There are two things in life which should never be a compromise: your choice of wife, and your choice of Haribo. Having recently been forced (due poor garage stock levels) to purchase the ‘starmix’ and ‘sour monsters’ Haribo I have come to realise there is only room for one sub-type in my life: Tangfastics.
Anyway, enough nonsense. It was another wet and windy ride, but strangely relaxing, and the plan was for the usual 60 mile long route down to Castle Cary, Somerton, Glastonbury, Meare, Wedmore, Cheddar, Shipham, Home. This was to be my last long ride before the JOGLE starts, and I’m now tapering down my training. Just a couple of 20-30mile rides next week and then into the beast itself!
Talking of beasts – which to choose: a badger or a car? Its not a choice you ever want to have to make really but I found myself in that situation as a badger ran out of the bank right at me whist a car was flying towards me in the other direction. Luckily I managed to slip through the gap between both, but it was a little hairy. Saw another badger later on and a couple of foxes.
A good route, reasonably speed, very quick up Burrington Combe:
I just reached one of my long term training goals: to achieve an average speed of 20mph on the 21 mile route to Blagdon and back! All the way there the wind was in my face but I pushed through it knowing that the way back would be massively quick! And it was!! 21.2 miles in 63 minutes = 20 mph! Big grins 🙂
The rain isn’t stopping around here but that’s no excuse not to train! I had a short break from work and cycled off to Blagdon where Natasha was helping at a cream tea event. Unfortunately I was too late for a freebie but had the opportunity to beat all the cars from the lake back up the hill to the village. Quick cup of tea at the in-laws and back on the bike along the Mendip motorway home. Not a long ride, but good to keep the legs moving:
That voice in my head
Its patient all day
But secretly plotting
It WILL make me pay
Its 8 in the evening
And raining outside
But here comes that feeling
I just HAVE to ride
A simple excuse
A positive ‘NO’
Either would suffice
But I just have to go
Then a strange thing happens
As I climb on the bike
Push one pedal down
And start on my hike
And suddenly its clear
There’s meaning to this
Its my perfect escape
My ultimate bliss
So if you’re tired and stressed
And sitting inside
Just get on your bike
And go for a ride!
After my epic training trip the weekend before last, I have been a little lax with the training. The problem is I know I am fit enough to attempt the JOGLE now, so its just a case of trying to keep that up. Yesterday I was planning to go for a ride but by the time it gets to 9pm you really just want to spend some time with your long-suffering-wife rather than head out into the darkness. So I resolved to head out early this morning. Now, normally those intentions disappear into the folds of a warm duvet, but on this occasion I was up and out of bed by 6.30, getting the bike ready. I loaded a route onto the iPhone and set off. Turned out to be a good fast average of 17+ mph, which is good going for a ride of this length. Oh and here is a little shout of support to a friend who is training for a half marathon: go Shelley!
Ok so I didnt actually PLAN to take the week off, but the ride I had planned on Thursday was scuppered by a 5 hour (very productive) meeting that ran until about 8pm!
Today, my good wife wanted to go to Blagdon to see a friends wedding, as her sister was bridesmaid, and I dont have much time this weekend so figured I would make it part of my ride. First problem was finding one of my cycling gloves. Mini crisis over and second problem was trying to make up the time by cycling fast on a full stomach. Third problem was being dressed in a fluorescent jacket watching over the churchyard wall. I probably should have thought that one through…
There was no way I was going to be able to shoot for a long ride today but on the flip side it just didn’t seem right to do just the 24 miles to Blagdon and back so I headed to the Harptrees. Slightly surreal moment where I passed a remote garden where the two owners were carrying a huge squealing pig down a path. And then it started to rain. A lot. The nappy in my Lycra leggings (i.e. the padding thing) got soaked, which is never nice.
Still, managed to make it back just fine after what was a very short ride of 35 ish miles. Oh and I just wanted to say a huge thanks to the anonymous person who made a very generous donation today. It means a lot, thanks.
Last night I was falling asleep in Browns by about 9.30pm, although I think that was more due to an extremely long Friday than the 103 miles on Saturday. Bed was a welcome sight and this morning I woke up not quite feeling ready to do it all again. Its not good lying there with aching legs and no desire to cycle all day, but I have experienced this a few times now and know that the solution is a shower, breakfast and a good cup of tea. The worst thing was having a dodgy stomach, presumably from the copious amounts of Tangfastics and chocolate bars the day before, but after a fair bit of faffing I got back on the bike and headed off. The first thing I noticed was that my behind knew it had done 100+ miles the day before, and wasn’t too keen to do another 100, but not having much choice it soon settled down. My legs were surprisingly OK.
Tasha really liked Marlborough so we decided to meet up there again today. The route plan was much the same as yesterday but in reverse, and with a few additions and changes to make it a little longer and more enjoyable. The first cock up was getting to Wytham and realising the road I was going to take was private (perhaps I could have got away with it). I had to backtrack a little and ended up taking a detour through Botley. Many pretty villages later I got to Aldborne and decided to take a safer route than the track I went for yesterday. The result was a few more hills, but it was good not to have to push the bike through a field.
