Sunday 27 June 2010

The Giants of Geneva

What a great couple of weeks I've had cycling. Last week I completed my Paris to Geneva challenge, and the week before I completed my London to Paris challenge. All in all, this means I have completed my London to Geneva (L2G) challenge and hence finished what I set out to do. The purpose of this blog was to record my training, goals, stresses, ramblings and of course my L2G challenge. So what do I do know? That is a question a number of folk are asking me. Whilst I consider that question, let me provide some statistics.

Cycled 317.95 miles from London to Paris in 4 days.
Cycled 345.98 miles from Paris to Geneva in 4 days.
Therefore, cycled 663.93 miles from London to Geneva.Thanks and praises be to God for keeping me safe, providing me with the strength I required. God blessed me with senses that enabled me to see the gorgeous countryside, hear incredible noises and sounds along the way (plus the groans and moans of others), taste the delights of the chefs cooking, smell many sweet flowers and odours and generally feel awesome (with the minor ache and pain).

This challenge enabled me to help others too. Thus far I have raised £363 for the Christadelphian Meal-a-Day Fund (CMaD). It's not too late to sponsor me either should you so wish, please visit my JustGiving page at

Ok, so what next? Well I have already cycled a further 17 miles on Scotty my mountain bike, so cycling is not going to stop. I think I will continue this blog and record my next event, however big and small and hope that some challenges take shape. I have a vague plan of completing my second LEJOG trip this year and hope to compete in a duathlon using my mountain bike. Clive the Dr has sent me to a link of a challenge in the Alps where one has to climb through something silly like 98 hairpin bends (let's hope he was joking). I guess there's always the Paris-Brest-Paris 1200k audax?! My next challenge is less than 2 weeks away and is a 300k (190 mile) audax event. I have never cycled this distance before, but let's hope I can report back and say that I have.

To all those who have followed my blog thus far many thanks. Big thanks to all those who have supported me too. And thanks again to all my sponsors, it's us working as a team that brings about change.

Weekly totals: Cycled a distance of 362 miles.

