Saturday, 31 January 2009

Weekly Report

Monday was my rest day but I planned to do a cycle on Tuesday. However, my youngest daughter decided to vomit down the stairs after breakfast so she didn't go to school and I didn't get out.

My daughter was still ill on Wednesday so I went to the gym in the evening and did some speedwork on the treadmill and half an our on a spinner.

Thursday and Friday were good days. I did a 31 mile ride on Thursday and a 6 mile run on Friday.

Saturday was supposed to be a short ride but my late night and stinking hang-over made me think twice.

Sunday was the Hell of the Ashdown and I'll write a full report on that separately.

Weekly Totals
Run: 9.1 miles
Cycle: 128 miles

Monthly Stats - January 2009

I managed to get much closer to my targets this month. I really enjoyed my running and got in a few good long cycles. I lost a bit of weight and I felt my hill climbing has improved.

January Goals:
Do over 75 miles running - PASS (I did 81.1 miles)
Do over 400 miles cycling - FAIL (I did 320 miles)
Complete 85% of my planned training sessions - PASS (I did 88%)
Break the 10 miles in 30 minute target - FAIL (Tried but fell just short. It was a hilly route around Richmond Park)

Excuses - None really. I'm happy with 81 miles of running and 320 miles cycling.

February Goals:
Do over 70 miles running. I must do less running and more cycling.
Do over 400 miles cycling.
Complete 85% of my planned training sessions
Break the 10 miles in 30 minute target
Complete the Hell of the Ashdown in under 4:30 (riding time)
Complete the Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon in under 1:55
Complete the South Devon Coastal Half in under 2.5 hours (its very hilly)

Thursday, 29 January 2009


I did a 31 mile ride today and twice, if I wasn't really paying attention, I would have been knocked off. Both times I was crossing a roundabout and the a car coming from my left didn't even look and drove straight onto the roundabout at me.

The second time was in Richmond Park and the women had her window open and it wasn't until I was next to her and told her that she should probably look that she realised I was there. She slammed on her breaks, said sorry and she clasped her head in her hands. I guess she was really sorry.

The first time was in Wimbledon Village and a stupid cow in a new mini did the same but she just turned her nose up at me which annoyed me so much that my language was very harsh. She didn't even flinch so I guess its not the first time. We all make mistakes but at least have the decency to admit to them. Stupid @#£&.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Rain stops play

Now, I am prepared to cycle in the rain in an event or at the weekends long ride but during the week, I'm a fair weather cyclist. So this week hasn't been great for riding.

Monday and Tuesday were again taken as knee resting days. Wednesday was a 7 mile run and Thursday an 8.8 mile run.

By Friday I knew I needed to get back on the bike so I got all set up for an hour on the turbo. However, as I started I noticed a continuous vibration from the flywheel. I looked back and once every revolution the flywheel would move in and out. On closer inspection it seemed that the tyre was not round (if that makes sense) i.e. the rim was true but the tyre wasn't. I deflated it and checked to see if the inner tube was caught or twisted but I couldn't see anything. When I inflated it, it was the same; slightly wider but not was high in one place. I gave up.

I woke on Saturday to a lovely Sunny day but it was cold. I knew I'd be fine if I got all my gear on and went for a cycle but to be honest, I couldn't be bothered. I really didn't feel like getting out all the gear so I went running instead. I'm really glad I did as it was a great run in the sun down the bank of the Thames to London Bridge and back. 14 miles in total.

I didn't have much time on Sunday so I ran to the gym and did a spin class for an hour. I'm not a huge fan of them but they are useful and get my legs turning. I hate the music they play (dancy nonsense) and the women who takes the class does too many funny whooping noises but its hard work and is probably worth it.

Not a bad week. Not enough cycling but plenty of excercise. I have the Ashdown next weekend so I'll be back on track with my weekly riding targets.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Bike Cave

My wife's patience has finally snapped. She has had enough of my bike sitting in the kitchen and given she doesn't share my love of beautiful carbon fibre, I guess I understand. It doesn't help that I jump up in the middle of dinner to polish it.

