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Training for RideLondon 100: mid-June update

RideLondon training

Training in the Peak District can occasionally be a pleasure…

Welcome back to the third post in my series recording my training for the inaugural RideLondon 100, taking place on 4 August.

That’s a disappointingly short 52 days away from now (as I write this, obviously).

If you want to read posts 1 and 2 in this sorry series, they can be found ici and aquí.

First let’s start with some stats

The Stats

Here is the all important table, containing my ride statistics since February (when I like to think my training started ‘in earnest’):

Month No. of rides Distance (km) Time riding (hrs) Elevation Gain (m)
February 2013 5 155.9 7:04 1,391
March 2013 8 381.3 17:48 3,774
April 2013 4 134.8 7:49 2,277
May 2013 13 249.5 13:31 2,673
June 2013 (to 13th) 5 150.3 6:59 1,665
Totals 35 1,071.8 53:13 11,780

The Analysis

My main objective in May was to introduce some consistency into my training. I think I did that (well, at least versus the months that went before).

I undertook 13 rides and at least managed to clock up a distance and time on the bike that exceeded what I’ll need to do for RideLondon.

Critics might argue that I will have one day (or rather 9 hours) in which to do it, rather than the 31 days that May generously offers. Critics would be right.

My only (slight) saving grace (at least on the distance front) is that 4 of the rides took place on my new turbo trainer, kindly provided by my sponsors (joint birthday present from my sister, her fiancé, and my parents). This was prior to receiving the gift from my other sponsor wife, which meant that I didn’t record how far I went (theoretical distance – at no point did I actually leave our conservatory).

The Positives

The turbo (allied to the Garmin)

Having the turbo trainer allows me to do a training session on the three days when my wife is at work and I am (nominally) in charge of the children. With a podcast to keep me entertained and the new Garmin Edge providing some feedback on speed and distance, I’m finding it surprisingly enjoyable. That said, to date I have only completed 45-minute sessions on the trainer. Spending more time on it than that could become very boring indeed.

The other advantage of the turbo is that it forces me to undertake sustained efforts whilst remaining attached to the saddle. My tendency when out on the road is to get out of the seat when I feel just a bit of burn in the thighs. I need to do more training whilst seating to build my quads, glutes and hamstrings.

The climbing

I don’t really have a yardstick against which to judge this, but it feels like I do a lot of climbing relative to my mileage (or kilometre-age?). It’s a bit difficult to find anywhere around here (the southern edge of the Peak District) that is flat.

This is good for RideLondon in one sense: I am rapidly losing any fear I had for the climbing involved (approximately 1,200 metres, as I discussed in posts about the route such as this and this). The problem is getting the required distance into my legs before I become either exhausted or my knee starts to play up (see below).

Training should really be about specificity: I should be working on long sustained efforts in ‘the big ring’ rather than dancing up 15% inclines (that’s right, I dance up them).

The Negatives

The knee (and a lack of mileage)

My main concern continues to be my knee. Despite feeling a lot fitter than in March (when I accidentally did my first metric century, including Leith Hill and Box Hill), pain in my knee (which I have self diagnosed as patellar tendonitis) seems to kick in at a worryingly early point in some rides (Wednesday’s 40km medium bumpy ride being a case in point). It is limiting my ability to do longer rides, which as far as I can see is the main deficiency in my preparation (I’m not looking for a superfast time, just to get around the 100 miles before the pro race catches up!).

(Before anyone says it, yes I know I should get a bike fit….)

The Future

Rest the knee…

The immediate future involves me resting my knee for a couple of days, then doing some shorter rides to get back into the swing of things. I’m also going to raise my saddle a bit more (I’m sure there is too much bend in my knees at the bottom of the down stroke). I’d already raised it a little and that seemed beneficial. (Before anyone says it, yes I know I should get a bike fit….)

And then f*** the knee

My other, more insane, training decision was to enter the Peak Epic Sportive on Sunday 23rd June. This is another example of my strategy for keeping motivation levels high throughout the course of my training (for instance, I entered the Igloo Sportive in April to force me to train whilst we were moving house).

I’ve not entirely lost it – I’ve ‘only’ entered to do the Peak Epic medium course. Unfortunately the medium course is 103km long and involves over 2,200m of ascent.

I entered the ‘Epic’ because: 1. I felt noticeably fitter on a ride (I’ve since realised I was simply rested and riding at a slower pace); and 2. I raised my saddle a touch and had one slightly longer ride with no knee pain (and thus thought I had solved my problem).

And whatever happens, I probably have to share it on this blog. Damn you Kropotkin.

Enough Wittering

Well that’s where I have got to. It’s not quite a comedy of errors, but equally it’s not going as smoothly as Wiggins’s training for the Giro Froome’s preparation for the Tour.

Let us know how you are getting on in your training in the comments section below.

And do SIGN UP for the Grimpeur Heureux email list (particularly if you want to see how this whole training process plays out…)


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{ 10 comments… add one }
  • You should get a bike fit! 😉

    Seriously though I had one with this guy:
    http://www.thebikewhisperer.co.uk/
    and although it wasn’t cheap it was worth every penny.

    I do up to 180 miles a week commuting and was getting sore hands from leaning on them too much. He made 3 TINY adjustments to my bike and I felt SO much better.

    My saddle height was OK, all he did was move the cleats in my shoes forward about 5mm and move my saddle back about 5mm (or the other way round, I can’t remember). He also put a very small wedge in my shoe under my left heel.
    TOTALLY different bike.

    When I started riding I had my saddle far too low, putting it up to the right height made such a difference and made my ride so much easier.

