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Grimpeur’s RideLondon Training Update: February – mid-March

Hill training (although this is Ecuador rather than Kent)

Hill training (although this is Ecuador rather than Kent)

Readers of my blog will know that I talk a good game. I’ve talked about the cycling event that I’m doing. I’ve analysed the route. I’ve talked a bit about how I’ve broken the challenge down into its constituent parts.

But where, you might ask, is the evidence that I’ve actually DONE anything?

Motivation this, crippling fears that. That’s all fine, but we all need to train for whatever cycling challenge we are undertaking (well I do at least).

What training have I done? Well, I’m going to tell you. In this post. Perhaps the title gave it away.

Objectives (or, in this case, objective)

Apparently, objectives should be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely (i.e. set to be achieved within a given time frame).

My objective for this phase of my training, which is to DO MORE CYCLING, only meets some of these criteria, and then only in a loose sense.

I think the setting of effective objectives will improve my riding and my satisfaction with the process. I will return to this topic in future posts.

So have I done MORE CYCLING?

Training stats (everyone loves a good set of training stats, don’t they?)

Well, actually yes, I have been doing quite a bit of cycling.

Here are my summary ride statistics. Prepare yourself for a VERY funky table.

If you want to verify them (or you want to know where I went), you can follow me on Strava.

Month No. of rides Distance (km) Time riding (hrs) Elevation Gain (m)
February 2013 5 155.9 7 1,391
March 2013 (to 15th) 5 200.2 9 1,733

I know. I know. Some of you do those sorts of numbers in one or two rides. But I don’t.

I have been aiming to ride consistently (i.e. every 2-3 days), to increase the length of my ‘longer rides’ and to include more climbing (okay, I did have some sub-objectives after all).

Even the trend is in the right direction: I’ve done more of everything in the first 15 days of March than in all of February.

I’m quite pleased with progress so far and confident that I can build upon it to go further and higher (I’m going to need to).

Things I have learnt so far

First, there is nothing like giving yourself some added motivation (when will he give it a rest about motivation?).

My main event for the year (RideLondon) is in August. Five months felt like a long way off (even though realistically it isn’t), so I signed up for another sportive in the meantime – the Igloo Peak District Cyclosportive (short) on Sunday 14th April.

Whilst the short course is ‘only’ 68.7 km (42.6 miles), it features 1,359 m (4,458 ft) of ascent. That’s about the same amount of climbing as the RideLondon event. Needless to say, with this potential cycling disaster on the near-term horizon, I have been motivated to get out on the bike and climb.

Second learning point: it’s worth the effort to take your bike on holiday with you (within reason – it’s not going to be much use on a cruise or a Las Vegas gambling trip).

Last week we went on holiday-cum-random-trip-around-England-to-see-friends-and-family. I took the bike. I enjoyed a change in cycling scenery whilst there were other people around to distract the children and not place all the burden of my absence on my wife.

The cost of all that extra petrol consumed by having a bike strapped to the roof of our petit Golf meant I had to use the damn thing.

I did use it – three times, two of which were pretty substantial rides (again, for me).

What do I need to do next?

Buy a new bike.

This is not what I will ACTUALLY do next. But if we’re talking about the first ‘need’ that pops into my head, then it is a new bike. Since this is not happening any time soon, we’ll move swiftly on.

My serious objective (which, I’m afraid to say it, is still not SMART) is to continue riding at this level of frequency for the remainder of March and early April.

Famille Grimpeur are in the process of moving all most of our worldly possessions from south east London to Ashbourne in Derbyshire.

Readers of this blog will know that this is due to my decision to start taking my riding seriously and to try to break into the pro ranks. At 33 (and, more importantly, with my natural level of fitness) it’s going to be a tall order, but Jens Voigt is still doing it at 40+, so I think I have 6 or 7 good seasons left in me.

With all the organisation of the move, plus the bonfire of the vanities that I intend to hold to eliminate 50% of my wife’s possessions, time for riding will be limited. I need to maintain my current volume and frequency of riding and do what I can to reduce the pain in April’s Peak District Sportive (gulp).

Finally, as weather conditions improve (ha!), I need to clean my bike. I should probably have been doing this throughout the winter but… er… haven’t.

It (she?) has been running like a relative dream (for a cheap Dawes road bike and if you ignore the annoying rustle of my inexpertly-fitted mud guards) ever since I had to buy a new set of wheels before Christmas (now there’s a story of (my own) incompetence and folly). I also washed it thoroughly at about the same time. It would be nice if it could stay this way, rather than revert to its previous squeak and grind soundtrack.

That’s probably enough now….

I appreciate that some of you are not that interested in reading about my inadequate training ‘regime’. Unfortunately that is not going to stop me writing more posts on the topic. Neo-sportive riders that are reading this blog can at least see there is someone else in the same boat (and probably one with more leaks).

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