As we live in a small terrace house in London who's garden (yard) is already reduced in size by a shed containing garden furniture, a shed for the bike was not an option. Something smaller and cheaper was needed. I had been looking for a while and I have finally got something that works. It is called a Bike Cave. Its basically a tent.

It was only about £50 and took 10 minutes to erect. It seems completely waterproof and fits down the side of out house. It is sad not to have my pride and joy safely protected in and warm and dry of the kitchen but I knew this day would come.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

100 miles in a weekend and all is good

An excellent week if I say so myself. After the tough ride on Sunday I decided to take a 2 day break. I found that it was great way of avoiding injury when I was training hard for a marathon. I have the occasional twinge in my knee and I don't want this getting worse.

Wednesday saw me back in the saddle. I did 30 miles including a couple of laps of Richmond Park. It was fine weather when I left the house but in the park it was really misty with visibility down to 100 meters in parts. I got really cold by the end as I didn't have enough on but I worked hard and was home in good time.

Thursday was a running day. I did a 10K after dropping my daughter off at school. I slowish mile to Battersea Park and then 5 fast miles at around 8 minute miles. I felt fast today and in good form. 6.41 miles in 50:41 which is 7:54 minute/mile average.

Friday was running again. Although my daughter is now at school all day, I still wanted to go to the Dad's play group I've been going to for nearly 4 years. I have lots of friends there and I don't want to lose touch. So I decided to run down there, have a coffee and run back. Its about 4 miles from my house to Wimbledon Park and a nice enough run. I did 8.4 miles in total. Only downside was my left knee that was sore today.

Saturday was our family trip to stay with friends in Cambridgeshire. The girls were driving up there so I decided to cycle. It was just over 50 miles and nothing too hilly so I felt just before 12 knowing I had until around 4 when it gets dark. I set off but the route I had chosen was via lots of small, unsigned back roads and I spent a lot of time stopping to check the map. This made it slow progress so at around 3, I was very worried it was going to be dark before I arrived. It made it worse when I realised that there was a small stretch of dual carriageway I had to go on very near the end. I did not fancy doing that in the dark. I bit my lip and pedalled hard and with a tail wind, go some great speed in the last 10 miles. The dual carriageway was hairy but I made it at around 3:35 in the dusk.

Sunday was the same as Saturday in reverse. It was easier as I had a better idea where I was going but the tail wind I had on Saturday was now a head wind. It was really hard going at times with wide open fields giving no shelter. I made it down into London only getting lost once and I was home well before dark. So that was 105 miles in the bank over the two days.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Etape Recon DVD

I finally got round to watching the whole of the Etape 2009 Recon DVD from Cyclefilm. Ed cane round and we settled down to be scared witless by a big mountain.

The DVD started off with the presenter giving us a tour of a Nougat factory in Montellimar where the race starts. Whilst this was funny, we wanted to see the route.

The part of the DVD we were most looking forward too was the hills before Mont Ventoux. We know Ventoux is very very big and will take 2 hours to climb but it was the hills before that we had no idea about. So seeing the rider explain each climb was useful. It seems that none of them are that steep but they are quite long and will take it out of you. Pacing yourself carefully up these is vital if you don't want to blow-up on Ventoux.

Seeing Ventoux was quite incredible. It just seems like such a long slog but visualising passing the Simpson memorial and then up to the mast sent goosebumps down my back. Its going to be a great day in July.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Fred Whitton Entry

Today was the day the lucky (or unlucky) rider list was announced. Apparently, its always over subscribed so its a lottery for the 1000 places. I woke to a text from my mate to say he had got a place as had Ed but I wasn't on the list. I sent the entries together so we would all get in or none of us would get it so it was odd.

I was also slightly distracted as it was my youngest daughters first day at school today so the Fred was not that important.

