I don't ever talk too much about training for anything. I do it, but don't talk about. But anyone who knows a tri-athlete knows they are obsessed by training and talk of training. Ok, maybe not the later. ;-) It does make for interesting conversation and in the case of my mate Phil (see the blog link "I must try harder" to the right), I hope it pays off for him in July as he goes for the Switzerland IronMan Tri. So feeling a little inspired to share some training outcomes, here goes.
With the stupidity of what could only be measured against the Dodo I accepted the offer of "do you want to do the Dave Lloyd Mega Challenge?" from my mate Kit. I think I said yes before even looking at the web link properly. 250km - 5000m of ascent/descent - 1 day - North Wales.
This was not going to happen without "training". So far I have spent a huge amount of time on the bike over the last few weeks and the result are showing. I rode with the TriTalk crew on Saturday (a ride Phil organises). This weekend it was broken into to different laps, 65km with a number of hills and a good crew to ride with and then a further 65km with less hills, but one I feared as I normally come down it tipping just over 80kmh, this would be taken on by only 6 all from the original group.
Most of my training is done by myself, but I do like getting out on these rides with this group, they are always friendly and there is generally no willy waving. It is also nice to break the solo riding up a bit.
Both loops were good, but some punctures slowed us down on both, but that's life. Everyone seemed to enjoy the ride, even Phil even though he was having a few stomach issue. But he hung tough for nearly all of the the 130km a bloody brilliant effort despite how ropey he looked. It was also nice to make a few new friends that are keen to get out and ride.
From a personal training perspective the ride went really well, I am not a fan of stop start riding and it messes with my rhythm massively, but you weigh this up with some good company on a ride and it balances out. But I do know I ride better if I sit in the saddle and just turn the cranks over.
Having said that, I felt the strongest I have felt in a while on the bike, although not quick up the hills (I blame my fat arse), they seemed to pass without too much trouble and each stroke was a step closer to completing the DLMC, so the motivation abounds. The flats I seemed to have something in the legs all the time and by the end even a little sprint with James up a slight gradient, only displayed that the leg speed had dropped.
The solo training has been far too much fun to be honest. Riding around the Surrey Hills on a MTB or roadie during Spring and Summer is fantastic. The number of deer, green woodpeckers, robins, finches, etc... that I have seen is amazing and the fact that they offer a brilliant distraction when the legs are stinging has made it a pleasure. The majority of pleasant and polite drivers. However, it is fair to say these rides have not been without incident, a list to read:
Nearly hiitng a deer;
Nearly hitting a woman who froze like a deer in the headlights in the middle of a shared track;
A few too many two wheeled drifts on the road bike;
An idiot in a Red CRV, the TriTalk crew know the one;
An selfish VW Passat driver and his son;
The chain popping of the SS in traffic, nearly very bad. :-(
But the most noteable experience has been the return of the pure pleasure of cycling, there was something I always liked about cycling and I still can't put my finger on it. It is likely to be many things and not being able to isolate one thing is most likely the thing that I enjoy about it.
So I need to thank Kit from one perspective for firing me up about cycling again, Phil and his TriTalk friends for being ace and great to ride with, Cycleworks Leatherhead and Guildford for great advice, nice bike bits and being super nice and Nik for telling me to go for a ride or that I am looking a bit fat and baking the best banana muffins known to hungry man. ;-)
Fingers crossed for an enjoyable DLMC and the racing season that will follow, but don't expect me to write too much about training and certainly don't expect me to be explicit about it if you ask. But if you tell me about yours I will listen and will honesty be interested.
Happy training folks and best of luck in those events you are working for.