Impromptu Coast to Coast training

L to R Jeremy, Me, Paul, Joshua

L to R Jeremy, Me, Paul, Joshua

Amazingly there are now seven of us – as friends already knowing each other – we are all now signed up for the 2014 Coast to Coast In a Day.  We all know each other as we’re members of the same church.  In terms of our fitness and cycling experience, it has to be said, we’re probably at various stages.  Nevertheless we’re all nervously keen to have a go and some how or other the four of us got together yesterday for our first training spin.  Now I can tell, you’re already impressed aren’t you, you are, surely you are…..?

Allow me to give you a little introduction to the team.  On the left there’s Jeremy.  It is all Jeremy’s idea in a way having noted my previous remark about doing a more challenging coast-to-coast ride – having completed an easier C2C as a family with friends.  He’s an incredibly strong powerful cyclist who has probably spent more time on MTBs in recent years but saw the light and got a road bike.

Then there’s me, author of this blog, who likes the idea of long endurance rides more than racing.  Over the last few years running has been my main way of keeping fit but cycling is the goal for now.

Next is Paul, in red and with a big smile.  Paul is riding a vintage Falcon bike with ridlicuously high gears. I think we’ll be persuading him to do something about that.  You’ll see he’s also modelling the latest Aldi cycling apparel, which actually seems decent stuff nowadays.

Joshua is next, Jeremy’s teenage son.  Josh is growing into being a strong cyclist, like his Dad, and I suspect needs to hold himself back for the benefit of the rest of us.

There’s a few others in our group who will appear and be mentioned, no doubt, some another time – Phil, Bobby and Robin.

Heart rate monitors

With Aldi in mind, they have been selling heart rate monitors cheaply, or so I understand.  As we were about to set off I was wondering what kind of ride we were in for as the other three were all checking their ticker rates.  I don’t have one of these but I do have a pretty good idea of how it feels to have my heart rate in the right zone and then going further (this is having benefitted from a fair bit of treadmill running with a HRM).

“Strooth” said one “my heart rate is already 125 and we’re not even moving”

“Oh mine’s only 58” says another

“Mine says nothing” says the other…… much fiddling going on….

Honestly guys, lets keep all this in perspective!

In all seriousness having a HRM can be very useful to maintain your training exercise in the right zone.  For aerobic exercise I think it’s good for us middle aged men to keep around the 140-150bpm area while training and for myself I like to have a few bursts going much higher.  I know my bursts on the treadmill used to take me very high, too high but I have lived to tell the tale and really benefitted.  Clearly with cycling there will be times when the bpm will go up really high, especially on hills and we can think of these as being opportunities for interval training.

And off we go…. 

I led as we headed west from Dunstable towards Ivinghoe Beacon.  It seemed quite tricky knowing what pace was right for us as a group.  We had an undulating ride and fairly easy going once we’d got into our stride until I found myself being distracted by a little commotion going on behind.

Paul had lept off his bike and clearly suffering from cramp in his calf muscles.  While there was a funny side to this with all the usual banter, I can totally empathise with Paul over this.  I’ve had quite a bit of cramp myself and I’m not certain what the cause actually is.

Paul dealing with cramp

Paul dealing with cramp

Anyway, aside from Paul being in some discomfort, to say the least, have you clocked Jeremy’s dashboard.  Compact LED light, multi-function computer and an Aldi heart rate monitor: you can tell he’s a contemporary cyclist.

Our undulations, from Ivinghoe took us through Slapton, Little Billington and Leighton Buzzard and through to Woburn from where we split off in different directions.  It was a fantastic ride; for me a whisker under 30 miles in under 2 hours.   It was great fun cycling with the others and I’m looking forward to some more rides together.

Once or twice I have since found myself in a panic over the C2C ride we have committed to.  I find myself swaying from thinking some disastrous thoughts about trying to ride the 150 miles – what happens if the wind is blowing the wrong way and there’s some foul weather?  Will I get lost, will I be last?  And then I find myself swaying towards the more positive angle for a whole host of reasons.




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