Once I got her to school, I went back to thinking about the Fred. The more I thought about it, the more I realised I really wanted to do it and that I couldn't stand Ed and Clive going on about it once they got back. So I emailed the organiser and waited.

Thankfully, I got an email a couple of hours later telling me it was a mistake and I was in. Great news........I think.

Sunday, 11 January 2009


What a day. The weather said it was going to be more mild so I planned a long one. I aimed to get the 6:56 train from Clapham Junction to Dorking so I didn't have to cycle the dull urban miles before getting to the good stuff in the Surrey Hills. I woke up, looked out of the window and it looked really cold. Frost on the roads and icy cars. I decided to get the 7:40 train instead and give the world a chance to warm up.

I got to Dorking at 8:30 and the main roads were ok. I went straight to Box Hill and went up without problem. However, at the top, the roads were white and I had to creep over them. Downhill was ok but the planned route back to the bottom of Box Hill was closed as was the hill up to the Common. I had to go the long way round.

I gradually warmed up and the ice melted a bit so it was all going well. Box Hill, Leith Hill, Winterfold and White Down Hill. All where done straight up, no stopping and aggressively.

Trouble came when I ran out of calories. I stupidly only took one bar and as a result, I had my first big bonk. I started by slowing down and then really slowing down as I got to Ockham. The hill on Staple Lane took me ages. I then got cold and then I had trouble concentrating and nearly ran off the road at one point. My head was swimming. I was about 10 miles from Dorking station but I was never going to make it without hurting myself so I change direction and went for Effingham and found a shop, had a biscuit and a bar and managed to regain enough composure to get to Effingham Junction station. I was a shivering wreck on the train and took a while to feel better. I will never let that happen again. 69.6 miles with around 5500 feet of climbing.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Updated Events for 2009

This is my updated list of planned events this year up until the Etape. It has changed slightly since the last one. I'm not doing the Surrey Rumble as its too similar to the rides I normally do in the Surrey hills and I've added some runs as well.

Cycle: The Hell of the Ashdown Challenge
Date: Sunday 1st February 2009
Distance: 68 miles (109 kms)
Climbing: 2,007 meters (6,585 feet)

Run: Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon
Date: Sunday 15th February 2009
Distance: 13.1 miles (21.1 kms)

Run: South Devon Coastal Half Marathon
Date: 21st February 2009
Distance: 13.1 miles (21.1 kms)

Run: Meon Valley Plod Cross Country
Date: 1st March 2009
Distance: 20 miles (32.2 kms)

Cycle: The Burgess Hill Spring Classic Cyclosportive
Date: 15th March 2009
Distance: 71 miles (114 kms)
Climbing: 1,509 meters (4,951 feet)

Duathlon: The Ballbuster
Date: 22nd March 2009
Distance: 8 mile run, 24 mile cycle, 8 mile run

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

Run: 20km de Bruxelles
Date: Sunday 31st May
Distance: 12.43 miles (20 kms)

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

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

Sponsorship Thanks

I'd like to say a huge thanks to Erwan, Ben, Andrew and Kerry & Richard for very very kindly sponsoring me. Its really got me underway with my fund raising. Thanks everyone.

Monday, 5 January 2009

A good start to 2009

Its been a positive start to 2009. 27.2 miles run and 118.3 miles cycled in a week and a half. That's 8 lots of exercise in 11 days. My dietary habits have also improved considerably. Lets hope I can keep it up.

Thu 1st - 6.3 mile run with hills in Carlingford, Ireland.

Fri 2nd - Travel home from Ireland.

Sat 3rd - Probably should have gone out for a short cycle but didn't.

Sun 4th - Longmoor Lollop. Cross country half marathon.

Mon 5th - Gym including cycling, weights and stretching.

Tue 6th - I ran the 3.8 miles to Waterloo to meet Ed and Clive for a drink. I'm not officially on the wagon but I decided not to drink. Line and soda all night. I ran nearly a mile back afterwards but it was so so cold that I chickened out and got on the bus. Still, better than nothing.

