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30 Days of Cycling Challenge: Progress Report (Week 3 and a bit)

Strava calendar Day 23

The World Cup group stages are into their vinegar strokes.

Wimbledon has started (thankfully with the men’s defending champion not making an historical first round exit).

Anticipation for the impending Grand Depart is reaching fever pitch (i.e. a few Yorkshire eyebrows are being raised ‘neath flat cap and the odd tsk is being uttered).

I therefore forgive you in advance if you have forgotten entirely about my own sporting Waterloo.

My 30 Days of Cycling Challenge (my own capitalisation) continues. I’m pleased to say that I haven’t missed a day yet. I even getting the sense that my fitness is improving. There might be something to this public accountability thing.

Here is my update.

Things That Have Occurred To Me This Week (From A Training Perspective)

1. Having people follow along is (still) very helpful

Sunday was a case in point.

Saturday had been a busy day. I’d ridden early doors and gone harder than I’d meant to. Then I spent 4 hours on the afternoon taking down a (brick) wall in my house and removing a large reinforced concrete shelf (the previous owner didn’t do things by half).

By Sunday I was cream crackered. My parents were staying with us. We spent the day up in Tideswell at the village fete linked to Eroica Britannia. I was tasked with cooking dinner.

On the face of it I had neither the time nor the inclination to spend any time on the bike.

And yet…

I did it. I managed to fit in a light 20 minute spin on the turbo, plus a shower*, in the time between the chicken going into the oven (T-100 minutes, cookery fans) and the vegetables going on.

(* My turbo ‘pain cave’ is an unshaded conservatory that heats to sauna-like levels).

And once I was on the bike I felt good, relatively speaking. There was some accumulated fatigue, but I was definitely capable of performing a recovery ride.

Without the commitment that I made to myself and the internet, I’m 99% certain I’d have given myself that Sunday off, saying I was too tired and that I wouldn’t have time in any event.

An insight that I should bear in mind in the future.

2. I feel better when I’m training

Which is both a statement of the bleeding obvious and something I can’t back up with any real evidence.

I feel like I have more energy to do things, particularly during my personal low time, the period after lunch from around 1pm – 3pm (or 4… or 5…).

On a semi-related note, because many of my turbo sessions happen during the week after the kids have gone to bed, between 7.30pm and 8.30pm, my alcohol intake has gone down.

By the time I’ve cooled down, taken on water and had a shower, it’s after 9pm. Maybe it’s the late hour (i.e. getting on for my bedtime); maybe it’s the exercise releasing stress-reducing hormones, but I haven’t tended to have a beer on an evening when I’ve done a turbo session.

3. My Enthusiasm For Cycling Is Increasing

Ilam Moor Lane ClimbOne of the (very sensible) concerns voiced when I announced my 30 straight days of cycling idea was that by forcing myself to do it, I’d lose the enjoyment factor.

I’ve not found this to be the case.

There are probably some other factors involved. The weather has been great. Excitement is mounting (mountain?) for the Tour. A lot of my sessions are necessarily taking place on the turbo, making this the piece of equipment most likely to suffer my displeasure, rather than the bike itself.

Whatever the cause, my enjoyment grows. This is evidenced by my reading (and increasingly, listening) material. I’m going through a bike-and-training-themed phase.

I am currently reading ‘Racing Weight: How To Get Lean For Peak Performance‘ (yes, you heard me right) on my Kindle*. The book was recommended to me by Mark Hammond, who lost 6 stones (in weight) by following its principles … and doing a lot of cycling.

(*The link above is to Amazon in the UK. Here is the link to the book on the US site.)

Last week I bought a hard copy version of The Cyclist’s Training Bible (and here’s the equivalent US Amazon link), by training gnu Joe Friel. I am (almost) literally itching with excitement to get into this.

I’ve even started to listen to cycling and coaching/training podcasts. Gawd help us all.

One of the enjoyment factors could well be that as my fitness improves, additional routes within the Peak District (as well as longer distances) are unlocked (like in a computer game…). My anticipation of what I can do in a week, two weeks, a month fuels my desire to stick with the programme.

Those All-Important Stats

Number of rides:   26 (+12)
Total duration:   19 hours 37 minutes (+ ~10hrs)
Average duration:   45 minutes (+4 mins)
Total distance:   414.7km (+210.5km)
Average distance:   16.0km (+1.4km, which is a bit better…)

What Happens Next?

