After the set backs of last week I was hoping to make some good steps forward in my training and get one really long cycle ride done. Here’s a summary of what I did this last week:
Monday 3rd June
Still in Wales this morning after the weekend so I’ve picked today as my first rest day of the week. Ryan and I spend a lot of the morning talking about the new purchases I need to make (new bike frame mostly). I drive back to Oxford intending to get a lot of planning done in the evening, but the bad traffic means my usual four hour journey takes six hours and I’m back just in time for bed! But before I can go to sleep I first need to buy myself a new bike frame. The order is placed, and it will hopefully arrive some time in the next 10 days.
Tuesday 4th June
Determined to get the week off to a good start I set out straight from work for a cycle ride. As I stupidly left my pannier rack in Leeds over the weekend I’m having to cycle with a back pack into work. A rather unpleasant experience that gives me a sweaty back. Cycling after work with a backpack on meant I also had back pain after a relatively short ride, so I wont be doing that again. Even with the uncomfortable back it was still a lovely evening, and I saw lots of clubs out racing – always wonderful to see so many cyclists about. I also had to turn back around to get proof of this usual level of friendliness towards cyclists:
The best thing about the evening was going down a very steep hill at 28mph and having to brake heavily to avoid going over the 20mph speed limit at the bottom of the hill….wonderful feeling!
Cycle to work: 3.22 miles
Cycle ride after work: 32.58 miles
Minutes of stretching to shake off the back pain: 45
Wednesday 5th June
Learning my lesson from yesterday I returned home after work, changed, and set off out again to do another long ride. I tried a different route this time, and one that I don’t think I’ll try again. Cycle paths too narrow to cycle on, others strewn with glass – it really wasn’t very pleasant at all. I also encountered lots of cycle paths that followed the usual trend of not really understanding the point of a cycle path:
Cycle to & from work: 5.45 miles
Cycle after work: 24.94 miles
Thursday 6th June
Thursday’s are traditionally my rest day as I work later then usual, but as I’m going on a long ride on Saturday I need Friday to rest. With less time then I usually have I decide to get in from work and do some indoor cycling. I try to mix fast peddling with steep uphill climbs and keep going for 52 minutes before it’s time for dinner. Indoor cycling is always hard work as you can really push yourself to your limits….and not having a fan indoors makes it seem like middle of July alps temperatures, so that’s good training too.
I also spent my entire lunch break mapping the route through the UK and trying to save it to send to the rest of the team, but my browser crashed every time I tried. Very frustrating!
Cycle to and from work: 6.42 miles
Time on turbo trainer: 52 minutes
Time stretching: 25 minutes
Friday 7th June
Rest day today. I started to plan my route for Saturday, as I want to do a bigger ride then I’ve ever done before I know it would be best to go on a familiar route so I can do it quickly. Unfortunately I don’t know any routes that are very long, so I decide to stick to a national cycle route that will take me away form Oxford and up towards Northamptonshire. To add a bit of extra interest I decide to divert off route to cycle past some beautiful scenery (see pictures below). I’m aiming for 100 miles in total, and I really hope I can make it. I make sure all my kit is ready to go first thing in the morning.
Saturday 8th June
Up at 7 am and straight downstairs for breakfast. I’m anticipating this is going to be an exhausting one….so I have 5 Weetabix. I’m getting used to nerves before a big ride and today is no exception, I feel quite sick before I set off, but I don’t let that put me off. Just after 8am I’m ready to go and out the door. After smothering myself in sun protection it’s a little disappointing to find that it’s actually overcast and very windy. The first 20 miles were really hard as I made my way up through Bicester and out towards Buckingham. There were lots of cyclists about in the morning, and everyone was very friendly today. Despite the cloud coverage it was still very warm so I was able to put away the high-vis jacket and enjoy the warm hurricane breeze on my arms….I exaggerate, as usual. However, there was a very strong headwind the entire journey which made the going very tough. With lots of sensibly placed stops for snacks I eventually made it to the beautiful scenery I was hoping to see:
I can’t believe you can actually see the podium from the roundabout outside the circuit!! Anyway, after wasting a bit of time meandering outside Silverstone and watching some cars racing over the fence, I continued onwards and made it to my half way point. I realised somewhere around 40 miles that I may have taken a wrong turning but I wasn’t too concerned as the main objective was to reach 100 miles today, no matter what the route. However, after passing two cyclists I’d passed earlier on in the day I got out my phone to discover exactly what kind of a mistake I’d done:
Instead of going left after Silverstone village I’d followed a road which took me back down towards Buckingham. Now I was faced with knowing that where I’d stopped was actually on a road which went back down to Buckingham, so I could just go straight down there to get home – it would be quicker. The old Jennifer would have certainly taken the quicker easier route and continued on that road, but I was determined to get to 100 miles and so I turned around and went back the way I’d come.
Today’s other brilliant sights included this gem:
I made it back home 9 hours and 6 minutes after I’d set off, with a total moving time of 7 hours 57 minutes (with stops for lunch and snacks).
I am very happy that I made it to the full 100 miles, and even more happy that I could still move the next day!
Total miles cycled: 100.55
Sunday 9th June
As my biggest concern with this trip is being able to cycle consecutive long days I would have loved to get out for another 70+ miles and see how I fared. Unfortunately I had to work today, so instead I got up at 7am to set out for a 15 mile ride before work. In my last 10 miles yesterday I got what I thought was a bug in my eye, but I’m thinking now it might have been a bit of grit. At the time I had to stop to try and get whatever it was out, but had to cycle for the last 10 miles with my right eye streaming with water and stinging a lot. Last night I had a very restless sleep as every time my eye moved I woke up in pain. Today it doesn’t seem much better and was watering a lot on the ride, so I stuck to the safety of meandering around the streets of Oxford and got to 17 miles before it was time to get ready for work.
Cycle in the morning: 17.64 miles
Cycle to and from work: 6.75 miles
Thoughts on the week
I’m really happy with how much training I’ve done this week, and that I not only did a 100 mile ride myself, but also in a pretty decent time. On Sunday I didn’t feel too bad out on the bike, my knees were a bit achy and my legs a bit stiff for the first five miles, but generally I felt like I could keep going for a lot more miles. Next week I need to finish the route mapping for the UK leg of our trip, I tried it twice this week and had problems with browsers crashing, so I need to persevere with that. Hopefully my new frame will arrive by the end of next week and Ryan and I can start to plan getting it fitted to my bike.