(Catch up on previous diaries here)
So week 1 has come and gone.
With it came the first arctic blasts of winter and a storm that made Sunday feel like a boat might just turn up and ask two of every creature to hop on board. The aim was two 80km rides on Saturday and Sunday plus whatever I could fit in during the week. The result was an 80km ride on Saturday with a 20 minute turbo session in the week (plus some decent weights workouts).
The problem with having a plan is you feel a sense of regret when you don’t complete it. Reality is that Sunday just wasn’t suitable riding weather and whilst I could have done some work on the turbo I decided to give my legs a day to recover after the longest ride of the year so far.
A little disappointing but if this stage of the plan is to build a solid base then it’s not a bad start and I was really pleased to start adding in some kettlebell sessions to build on my core strength.
Saturday’s ride was pretty decent. I didn’t head out until near 10am as the roads were frozen solid when I woke up, so I wore pretty much every piece of clothing I had.
This was a new route and I always use this as an incentive when the weather’s bad. I would say about 10% of the ride was on roads completely new to me which is rare when you’ve lived in an area for a few years like I have.
I was on the winter bike bogged down with mudguards and clothing, so a pretty slow average but this was more about just slogging through the miles. The weather made for a rather introspective ride, as the world becomes a smaller version of itself when the weather is close. The mist and drizzle closes in around you and you are just stuck in your own domed-off world, focusing on what’s directly ahead and the pedal strokes you’re making.
The first 40km or so were straight into the wind which always makes for a tough slog but after the turnaround my mood lightened somewhat and the sun even made an appearance. The highlight was battling to the top of a sharp rise on the way back towards Bedford, rounding a blind bend to see a buzzard flying no more than 9ft off the group straight towards me. It swooped right above my head with what felt like inches to spare. Magnificent and one of those perfectly timed moments that typify life out in the saddle. You have to put the time in to get the rewards but they are worth it, however fleeting.
Nearly 700 metres of climbing is also an achievement for the flat lands of Central England! This is something I am attempting to intentionally build into the plan ahead of the dreaded moors of the South West. Overall, it was a good ride out and probably a bit ambitions to even dream of attempting it all over again on Sunday at this early stage.
The Week Ahead
This week is going to be interesting. I have Friday and Sunday off work and as days off from work and Sunday is planned as long ride day. The aim is to do 100km which would be my first time in months.
I am also starting Jujitsu this week so I hope the power and flexibility benefits will really add to the training plan. It’s certainly going to test my body in new and interesting ways, at least the bruising will give me more excuses to skip rides!
Fingers crossed I can fit in a couple of turbo sessions too; no matter which way I try them I simply don’t find them fun. My turbo bike is old and uncomfortable and the speed sensor that estimates power makes the data for proper interval sessions completely useless. We’ll see…
I also have a bike fit planned for this Friday in Hertford (Fit-Me-Up.com). I have not had one before and thought a big challenge like this was a perfect time to get fitted out properly. I am interested by the Retul system, especially the fact they give you a print out of the measurements so you can apply it to other bikes.