June ends next Monday. My 30 day challenge doth end forthwith. What am I going to do then?

Good question.

(Thanks)

I certainly want to maintain the cycling habit. I’m tempted to continue with my daily cycling target (20 minutes minimum, turbo allowed).

I’d also like to improve my cycling performance: go further, climb faster, look cooler.

I need to take things beyond the concept of ‘do more cycling’ (my training maxim of choice). I know that training best practice is neither 100% balls out nor 100% trundle. I need to put a more structured training programme in place (and follow it).

So it feels like another challenge is in order, or at least some sort of public exercise where I can try something out and share the results.

Let’s Get Lean Together, Sportive Cyclists!

As mentioned, I haven’t started ‘The Cyclist’s Training Bible’ yet, but I am midway through ‘Racing Weight’. Indeed I’ve started putting its recommendations into practice.

So next month will be all about getting lean for peak (district) performance. Or at least we’ll be learning how to do it, and making a start. Yes, I said ‘we’.

I’ll have more for you on exactly how this is going to work, but for now, let’s have a show of hands, who is up for getting lean (or at least shedding a few pounds)? Let me know in the comments box below.

PS. Remember, it was making a public statement of intent that has kept me motivated this past 25 days. Make your statement of intent in the comments section below (i.e. “I want to get lean for peak performance… – signed ‘X'”) and we’ll check back in at the end to see how everyone got on.

PPS. Screw your courage to the sticking place and leave a comment (which is what Shakespeare would write if he was around now, since he would be a blogger).

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{ 19 comments… add one }
  • I have been determined to lose a few pounds for the last 5 years…..

    ….and I have.

    When I started cycling I was 22.5 stone (over 140 KG). The other week, the day before the London to Brighton Charity ride I got to my target weight of 15 stone (about 96 KG) so I have lost 7.5 stone – 1/3 my initial body weight.

    I have to confess I have put on a pound or two since then but my next goal is 14 stone (about 89 KG) for the Ride London 100. That should be about 2 pounds a week I need to lose which shouldn’t be a problem riding 180 miles each week.

    That is my final target weight. at 6’2″ and pretty broad I would start to look unwell less than that. It’s still not a great weight for cycling up hills but it’ll be a hell of a lot easier than 22.5 stone!!

  • Ross says:

    Have you any idea where I might find the route profile for the London 100 2014? I can only find last years profile.

    Thanks

  • Andrew says:

    Count me in. Whenever I start exercising I put weight on- overeating/rewarding post exercise no doubt.

  • nickh says:

    Andrew – keep up the good work! I was 97kg at the beginning of the year. yesterday I was 88. My next target is 85kg for the Prudential Ride 100. I’ve been targetting (and achieving) 4 rides per week. 2 outdoors and 2 on the turbo. Weekly average is about 5.5 hours total. I bought the Sufferfest novice training plan and followed that and the videos definitely make the turbo experiences much more fun!

    • Andrew Montgomery says:

      Thanks Nick. Great work losing that weight. That’s 12kg less you’ll be carrying up Leith Hill 🙂 I haven’t tried Sufferfest yet, but I’m keen to give them a whirl.

  • Ian Evans says:

    Hi Andrew well done with the challenge, I will join you in getting lean for peak performance.Training 2-3 times a week at present post dawn raid pre Tour de Furness but not losing weight probably over eating snack foods at work.

    • Andrew Montgomery says:

      Thanks Ian. Good to have you along for the ride. Managing your appetite is one of the central tenets to Racing Weight, so hopefully something helpful in there for you (or in my posts).

  • Steve says:

    Try as many commutes in the mix as possible. Really helping me. Extended on the way home 🙂

    • Andrew Montgomery says:

      Slight issue there Steve is the lack of anywhere to commute to (being a stay-at-home dad…). So I guess the turbo is my commute 🙂

  • Ian Beddis says:

    Both books are excellent, especially the racing weight one, I got it last year and its helped me drop to my target, I’m 10st 2 now having lost 1.5st since the start of last year.. I’m also in better shape than i was 10 years ago. Regular rides will help drop the weight off but ensure that a sensible diet accompanies it. I took simple steps such as stopping soft drinks (I now only have water) and cut sugar from hot drinks, espresso has replaced my old favourite of hazlenut latte.

