Still ill

I was feeling better this week, and even managed a 35 mile ride on Tuesday – it was a bit wet to begin with but in a weird kind of way I enjoyed being out with rain being blown into my face! Happily my winter bike is running fine and the mudguards are doing their job. My legs weren’t too bad the next day, and I was feeling optimistic that I might finally be getting better, but I woke up on Thursday feeling sick – one day I’ll feel properly fit again! Hopefully I’ll get out for a quick ride this weekend and start developing a proper training plan next week.


I’ve not been out much recently due to illness – I had a nasty cold and wasn’t sleeping well. I did manage to get out for a ride yesterday though, I’ve decided to switch to the winter bike full time now and it’s working well with its new headset – I think I need to adjust the saddle a little though. It was very windy yesterday so cycling along the seafront was pretty hard! On the other hand, I managed a year’s best time on one westbound Strava segment – nowhere near my best of course but it was a good workout for my legs! Hopefully I can get out a bit more frequently as I feel better.

Slightly better

I’ve been out for a couple of rides in the last week – at the weekend I did a few Strava segments, one a ‘TT’, one a longish flat segment and one a short steep hill. The aim was to see how far away from my peak I am, and the news is not too bad – one the TT segment (6.1km) I was 40s off my best, albeit with an unhelpful strong headwind in one direction, and the other two segments were a few seconds off. My legs are feeling better than they have done since my century in May and hopefully will continue to improve.

The TDF is all ready to go now (headset has been replaced, I’ll post about this in the future) and so I’m planning to go back to basics and do some base training and hopefully next year will be a bit more successful!

Rest is best

I’ve not been out for a proper ride for over a week now for several reasons (tiredness, lack of time, lack of motivation) – the one good thing is that my legs feel a lot better than they have for quite a while. They’re still not perfect but the tightness and soreness is reduced, so hopefully I’ll be able to get back on it properly soon.

I’ve been sorting out my winter bike as I’ll no doubt need it again soon. The handlebars were not turning easily unless GT85 was liberally sprayed into the headset, so I’ve taken it all apart. It’s taken me a long time to figure out how to do so (there is very little information specific to the Carrera TDF online) but I’ve finally got the headset off and will order a replacement once I’ve measured things up. I’ll write a full entry about this later which will hopefully help anyone else trying to sort out the headset on their TDF!

Lee Valley Velodrome Taster Session

Date: 26th August 2015

Last Wednesday saw my long-awaited trip to the Olympic velodrome to cash in my birthday voucher for a taster session. I was both very nervous and excited beforehand – it was going to be brilliant cycling around such an iconic venue, home of Olympic heroics and Wiggo’s hour record. However, I was both a little stressed about getting there in time and about driving a fixed gear bike!

In the end I drove and parked at Westfield, only to find they had parking next to the velodrome. Oh well! We arrived in plenty of time and I had a coffee beforehand. Anna and Nicky sat in the stands whilst I went to get changed and go down to the centre of the track. After a little bit of toing and froing (eventually I decided to hire some cleats) I was given my track bike and was all ready to go. Everyone was in the same boat, a little worried about crashing without having brakes or a freewheel. Our instructor started us off slowly, doing a single lap on the warm-up area, then a couple of laps on the cote, progressing to multiple laps around the black line and red line. In our first multi-lap session I quickly got to grips with things, I had one minor wobble where the rider in front of me slowed unexpectedly and my reaction was to stop pedalling – luckily I remembered just in time! I also went a little too slowly around one of the bends but soon got the hang of the banking.

The only way to describe this session was AMAZING – I have not had so much fun in a long time! It quickly became apparent that I was faster than most and was soon happily overtaking people whilst riding above the blue line (shouting “stay” at every overtake). I lapped most of the field in the first multi-lap session, but this took a little out of me and in the second session I took it a little easier (I was still pretty quick though). It’s difficult to gauge exactly how fast I was going – in the video below I completed a lap in 25s which equates to 36km/h – it looks so slow on the video though! I did do some laps faster than that but I didn’t do any sprinting or anything, I wasn’t quite that confident!

The hour ended far too quickly and I had a huge grin on my face for the rest of the day. I’ll definitely be going back, hopefully I can save up and get my accreditation!

In this video I’m the one in second place, this was early on whilst we were still getting used to riding on the actual track.

