April training round up

During April I’ve managed to build up some consistency in comparison to March when things sort of tailed off due family woes.  Returning I then went through an annoying couple of weeks where I was suffering with a persistent knee niggle, eventually I decided to completely reset the cleats which quickly overcome the problem.  I’ve written up a post about it and what I did, maybe it could help somebody, then again maybe not.  I’ll post it over the next few days in any case.

3 Down 300km Audax

3 Down Audax route.

3 Down Audax route.

The first weekend in April I was eager to get back on the Audax scene, against better judgement I rode the 3 Down 300km Audax.  I’d picked up a sore throat midweek and by Saturday morning I was sporting a full blown cold.  I rode this event last year so knew what I was letting myself in for.  Undeterred I pressed on and added the ride out and back too completing the 300km in under 12hrs 20mins only losing 37mins along the way.  It was a fairly hot day and I was only carrying the one bottle which did leave me rather short at times.  So all in all almost 370kms covered by the time I’d reached home.  It was good to catch up with a couple of new TCR riders during the ride, as well as a couple of the Vets drinking coffee at the finish.  My stats for the ride can be found here.

A chance meeting with a familiar face!

The following weekend I’d planned out a longish ride down to the coast just to see the sea, then the plan was to head back via Ditchling Beacon.  There’s nothing better than riding over that last hill and the sea coming into view.  Always loved it as a child and still do now many years on.

I was going to leave early doors but when I looked out of the window it was raining so I didn’t get away until around 7.30am.  I was in no rush, on days like this I just tend to get back when I get back.  I made good time to the coast and finally reached Goring-on-Sea, found a bench and then tucked into a pre-prepared lunch.  The sun was out, the wind was blowing the fresh sea air…I loved it.  I then followed the coastal road to Worthing where I decided to stop for coffee.  I then headed towards Brighton when I then had a chance meeting with Martian Cioana (TCR Vet) heading in the opposite direction.

Martian looking pretty laid back!

Martian looking pretty laid back!

He was out on one of his legendary long rides so I decided to join him.  Off we went to Southampton, Winchester then Basingstoke after which I peeled off at Twyford getting home just after midnight.  Its always good to catch up with TCR vets, hopefully I’ll catch up with Martian again soon, failing that it will be at Gerarrsdbergen at the end of July.  That was another steady 320kms covered in one ride.  My ride stats can be found here.

Heart of England Audax

The Saturday following I rode the Heart of England 300km Audax which was to prove rather challenging.  Just to make it a little harder I decided to ride out to the start in Cirencester and back.  That’s an additional 215kms so a good 500+km test.  Based on 15mph that’s a ride out to the arrivee of about 4.5 hours with the route out clipping the Berkshire Downs to Wantage via Streatley.  With such a long day in the saddle you are always open to the vagaries of the weather so I decided to take the saddle pack with a few necessities just in case.  The picture below shows my setup.  A little tinkering still required but that essentially is looking more and more like my TCR setup for this year.  Minimal to say the least.

Todays setup.

Todays setup.

I left home at 30mins past midnight, I had an eye on passing 300miles in 24hrs to add to my YCC tally.  I arrived Cirencester at about 5.00am, I drank 2 or 3 cups of coffee and ate a couple of slices of toast whilst I warmed up and waited for Jon Kelley (A TCR Vet) to arrive who was also riding out.  Jon finally arrived about 06.15am which was when we finally rolled out.

The first control was the other side of the Cotswolds, to keep this short, the weather over that first 45kms or so was horrendous not helped by it being rather lumpy and on tight little lanes.  It brewed into the worst cycling conditions I’ve ever had the pleasure of riding in.  It started as rain, then sleet then morphed into a raging snow storm.  The temperatures plummeted and many riders packed before reaching the first control.  As I understand it I think there were only 12 or so riders that actually completed the course.  Unfortunately I didn’t stop to take any photo’s, I was convinced if I did that I’d go down with hyperthermia.  I think this write up and photo’s from Willsden CC says it all, kudos to them for getting out of the situation safely.   The only way in my mind to get through it was to ride hard and keep going, which was easier said than done, but I did eventually did get through to the first control.

Heart of England 300km

Heart of England 300km

There were a handful of riders already there all uncontrollably shaking.  It took me well over an hour to finally stop and recover some composure.  Eventually the sun came out and I got riding again.  A complete contrast to an hour or so ago.  In an effort to make up time I went through pretty much all the controls and was the third rider to roll back into the start at around 8.30pm.  Probably one of my slowest 300kms ever.  I then charged up my Garmin and phone and tucked into a nice portion of beans on toast.  At around 9.00pm I set off home.  I was thinking 4 maybe a 5 hour steady ride home following the same route as I took coming out.  At midnight I was 5 miles short of the 300 miles, the weather had taken its toll, another 30mins and I’d probably have done it.  Maybe next time.  Not to far from home I well and truly bonked but eventually grinded my way to the front door around 2.00am.

So why such a long ride?  I guess I wanted to know what it felt like…simple really!  Ride stats are here.  That’s my longest single ride ever, 520kms covered in 26hours.  Considering I set off 30mins after midnight, losing an hour waiting at the start, enduring the atrocious weather and its impact on speed to the first control and the time lost recovering at the first control…a pretty good effort I’d say and some worthwhile lessons learnt.

Next up…Severn Across 400km Audax this coming Saturday which will include riding out and back too.  The weather doesn’t appear to be looking to great…but I’m used to that now!

Ride safe folks!

Paul

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