  • Ron says:

    Mate. If you complete that 100km Peak event you mentioned above, you will do the London event no problem at all. I’m another person than can utterly recommend a professional bike fit. I was having ITB band issues that were kicking in around 30km into my rides. The pain was removing the enjoyment I normally got from my weekend burn around Auckland City. One bike fit from a former pro tour rider and NZ Olympian later – and I was pretty much sorted.
    I’m coming over from New Zealand for the Ride London event. I’m looking forward to reading about your success on the 4th of August. Cheers

    • Thanks Ron. You’re right about Sunday’s ride – assuming: 1. I get round and 2. I don’t damage my knee too much, then I can really start to look forward to RideLondon (not that I am not already).

      Great to hear more positive experiences with a bike fit. I promise I’ll get one…

  • Martha says:

    Re the knee, as well as your seat height, check where your cleats are (they shift around sometimes!). I found getting zero-float cleats helped because i have a lot of lateral movement in my ankle and hip joints. Doing more glute exercises (look for pilates ones) is supposed to help lots too (I’m guilty of not doing these very much…)

    • Hi Martha! Two very good points, both of which probably contribute to my woes. I use mountain bike SPDs which I think have a lot of float (if I’m understanding float correctly). Maybe it’s time to replace with road specific ones (maybe once I know what to sort I need, based on the hypothetical bike fit). I definitely do not engage either my glutes or my hamstrings nearly enough. I have been making a conscious effort – the turbo has been good for this. Maybe something I need to look at in the gym over the winter as well (these are the hypothetical strength sessions I vaguely plan to do…).

      • Martha says:

        Oh good grief, yes, get road cleats! “Look Keo” cleats/pedals are good but it’s best you are assessed before choosing which level of “float” you need in the cleat.
        See you on Ride London! 🙂

  • Stu says:

    Get a bike fit, BEFORE the ride, there is no point doing it after your knees have blown out.

    At least make sure your seat is the correct height – your local bike shop should even help you with this for free!

    Also – try and put some longer rides in – it looks like you’ve only done 100mi over the entire month – let alone a day… even doing 100mi over a 2-3 days would at least help…

  • […] readers of this blog, at the time, felt that my choice of pedals may have been a further cause of knee pain. I was using Shimano SPDs – a mountain bike pedal and a hangover from my London commuting […]

  • Giles Roadnight June 14, 2013, 7:10 am

    You should get a bike fit! 😉

    Seriously though I had one with this guy:
    http://www.thebikewhisperer.co.uk/
    and although it wasn’t cheap it was worth every penny.

    I do up to 180 miles a week commuting and was getting sore hands from leaning on them too much. He made 3 TINY adjustments to my bike and I felt SO much better.

    My saddle height was OK, all he did was move the cleats in my shoes forward about 5mm and move my saddle back about 5mm (or the other way round, I can’t remember). He also put a very small wedge in my shoe under my left heel.
    TOTALLY different bike.

    When I started riding I had my saddle far too low, putting it up to the right height made such a difference and made my ride so much easier.

  • Ron June 14, 2013, 8:17 am

    Mate. If you complete that 100km Peak event you mentioned above, you will do the London event no problem at all. I’m another person than can utterly recommend a professional bike fit. I was having ITB band issues that were kicking in around 30km into my rides. The pain was removing the enjoyment I normally got from my weekend burn around Auckland City. One bike fit from a former pro tour rider and NZ Olympian later – and I was pretty much sorted.
    I’m coming over from New Zealand for the Ride London event. I’m looking forward to reading about your success on the 4th of August. Cheers

    • Andrew Montgomery June 18, 2013, 11:22 am

      Thanks Ron. You’re right about Sunday’s ride – assuming: 1. I get round and 2. I don’t damage my knee too much, then I can really start to look forward to RideLondon (not that I am not already).

      Great to hear more positive experiences with a bike fit. I promise I’ll get one…

  • Martha June 14, 2013, 4:49 pm

    Re the knee, as well as your seat height, check where your cleats are (they shift around sometimes!). I found getting zero-float cleats helped because i have a lot of lateral movement in my ankle and hip joints. Doing more glute exercises (look for pilates ones) is supposed to help lots too (I’m guilty of not doing these very much…)

    • Andrew Montgomery June 18, 2013, 11:26 am

      Hi Martha! Two very good points, both of which probably contribute to my woes. I use mountain bike SPDs which I think have a lot of float (if I’m understanding float correctly). Maybe it’s time to replace with road specific ones (maybe once I know what to sort I need, based on the hypothetical bike fit). I definitely do not engage either my glutes or my hamstrings nearly enough. I have been making a conscious effort – the turbo has been good for this. Maybe something I need to look at in the gym over the winter as well (these are the hypothetical strength sessions I vaguely plan to do…).

      • Martha June 18, 2013, 1:00 pm

        Oh good grief, yes, get road cleats! “Look Keo” cleats/pedals are good but it’s best you are assessed before choosing which level of “float” you need in the cleat.
        See you on Ride London! 🙂

  • Stu June 21, 2013, 8:22 am

    Get a bike fit, BEFORE the ride, there is no point doing it after your knees have blown out.

    At least make sure your seat is the correct height – your local bike shop should even help you with this for free!

    Also – try and put some longer rides in – it looks like you’ve only done 100mi over the entire month – let alone a day… even doing 100mi over a 2-3 days would at least help…

    • Andrew Montgomery June 24, 2013, 6:54 pm

      Good point re bike fitting. So good in fact that I’ve booked one for this Wednesday. Hopefully they’ll be able to advise me on the pedal front as well.

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