Thursday 24 June 2010

P2G Day 4 Lons - Geneva

Today started early again after a basic french style breakfast. Was eager to get started so set off with Richard the surgeon. Only minutes after leaving the hotel we encountered the steepest hill of the P2G challenge. To be honest this was the steepest hill encountered during the whole London to Geneva challenge. Sweat was dripping down my face and into my eyes, and my nose was streaming too. Am not sure what my heart rate was but a beating like a woodpecker pecks could be heard inside my head. With sheer determination I made this climb without stopping or putting a foot down. Even Dennis the Stiglet described this hill as a 'wall'. Craig beat me to the top of this climb but I passed him soon after. Feeling strong and pleased of my hill effort I sped on to the first water stop and reached there first. It was a pretty spot and looked over a big lake with the mountain I was to climb visible in the distance.
I waited for Richard the surgeon to leave the water stop with me, but I waited too long as he had already gone! Not to worry, I soon caught him and sped past him zoomy style. This road was an unexpected fast descent and I flew down many miles going straight past a bonus second water stop, ie Jo's Cafe. Luckily DA shouted at me as I flew past, so I was able to back track and take my break. I treated myself to a coke and got ready for the menace that lay ahead. It was clear that a menace lay ahead as even the sign posts were taunting me!
The menace ahead was the start of the mountain climb, namely the Col de la Faucille (which is to feature in this years Tour de France). I set off with Richard the surgeon but lost him after a little while. This climb was absolutely awesome. Probably the best climb ever! The road was bending and winding like a long piece of spaghetti and at times the road would switch back with many a hairpin bend. The climb went on forever and ever! I really enjoyed this climb and views got better the more I climbed. At times the road travelled could be seen beneath the same road as I travelled higher and higher. At some points the road would pass through tunnels.
About 3 miles from the stop for lunch (about 1/2 way up the mountain), David my room mate from the L2P challenge caught me and we cycled together. He looked beat and was completely covered in sweat. As we neared the lunch stop we could see the chef's in the distance. I asked David if he wanted to race, he replied 'I think we should come in together'. I respected his wishes and cycled alongside him, though I made sure my wheel reached the stop first. (Please note that my rims were rubbing on a piece of trapped grit for the past couple of miles too!). The chefs welcomed us with cheers and shouts. Dave the chef (who was previously a professional cyclist) said he had his money on me reaching this stop first. Good ol' Dave.
After a quick lunch stop, I was itching to get going again. Richard the surgeon and I set off together again, and again I lost him pretty early on. This second major climb to the summit was not as hard as the first half. For a moment I thought I had gotten lost as another speedy descent appered which went on for like 3 miles with fast switch backs before climbing resumed once more. A long beautiful climb to the top on a spaghetti like road. Eyes were sore still from sweat, salt and tears. Parts of the road had been resurfaced, which was a real chore to cycle through. Before I knew it, I reached the summit! I passed a sign which read 'Col de la Faucille alt. 1323 m'. Yay, I was the first cyclist to combat this mountain! Job done, well nearly!
Waited at the top of the summit for all the cyclists in the group to rejoin. Had to wait hours for the last cyclist to rock up, but was nice to see everyone (save chunky girl and her boyfriend) make it. We were all awarded with challenge T-shirts at the top. Somehow I managed to get a splinter in my hand. I asked madam Jo for a needle to remove said splinter, she replied `I have one, but I'm not going to give you one, they're too expensive'.
After we had all regrouped we set off for the final descent. This descent was awesome! If Clive the Dr was on this challenge he would have described this as a 'white knuckle ring twitching roller coaster of a ride'! It followed a similar patttern to the climbs, in that the road twisted like a piece of spaghetti and had many a hair pin bend and numerous switchbacks. I was by no means the fastest descender and saw Ian fly past me at an amazing speed. My hands were on the brake levers from top to bottom and I reckon I must have stretched my brake cables! Despite my constant braking I flew down this descent which seemed to go on forever. When the roads flattened out at the end of the descent, I regained my position at the front and cycled ahead to the next water stop.

The whole bunch of us regrouped again at this point and we cycled in convoy and passed through the Swiss/French border. Wahoo, I was in Switzerland for the first time in my life. The traffic here was quite heavy but within 4 miles we reached our destination. Our destination, of course, was the beautiful Lake Geneva! The lake was awesome, bright and blue, and a fitting place for the completion of my challenge! Yay, job done! We hung out here for a while and drank champagne and pims and ate snacks. Claps and cheers a plenty, and lots of photo`s taken.
Cycling did not finish here. From Lake Geneva we had to cycle back to the hotel. As soon as the hotel was reached, I had to sadly dismantle poor Cayo. Cayo had worked so hard and in the space of 8 days had travelled over 650 miles with no major menace. I felt quite upset having to remove her pedals, wheels and seat post and bunging her into a big bag ready for a flight home. I will treat her to a service and new bar tape when back in England!

I don`t wish to end this blog on a sad note, so let me tell you that the day ended with further celebrations. Madam Jo gave quite a sweet speech at the celebration meal and spoke a little about each cyclist on the challenge. She referred to me as `speed demon Tim`, which was nice. Good friends were made on this trip, and one such friend was Gary the Cobler. As a special treat, I have managed to get before and after shots of Gary and his bib short wearing style! :) Cycled a distance of 74.97 miles at an average speed of 12.6 mph and a maximum of 36.8 mph. Spent nearly 6 hours on the saddle today.

Wednesday 23 June 2010

P2G Day 3 Semur-en-Auxios - Lons

Another totally awesome day today. Big hills, hot sunny weather and fast descents. No major concerns save my poor butt!
The day started with me chasing 2 guys from London, namely Richard and Andy. They set off a very short while before me and I caught and passed them quickly. I presumed they would chase me, but if they tried, they didn't catch me! Was a good first section with mostly flat road and only minor undulations. I felt real strong today and the voices in my head were telling me I was mighty. Reached the water stop first and made sure I ate 2 banana's here as I knew a big hill was not far away.

