Ask me anything
Hill repeats at the end of a 100 mile ride… Ouch.
And not the Alps either.
A week today and it will be all over. Just the time trial up alp d’huez the next day….
It’s customary to visit the place you got married on the last training ride before a big event.
Last training ride before La Marmotte - 171km into Essex and back. Legs check, bike check. And now for the taper and lots of carbs…
Second time at hog hill this year. 26 mins on the nose, a personal best. Only beaten by pointy hats and proper TT bikes.
Graeme Fife is a friend, he supported the Fairbridge team on their Raid Pyreneen adventure in 2009. He’s a writer, a very good one. And here are a few of his best words.
The greatest battle is not physical but psychological. The demons telling us to give up when we push ourselves to the limit can never be silenced for good.
They must always be answered by the quiet, the steady dignity that simply refuses to give in.
Courage. We all suffer. Keep going.
Less than two weeks to go until La Marmotte. The legs are ready a grand raised for kids with autism.
Bring on the suffereing.
A month and counting…
Less than 29 days to go and almost £900 raised when you include gift aid. Not bad but could be much better. Thanks to those who have already donated; for those that haven’t please do so. No money will finance the trip; it all goes to a good cause!
And what about the training..? Well, could be better. The weather might be a good thing for gardeners but not us cyclists. And getting knocked off the bike didn’t help as still getting headaches from the whiplash. Still, two 100 mile rides on the bounce inItalywere brilliant and other long rides, time trials and racing planned so things should work out.
Just got back from riding Milan - San Remo. Amazing weather, food, people and time on the bike. Tan lines sharpened…
Things get interesting on Saturday with the start of the Giro, the best of the three Grand Tours in my opinion. Its French counterpoint (Le Tour), better known and more scrutinised as it is, long ago became a victim of its own success. Yes it’s still a great race but the opportunity for surprise seldom arises when the racing is controlled to the turn of a wheel by the big boys and their teams. The odd breakaway on a lumpy transitional stage is all that can be expected in terms of true excitement, and that’s only when the breakaway boys are way down on GC or have played the wind well.
As for the high mountains, the steep gradients and suffering that make or break any yellow or pink clad contender. Yes, they still entertain but, like the rest of the race, they are contained by race radios and team tactics. A new kid on the block will usually show their legs each, often in terms of the white jersey competition, but that’s about it. Next year they will marked like the rest of the favourites, their opportunity to shine curtailed
The Giro is different. Yes the big teams try to stamp their mark in just like Le Tour but the element for surprise still exists often as a result of the chosen parcours. In recent years the route have been so tough, mountain stages running back to back, that the last week resembles a true war of attrition as the riders’ legs and minds fatigue. But this year it’s different, the route more human under the guidance of a new race director. The mountains are still likely to decide the winner – the last week in the Dolomites is a best – but the winds ofDenmarkand the final TT could still shake up and decide how who triumphs inMilan. There is even something for the sprinters; Super Mario would have been pleased had he of made the return that he talked about earlier this season.
One of the defining moments of the Giro for me is not a lone breakaway, mountain top finish or breakneck sprint. It’s a lingering shot of the peloton tinkering along, riding tempo on a transitional stage. The speed is no higher than your average Sunday club run and some of the riders are eating ice-cream. They are not racing because they have decided – collectively – that they do want to. Now would that happen on Le Tour!
Six months in… two to go
I’ve been training for six months now I guess and things are going pretty well. By that I mean I’ve put the miles in, shed a few pounds and feel pretty good. I’ve not exactly employed a scientific approach to this event; no looking for V02 max or power thresholds like some have the time and money to do but when tested (long rides, early season comp) things look… pretty good. I was tested for V02 max a couple of years ago and scored highly (64) so the system is there, and now I feel fitter.
In the day of power meters and compression socks it seems a little old fashioned to just clock up the miles but that exactly what I’ve done. And it’s been planned, it has to be to manage the amount of training you have to stick in around a full time job and two young kids. To date, I’ve averaged around 600-900 km a month, based largely on commuting. Not a huge amount but the grind can be tiring. Still, clocking up 5,000 odd km in preparation so far is not to be sniffed at, especially when peppered with a few long rides of 80-100 miles. Not enough of them mind!
So what does the next couple of months hold? Well, the commute will be extended to include some local short, sharp climbs. Will also get two 100 + milers in during May and a couple in June as well as two days in Italy riding from Milan to San Remo courtesy of Action Challenge. Add to that time trailing at Hog Hill and I should be ready. I need to start using the Airborne rather than the single speed as there’s no point riding most of your miles on a bike that your not using for the event, especially when the geometry and crank length is totally different. And sleep, I need to sleep to recover from the training - but ask any dad of young kids and they’ll tell you that is the most difficult thing to come by.