap in just under 22 which was ok. The second lap didn't feel so good and I struggled up the first hill. I felt like I was fighting with my bike most of the way round and it wasn't helped by a very slow car on the steep down hill. Lap2 was done in 22:14 so I was outside a 66.

I was determined to make it up on the last lap and I really pushed when I could. I was out of the saddle up the first hill and the short steep one. I really went for it on the last straight, bombing along at 23 mph which I thought was good. I knew it would be close but I really went for it and finished the last lap in 21:38 which gave me a total time of 1:05:50. I was delighted.

Garmin Data:
  1. 6.74 miles 21:58:36 18.4 mph
  2. 6.65 miles 22:13:75 18.0 mph
  3. 6.73 miles 21:37:64 18.7 mph

Total 20.13 miles 1:05:50 18.3 mph

I did feel some niggles today particularly in my feet. The outside of the soles of my feet really hurt and my right foot had an extremely tender spot when I took my shoe off at the end. It went away quite quickly but it was very painful.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

New bike - first ride

I went out with Ed today on my bike to Richmond Park. This was my first ride on the new bike (apart from back from the shop) and I was a little nervous about it all. Had I bought the right bike, what would it feel like, had I been sold the right thing and how would my knee feel.

As it turned out, I had a great time. I cycled too Richmond Park and got used to the bike. Once there I met up with Ed at Roehampton Gate and started on our first lap clockwise. I went at a gentle pace but I was pleased to see our cruising pace was up near 20 mph. We hit the short sharp hill and I realised my legs were a little tired from yesterday's exertions. We completed the first lap in around 26 minutes (with one stop for Ed to check his bike) and I was loving the bike. I got up to 38 mph down one of the hills.

The second lap went in much the same way and faster in around 23 minutes. The third was going better still but we were stopped by a crossing of deer. I really want to give it a good go and see if I can get close to the 1 hour target time. I'm sure I could get close.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Elmore 7

The Elmore 7 today. Matt got me into this as it is where Mel's parents live. Cath needed the car so I had to cycle there. It was all the way down the A24 and A23 through Steatham, and Croydon going passed Ikea. Talk about an unpleasant ride. Drivers can be morons. It was 15 miles each way so more miles to go into the spreadsheet.

As for the race, I wasn't expecting much. The furthest I've run since the marathon which is a scary thought. I set off and it felt like I was going nowhere fast but I hit the first mile marker at under 8 minute miles so was delighted. I ran the second mile in the same time but then the hills started. Not long ones but lots of short up and downs. I had a real low point at mile three but I pulled myself together by mile 4 and got faster. I followed a girl over the last 3 miles and managed to hold a perfect 8 minute mile pace.

Time: 57:10
Splits: 7:46, 7:48, 8:25, 8:52, 8:00, 8:03, 8:01

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

New Bike

So, here it is. The new bike. £1500 of carbon lovelyness. Now I have no option but to train.

I was very nervous spending £1500 on a bike. I haven't spent this much on anything for a long long time. I hope I'm getting the right bike. I decided to go for a Kuota Kharma from my local bike shop Luciano Cycles. The bloke (Mr Luciano I guess) was very knowledgable and friendly. Fingers crossed.

Monday, 14 July 2008


I'm 83 KGs today which is 13 stone 1 lb. That's a BMI of 28.6. Porky.

My aim is a BMI of under 25 which is around 70 KGs so that's 13 BMI points to lose. There are 24 weeks left in the year so one pound a week isn't a bad goal. That way I will be at a good weight by the start of the tough training.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Spin Class

I went to the gym and did a 1 hour spin class. It was really tough. 30 to 40 minutes on the bike, then weights and then stretches. I sweated so much that I rubbed a patch on my nose with my towel. After I did 30 minutes slow run and some more stretches.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Long Ride

Another long cycle today. I got up at 5:30 by mistake as I thought it must be late as it was so light outside but I couldn't see the clock. So once I got the the bathroom and found out the time, I was wide awake and couldn't be bothered to go back to bed so I watched In Bruges. Very good film.

Anyway, I got to Surbiton about 8:30 and John was waiting. No sigh of Ed. Ed turned up about 25 minutes late as he had a puncture on his carbon wheels just as he left his house. We got going at nearly 9 and I led the way for a bit. I remembered how much I hate being in the lead of a group of riders and the pressure to cycle fast. I'm definitely a follower in cycling as well as in life.

By the time I got to the hill up to Esher, John had left me behind and we had both left Ed behind. It was clear who was better than who at that point. The day pretty much went on the same way with John about 2 minutes ahead of me and Ed about a minute or so behind me. John was much better a climbing and seemed to sail up hills.

When I got home I had to cycle another 9 miles to the other side of Dulwich for Saffron's 5th birthday. On the way back I set off at the same time as Cath in the car but I beat them over the 6 miles home.

I really enjoyed the ride and really want to keep it up and Ed wasn't put off so it looks like we will try and get in shape for E'tape.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Long Solo Ride

Long cycle today. I had cycled part of this 2 weeks ago and I drove the whole course last week. I really did ok, much better than I thought. And I really enjoyed it. This was the route. Its was 45 miles starting and ending in Surbiton. Its a great ride, good roads, not much traffic, very pretty and not too hard. Its got 3 hills, 2 short and sharp and one long but not too steep (Box Hill) and some fun downhills. I was fine on Box Hill as I just got in a rhythm and went up. The other 2 were harder and I was out of the saddle most of the time.

Lots of people passed me so I know that it will take a while to get up to speed but to go a third of the distance on my first proper ride is pleasing.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Legs go

So, I finally decided to do the Etape in 2009. I have researched it and I'm happy that I have the basic ability to do it. Its going to take 12 months of training but it will be great to focus on something new.

I have sent an email out to all my mates who I know have an interest in cycling or doing big excercise events and I've had lots of positive responses.

The only one who is definitly signed up is Ed. It fact, he's so keen, he's gone out a bought a £2,000 bike. That is dedication.