Transcontinental Race Summary

 

My Transcontinental race was 2510 miles long,  183,792 ft high , took me through 12 countries in 20 days.  Rather than provide a beautifully scripted summary, for now I wanted to share my “Raw memoirs” the stand out moments thoughts and some of the images I captured along the way. This is a summary prepared initially for Primal Europe and is also available on their blog.

tcr-route

So, to start with, the Transcontinental is tough. Emotionally, physically and mentally, sheer stubbornness got me through.  Riding my bike was the easy part, everything else (or rather lack of) was the problem. The latter referring to battery power, routes, food, beds, support.

Europe is vast, mountains are high, weather is variable, and towns are scarce. People are poor, People are kind, what is the value of money.

 

The race began with a cobbled climb of de Muur, surrounded by other riders and supporters holding flaming torches. Within minutes of summiting at the Kapel, the crowds had dispersed and I was riding alone in the Belgian countryside. For the next 20 days, I rode solo alone passing other riders only momentarily at check points or by chance when our routes crossed.

My race started fairly well, just about reaching CP1, Clermont Ferrand by Sunday night (well 4am Monday morning), managing 433 miles, 16964 feet of climbing in 54 hours. In hindsight, it seemed like a lot longer than 54 hours. I hadn’t slept Friday night, napped for an hour Saturday morning, stayed in a hotel Saturday night and decided not to stop again until CP1. As I arrived so late in Clermont Ferrand, there was nowhere/didn’t seem sensible to find a hotel to stay in, but I wasn’t brave enough to sleep rough in the town. So I waited until daybreak, had some breakfast and set off to climb the first parcours, Col De Ceyssat.

 

 

Climbing the Parcours was enjoyable, probably the longest climb of my life at that point. Descending was fast and fun. By the bottom, it was clear I was bonking and in a pretty bad way, needed to nap under a tree… the next few days moving across France the rolling French corn fields gradually became steeper as I rode into the Rhone Alps and towards Switzerland.  The riding was pleasant, few cars and straight forward. Rural France seemed far more rural than I had remembered and it became increasingly difficult to find anywhere to buy food, let alone a new battery (I was having power issues), or sleep. I quickly learnt to stock up on food and drink at any opportunity. I also spent my first night sleeping under the stars, I was too tired to care. I had opted for a more direct route than many of the others, via Geneva, which I am glad of. Arriving in Geneva late I was exhausted, finding it hard to smile but a good nights sleep, breakfast and starting the day riding around the lake put me in good spirits. How could it not, its a stunning spot.  I began climbing up from the lake before Lunch, climbing higher before descending into Interlaken then up once more to CP2, located in Grindelwald. This required riding along a MTB track in the dark.  Learning from  my mistake at CP1 I had booked a hotel room in advance, missed dinner though, ate some pringles.

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CP2 meant parcours 2, comprised of Grosse Scheidegg, Grimsel Pass and the Furka Pass. I was lucky to climb these in good conditions and met a number of riders (TCR and others, along the way). Grosse Scheidegg I think was my favorite of the day, Grimsel Pass the hardest and Furka Pass the easiest. I possibly should have climbed the next pass that night but gave into the temptation of the promise of a hot meal and an early night.

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The next few days the weather took a turn for the worse, cold wet and windy I started singing to myself on descents to keep concentration levels up. I’m not normally a singer but it was incredibly liberating. I also invested in Ski gloves and some new lights- both solid investments. Switzerland became more rugged, with a clear Italian influence. Most cars had bike racks and I got a lot of waves of encouragement.  I began to climb the Albula Pass not long before dark, this rustic mountain road seemed mystical, twisting between the shadow of trees scattered across a harsh rock face along a gorge.  It got darker, mist,  windy wet and cold- I was shivering while ascending so was very relieved to find a mountain hostel to shelter in for the night. The next morning I could have been on top of the world as I ate a breakfast of coffee and toblerone before riding towards the Italian border.

The next day started with a final climb, followed by a morning of descents and easy riding through vineyards and along the Adige to Merano, inclusive of some fun, puncture free  MTB trails. As I skirted  Bolzano, the mountains loomed once more in the distance.  At about 4pm I found my self at the foot of a big, long, steep, inclining tunnel, one I wasn’t sure my legs would carry me through and up so I sat down and had a bit of a cry, road side. I got through it (metaphorically and literally), encouraged on by a beautiful  Sunset and stunning views.  A few hours later I Stopped at an alpine hotel. Dropped bike (and me) down the hill to the entrance as I was too weak to hold.  Too late for dinner again, so snacked on left overs from lunch in Merano

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Day 9 was a tour of ski resorts on route to CP3, Alleghe. Stopped for a slight route modification to avoid cycling down what looked like a black ski run, another route modification to avoid a closed road.  Listened to BBC world service podcast while I rode, feeling pretty emotional anyway I, shed some tears, appreciative of the freedom to be cycling in a beautiful, safe corner of the world. After a lunch stop at CP3 I began the 3rd parcourse, Passo Giau, I took it steady, the weather was perfect I remember it as a nice climb, fairly forgiving for the most par with stunning views.  Met a few friendly faces along the way At the top, met an Italian family, they invited me for dinner and offered me a bed in their beautiful home. Amazing people, food and hospitality.

