I thought I’d post a quick update on what I’ve been up to on the bike over the last couple of months. You’ll remember back in November I picked up a bout of illness which took three weeks to shake off. Well that was almost three months ago now, how time fly’s. Anyway once I was over that I was keen to get going again.
The run up to Christmas!
Early Dec I had some holiday remaining so took a mid week day off, rode solo just short of 140 miles which cleared the cobwebs, opened up the lungs and got the blood circulating. The following week I took another day off and again rode solo just shy of 170 miles.
Sadly, just before Christmas I found myself in that unenviable position of having to take our dear little dog down to the vets to be put down. Its not pleasant and tears were shed across the family. I knew it was the right time and the right thing to do but it still doesn’t make it any easier. I hope she’s having fun up there and having great adventures.
Christmas and the Rapha Festive 500 Challenge
As Christmas approached I was mulling over the idea of giving the Rapha Festive 500 a shot. This is a challenge for cyclists to ride a total of 500km (310 miles) on the eight days between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Christmas arrangements were to spend the period with the family in Bournemouth. In the end it was an easy decision to take it on. Lunchtime Christmas Eve I set off into gale-force winds and heavy rain and rode 111 miles due south to Bournemouth whilst the rest of the family travelled down by car. After a great Christmas I extended the journey back to Windsor by circling Oxford, a ride in the end of 183 miles, helped by a smashing tailwind for a good portion of the ride. To finish the challenge I rode the remaining 20 miles the following day…job done!
Over the course of 2015 I managed to ride just short of 13,000 miles…and on that note Happy New Year everybody!
2016 and Audax’s
The first weekend of Jan I rode my first 200km Audax of 2016, the Poor Student starting in Oxford. The weather was pretty grim at best and just to test by mettle I rode out and back, a round trip of 208 miles. The following weekend I met up with Simon Romaine and Jon Kelley, TCR vets for a bit of a reunion ride. The three of us slept on three park benches in Sault at the base of Mont Ventoux during last years TCR. We met down near Yeovil and spent the day on the bikes. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t playing ball, later in the day the sensible side of us prevailed and we ended up reducing a 190 mile ride down to a modest 132 miles. All good fun and it was great to catch up.
The following day I rode with the club, adding a bit before and after making it up to a round 100 miles. Without any let up the next weekend I rode the Willy Warmer 200km Audax starting at Chalfont St Peter. This is one I’ve completed before and a route I’m very familiar with. Jon Kelley joined me on this one and by the time we’d got back to Windsor it was a round trip of 165 miles, albeit Jon did do a little bit more after becoming navigationally embarrassed. With being reasonably active on the long distance rides throughout Dec and the rush into the New Year Audax’s I decided a couple of easy weeks were needed. It just allows time to freshen up and let the body get on with adaptation which should enable me to push on.
Since the end of Jan you may have noticed a bit of a dip in my riding, my Dad has dementia and he’s been steadily declining. Hospital visits means tripping backwards and forwards to the Northwest which has taken up time, has been a little draining resulting in a decline in spirit. Things are stable but I fear it may drag on for sometime yet. The mojo for riding went for a short period but I think its now back in check. In the mean time at home we wait to see what the future holds.
Cycling Century Challenge 2016
Unless your an avid distance cyclist you may not be aware of the Cycling Century Challenge. The current leader board can be found here. I’m thinking of giving 50 tons a shot initially and see where that gets me. After that who knows. Not such an easy challenge riding 100 tons and with almost two months gone I’m already a little behind the curve. However, saying that I have a good schedule of rides planned, quite a few back to back days, along with the TCR I think I’m able to get through a sizeable chunk of tons without overdoing things. Over the next few months my mileage should start to pick up as the weather improves. Lets see how it goes.
So how’s it going you may ask? Well good, I feel I’m in better shape than this time last year. Rides are longer and my speed is picking up. I’m currently testing a new saddle and its comfortable, I think its the right one for me. Clip on bars are mounted and I’m riding on them as much as I can so I can strengthen my neck, shoulder and back muscles. Rides upwards of 100 miles I’m been carrying my frame bag packed as likely for the TCR. Sub 100 miles the bags are off and I’m riding quicker. Although I’m not carrying my TCR saddle bag the one I am carrying is weighty. Pretty pleased with how things are progressing at this early stage with still plenty of riding to do. Roll on Spring!
Just a reminder of my ride schedule…its here.
That’s it folks. Don’t forget to say hello if you happen to come across the blue Bowman bike!