Set off from the water stop with Richard and Andy but soon left them behind (I think they needed to pee). Fantastic long quiet roads again. I spotted a wild deer during this section and had spotted a bird of prey earlier. It wasn't long till I encountered the hill I had been warned about. This hill was a very long climb, that seemed to go on and on and constantly turned and switched as I climbed. It reminded me of Shap hill and in a similar manner had a super descent once the top was reached. I made it to the top of this hill and could not see anyone behind me. Appeared that perhaps today was going to be a solo ride for me. The descent was awesome, this hill descended for over 5 miles! Such a long descent that it was my arms that were starting to feel the pain now as they pressed down on my drop bars for such a long time. What an awesome hill. Reached the lunch stop in first position again and felt really buzzed up. It was about 10 minutes before the next cyclist - Richard the Surgeon (who completed L2P with me), turned up and a further 10 minutes before Richard and Andy rocked up.

Folk were referring to me as an animal at the lunch stop. Was this due to my cycling or my eating habits I wonder?! Set off from lunch with Josh. Josh is such a strong cyclist and before long I was quite a distance from him but chased him and closed the gap somewhat. There was no major hill after lunch at all and we got to the water stop in quick time. Josh beat me there by a fraction. Jo the DA madam scoffed at me for going so fast and said I should take it leisurely and treat this as a recovery ride. I did not push my self to excess and changed down my gears when I felt uncomfortable. Jo always has something to say, she even told me off for an emergency pee during L2P. She kindly got me some cleat covers yesterday, which was nice. However, she marked the price up 40% which was not so nice. Anyways, back to the cycling..

For the last section I told myself I would take it more steady and set off with Richard the surgeon about a minute after Josh. We caught sight of Josh real soon and the voices in my head told me to chase him. I chased him, caught him, stuck with him for a while but then he left me for dead. This last section was mostly flat again but with about 2o miles to go I climbed this gradient and saw Josh was at the side of the road. I figured he must have punctured and was going to be a good samaritan and let him use my gas. Poor Josh however, had major bike menace. His rear mech had shifted into his spokes and consequently was completely bust and had also ripped his mech hanger clean from his bike. I waited for a while but there was little I could do. Richard the surgeon rocked up soon after and we left Josh and continued our journey. When the next slight decline was reached it was Richard the surgeon who said 'go on Tim' rather than the voices. On I went and reached the hotel in pole position! Fantastic day and got to the hotel just in time to watch England play Slovenia in the World Cup. Maybe I should have a couple of celebratory beers?! (I did end up having Chablis wine last nigh too).

Feel so good today and just hope I feel the same this time tomorrow. I don't have many miles to worry about. I think it's about 70 miles till I reach Geneva, the end point of my challenge. It's just that the next 55 miles are up hill and I have to climb a mountain...

Aha, as I sign off from this blog, England have just scored!

Cycled a distance of 98.89 miles at an average speed of 16.3mph and a max speed of 36.7mph. Spent 6 hours and 3 mins on the saddle today.

Tuesday 22 June 2010

P2G Day 2 Sens - Semur-en-Auxois

Another great day of cycling today. Weather was awesome. Only menace was the many bugs that got stuck to my glasses.

Started day feeling pretty good and kept a good pace up for most of the morning, averaging a speed of 17.2mph. Long quiet roads undulating in nature but some super descents to keep me happy. Gary the Cobler kept me amused, he has finally decided that bib shorts look way better when under one's jersey rather than having a jersey tucked in. He noticed this as I stripped some layers. Gary the cobler promised me a before and after shot of his bib short wearing style for my blog, but I am still waiting.

