I have been enjoying the lack of an alarm clock over the last week along with the late August sunshine. We had decided to catch up with all the gardening that had been neglected because of cricket and cycling. I have missed the gym at work but rest plays a big part in any training schedule so I don’t feel guilty.
Training for the BIBB Challenge is coming on nicely. Simon Smith and I rode on Friday lunchtime around the Garsington loop; we refer to this affectionately as the Vom Ride. Each lap is 3.75 miles long and includes a three tier climb followed by a nice descent, until this point we hadn’t broken 12 minutes but today was to be different. Two moderate warm up laps saw us ready to put in a max effort for the last lap, our plan was to swap the lead at given points and draft on the flat bits. Simon is a great climber in the saddle, his running fitness is outstanding and he pushes me harder than I could go on my own.
The last lap was hateful, Simon led out and I felt comfortable drafting him, my turn to lead came too soon, it was a different kettle of fish in front. The outward leg is always windy and there is a certain relief about getting out of it behind the leading rider. I pressed 23 mph which dwindled a bit until Simon took over the front again. Air was obviously out of fashion judging by the way I was trying to suck it in. By the time I had recovered it was my turn in front, the speed had dropped to 21mph and I was happy to see the turning to Garsington.
There was a brief respite and then the hill began. The climb comes in 3 sections and really gets the lungs working. Rising bile threatened to ruin my jersey but I somehow held onto lunch. I guess the trick is to save a bit of energy to kick off the top and start building momentum for the downhill section. I’m not the best downhill rider out there as I have no wish to end up in a heap in a ditch, for a split second the thought of falling off at 40mph entered my head and there was a slight wobble. The flat came up to meet the front wheel all too quickly and it was back on the power.
I was lagging and struggled to keep up with Simon’s back wheel down the hill, once on the flat I pulled ahead to allow Simon to draft. Simon then showed his class by passing me for the slightly uphill finish by pushing ahead and opening up a gap of 20m. He’d timed it perfectly and clocked 11:04 with me making some ground to finish 11:06. Job done, record smashed, lesson learnt about pacing. Simon is a great training partner; he drags me along towards a better standard and is humble in his approach to training and fitness.
Prior to the Vom Ride, I managed to ride on the previous Wednesday with Spence, Jabba and Elliott for a couple of hours. We scratched our way around the trails of the Ridgeway and were surprised when it began to get dark at 8pm. Spence has a written a blog piece which I have posted below describing the ride, it’s well worth a read. It was great to get out into the countryside, away from everything and just ride socially. Truly time well spent in a hectic world. Living so close to the Ridgeway is a privilege; I need to get out more and do it justice.
Other than that, cycling action has been limited to commutes and reading expensive cycling mags. I have been thinking about what food I will be taking on the 24 hour ride and so far have come up with: Jacket potatoes at the ferry terminals, Jamaica Ginger cake and Malt Loaf for riding plus Waitrose Mini pork pies. I have been trying out an organic energy drink that is supposed to be kinder to the more delicate stomachs that some of us have, but that’s a whole blog post in itself!