Found another great cafe in Marlborough and hatched a plan to meet up at Bradford on Avon. Because it was such a nice day I had figured it would be a great opportunity to add more miles to the route, so this seemed to make sense. I’ve discovered that the first 1-2 hours after lunch is the most difficult, with general sluggishness, a very dry mouth (lots of water needed) and slightly dodgy stomachs. However, eventually you punch through and its all good again. Met Tasha at a canal path we knew and had a break involving some chocolate brownies and a smoothie. Very enjoyable. I decided I would head to Frome, then perhaps to Bruton and back, to increase the length.
Headed in Frome direction, and was feeling good at this stage – a few too many main A roads but at least the miles got covered quickly. Once past Frome I headed south to Bruton, which was when things got difficult. At spot on mile 100 I started getting an attack of exercise induced asthma, and remembering how bad it was last time immediately took a break in a field looking over some fantastic views. A gentle start again and lots of careful breathing seemed to eventually fix the problem, but then i hit a mini-wall and had to scoff an army of Tangfastics, a tracker and some fig rolls to keep on going (Tangfastics are a life saver). It was a tough half hour, though going through Bruton and (stupidly you might say) I had decided to aim for 120 miles which meant going on to Castle Cary then up to Shepton, rather than going to Shepton from Bruton. I soldiered on and gradually the energy from the binge took effect and by the time I was cycling through Everycreech junction I was back on form again. Shepton came along with its hills, and I checked the mileage as I rolled towards the Oakhill turning – 118 miles. That just wasn’t good enough 🙂 so I turned right towards Stoke St Michael and went a mile or so along that road, and turned back again, finishing with a mileage of 121 miles. Average was just under 16mph.
Total weekend milage was 224 miles, average just over 16mph. Pretty pleased and I reckon I could do another 100 tomorrow if I needed to. So I think it bodes well for the JOGLE when there shouldnt be any days more than 90.
Oh and I finally found out its possible to get sunburn through your helmet, making a teenage ninja mutant turtle style pattern on my bald head. Impressive. That’ll be fun at work tomorrow.
So this weekend is the big test – two full days back to back with the intention of covering 90 miles each day. I sorted the route earlier in the week – the plan was to make a 90 mile route to Oxford then back the next day, as we know someone we can stay with there. Off I set this morning, in all honestly probably not 100% given the stressful week I’ve had with chip tapeouts and the like. The morning leg was to Marlborough – which turned out to be pretty straightforward. I’ve discovered that perversely, if you cycle further from the edge of the road then the cars give you a wider berth. Its a weird one, but always works. Marlborough itself is a very pretty town – shame it rained hard just as I rode into it, so doing the quick change in the car (Tasha was already there) was a bit of a mess. Had lunch in a little sandwich shop – its great to have an excuse to eat all the chocolate cakes in sight – gotta pile on the calories!
Set off again towards Oxford and it all went a little pear shaped… I took what Google said was a road, but it soon deteriorated into a gravel track, then to a bridleway then to a field (see photo on route). Not ideal when you have 23mm tyres. Still, I managed to emerge eventually through some farm or other and accelerated away before anyone noticed (true ReubiMax style).
I had decided at lunch that I would attempt to break through 100 miles instead of 90 as it was going well so far. This was also fueled by Tasha wanting to spend longer in Bicester shopping village (!)… So I extended the trip beyond Oxford and up to Bicester, a total of 103 miles – my longest ever ride. Amazingly I still felt I could have added another 15 – 20 miles, but we had already planned to head to a restaurant at a certain time and anyway I didn’t want to push it when I had another 90+ miles to ride tomorrow.
Some of the villages through Oxfordshire are truly amazing. Those houses must cost a fortune!
So here is the route – 103 miles and 16 mph average:
Quite why there were so many cars intent on double overtaking me I have no idea! By that I mean a car overtaking me while another car overtakes it. Happened three times. Shocker. I never liked that stretch of the A361…
This was the first long route I did all those months ago on my MTB, and then on Steve’s racer. I remember doing this ride and having to go to the pub with my wife and inlaws right afterwards and feeling decidedly knackered. Its a good indication of my increased fitness that I can now do the 40 miles without any trouble at all, and with a good average speed too (17mph without the break!). Here is the route:
I didn’t get a chance to ride at the weekend or last Friday so I knew I really needed to get out today. Unfortunately, what with tapeout deadlines at Uni and other attempts to take over the world, I began to think it would be another day tied to the desk but then Tasker’s email came commenting on the lack of training to the tune of “You’ll get fat if your not careful you lazy …” and suddenly my priorities got rearranged 🙂 I finally got out at about 9.20pm for a super fast hour’s ride averaging over 18mph even with reasonable elevation, one closed road (just road through it) poor surfaces and three wrong turnings. I do think that its good to train in a variety of ways – both long endurance rides and short sprints. The reasoning (that I have entirely made up and is probably completely wrong) could be that the sprints strengthen your muscles, and develop the tolerance of your tendons and tissues to strain, then the endurance rides concentrate on your stamina. When I actually do the JOGLE I won’t be getting anywhere near the strains I have put on my joints and tendons and stuff during the sprint training rides, so the thought is that they should survive better than if I had just done easy but long training rides all the time…? Who knows. Well I will I guess, in four weeks time! Arggggg!! Really should sort out the route and accommodation and posters and publicity!! Here is the route: