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.