Wed 7th - An hour on the turbo trainer. Slow start for 20 minutes and then turned up the resistance for 0.5 mile followed by a 1 mile spinning. I did this for about 25 minutes. Then a cool down. It was a good workout. Really felt it by the end.

Thu 8th - I only had 40 minutes spare time so I rushed to the gym to do a quick 3.5 mile run in the warm. Fast but short. It all counts.

Fri 9th - Rest day. My poor knee needs the day off.

Sat 10th - I was up before 8 so I could get a quick ride in. I thought the weather forecast had said it was getting warmer but it was the coldest morning I can remember for a long while. I eventually got out at 9:20 (there was no sudden hot spell) and by the time I got to the top of the road, the cold air was making my chest hurt like hell. If my family had not been out and I had had a key, I'd have turned around and gone home. As it was I went through Putney into Richmond Park, did a quick circuit including springing seated up Broomfield Hill and then took the long route home. 21 miles. Lets hope its warmer for my long ride tomorrow.

Sun 11th - 69.6 miles with around 5500 feet of climbing. See main post for report.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Longmoor Lollop 2009

Yes, its not cycling but I'm finding it hard to give up the running. Especially events like the Longmoor Lollop. I did it in 2008 and really enjoyed it. Its a half marathon along trails and through woods on picturesque army land. Its got lots of short but steep hills which makes it challenging. Its only a small event with only 65 runners on 2008.

Last year I was on the road back from injury and not in the best shape but was happy with my 2:20. This year I felt so much stronger especially up the hills. After been left by the serious runners at the beginning, I settled with the back group around the first lap. I kept it easy and many of the runners pulled away. I felt good on the second lap and my strength on the hills helped me catch and pass about 10 runners. If I was better going downhill, I would have caught one or two more.

I did stumble on my left ankle an few times and I tripped and fell on a root at one point but I got around pretty unharmed apart from a cut knee. It was very cold and the ground was frozen so there was a lot of potential for twisted ankles.

I finished in 2:00:16. Yes, I should have sprinted for sub-2. I was 34th out of 60. First person came in at 1:27:49 and last in 2:33:45 with 8 DNF.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

2008 Review

Its been an excellent year. The obvious highlights have been the marathons as I started the year with one goal and that was to get a sub-4 over 26.2 miles. I did that in Edinburgh in May and couldn't have been happier (Well, a little. Only 2 minutes faster to beat my Dad's PB). The fact that I did another sub-4 in Autumn at Abingdon was just a bonus.

With my focus switching to Cycling in the summer, it made for a diverse year. I have found it tough getting to grips with all that cycling has to offer. My inexperience has shown at times but thankfully, it seems I bought the right bike and that I love doing it. I have got better at dealing with weather, cleaning the bike and just riding. I still have problems finding the time, something I never really had issue with when I did all running.

After the marathons, the best day out exercising was the Epic cycle. A fabulous day in spite of the weather and something that cemented the idea that cycling was for me and I was doing the right thing trying for the Etape.

Here are my stats for 2008.

Total Miles Run - 1046 miles
Total Number of Runs - 138
Average Run - 7.6 miles
Number of Running Events -24 races (9 x 5k, 2 x 10k, 1 x 10 mile, 5 x Half M, 2 x 21 mile, 2 marathons and 3 other distances)
PBs - Wimbledon 5k and Edinburgh Marathon

Cycling (7 months)
Total Miles Cycled - 1400 miles
Total Number of Rides - 55
Average Ride - 25.5 miles
Meters Climbed - 49,713 feet (15,153 meters)
Number of Cycling Events - 1

Events - 1 (London Duathlon)

For 2009, I aim to get to 1200 miles running (25 a week average) and over 5000 miles cycled. Its going to be tough but you might as well aim high. Happy New Year to all.