After the first water stop I cycled for a long stretch with Dennis 'the Stiglet'. Dennis is my room mate and did the London to Paris challenge with me. He got the name 'Stiglet' because he is like the Stig from Top Gear but in a cycling sense. He rides up-hill, down hill and the flats at the same speed. It's as if his legs don't know what a gradient is. We sped along all the way to just before lunch and stopped at a cafe in Chablis for some coke (not wine, though this was tempting as we passed loads of beautiful vineyards and Chablis is famous for the same). At this stop the locals were moaning and groaning that certain bikes had been propped up against flowerpots - I rolled my eyes and thought they should be grateful that we were contributing to their economy by purchasing so much stuff from this local cafe. It was at this juncture that I noticed transformers were present here too (as pic below demonstrates).
Cycled a little way further to the lunch stop. Chunky girl was already here! Chunky girl had not cycled today and opted for the lift in the van option. Lunch was as awesome as ever and we were in a very pretty part of France in amazing weather. Happy days.

The cycling after lunch was hard going. Not only was my belly full of various delights from the cooks but some big long tasty hills were encountered. I enjoyed climbing this hill and felt in good form. I caught up with Josh at the top who had stopped to take a photo (so I took one too, but was really glad of a quick rest). Then we sped along together to the water stop. There was a cute dog here which reminded me of my beautiful Cody. I hope she's behaving herself back in the UK.
Josh and I powered along together for the final section. This was hard going again and my left knee had started to niggle for the last 10 miles and my right foot had become numb. We found an awesome descent but the road had been re-surfaced and there was loads of loose gravel. I got the fear a little and went down slowly with brakes pressed hard (I still went faster than Josh, but think this was because I was way fatter). Super zoomy Josh (who happens to be a personal trainer) pulled me along almost to the finish. We stopped to take pictures of Semur-en-Auxois town which was just so pretty. We then cycled a few more metres to the finish with me in pole position. What a great day!
Cycled a distance of 82.64 miles at an average speed of 16.4mph and a max speed of 40.7mph. Spent 5 hours on the saddle today.

Monday 21 June 2010

Paris to Geneva (P2G) Day 1 Paris - Sens

Started todays challenge with a whole bunch of mixed emotions. Was quite sad that all the cool guys that cycled London to Paris wouldn't be joining me. I have great memories of Craig, David, Dave the younger, Nigel, and Paul aka Alan that will last a while and continue to make me grin. The likes of Martin, Juliet (go team Jelly Baby), Mary, the many Welsh and the Russian bird will last a while too. Was happy to be starting a new challenge though and met some cool guys the night before who would be joining me for this challenge. This new bunch of guys all appeared hard core initially - some had super bikes costing around the £3,000 mark. One chunky girl and a German girl also feature on this challenge.

Anyways, the day started real early, about 6.30 a.m (with wake up call being at 5 a.m and breakfast just after). Myself and 19 others cycled from the hotel back to the Eiffel Tower. I thought I had seen the last of this tower yesterday. It was a chilly start and to be fair the tower did look pretty awesome. I had voices in my head singing 'Oh Alexander I see you beneath the archway of aerodynamics' as I viewed said tower. After a quick photo shoot at the tower we set off. This first section was quite menace as we were cycling in busy traffic for a good 20 miles before we saw any countyside and said goodbye to Paris. Was mostly cycling alongside Gary the Cobler (who did L2P with me) and a couple of American dudes from New York. Got to the first water stop in quick time and it felt awesome to be on my bike once again.

I kinda sneaked off at the first water stop by myself but didn't get far on my solo route as someone had nicked the orange arrows used to mark the route. Grr. I waited till I was joined by a bunch of others who had a good sense of direction and awesome navigational skills. This group filtered out quite quickly and the 2 American dudes and I sped away and took turns to lead (or 'pull' as the American dudes say). We would each be at the front for about 1/3 of a mile before pulling back, slip streaming and taking it easy. Each Amrican dude would say 'good pull' after I had done my stint and pulled back. Suffice to say we bombed it, and were first at the lunch stop.

