Coast to Coast getting close!

Pleasurable training!

Pleasurable training!

Incredible, scary, daunting and exciting to think the Coast to Coast in a Day is getting so close.  Here’s an update of where I’m at and I’m doing this as a kind of selfie pep-talk, helping to work out what I need to do, what I can do and so on.

Overall position: if I should be peaking any time now and then tapering in my training for the last few weeks, I am way behind.  I am therefore feeling a bit nervous about it.

Can I do it? The 150 miles? Yes, probably, hopefully.   It is the 4,500 metres of climbing which freaks me out the most.  I will probably be a complete wreck at the end, needing to sleep for a week afterwards, not to mention hobbling around and mentally throwing my bike into the North Sea.  Drat, I have taken annual leave from work on the following Monday only, perhaps I should take some more.

As my training is behind my mental schedule I still believe I can still do it, although it will push me right to the limit.  Perhaps we sometimes need to do it.

Last year when I did the MK Marathon I was behind the training schedule and I didn’t run for two weeks because of the flu.  Then a month before the event I started gently running again and with legs feeling like jelly I made a quarter of a mile around the block.  With all this in mind my strategy for the marathon became just getting around the course, whatever the time.  On the day I came in just under four hours which I was pleased with, much better than I thought.  I am hoping the same thing can happen with the C2C and “it’ll be alright on the day”.

With running I have found my times are generally faster than I expected or achieved in training.  I think this must be something about an organised sportive or race and competitors are swept along by everyone else.  Perhaps that also fuels some of the endorphins which are wonderful and turn the pain into pleasure.

The bike? My bike needs some TLC.  A couple of weeks ago I replaced the cluster and chain.   I’d bought these a few months ago and only recently got around to fitting them  The gears needed some adjustment afterwards and it’s still not quite 100% right.  Further tinkering to follow.  The 9 speed cluster is the same with 12 – 26T although a posher Sram version which the LBS had collecting dust and sold it to me really cheaply.  Same with the chain.  Both are lighter than the ones coming off but I doubt if 50 grams will make any difference.  What might help in the longer term is the durability, or so it is suggested.

I have taken off the mudguards and rear rack to get the bike into the state it will be in on the day.  This makes it noticeably lighter.  Although the bike is pretty comfortable, I had felt my back was getting uncomfortable on all-day rides.  So I have tried flipping the handlebar stem up so I am not leaning over so far –  the handlebars are now only 1 or 2 inches below the saddle height and the saddle itself has been pushed back by one inch which helps.  So far so good but I’ll know for sure after the next long ride.

I sometimes toy with the idea of a new bike but not for now.  I might have a steel frame with a triple chain set and a Brooks leather saddle and I like it.  However it all adds up to being certainly the slowest bike doing the event.

Clothing is something I am still mulling over, I don’t have much cycling specific clothing anyway!  I am tempted to buy some more shoes as my Specialized Sonomas are quite heavy and if it’s a wet day they’ll absorb water and become lead weights on my feet.

Nutrition, fuel? Yes this is something which I have got sorted and it’s now straight forward.  Drinking water etc depends much on temperature, as always.  These are my main points:

  • Eat something every 60 minutes, whether hungry or not.  If I’m not hungry, I’ll eat a small amount but I make sure I eat something.  I find this useful at maintaining energy levels.  I like Nakd and Trek bars the best – they travel well without falling to pieces and they’re good wholesome food (see a previous post).  I also take a little bag of dried dates, so they’re not too sticky and are also a good source of energy.
  • On the C2C I will take a few energy gels with me but I’m sure I will end up taking home even more
  • Cherry Active for afterwards really does wonders for preventing muscle soreness and helping me recover.  I am a convert to this – last year I reviewed Cherry Active having been sent a sample and I was genuinely impressed – so I make sure I have it in stock at home.  I’m not just saying that for he sake of it.  Read the review.
  • Cramp in my feet and legs has been an issue for me and I have blogged about this over the last few years and it has been helped by Zero’s containing potassium and magnesium.  See below for some related links.
  • For breakfast (i.e. before a long ride) I always have muesli with added ground flaxseed, a smoothie, a coffee, one piece of fruit and a prayer.

Everyone else?

Some of my fellow C2Cers came around for a vegetarian curry last week and it was nice to catch up with each other and how we’re all doing.  We have formed a Strava club so we are all linked together that way.  Josh has a nice new bike – an improved Cannondale dripping with Ultegra and Jeremy, judging by his physique, gains fitness and strength every week.  Andrew is benefitting from lots of early morning training, being even lighter and a new carbon fibre Bianchi.

Paul is needing to drop out and we all completely understand the reasoning; we’d all do the same.  Paul has the offer of coming as a mobile mechanic and problem solver.  Robin couldn’t make the curry but he’s also clocking up a reasonable number of miles, building on his good all-round fitness.  He too rides a carbon fibre road bike, with Ultegra.

Remaining training All being well I hope to get another 2 or 3 long rides in, each 100 – 130 miles and these are in addition to normal commutes and Sunday afternoon trips.  Once I’m doing these fairly comfortably and over a hilly course I think I’ll be okay but I can’t help but feel daunted by the hills.


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