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30 Days of Cycling Challenge: Progress Report (Week 2)

30 Day Challenge Day 13

Hello all. I’m sure you’re chomping at the handlebars to hear how my 30 Days of Cycling Challenge is going.

Relaxez-vous.

The moment of update is upon us. Let’s begin.

A Disappointing Lack Of Drama

What I’m about to write guarantees that something will happen that derails the whole challenge.

Boff! [French shrug of the shoulders]

The challenge continues. I’ve managed to cycle every day. I haven’t had any physical breakdowns. I haven’t had any emotional breakdowns.

As in week 1, many of this week’s sessions have taken place on the turbo trainer. There have certainly been days where my legs have felt very tired and, as a result, I’ve done little more than the minimum time requirement (20 minutes) at very light resistance.

Interestingly, on those tired days, once I’m on the trainer and warmed up, I’ve felt capable of upping the intensity of the workout. Luckily my innate laziness has kicked in and it hasn’t required too much mental strength to tell myself to keep it easy.

This is probably the right decision: after 3 months off the bike, erring on the side of caution will make me more likely to achieve the 30-day target.

Training Peaks

This week saw a triumphal return to outside cycling here in Derbyshire. Sunday morning was glorious (weather-wise), so a friend and I cycled a loop out to the house I’m renovating.

Feeling a bit more punchy, Wednesday morning saw me reacquainting myself with the southern tip of the Peak District.

If I ever get to the point where I want to test my fitness, I have identified a climb that I like to think of as being to Ashbourne what the Col de la Madone is to Nice (a climb that is famous for being the testing ground of professional cyclists, both dope-soiled and clean).

Anyway, it appears that at least for the lower portion of the climb, I was going quite well, posting my fastest time (which is probably an indicator that I haven’t done it very often). In a similar vein, I achieved my fastest time on a Strava segment on the climb into Thorpe (from the Ilam side, Dovedale-afficionados).

I’m actually quite pleased with these times, though slightly confused – I don’t feel my fitness is at any level other than low. This is probably borne out when you look at my performance over longer climbs, or on the short climb that followed the Thorpe one. My ability to endure more than a couple of minutes of pain is low.

The Fantas-tistics

Number of rides:   14 (+7)
Total duration:   9 hours 38 minutes (+ ~4.5hrs)
Average duration:   41 minutes (-4 mins)
Total distance:   204.2km (+95.7km)
Average distance:   14.6km (-0.9km, even more er…)

What I’ve Learnt So Far

These are not new lessons. I knew them already. I probably wrote about them last week. No matter.

  1. It’s a lot easier to do something when you’ve made a public commitment and you have interested observers invested in the success of your endeavour (hint: I’m talking about you)
  2. The continued encouragement helps. I really appreciate the ‘kudos’ and comments that people are leaving on each ride that I post on Strava (here is my profile if you want to follow me as well).
  3. Preparation is key. If my next session is to be on the turbo, it pays to spend the time in advance switching to the correct skewer (the thingummy that goes through the hub to attach the wheel to the drop-outs) and fixing the bike in place. Vice versa if the bike on the turbo needs to be taken outside.
  4. The same approach holds true for planning. I’ve found it much more effective to identify in advance when (and where) my day’s ride will take place, rather than leaving it to chance. In practice, ‘leaving it to chance’ means ‘leaving it until 10pm at night’.
TdF Yorkshire Route and Project Rainbow

Applying British Cycling principles to my Yorkshire TdF spectating plans

This focus on planning and preparation could partly be down to my current read, Project Rainbow (affiliate link) – Rod Ellingworth’s account of process that led to Mark Cavendish winning the World Championship Road Race in 2011.

In fact, I’m so inspired by the book and it’s teachings, I’m now going to apply them to all aspects of my life. I haven’t told my wife this.

Monty. Out

That’s enough insight into inspiration and perspiration for one week.

I’ll be back next week with another update.

In the meantime, let me know in the comments how your own training is going, whether that’s part of a 30-day challenge or a more structured/sensible programme.

If your target for the year is RideLondon, why not take a moment now to share with me where you’re up to, and where you feel you need to get in the next 8 weeks (yes, 8 weeks on Sunday…).

Happy cycling!

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{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Richard says:

    If you get tired of that climb, the road out of Ilam towards Stanshope is rather more interesting – 2.5km at something like 7%.

    • Andrew Montgomery says:

      Hi Richard. Thanks, know that one well. Won’t be too long before I hit that one (and then come back via the climb out of Dovedale towards the A515).

  • Mike says:

    Two weeks today I ride the coast to coast in a day sportive. 150 miles and 4500m of ascent. Last long ride today, 90 miles. Need to strip, clean and service the A bike and fit in some short easy 20 milers on the taper…

  • Well done, keep up the good work.
    Feeling a bit tired myself today after London to Brighton – and back yesterday. Still cycled in this morning but might get the train home.
    I’ll keep checking up on you on Strava!

    • Andrew Montgomery says:

      Hi Giles. Thanks. I saw your Brighton and back rides on Strava. I’m not sure I’d have the mental strength after L2B to turn around and do it all in reverse, when everyone else is celebrating, having fish and chips and queuing for the coaches…

  • Kristian says:

    Well, I had to come to take a sneaky peek at your … commitment and while here I thought I’ll check others reaction on that too 🙂

    If weather and time permits I’ll ride about 3/4 of t’RideLondon just to see what it was like last year, also got a Brighton route on my GPS uploaded, waiting for another rather sunny weekend to ride down and back and on the 29th will ride the Evans Reading sportive medium route.

