#GetCycleFit moves to the Peak District
Hello pals, and sorry for the big delay in posting anything about my last minute training for Red Hook Crit in London, aka #GetCycleFit or #CycleFitChallenge – I seem to keep flitting between the two hashtags and forgetting which one I’m using.
But anyway, to update you:
As I mentioned in my last post, Dave and I drove up to the Peak District for Eroica Britannia, which was a marvelous day and about as far away from ‘training’ as cycling can be, as it was entirely pleasurable. I do find it funny when people say that training should be ‘fun,’ because although I’ve been thriving on my new regime and relishing this new focus, I don’t see how pushing yourself until you feel sick can ever be ‘fun.’ And if you’re not pushing yourself so much that it hurts, well… you’re not getting the most out of your workout so what’s the bloody point in doing it?
Following Eroica I took a rest day to allow my little legs to recover their strength then it was back to some short, sharp, brutal rides to shock my body into building some strength and power. Day#20’s workout involved repeatedly sprinting uphill for ten seconds in a heavy gear from a stationary start. I found it really easy and became quite agitated that I’d wasted a day of training – when you’ve only a month, every session counts.
I contacted my coach to discuss what had happened and he told me to do it again the next day but with 40 second uphill sprints, as well as completing the other workout he’d already put on my calendar. I was actually really pleased to be handed a load of extra work. My parents (with whom I’m staying for a few weeks) found that very odd – they can’t understand why I want these workouts to be as hard as possible, sometimes advising me as I walk out the door ‘not to overdo it.’ I tell them that I have every intention of overdoing it!
Aside from repeating the hill sprints from the day before, the plan for Day#21 was a bunch of 30 second all-out sprints, with either 2 or 3 minutes recovery in between. I plumped for 2.5 minutes of recovery because it made it easier to calculate when to sprint – every three minutes.
I wrote in my diary:
“The first few 30 second sprints were on the easy side but as I progressed through the session it became harder and I’d fatigue earlier and earlier. But I enjoyed this workout and it felt achievable and effective.”
I also wrote:
“I didn’t manage to do the repeat of yesterdays hill sprint session in the evening because Mum and Dad whisked me off for fish and chips… HATE skipping sessions. Love fish and chips though!”
For training, I repeated Day#21’s workout, then in the evening I met up with a couple of local riders, James Todd and Paul, for a mountain bike ride on the edge of Sheffield and in the Peaks. James had ever so kindly arranged for me to borrow a mountain bike from On One, as after much deliberation I hadn’t brought mine with me from Devon – I only had space for two bikes when I drove up and the track bike and road bike made the cut, and besides, I wasn’t initially planning on being here long. Unfortunately, circumstances have meant I’ve extended my stay so I might have to pull out of the British Downhill Champs in a few weeks as I’ve not had a chance to ride downhill at all so I’m not prepared in the way I’d like to be.
But anyway, it was fantastic to ride cross-country with James and Paul and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it, not least because a torrential downpour at the start of the evening seemed to have put everyone else off so we pretty much had the hills to ourselves. It was a belter of an evening.
A 45 minute ride in HR zone 4, with some evil sprints thrown, Saturday’s workout was really tough for me and my legs took a bit of warming up after all the riding the day before. Being in the Peaks, rather than Devon, I haven’t had access to the Velopark so I’ve been training on my road bike on public roads. Obviously I have to prioritise safety, so when my workout demands a high heart rate zone I head for a hilly route things to make things harder and keep my heart beating fast. So rather than being pleased when I see the road in front of me roll off down a hill, I get ever so disappointed as I know I’ll drop down a couple of heart rate zones. Man, I’ve changed!
Who knows how much faster all this training has made me, but it’s made me feel strong, and it’s made me feel great.