As I’ve done for the past few years now, I took my eldest son Nicky to see the Six Day Cycling at the Lee Valley Velodrome. We’ve enjoyed previous years and were looking forward to seeing some great sprint action given the quality of the line-up – Viviani, Ewan and Cav aren’t too shabby! We went on the Tuesday and mostly enjoyed it. Nicky had a go on the turbo trainer race and beat his opponent, so won a BMC cycling cap!
There was a new addition to this year’s proceedings – a Zwift race featuring the young riders. Imagine organising an event in one of the world’s best velodromes, then getting the audience to squint at a screen in the distance to watch virtual racing. Sounds great, right?
I honestly struggle to remember a time when I was more bored. It was impossible to follow who was winning. We also had no idea how long it was supposed to last for. Many people in the crowd gave up and left at this point.
I had enjoyed the rest of the evening but wrote a complaint on Twitter just to offer my feedback. I hadn’t expected any kind of response but Six Day were kind enough to offer me complimentary tickets to the final Sunday session which I was very happy to accept!
The Sunday session was brilliant – our seats were on the start/finish straight and there was a great atmosphere, helped by Cav and Doull being near the top of the leaderboard.
It was great to watch the final Madison with Cav and Doull in with a shout of winning, but in the end Viviani and his teammate were just too strong. I guess if you’re going to have a gold bike, you need to make sure your performance merits it!
I spent ages looking at gravel bikes but decided rather than spending a lot I’d be better off waiting, so in the meantime I’ve bought a mountain bike to replace my bike-shaped object. Thanks to a Black Friday offer, I’m now the proud owner of a Scott Aspect 750 (2019)!
I had been looking at the Calibre Two Cubed, but due to some stock issues and hassle with Go Outdoors I opted for the Scott instead. It was £349 reduced from £549. I’ve been out a couple of times and rediscovered my love of cycling. Really looking forward to taking it off-road in the near future! Of course, the main reasons for buying it were because my other bike was too small, and this will allow me to cycle alongside the kids on their bikes.
I need some kind of target to aim for, because for one reason or another I’m not cycling enough. Either I have too much going on (work, family time, other exercise) or I’m too tired. I’m missing that extra motivation that comes with having a big event to aim for. With this in mind, I’m going to start looking for a triathlon to do next year. I’m 40 next year and I always wanted to try and do a triathlon before then. It’s more likely to be a sprint triathlon than a full-on Olympic one, but we’ll see.
The major barrier is the run – I’m pretty sure I could get my swimming up to scratch, and cycling would not be an issue, but I always worry about my right calf. Running seems to make it hurt and I’ve pulled it a couple of times. It’s been like this for a couple of years – I remember it hurting at Glastonbury 2017 – so if it’s still like this at Christmas I’m going to have to find a physio.
I’ve been on one decent length ride in the past couple of months. I went out with a friend who hasn’t been out on his shiny new road bike much, so the pace was fairly relaxed, and we did a little exploring too.
The ride featured my first ever coffee stop in seven and a half years of being a cyclist!
The days have started getting colder and wetter so I’ve made the switch to the Carrera. I still need to swap the saddles over, but that’ll only matter if I go for a long ride. At the moment it’s only used for getting to the gym and back.
My bike shaped object (the Firefox Ranger) has always felt too small for me, and recently it’s started hurting my knees whenever I ride it. I only use it when I’m riding with the kids, but as they get older and can go further I’m looking at getting another bike. I’m thinking of getting an adventure bike, one that could replace the Ranger and the Carrera. Long-term I’d like to go touring and off-road, so getting a decent adventure bike now would hopefully sort me out for life! I’ve been looking at the steel Ribble CGR which has had good reviews. It’s the kind of thing I could research forever I think!
I’ve not done anywhere near enough exercise this month. After my brief flurry of activity at the start of the month, things have quietened down considerably. Annoyingly the school sports days were all scheduled at the time I would normally go to circuit training so I missed a few days one week, and I’ve just returned from holiday. I did a lot of walking on holiday (I managed 10,000 steps every single day last week) but only properly exercised once – a quick run on the beach:
Hopefully things will return to normal soon. I’ve definitely noticed the difference that all the weights and training have made to my body – I’m in much better shape than I was last year, I still have a slight belly but if I breath in there’s actually muscle definition there! I’m going to try and shift the last of it by Christmas. I’m not massively worried about the way my body looks (although it is a pleasant side-effect) – the main consideration is that I want my clothes to fit properly, right now I’m kind of halfway between 32″ and 34″ with various brands measuring up differently. My t-shirts have also started getting tighter in all the right places. I need to overhaul my wardrobe but it’s not ideal to do so whilst my body keeps changing shape!
