Having been involved in sport previously, when I was younger, I understand what is required in training sessions. Yet, cycling seems different to many sports but this might be because I came from a combat sporting background, being involved in fencing for 25 years and also martial arts, for shorter period. Therefore, cycling seems to be on another spectrum. Luckily, the event with The Christie is not a race but I supposed a test of endurance.
Sunday, 25th April
Sunday was the start of my training. I chose this date because it was my first time riding with Holmfirth Cycling Club (HCC) and the first time riding in a group. The route was very hilly and covered a total of 30 miles (49.24k). It was so much fun riding in a group and the chatting certainly took your mind off the hills and distance. The group I cycled with were very friendly and supportive and looking forward to cycling with them again – although I have to now join which I will be doing soon.
By the time I returned home I certainly noticed the lactate in my legs but was proud that I had managed this distance. I know that 30miles is not a significant amount in terms of cycling but it demonstrated that I managed this with relative ease.
Monday, 26 April
I was judging whether to increase my mileage so soon, the deciding factor was whether my legs still ached from yesterday. As I started the day I felt refreshed and alert, therefore I decided to increase the mileage and hopefully increase my speed. Towards the end of this ride a started to struggle and it wasn’t without problems (not serious ones).
some of the roads were fairly rough and as I was descending my water bottle bounced out of the cage. I managed to stop to collect it but it had rolled in to the road and a bus steamed passed smashing my water bottle. I was now faced with the remaining 16k without water. This tested my resolve, I was aching and thirsty so much so I stopped for a short break not realising that I had stopped and stepped on an ant hill. After a while I looked down towards my foot and noticed that it was covered in ants, I therefore entertained passer-by’s with an ant dance, shaking them off. I then continued to complete the final part of the journey.
Apart from the enjoyment of cycling there were some additional high points during this journey. I stopped off at a café situated in a building site and a mechanics garage, so not the most scenic of places. However, the food was great and my whole order was very reasonably priced. I guy took an interest in my bike and we spoke for a while about cycling and other road users. We then spoke about how bikes have evolved and that he was a passionate photographer with an interest in birds of prey. It felt nice to connect with people you don’t in a way that is mutual and engage with genuine inquisitiveness.
The second high was near to my house, I was at the point of struggling and a white van man driver was driving in the opposite direction. He stuck his head out of the window and with a big smile said, ‘go on you can do it, you’re doing great’, and gave me the thumbs up. This reinvigorated me and with the renewed energy I made it home.
I know there are a lot of comments about motorists vs cyclists but so far I have experienced nothing but genuine friendly and supportive people.
Lastly, I was proud of my average speed considering that to date, this is the longest I have cycled, 18.8km/h.
As I mentioned earlier, Cycle training feels different and unique. I will be looking at gradually increasing my distance and building my endurance. Also, I will be looking at becoming quicker, I have a short set route that I test myself on so I can gauge how I am developing. I currently don’t have a power meter or heart rate monitor, Most of my training in the past has been focused on feel, how my body is feeling and listening to the way it responds to the training load.