I noted a novel way of drying one's socks at the lunch stop, courtesy of American dude no.2. After a typical lunch of cake, croissant, pasta, curry rolls etc I set off with Gary the Cobler. We copied the pull tactics from earlier with good effect and got to the next stop with no one catching us. Passed a beautiful red squirrel on route - only this one was victim to road kill. Poor squirrel.
The last section to the hotel was super zoomy. I set off with the 2 American dudes and Gary the Cobler. Gary the Cobler soon fell back and American dude no.1 (Craig) had started to look ill. He said it was normal for him to go hot and cold. It was a very sunny day by now. Craig assured me he was OK so I left him and pursued American dude no.2 (Josh). Josh was bombing it but after 10 miles I caught him and we cycled, in pole position all the way to the hotel. We got to the hotel a good 10 mins before anyone else and treated ourselves to a well deserved beer. I think the L2P boys would have been proud of my efforts.

Cycled a distance of 89.48 miles at an average speed of 15.7mph and a max speed of 36.6mph. Spent 5 hours and 41 mins on the saddle today.

Saturday 19 June 2010

Fought the French

I thought the French, and the French lost!
Total London to Paris distance cycled was 317.95 miles and I reached a maximum speed of 45mph.

Weekly totals: Cycled a distance of 333 miles.

L2P Day 4 Compiegne - Paris!

Another great day of cycling. Fast pretty roads to follow all the way to our first water stop. Fast pretty roads continued all the way to our lunch stop. We keep promising ourselves to slow the pace, but we were at the lunch stop by 10 a.m! This time however, they fed us!

The next leg was initially long quite roads which soon developed into menace busy roads, much like London. The long quiet roads were awesome as I was flying along (Craig had given me a Tesco energy pill and could certainly feel the effects). The roads near Paris were scarey and felt like I was dicing with death. Nigel was chanting 'we're all gonna die soon' which soon caught on and distarcted me from the fact that we really might get squished soon.

We cycled all the way to just before the Arc de Triomphe and stopped here. We stopped for beer. We also stopped because we planned to ride in convey with the whole group to the finish point. When we re-grouped we were awarded with special DA London to Paris T-shirts. I proudly wore my shirt and then cycled very slowly to the Arc de Triomphe and along the Champs Elysees. This felt awesome - I was cycling along those cobbled stones that the Tour de France guys cycle each year and that I watch on my TV. We continued to cycle all the way to the Eiffel Tower. Yay, awesome, job done and quite a pretty place to end. If truth be known, I had to cycle a further 5 miles to reach the hotel.
At the conclusion of this trip I feel pretty good. Am pleased with my efforts and happy I have completed a challenge considered moderate. I did not ache too much and did not have to wear 2 pairs of padded pants at any time. Aches, pains and niggles had been felt but were bearable. Nubutte cream and Sudocrem are highly recommended by myself and Ibuprofen gel works a treat.

So what next? Well, I plan to party hard tonight and enjoy a good celebration meal with those 76 other cyclists who did the challenge with me. Tomorrow I will take it easy and maybe do a wee bit of sight seeing and then on monday my next challenge awaits. My next challenge is considered tough and is a Paris to Geneva cycle!

Cycled a distance of 62.48 miles at an average speed of 14.3mph and a max speed of 37.7mph.

L2P Day 3 Arras - Compiegne

Another great day of cycling. Thus far all the cycling has been great. The fellow cyclists have all been fun too.

The trip has had some negative moments though. The first menace was the awfull curry on the ferry. Earlier on in the trip on day 2 my front wheel just became stuck (and nearly catapulted me from my bike). I loosened and tightened the brake but nothing happened, the wheel would still not move. Some folk commented that my hub must be damaged. I loosened and tightened the wheel skewer but still no change. Was about to cry but forced the wheel round and out flew a piece of grit and wheel turned once again - yay! The sun had burnt my skin but not badly and am not going to really complain as it is quite awesome. 'Young Dave' kindly donated me some sun screen lotion too. The other negative thing of note was the quality of some food in the hotel. Not sure it actually was food, but not to worry - found a suitable place to munch on burgers!