Tour de France
Up until halfway through this year’s Tour it was the most exciting it has been since I started taking an interest (2009). Everything was balanced nicely and there was no runaway leader. Unfortunately the bad weather conditions meant they had to shorten a stage. I understand why they did so but I think they should have neutralised the stage rather than take the results at the top of the penultimate col. Kruijswijk still had a team-mate and was looking good, and Thomas would surely have come back too. Bernal might well have won anyway but the way it happened was very anti-climactic. I was gutted when Pinot had to pull out as well.
It was even worse because where I was staying on holiday had very poor mobile coverage, so I was trying to follow the race on Twitter (livestreaming gave up after 5 seconds!) Luckily stage 19 was broadcast on 5 Live Sports Extra so I did get to follow some of it ‘live’.
I’ve been really busy with work and other activities, but I finally found the time to go out on my bike for a proper ride. Twice in four days! I went out last Friday for an hour, and did the same route today. I’m clearly not as fit as I was on the bike this time last year, but it still felt great.
Today I went a bit slower and attempted to keep my heart rate below 150. It was harder than anticipated. I was trying to keep some energy in my legs for capoeira tonight. There were no near misses today like I did on Friday when a van came close. I wonder if wearing my BHF charity jersey made any difference?
I’m going to try and get out on the bike a bit more, especially whilst it is nice. Perhaps the dream of doing a triathlon before I’m 40 is not quite done with yet.
I managed a quick run last week after circuit training. I’ll try pushing it a bit more after I’m back from holiday. I don’t want to injure myself before then as it’ll spoil the holiday (especially as I’ve got a long drive ahead of me). If things get bad after that then I’ll go to a physio as my right calf has been bothering me for two years now.
Tour de France 2019
We’re three stages in and things are finely balanced. I’m still gutted that Cav wasn’t selected but I had a feeling he wasn’t going to be picked. Alaphilippe looks very strong so I guess he’ll stay in yellow until stage 6 when the GC guys will make an appearance.
The weather has finally improved and I’ve started using the Ribble again, although I’ve not taken it for a decent ride yet. I just don’t seem to have enough time what with work (which is taking up much more time these days), boot camp and capoeira. I have been reminded just how much more fun to ride the Ribble is than the Carrera TdF!
Running also isn’t really happening at the moment – we’re getting close to Glastonbury and I’m worried about injuring myself. Glastonbury is hard enough on the legs without being injured for it, especially if it’s a muddy year. I think I wore calf supports throughout most of Glastonbury 2017 and would like to avoid that if possible. If I consider my overall fitness (as opposed to being cycling-fit) then this is the fittest I have ever been. I have been doing boot camp training for a year and a half, my upper body has changed shape (not dramatically, but I can feel that I walk differently) and I have actual arm muscles now. Getting fit has never been about vanity for me (although I’d like to get rid of the gut which is refusing to get smaller) but it is a happy side effect! My calves though refuse to improve. I did three minutes of skipping today which felt OK at the time, but today my calves are very tight. I managed to walk to town and back in my lunch break despite this, but it’s not comfortable.
Last weekend I took part in my first capoeira festival. It was quite intensive and I must have lost weight just from the amount of sweat produced (in fact, I weighed myself today and have apparently lost a kilo this week!) There was a lot to take in (and I have forgotten half of it already) but it was fun and educational and I got my first cord! My youngest son also got his first cord whilst my eldest now has a full orange cord, three levels above me.
I must admit to feeling a little inadequate over the weekend – I was the most inexperienced adult there and there were several times where I couldn’t get the hang of what I was supposed to be doing. I know the basic kicks but there is so much more to it, I think the movements between the kicks are more important. My technique also needs to be improved so that I don’t fall over so much! I did somehow get joint second in the handstand competition though 🙂