“Can we have an update, please…..?”

The quiet Hertfordshire countryside

The quiet Hertfordshire countryside

“Can we have an update, please?” says one of my friends.  Here goes. Really sorry I haven’t been blogging for a while.  If you like, I can give you a long list of excuses but that could be a bit tedious.  Instead, let me simply say its been the busyness of work and family life.  Here’s a little run down of a few things during the last few weeks:

Cycling

Cycling – and more specifically training for the Coast to Coast.  I wish I had more time for cycling right now and this manifests itself through being behind with my training plan for the C2C which is at the end of June.  I should say I haven’t actually got a training plan in the form of a carefully calculated chart stuck onto the fridge door but I do have a plan of sorts tucked away in my mind.

This training plan follows the format of marathon running i.e. short runs during the week (ideally two or three) and then a slower, longer ride at the weekend. Things have swung almost back to normal this week with the opportunity of an hour’s ride in the week followed by 60 miles yesterday.  Those 60 miles were glorious, I did really enjoy it.  Some of the highlights:

  • There’s a turning near Piccotts End, not far from Hemel Hempstead.  This is infamous for being the missed turning in the Luton CC ride and then yesterday I came across a car which had just broken down.  The young driver was in a quandary and almost a bit of a panic in not knowing what to do.  He explained the car (a newish white Audi) had just stopped and had misbehaved a little beforehand on his way back from the petrol station.  Within seconds another cyclist appeared followed by a car driver and between us we pushed it UP a slope where it was out of the way.  Us cyclists were amused in finding ourselves pushing a car, in a our cleats no less. The other cyclist quietly said to me “you’d never get a motorist like this stopping to help a cyclist, would you?”.  I quite agreed and we exchanged a knowing smile at each other
  • And then I met a young cyclist called Joe, near Tring.  He was chatty in his north country accent, explaining he was a cycle mechanic and attending a two week course in Aylesbury and was out for a spin while he was “down south” where it was all so flat.  Pleasant conversation covering mechanics, the joy of cycling and other cyclists.
  • Lots of other cyclists – and I mean lots!  As usual this is a very encouraging sight and mostly people were friendly in exchanging smiles, nods etc.  Presumably still too early in the season to be “in the zone”.
  • I am getting my fuelling right, or at least much improved.  There were a few moments here and there where my energy levels dropped and I’ve found that with running as well.  I had some small Nakd bars with me which I duly scoffed at about the 90 minute and three hour points.  That combined with an electrolyte drink stopped any hunger or thirst and I found things easier in the second half.  Although my feet were icey cold for much of the time, I thankfully had no cramp this time.
  • At one point I did really struggle up a hill – and it wasn’t even steep!  I was almost at my limit and almost hurting as I plodded my way up the slope.  I kept asking “how on Earth will I manage the C2C?” while struggling with such an easy slope? I cheered myself up by remembering last year’s MK marathon where I was also way behind with my training and I went down with Flu, putting me even further back.  When I ran for the first time after the Flu my legs felt like jelly and I wondered how I’d ever manage the marathon four weeks later.  In the end I improved my time and got a PB.  So will the same happen for the C2C and its 150 miles?
  • Not so much a highlight but something to watch out for, I remembered being less attentive as the miles clicked by to potholes and cars.  Something to do with mental fatigue I reckon?

As much as I was generally pleased with my 60 miles, knowing I could have gone further without too much difficulty, I was seriously outclassed by my friend and fellow C2Cer Andrew.  He seems to have come from nowhere to clocking up 112 miles yesterday and furthermore that was over a hilly course as well!  This morning I said to Andrew “I bet you slept well” to which Gail (his wife) confirmed he had “rested his eyes” during the evening.  He’s not the only one!

Work

th_HPA00106I am really busy at work right now, with longer hours, more things to juggle but I can tell you I never get bored.  Far from it, I’m quite enjoying it and that included started the ball rolling in an award ceremony (picture on left).

This is where I miss running so much.  Running is a brilliant way of dealing with work issues, far better than cycling it seems.  Cycling has a different effect on me mentally and this never ceases to amaze me.  Running also burns more calories per hour and gives me more bangs-for-my-bucks but that’s not to say I’m not enjoying cycling at all.  Cycling helps me enjoy the countryside and day dream far more than I would otherwise.  Also it puts me in a quandary – I love cycling alone – but I also love sharing a few miles with others, especially friends.

As much as I’m locked into my normal day job, I do relish opportunities to share with others about the joys of running and cycling and taking those early steps.  That includes being able to blog about it too.

Other C2Cer’s news

As you might know, there’s a group of six of us friends signed up for the C2C.  I’ve already mentioned Andrew who has started from nowhere and has way overtaken me in his fitness and ability: a model of self discipline with those early morning rides.  Josh who will probably be even faster with his new bike.  I haven’t seen it but I know it’s a matt black Cannondale.  Robin seems to be going from being slim to looking like a spoke very soon and I think he’s got the right balance with his rides in spite of having a challenging work schedule.  Jeremy is steadily building up the miles and his leg muscles in a spectacular way.  Paul is scaring me in making me realise I am so ignorant of the demands the C2C will be making on me – how many watts output will be needed from my legs for each of the major climbs etc.

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