Todays ride was pleasant and very fast. Probably the easiest day and again in mostly sunny weather. Stopped about midway to take a picture of the Somme. At some points we were cruising along at 20-25 mph. This fast pace was mainly down to 'Richard the rabbit' who just liked to bomb it and 'Craig the dog' who liked to chase said rabbit. The rest of us naturally felt compelled to not let them get away too far. The rest of us were Nigel, Alan aka Paul, Dave and on occasions Juliet (a super zoomy girl). We got to the luch stop so early today that we would have had to wait about 1 and half hours before lunch was served. With this in mind, we fuelled up on crisps and the like, missed lunch and cycled away. We had plans of stopping somewhere nice should the chance arrive but nothing was spotted. Nothing was spotted till near the end of the route when, by chance, a nice bar was spotted. A few drinks were consumed here (a few too many perhaps) and some lovely food was prepared for us (salami, crisps and bacon). Following this stop, I just about managed to cycle to the hotel.
The hotel we stayed in was pretty grotty. Small rooms, no lifts and in the middle of nowhere. Not wishing to chance the hotel food, took a trip into town and ate a lovely steak and chips. Drank beer whilst watching football (England vs Algeria) and the rest of the night remains a little blurry.

Cycled a distance of 77.82 miles, with an average speed of 16.6 mph and a maximum speed of 38.6 mph.

Thursday 17 June 2010

L2P Day 2 Calais - Arras

Slept pretty well last night, which was just as well as wake-up and breakfast was around the 6.30 a.m time. Usual routine of filling up water bottles, applying nubutte cream, getting chsnged into cycling gear and head downstairs for breakfast. Breakfast was typical english style - sausage, egg and bacon alongside fruit juice, fruit and yoghurt. Once fuelled up, bikes were made ready and we set off about 8 a.m.

Was expecting the day to be relatively easy, though this was not the case. Undulations were encountered early on in the ride. The first leg to the water stop started off quite chilly, but after 8 miles or so was suitably warmed up. Turned out to be an awesome day with bright shining sun and a wee bit of wind to keep us cool. The roads were awesome, they went on mile after mile, were in good repair and motorised vehicles were few. Flew to the first stop with no major worries at all. Was glad to eat a banana here (but was wishing for lucozade again too). Wasn't paying too much attention to road signs but noticed we passed through Ardres and Lumbres and some pretty forest in between.
The slog to dinner was hard, real hard. Big lengthy hills which seemed to go on forever and ever. On the plus side there were a few tasty down hill sections too, but it seemed like a mostly uphill struggle. The 10 miles just before dinner were the hardest of the day and I was starting to feel very very hungry. Made it to the lunch stop in good time again - had to wait about half hour before lunch was served (whilst waiting for lunch was able to snack on croissant, crisps, flap jacks, orange and endless tea). Lunch itself was ok, I had chicken tikka pasta - bizarre but hit the spot.

After being fed I felt energised again and sped to the next water stop. This was a truly awesome part of the ride following a long quiet road and passing stunning scenery. Weather was great and only 1 cyclist was ahead of me as I sped to the water stop. Another banana here and then onto the roaad again for the last 10 miles.

The last 10 miles into Arras wasn't too bad, but was starting to feel tired once more. Had noticed the beautiful sun had started to burn my legs and was just so looking forward to having a bath. Before I knew it I had reached my destination - the Holiday Inn Arras!

The Holiday Inn was nice but it didn't have a bath. However, it has a bar which I plan to visit in a while and reward my efforts. Most importantly of all, it has free internet access which has allowed me to update this blog!

Cycled a distance of 80.33 miles, with an average speed of 14.1 mph and a max of 38.6 mph. Spent 5 hours and 40 minutes on the saddle (thank goodness for Nubutte cream and Sudocrem)!

