Hello all. I’m sure you’re chomping at the handlebars to hear how my 30 Days of Cycling Challenge is going.
The moment of update is upon us. Let’s begin.
A Disappointing Lack Of Drama
What I’m about to write guarantees that something will happen that derails the whole challenge.
Boff! [French shrug of the shoulders]
The challenge continues. I’ve managed to cycle every day. I haven’t had any physical breakdowns. I haven’t had any emotional breakdowns.
As in week 1, many of this week’s sessions have taken place on the turbo trainer. There have certainly been days where my legs have felt very tired and, as a result, I’ve done little more than the minimum time requirement (20 minutes) at very light resistance.
Interestingly, on those tired days, once I’m on the trainer and warmed up, I’ve felt capable of upping the intensity of the workout. Luckily my innate laziness has kicked in and it hasn’t required too much mental strength to tell myself to keep it easy.
This is probably the right decision: after 3 months off the bike, erring on the side of caution will make me more likely to achieve the 30-day target.
This week saw a triumphal return to outside cycling here in Derbyshire. Sunday morning was glorious (weather-wise), so a friend and I cycled a loop out to the house I’m renovating.
Feeling a bit more punchy, Wednesday morning saw me reacquainting myself with the southern tip of the Peak District.
If I ever get to the point where I want to test my fitness, I have identified a climb that I like to think of as being to Ashbourne what the Col de la Madone is to Nice (a climb that is famous for being the testing ground of professional cyclists, both dope-soiled and clean).
Anyway, it appears that at least for the lower portion of the climb, I was going quite well, posting my fastest time (which is probably an indicator that I haven’t done it very often). In a similar vein, I achieved my fastest time on a Strava segment on the climb into Thorpe (from the Ilam side, Dovedale-afficionados).
I’m actually quite pleased with these times, though slightly confused – I don’t feel my fitness is at any level other than low. This is probably borne out when you look at my performance over longer climbs, or on the short climb that followed the Thorpe one. My ability to endure more than a couple of minutes of pain is low.
Number of rides: 14 (+7)
Total duration: 9 hours 38 minutes (+ ~4.5hrs)
Average duration: 41 minutes (-4 mins)
Total distance: 204.2km (+95.7km)
Average distance: 14.6km (-0.9km, even more er…)
What I’ve Learnt So Far
These are not new lessons. I knew them already. I probably wrote about them last week. No matter.
- It’s a lot easier to do something when you’ve made a public commitment and you have interested observers invested in the success of your endeavour (hint: I’m talking about you)
- The continued encouragement helps. I really appreciate the ‘kudos’ and comments that people are leaving on each ride that I post on Strava (here is my profile if you want to follow me as well).
- Preparation is key. If my next session is to be on the turbo, it pays to spend the time in advance switching to the correct skewer (the thingummy that goes through the hub to attach the wheel to the drop-outs) and fixing the bike in place. Vice versa if the bike on the turbo needs to be taken outside.
- The same approach holds true for planning. I’ve found it much more effective to identify in advance when (and where) my day’s ride will take place, rather than leaving it to chance. In practice, ‘leaving it to chance’ means ‘leaving it until 10pm at night’.
This focus on planning and preparation could partly be down to my current read, Project Rainbow (affiliate link) – Rod Ellingworth’s account of process that led to Mark Cavendish winning the World Championship Road Race in 2011.
In fact, I’m so inspired by the book and it’s teachings, I’m now going to apply them to all aspects of my life. I haven’t told my wife this.
That’s enough insight into inspiration and perspiration for one week.
I’ll be back next week with another update.
In the meantime, let me know in the comments how your own training is going, whether that’s part of a 30-day challenge or a more structured/sensible programme.
If your target for the year is RideLondon, why not take a moment now to share with me where you’re up to, and where you feel you need to get in the next 8 weeks (yes, 8 weeks on Sunday…).