Tuesday, 3 June 2008

There's a hole in my blog...

It struck me yesterday that I have been lax in my blogging. During April and May I only did a couple of entries. I used the excuse that not much was happening that was worth recording, while in fact all the dramatic stuff was going on. Here are a few highlights.
Big Climb
After my horrifyingly bad first attempt at climbing, I did, in fact manage a surprising and very pleasing jaunt up the Campie Hills a couple of weeks later. On that fine Saturday in April, I only meant to go a few miles up the hill, but in fact, more through stupidity and not knowing where I was going, ended up doing a lot more climbing than that I thought I was capable of.
On that same ride, I also clocked up a total of 38 miles. I was truly goosed at the end of this 2 hour 50 minute ride, but I was well pleased, because for the first time, actually started to believe that I could complete the Etape Caledonia, and stopped worrying so much about how many miles I’d have to spend in the ‘broom wagon’ (which sweeps up the casualties – get it). In fact, I even managed to get out on the Sunday also and clock up a further 25 miles. That was a good weekend.
The flu
– not man flu. I was ill. No sooner had I convinced myself that my training was going perfectly, than I came down with a virus. I wasn’t depressed or upset about this at first, I was too busy feeling sorry for myself to be depressed. That set me back 2 weeks in total, and left my training plan in ruins. For 12 days I did no cycling, and lost no weight (it’s not sensible to diet when you’re ill, I know than much). On May 2nd I tried to ride to work as I (mistakenly) thought I was mostly better. It did not go well. I got there, but it was a painful and tiring 9 miles. Oh dear, I thought, I’m screwed.
Thankfully, over the next week my fitness came back quickly and I got back into the swing of things. I didn’t have much time left, my weight was higher than I wanted and I still hadn’t ridden half the distance I needed to.
New friends.
On Thursday 8th May, while out on a fast short ride, I met up with Falkirk Cycling Club. There were about 50 of them. I met a guy, Brian I think his name was, and was riding along chatting. It turned out that he was just heading to the start of the clubs training run. I knew they trained on these roads, but I was hoping to avoid direct contact for the moment (they are very fast and very serious about their cycling) Once I get slimmer/fitter and faster, I fully intend joining these guys, but there’s work to be done first. Anyway, he said I should have a go, and me being me, I said way not. Idiot.
I managed to stay with the slowest group for about 5 miles, but they got the better of me no a hill, and my inexperience in groups was a real killer. Anyway, this brief group ride gave me a taste for company, so I decided to have another go on their ‘Sunday run’, which is supposed to be a slower, more social affair. Since the meeting point for this is at the bottom of my street, I thought ‘what’s the harm?’ Unfortunately there were only 6 of them on the Sunday, and they all looks fit; everyone else was away racing or something! I introduced myself, got my apologies in early and waited for the torture to begin. Surprisingly, other than the hills, we clipped along at steady 18 mph. It is a wonderful thing to sit at the back of a group of cyclists as the effort is very much reduced. It’s a great feeling.
I stayed with them for about 25 miles before deciding to head off myself back in the direction of home. I got the feeling I was beginning to hold them back a little, and that was only going to get worse. It was exactly a week to the big day, and I wanted to stretch myself, but not kill myself. One of the guys suggested a route back to the Kincardine Bridge, which I took. I wasn’t worried about getting a little lost, I wanted to do about 60 miles, so there was certainly some scope for detours. Anyway, I had a great time riding along quiet roads and through cracking little quiet villages. The Forth estuary was always on my left, so that kept me right. The scenery was spectacular, with the calm water, the two bridges and the beautiful countryside. The ride had a sense of adventure about it.
In total I rode 65 miles, which although not particularly mountainous, was hilly enough for me to feel it. WhenI finished I realised I could do no more, the training was essentially over, bar a couple of shorter rides during the week it was time to let the legs recover and wait for Sunday to come.
Anyway, I didn’t blog about this stuff at the time for several reasons; laziness, illness, tiredness and being pretty busy. I regret it now and am going to make an effort to not let it happen again. Sometimes you think things are pretty static and unchanging, but it never really is, time roles on, and things are always changing.
Today’s weight is 16 Stone 2 lb (102.5 kilos)

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