Wednesday 16 June 2010

London to Paris (L2P) Day 1 London - Dover - Calais

Early start to the day with a wake-up call at 5 a.m. This call was welcome as it was followed by a hearty breakfast. After suitably carbo-loading, made my way to Blackheath common ready for the start.
At 7 a.m I set off with 76 other cyclists. There was a good mix of ages and about 20 females taking part. This first leg to the water stop was along relatively busy London roads and certain cyclists were dicing with death by pulling out in front of busses and not stopping at red lights. I was a more sensible cyclist! It took at least the first 8 miles before I felt warm. We passed through Dartfood before reaching the first waterstop. This was a most welcome stop and I was treated with a banana and a bottle of lucozade.

The next leg took us into Charing for our lunch stop. This was a super zoomy leg and reached this destination a good 30 mins before lunch was served. Lunch consisted of rolls, cheese, turkey, crisps, orqnges, cake and tea.

The next leg was tough and had a few hilly moments. No hill beat me though and I kept a good pace. It was reassuring to know that day 1 was considered to be the most strenous day before reaching Paris. At the water stop I again fuelled up with banana and lucozade.

Menace moments were encountered on the leg to the ferry. Basically I and 9 others got lost, or took a wrong turn and were going all over the place in a haphazard manner. We had to cycle a vast stretch of menace dual carriage way to get us back on route which was quite busy and proved hard work. This hard work paid off as I hit a speed of 45 mph on my descent into Dover (think I had the fastest descent)! Once in Dover I paid a stop to a local pub and had some cider before having to catch the ferry.

We had to wait a while before being allowed on the ferry. Once on the ferry, more alcohol was consumed alongside the most disgusting curry ever (bar 1, that curry Dave, Jack and I had was the worst ever)! The ferry ride was quite rocky and just a few more rocks and I'm sure curry might have escaped!

Once of the ferry I climbed back on my bike and wahoo - I was in France for the first time in my life! Had to cycle about 7 miles to reach the hotel - a holiday inn. The cycle to the hotel was kinda weird as I was now riding on the other side of the road. Once at hotel, showered, updated this blog and a beer awaits!

Cycled 97.32 miles with a max speed of 45 mph!

Monday 14 June 2010

Audax, du's and tri's ...

Completed my last training session today. Not my last training session ever, but my last for my planned trip from London to Geneva. Let's hope I have trained well enough to fly through France and beat the giants in Geneva!

Last week I took it relativley easy and cycled my bike on only four occasions and did not exceed more than 19 miles on any trip. This was a deliberate easy week, in preperation for the days ahead. Cayo got fitted with a new gear cable (whick looks slightly out of place as the outer cable is black and all other cables on bike are chrome) and I fitted new cleats to my shoes. Played around with the settings on my bike and now it feels better - I have raised the saddle and altered my cleats to bring my feet closer to the bike. Am hoping these new settings will help me transfer more power to the pedals and prevent any injury.

Have been recording all my training sessions since the start of the new year (this was because my sister Jane got me a day-by-day runners log calender for christmas). Thus far I have swam for 5 hours and 50 mins, have ran for 19 hours and 55 mins, have skipped for 27 mins and cycled a distance of 1,717 miles. I have completed 4 audax events, 1 duathlon and 1 triathlon. Suprisingly, have only had 1 menace fall from my bike.
France and Geneva, here I come!

Weekly totals (for last week): Cycled 67 miles.

Saturday 5 June 2010

The day I was a black sheep

What an awesome day the Silk Run turned out to be! This was my fourth completed audax event. Each and every audax event thus far has been awesome. Was a bright sunny start (and remained bright, hot and sunny throughout). This event attracted about 65 participants and had the usual mix of old and young, thin and fat, those on tandems, those on fixed speeds, a higher number of females than usual and me! A really well organised event. Hats off to the Black Sheep Cycling Club. At about 9.35 a.m we had an event briefing and then followed the mass participation start.