    Good Luck.

    • Andrew Montgomery says:

      Well I do like to flaunt my commitment on the blog…. Sounds good. Everything sounds like it’s on track for the Etape then?

      • Kristian says:

        I’m trying to make training as much fun as hard work. Compared to last year I’m not that worried at all about performance (maybe I’m getting stronger or just eating better on rides), rather worried about the weather and the smell or lack of air at 2115m. Looking forward to it already but its nice to still have a month of training before the big day 🙂

  • Kel Walker says:

    8 weeks to my first Sportive (London Prudential) and it feels like time is dribbling away! Built up to doing a 60+ miler and a couple of 20 – 25 milers per week so just hoping that’s going to be about right.
    Going to have a nibble at Leith Hill and Box Hill in a couple of weeks so I can know what to expect ( not necessarily a good thing!).
    Highlight next week is a few days training in Majorca on fancy pants Cannondale with electronic shifters…..what are the odds that those shifters become the next thing ” I just can’t do without” ?!
    Anyway, raised £1,000 for Prostate Cancer UK so it’s all worth the pain.
    Good luck to all fellow Sportive virgins.

    Kel

    • Andrew Montgomery says:

      Brilliant. At 60 miles already, and with your training camp in Majorca, you will be MORE than ready. Will you be riding Sa Calobra? (you definitely should). After Majorca, you will smile benignly when you go have a look at Leith Hill and Box (although you might frown at the road surface of the former after having sampled Spanish roads).

      Congratulations on the sponsorship. That’s a great amount for a most worthy cause.

      Pan y agua (y vino tinto).

  • Richard June 13, 2014, 8:49 pm

    If you get tired of that climb, the road out of Ilam towards Stanshope is rather more interesting – 2.5km at something like 7%.

    • Andrew Montgomery June 16, 2014, 6:28 pm

      Hi Richard. Thanks, know that one well. Won’t be too long before I hit that one (and then come back via the climb out of Dovedale towards the A515).

  • Mike June 14, 2014, 7:14 pm

    Two weeks today I ride the coast to coast in a day sportive. 150 miles and 4500m of ascent. Last long ride today, 90 miles. Need to strip, clean and service the A bike and fit in some short easy 20 milers on the taper…

    • Andrew Montgomery June 16, 2014, 6:29 pm

      Cool. Good luck with the final preparations and on the day itself.

  • Big Bloke on a Bike June 16, 2014, 8:32 am

    Well done, keep up the good work.
    Feeling a bit tired myself today after London to Brighton – and back yesterday. Still cycled in this morning but might get the train home.
    I’ll keep checking up on you on Strava!

    • Andrew Montgomery June 16, 2014, 6:30 pm

      Hi Giles. Thanks. I saw your Brighton and back rides on Strava. I’m not sure I’d have the mental strength after L2B to turn around and do it all in reverse, when everyone else is celebrating, having fish and chips and queuing for the coaches…

  • Kristian June 16, 2014, 5:51 pm

    Well, I had to come to take a sneaky peek at your … commitment and while here I thought I’ll check others reaction on that too 🙂

    If weather and time permits I’ll ride about 3/4 of t’RideLondon just to see what it was like last year, also got a Brighton route on my GPS uploaded, waiting for another rather sunny weekend to ride down and back and on the 29th will ride the Evans Reading sportive medium route.

    Good Luck.

    • Andrew Montgomery June 16, 2014, 6:32 pm

      Well I do like to flaunt my commitment on the blog…. Sounds good. Everything sounds like it’s on track for the Etape then?

      • Kristian June 17, 2014, 6:30 pm

        I’m trying to make training as much fun as hard work. Compared to last year I’m not that worried at all about performance (maybe I’m getting stronger or just eating better on rides), rather worried about the weather and the smell or lack of air at 2115m. Looking forward to it already but its nice to still have a month of training before the big day 🙂

  • Kel Walker June 16, 2014, 8:09 pm

    8 weeks to my first Sportive (London Prudential) and it feels like time is dribbling away! Built up to doing a 60+ miler and a couple of 20 – 25 milers per week so just hoping that’s going to be about right.
    Going to have a nibble at Leith Hill and Box Hill in a couple of weeks so I can know what to expect ( not necessarily a good thing!).
    Highlight next week is a few days training in Majorca on fancy pants Cannondale with electronic shifters…..what are the odds that those shifters become the next thing ” I just can’t do without” ?!
    Anyway, raised £1,000 for Prostate Cancer UK so it’s all worth the pain.
    Good luck to all fellow Sportive virgins.

    Kel

    • Andrew Montgomery June 16, 2014, 8:15 pm

      Brilliant. At 60 miles already, and with your training camp in Majorca, you will be MORE than ready. Will you be riding Sa Calobra? (you definitely should). After Majorca, you will smile benignly when you go have a look at Leith Hill and Box (although you might frown at the road surface of the former after having sampled Spanish roads).

      Congratulations on the sponsorship. That’s a great amount for a most worthy cause.

      Pan y agua (y vino tinto).

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