    • Andrew Montgomery says:

      That all sounds good Ian. I’m hoping to achieve something similar. Feel free to contribute your experience as the month goes on!

  • Looking forward to losing 8kg with everyone !

  • Big Bloke on a Bike June 26, 2014, 7:17 am

    I have been determined to lose a few pounds for the last 5 years…..

    ….and I have.

    When I started cycling I was 22.5 stone (over 140 KG). The other week, the day before the London to Brighton Charity ride I got to my target weight of 15 stone (about 96 KG) so I have lost 7.5 stone – 1/3 my initial body weight.

    I have to confess I have put on a pound or two since then but my next goal is 14 stone (about 89 KG) for the Ride London 100. That should be about 2 pounds a week I need to lose which shouldn’t be a problem riding 180 miles each week.

    That is my final target weight. at 6’2″ and pretty broad I would start to look unwell less than that. It’s still not a great weight for cycling up hills but it’ll be a hell of a lot easier than 22.5 stone!!

    • senharv June 26, 2014, 9:53 am

      Chapo ! Bloody well done. I lost some weight myself and share your pain and triumph.

    • Andrew Montgomery June 29, 2014, 6:39 pm

      Thanks Giles. I think you should do a post for this blog to inspire others and show them how you did it. What do you think?

      • Big Bloke on a Bike June 30, 2014, 9:09 am

        Yes, I can try and write something if you like. Might fit in well with your plan to lose a bit of weight. I’ll email you about it.

  • Ross June 26, 2014, 8:42 am

    Have you any idea where I might find the route profile for the London 100 2014? I can only find last years profile.

    Thanks

  • Andrew June 26, 2014, 8:43 am

    Count me in. Whenever I start exercising I put weight on- overeating/rewarding post exercise no doubt.

    • Andrew Montgomery June 29, 2014, 6:44 pm

      Excellent. Yes, Racing Weight deals with that problem. Let’s do this!!

  • nickh June 26, 2014, 8:56 am

    Andrew – keep up the good work! I was 97kg at the beginning of the year. yesterday I was 88. My next target is 85kg for the Prudential Ride 100. I’ve been targetting (and achieving) 4 rides per week. 2 outdoors and 2 on the turbo. Weekly average is about 5.5 hours total. I bought the Sufferfest novice training plan and followed that and the videos definitely make the turbo experiences much more fun!

    • Andrew Montgomery June 29, 2014, 6:46 pm

      Thanks Nick. Great work losing that weight. That’s 12kg less you’ll be carrying up Leith Hill 🙂 I haven’t tried Sufferfest yet, but I’m keen to give them a whirl.

  • Ian Evans June 26, 2014, 12:12 pm

    Hi Andrew well done with the challenge, I will join you in getting lean for peak performance.Training 2-3 times a week at present post dawn raid pre Tour de Furness but not losing weight probably over eating snack foods at work.

    • Andrew Montgomery June 29, 2014, 6:48 pm

      Thanks Ian. Good to have you along for the ride. Managing your appetite is one of the central tenets to Racing Weight, so hopefully something helpful in there for you (or in my posts).

  • Steve June 26, 2014, 3:45 pm

    Try as many commutes in the mix as possible. Really helping me. Extended on the way home 🙂

    • Andrew Montgomery June 29, 2014, 6:47 pm

      Slight issue there Steve is the lack of anywhere to commute to (being a stay-at-home dad…). So I guess the turbo is my commute 🙂

  • Ian Beddis June 26, 2014, 9:32 pm

    Both books are excellent, especially the racing weight one, I got it last year and its helped me drop to my target, I’m 10st 2 now having lost 1.5st since the start of last year.. I’m also in better shape than i was 10 years ago. Regular rides will help drop the weight off but ensure that a sensible diet accompanies it. I took simple steps such as stopping soft drinks (I now only have water) and cut sugar from hot drinks, espresso has replaced my old favourite of hazlenut latte.

    • Andrew Montgomery June 29, 2014, 6:53 pm

      That all sounds good Ian. I’m hoping to achieve something similar. Feel free to contribute your experience as the month goes on!

  • Timothy Eagan (@TimothyEagan) July 1, 2014, 8:11 pm

    Looking forward to losing 8kg with everyone !

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