Not long to go until RideLondon 2018

There’s only a month to go until RideLondon! My training has been going reasonably well and I think if I had to do the ride tomorrow I’d be OK to get round. However, I’d like to do the best I can and so I have a few more weeks to fine-tune things.

I’ve managed a couple of 5 hour+ rides in the last couple of weeks. My ride this week was 5 and a half hours and I managed 130km. It’s not far short of the RideLondon distance but it was very hard going towards the end – I couldn’t pedal much in the last hour. I think putting in some efforts on the hills cost me later in the ride, it’s something I’ll have to bear in mind.

Another possible factor in my slowness was the heat – my Garmin was saying it was over 32C! I put some sun cream on this time after being caught out in previous weeks by incorrect forecasts. My tan lines are pretty impressive but I’m going to look pretty stupid when I’m on the beach on holiday!

Enjoying the sun

I look pretty happy here but I had nothing left in my legs – I felt fine from a cardiovascular perspective but I didn’t have any energy.

My training plan only has two more long rides left – a 5.5 hour ride next week and a 4 hour ride the week after. I’m slightly ahead of the plan though so I might fit one more in, I need to work on my climbing as well.

Tour de France 2018

Not long to go until the Tour starts now, I’m looking forward to it! I’m hoping for some epic sprint battles and hopefully Cav will add to his number of stage wins, but I fear he may have too much competition this year. I’m also hoping Froome is knackered after the Giro so the GC battle will be more interesting. I don’t think Movistar having three leaders will help but it’ll be interesting no doubt.

Forwards and backwards

Up until last week my training was going well, I had done a couple of 100km rides as well as some interval sessions and was right on track for RideLondon. My last long ride was 107km but it was a struggle to get to the end.

I think it may have been due to the heat but after 2 hours my legs just went and no amount of energy gels would help. Perhaps I was also not drinking enough – it’s tough to carry enough drinks to last 4-5 hours so I tend not to drink quickly at the start. There’s also the question of where to go to the toilet!

Today was supposed to be a four and a half hour ride but there’s no way I’d have managed it. I went to a friend’s wedding last weekend and may have drunk slightly more alcohol than usual, and my body is making me pay for it! I did manage to get out for an hour for a zone 3 ride and I felt alright. I’ve also got a sore hamstring and calf at the moment so I don’t want to push it too much. Hopefully by Monday I’ll be ready for another long ride.

Speaking of long rides, I finally managed to increase my Eddington number to 38! It’s been a long time coming. I’ll need a few more 39+ mile rides to get to 39. Using VeloViewer I can compare how much I’ve ridden this year to previous years. So far I’ve done more than any year since 2014, and if I can get back on track I should get close to my 2013/2014 figures.

I could do with losing a bit more weight. I’m about a stone heavier than when I did RideLondon 2013, although at least most of it is muscle rather than fat now. I just have a bit around my belly that I wish I could shift.

Training plan and a bike fit

As I mentioned in my last entry, I received a free training plan from Full Potential Coaching courtesy of the BHF. So far I’ve been able to follow all the red ‘must do’ sessions. I think it’s starting to make a difference! The plan includes one long ride a week which is getting longer each week. There are also technique and interval sessions as well as easy rides.

My long ride this week was four hours riding in heart rate zones 2-3, including some zone 3 intervals. I ride the intervals around a quiet local loop which doesn’t have much traffic.

I managed over 100km which is good for morale, and my legs didn’t run out of energy near the end. However, I was having some knee aches as a result of my bike fit.

Bike fit

I had a bike fit and physio session on Saturday which was very helpful. I have had sore calf muscles for a long time now, and I was under the impression that the muscles were tight (as well as my IT band). However, it turns out my muscles aren’t tight but just overworked! The bike fit showed that I pedal with my toes pointing downwards and that my knee doesn’t extend as much as it should. This results in my calf muscles having to do a lot more work than would be expected.

My saddle and cleats have been moved back a little so now my pedal stroke is more effective and I’m not using my calves so much. I’ve also been diagnosed with a condition in my quadriceps tendon which requires rehab. I have some exercises to do each day which should eventually help. As I wrote earlier, the long ride was causing my knees to ache at the tendon. Hopefully I can make progress with the rehab and get things working again.

Training is back on track

I’ve managed a few long rides since my last post. I’m not feeling especially fit or confident but hopefully this will improve. My longest ride was 102km – it’s fair to say I was tired afterwards, and feeling a bit sore down below!

I was feeling relatively good up to 80km and thought I could go on further, but I think that was my downfall. I started increasing the speed a little and for the last 15km or so I felt terrible. I still don’t seem to have managed pacing myself properly – even when I did RideLondon 2013 I had a dodgy period where I had no energy. I’ll have to try pacing myself better and staying properly hydrated. I’m also working on my nutrition, I’ve found my stomach much prefers SiS gels to High5. I might get some of their energy bars and see if that helps in the early stages of long rides.

I did another long ride yesterday of 83km, but the difference was that it was much hotter. I don’t know if this took anything out of me but I also struggled near the end of the ride.

I almost crashed into a car on the seafront because I wasn’t paying attention – traffic was moving so slowly and I almost rear-ended someone, much to the amusement of a couple of blokes sat in a car by the side. We had a quick amusing chat which helped distract me from the aching! It was a lovely sunny day (hence all the traffic).

Me in the sun!

Proper training

Thanks to the BHF (who I am raising money for) I have a free training plan from Full Potential Coaching to follow. I must admit that it looks rather daunting and I don’t know if I’ll be able to do as many sessions as they specify, but I’ll try my best. At the very least I’m going to try and follow their one long ride a week session which gradually gets longer before the day of the ride.

Back to square one

I’ve had a couple of nasty colds in the past month that has meant I’ve done barely any training. The second cold may even have been flu considering how much it took out of me. Last night was the first night in a couple of weeks where I haven’t woken up drenched in sweat. I have been back to the gym this week and feel better for it, and am looking forward to getting back on the bike properly. My knees are a little sore from squats yesterday but hopefully I’ll recover soon enough!

There’s around three and a half months left until RideLondon so I’ve got to start riding more. Next week has a pretty good weather forecast so I might even be able to get out on the Ribble, which would probably help motivate me! My subscription for Zwift has renewed so I’ll probably keep it for another month. I’m hoping however that the sun will make a long overdue appearance and I can ride outside more frequently.

As mentioned in my last post, I’ve finally set up a JustGiving page. I’ve had my first donation but haven’t had time or the energy to push people to donate. Hopefully I can persuade some family members to contribute!

End of the cobbled classics 2018

The cobbled classics have been and gone for 2018. I don’t think it was a vintage year – the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix were maybe 6 or 7 out of 10 races but they weren’t classic editions. I’m pleased that Terpstra and Sagan won their respective races though. The Ardennes Classics are up next but undoubtedly Valverde is going to do his usual trick up the Mur de Huy which makes it a little less interesting.

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It doesn’t look like the Froome saga is going to be resolved before the Giro which is a shame. Obviously there are so many legal things to take into consideration but it doesn’t do cycling’s image any good for this to drag on for so long.