RideLondon FreeCycle 2015

I didn’t get a place on the RideLondon 100 this year, so instead myself and Nicky went up to London the day before to take part in the FreeCycle. An 8 mile route around the centre of London is closed off to traffic and for 7 short hours the roads are owned by bikes!

We drove to Upminster and got the mainline train from there. I had been a bit worried about getting the bikes on the train – I had assumed they would be busy with others also trying to get their bikes on the train, but as it turned out there was plenty of room. From Fenchurch Street it was not far to get onto the route.

It was a fantastic day out and very enjoyable – Nicky did brilliantly, at his age I was barely out of stabilisers but he managed 30km and probably could have done more, he was a natural at picking his way through the crowds and only had one ‘off’ when he rubbed tyres with someone in front, but he got straight back on and carried on. I couldn’t be more proud! The festival sites around the route were also good, Nicky had a go at handcycling, and there were stunt bikes and other performances everywhere. Everyone had a smile on their face :-)

I’ll upload some photos when I get a chance – there are some great ones on which I’ll buy at some point. I’ve applied for the sportive again next year but I’m sure we’ll do the FreeCycle again regardless as it was lots of fun!


My legs are getting better slowly – I don’t really notice my quadriceps tendons throughout the day now, just occasionally. My IT bands are still a little tight, at the moment I’m just going out for one ride a week (work, etc. has been getting in the way of cycling, I need a job where I’m paid to cycle!) and the IT bands only start getting sore towards the end of the ride.

I saw the cyclists finishing London-Southend on Sunday which made me a little depressed; this time last year I was much fitter having cycled to the start and come back via the long route, but I didn’t do it this year as my legs are suffering and I don’t think I’m fit enough to do it justice. It’ll be a long road back to fit as I have to nurse my legs for a bit longer, it’s very frustrating!

Out of sorts

Since completing the Essex Explorer at the end of May, I’ve only been on the road bike once due to sore legs. The ride obviously took quite a bit out of me, but then the day after that road bike ride I took Nicky to the mountain bike track at Hadleigh Farm. We spent about an hour there going around the pump track and the skills area (we had a look at the proper course but it’s a bit too steep for Nicky currently) and had a great time. However, my mountain bike is not the best and really doesn’t fit me very well, and I think going over all the bumps has knackered my legs!

The main areas of complaint are my quadriceps tendons and the IT bands on both sides. Not much I can do other than rest really, they’re getting better slowly. I might go out for a slow ride tomorrow just to see how my legs cope because it’s driving me mad not being able to cycle!

KILOTOGO Essex Explorer 2015

Date: 31st May 2015
Distance: 175.7km
Average speed: 23.7km/h

Well, that was really, really hard. It took me just under 8 hours to finish, the conditions were far from ideal (it was very windy and wet at times) and my legs were sore before I started!

The first 50 miles or so weren’t too bad, although I was in full wet gear due to the forecast of showers (which did appear throughout the day) so I wasn’t as comfortable as I could be. The main reason for the good going was the tailwind, which would soon bite us on the bottom when we turned around for home.

I have been struggling for fitness ever since my health problems last year, and my legs especially are suffering – I think I maybe overdid it at the start of the year and have various aches (my quadriceps tendons and IT bands especially), so for the last half of the ride I struggled whenever the road went uphill. The last stretch from Chelmsford onward was horrible, directly into the wind and my legs had gone, I would crawl along at 16km/h for a while before getting a burst of energy, quickly to fade back to 16km/h again!

Many thanks to Geoff who did the whole ride with me, I’m sure I slowed him down quite a bit. I need to let my legs heal up properly and get properly fit before attempting another century.

The organisation itself was top-notch as always with KILOTOGO – the route was well signposted, food stops were well stocked (and the hot drinks in the last stop were really appreciated!) and the finish line commentary was good for morale! I had a massage at the end which was definitely needed, otherwise I would have been a wreck the next day!

On the mend

My hamstrings seem OK now – I’ve been out for a ride with Nicky today, and also pedalled a 4-seater go-kart last week on holiday with the kids on – according to Strava I got it up to 17mph! It was much harder than it looked and I appreciated the workout, and my legs aren’t suffering too much.

The weather has improved recently and so I think Tuesday’s ride will see the Ribble making its first appearance this year :-) I can’t wait!