The first stage followed paths I have cycled before (and am convinced were part of a previous audax I have completed). Nice quiet roads taking us through Gotherington, Greet and Didbrook. Then came the only real hill of the whole event. I felt pretty good here because I powered ahead leaving all the fellow cyclists behind (largely due to the limited teeth on my casette, rather than my fitness level). I reached the top of the hill and carried on going - silly me, I missed a left turn and had to back track a few miles. Once back on route, chatted to a number of cyclists - one of whom is cycling London to Paris next month (I am cycling there this month!). The first control was very pleasant and was the site of Broadway Tower (where 6 different counties can be seen from the top of the tower). I treated myself to the obligatory tea and cake here.

Stage 2 was fast. I cycled this as a completely solo effort, not even seeing another cyclist. The route took me down the infamous Fish Hill. This hill is awesome and I often use it as a training ride, however, this time I was going down it rather than up. Super zoomy! So zoomy, I flew past the cycleway and had to back track again. Back on route and I cycled through Childswickham, Aston Somerville, Wormington and Dumbleton. The control was at Beckford Silk. As soon as I stopped at this control, my pores opened and sweat just gushed from me. I had for possibly the first time ever, no appetite. I forced myself to eat a plate of beans on toast and washed this down with a cup of tea and set off again.

Stage 3 was again a fast section. I cycled this largely as a solo effort too, but was forced to stop for a train at a railway crossing allowing cyclists to catch up with me. Sped through Overbury, Eckington, Besford, Wadborough and Littleworth. Really was a hot day, no wind and the air felt stuffy. The control was at a garden centre. Again not hungry, but forced mysel to eat a kit kat before pushing on to the final stage.

The final stage again followed really pleasant lanes with hardly any traffic to be seen. Sped past Hatfield, Kinnersley, Dunstall Common and into Strensham. The finish was close to the start and was at the Royal Hop Pole pub. Finished this event with a big smile on my chops, a cyclist's tan and an awesome 100k Silk Run medal. Was an awesome day being a black sheep in a flock of black sheep.

Cycled a distance of 68.23 miles in 4 hours and 23 mins, with an average speed of 15.5 mph (and a max speed of 38.6mph).
Weekly totals: Cycled 110 miles.

Friday 4 June 2010

Grr, groan and moan

Grr! Groans and moans indeed! Had big plans of training hard this week, but oh no, dodgey guts got in the way! My training has been really hampered this time round. Not to worry (I hope). Taken antibiotics as prescribed and plan to finish course and return to optimum health and higher level of fitness (?!).

Is not the end of the week yet and have managed to cycle twice. Ok, no major distance but going out and doing a little is better than doing nowt. My first trek took my road bike from work and back home. The second trek was on the specialized and took me from home to about 5 miles from work. At this point I heards a familiar sound ... ssss ... had punctured. Grr. Had a spare tube but that too was punctured. Had no patches and no pump - would never have made a decent scout. Managed to flag down an 'old boy' cyclist who kindly donated me a patch and some glue and after a few fiddly minutes was able to repair my punctured tube. Yay. Was able to inflate tube using the gas I remembered to carry. Job done. Jumped back on bike and finished my trek into work.
Don't feel brilliant of late. Am not overly happy with my poor cycling efforts. Quite disappointed with my non-happening swimming and running. Still think my knees are niggling at times - maybe it's in my head. Hmm. Grrr. Groan and moan. However, tomorrow I plan to complete an audax, namely 'The Silk Run', organised by the Black Sheep Cycling Club which is sure to put a smile on my chops and bump up my training a little.

'He's got the oil on his chain, for a ride in the rain, no baloney, ride around on my bicycle like a pony, I'm waving hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, g-g-g-gimme a scream, give me, give me the theme...'

Happy New Year 2022

Happy New Year folks. I wonder what's in store for 2022,  - something crazy, something new? It's a shame Covid is still here and I&#...