The last year has been very tough in multiple ways. Lockdowns meant the kids were home from school a lot so spare time was at a premium, and then I separated from my wife and had to find somewhere to live, move everything across and start again. Now though I feel like I can start again. The children have gone back to school and there is more routine to my life, so I can try and work out some kind of training plan to return to fitness.
The number of times I’ve properly cycled since my last entry is maybe not even to double figures. I had massive struggles with my mental health which meant I cycled less. Cycling was always one method I had for dealing with stress so it meant things got pretty bad. I’m happier now than I have been in a long time, perhaps ever.
I’m doing London-Southend this weekend. It feels a bit like jumping in at the deep end! I went for a 40km ride last weekend just to see how my legs would feel. My legs were OK but other areas were feeling a bit sore! It was very windy too, so I think Sunday should be fine: it should be more sheltered and I’ll be riding with friends so can get a bit of a tow.
I went for a mountain bike ride a couple of weeks ago with a friend. It’s such a different discipline to road cycling. I was not confident riding down hills when the ground is not solid! It was fun though and I’m going to try and head off-road a bit more in the winter months.
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 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 year started well from a cycling perspective – I was able to go for a quick ride on New Year’s Day, my speed was nothing to write home about! My cycling kit was a bit tighter than usual, too many mince pies!
Since then I haven’t had the time for a proper ride. I keep meaning to but I either wake up with sore legs or it’s freezing outside. I’m planning to sign up to Zwift again so I can do some turbo efforts. The theory is that I can get fitter by doing intervals and take up less time.
I hurt my toe doing capoeira a couple of weeks ago and it still hasn’t healed properly. I can just about walk without pain now but running has been out of the question. It’s so frustrating! I also hurt my quads playing football with my son over Christmas, playing in walking shoes is definitely not recommended! I tried to compensate for the shoes by changing my kicking style, which meant I was using different muscle groups. The muscles didn’t like it! So I might need to buy a cheap pair of trainers for playing football.
Capoeira has been going reasonably well, I can do the basics (although I can’t get my legs anywhere near as high as I’d like to). There’s one move, armada com martelo, which I am absolutely rubbish at. I need to work on my landing as if I don’t twist enough I end up hurting something. Frustratingly, someone new started yesterday and mastered the move without any effort! I’ll have to watch some videos and try to figure out what I am doing wrong.
The summer has been pretty busy, since RideLondon I’ve not had much time for long bike rides unfortunately. The longest I managed was on the Isle of Wight whilst on holiday. The roads are quiet and rolling so it was a lot of fun, although I paid the price for going for one long climbing segment. It ended with sections of more than 20%! I had to abandon halfway up as I had nothing left after sprinting up the Ventnor switchbacks.
Other than that I’ve only managed a few short 24km rides. As I no longer have to train and time has been squeezed by the kids being off school, I’ve not been quite so disciplined. The weather has also been quite varied, although it’s quite warm this week. I spent the weekend reassembling the Carrera TdF ahead of the winter, it needs cleaning and adjusting quite a bit!
My overall aim for next year is to do a triathlon, so obviously I’m going to need to improve my swimming and running. Running is my major concern as historically I’ve always injured myself if I run too far. I’ve managed a few 5k runs but unfortunately I injured myself halfway through a 7k run – my calf went at the furthest possible point from home! So I might invest in a new pair of shoes and gait analysis to see if it helps.
I’m hoping to get a bit more base training done over the winter months. I’ve never really managed to properly train throughout winter and then push on in the spring, maybe this will be the time it actually happens?!
Vuelta a Espana 2018
I was so happy to see Simon Yates win La Vuelta after what happened in the Giro. I wonder what the odds were of three different British winners of the three Grand Tours this year? I’m looking forward to the World Championships, hopefully one of the Yates twins will be able to contest it.