Day 10 Started in the Dolomites to the church bell of Selva Di Cadore, a final climb then a great few hours of descending followed by a few questionable bike paths (gravel, steps, a cave…)and then  some awesome flat riding, straight roads, pretty towns, good coffee.  Stopped in Trieste for dinner, met some friendly TCR faces. Had planned to ride to Slovenia before sleeping but went the wrong way, downhill out of Trieste. Thought head knew better than Garmin, it didn’t and took me through some “Scary” industrial estates before arriving in Muggia where my road was closed by police. At this point, I was tired and  struggling to compute other route options so I opted for a  hotel. Id had a solid Solid days riding but sad not to have made it to Slovenia

Day 11: -Frustrating start, couldn’t find the right road, unremarkable crossing into Slovenia, the signs stopped, traffic was less, valleys steeper, towns modest. Some poor navigational skills resulted in 2 extra climbs. I passed a child’s drawing of a fireman, in chalk on the road, then some firemen, then miles of shouldering woodland from a forest fire the night before. I  was glad I hadn’t slept under one of those trees.

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The Slovenia/Croatia Border was marked by a hut, guards, barriers and a barbwire fence. 

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Fast, straight (vertical?)  descent into Croatia, it was hot, I was behind schedule, I stopped and moped for a bit. I was finding it hard going, disappointed to be so behind. Croatia’s rural roads are steep, and in some case unfinished, one such road  left my feet and bike covered in concrete. Powered through to Rijeka, steady climb out accompanied by some serious self-talk for motivation: Quitting was not an option, wouldn’t achieve anything, what would be the point. Decided to ride through the night. Ridiculous cross winds on coast road, was glad for heavy bike/bags, came close to being blown off. It was also dark, busy road with a lot of lorries. Fun though- adrenaline riding! Fun stopped about midnight when a creepy van did a slow drive by, stopped slightly ahead in a dark lay by above Senj. It could have could have been innocent, also could have been threatening. I didn’t wait to find out, rode back into the town and found a hotel.

Started with a windy climb out of Senj into the uplands, vast open plains towards Bosnia.  Houses were modest, few and far between, many marred with bullet holes. Crossing into Bosnia at Bihac, I rode up into the hills, past a sign warning of land mines. I climbed into a thick, wet fog, sharing the road in vast expanse of nothingness with VW vans and Trucks. Hours later approached a town where some  locals took me  to a pizzeria /bar next to a mosque, the owner had some rooms upstairs, he let me stay in. Probably not inline EU ISO regs, I slept perfectly. Friendly vibes, very different to home, I was definitely an outsider

 

Day 13 was more wet fog and vast open roads as I rode to Sarajevo. -~50% of houses in Bosnia appear to be homes, the rest empty, derelict many burnt out. People were slow to smile, seeming to be either farmers, Shepard’s, mechanics or a combination of all, utilizing traditional farming methods, old tractors, old cars. The towns were busy, chaotic, polluted. Sarajevo a combination of colorful and dull, modern and dated.

 

Day 14 started well with a good ride to Montenegrin border, past more desolate buildings and along a dirt track to the border control. Once in Montenegro the roads improved as did the scenery towards Pluzine. I passed some TCR bikes at the bottom of the parcours to CP4, not realizing I was going the wrong way- Garmin had froze, gained a hill, lost an hour.

The Parcours began by passing an old stone tunnel carved in the rock, preceding a beautiful climb to Durmitor. It was probably my favorite, it was also hard. I recommend you ride it, but allow more time. At the top it was barren and quickly got  very cold, windy, dark.  I started to descend to CP4 but because confused by the route and had lost faith in my Garmin/route. Confused, cold and scared of falling off the mountain/missing CP4, I stopped at the wrong place. Once in the hut I couldn’t make my self ride the last 6km to the town. Close to taking a lift. Took some brandy instead and stayed in a hut.  Disappointed. Exhausted. Safe

Woke up in the hut, nice view.  I was cold and stiff; Garmin, dead; Phone, almost dead;  battery packs, empty. Rode the 6km to CP4, met a fellow TCR rider. I cried a little, we had breakfast together, compared stories. I stayed in town to charge devices, a few hours later Started riding, within minutes on a gravel track. U-turn, new route needed  Pretty, still smiling, still pedaling -Body not responding, emotionally drained, caved into self pity. Stopped early, accepted I was going to miss the fishers party.

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Breakfast with another TCR rider as we waited for the wet fog to lift, it didn’t. After a few hours riding fog cleared, revealing beautiful scenery along the started riding it did. Steady, steepening climb towards Montenegrin/Kosovo border culminating in a stunning descent between Montenegro and Kosovo. Too fun and too fast to take pictures, I recommend you ride it!

-Police looking out over modest camp between borders

Arrived into into Kosovo, the roads were a little bit crazy, almost as bad as London, got my first  puncture. Had  planned to ride through night, but when it got dark I wussed out,  found motel, ate meat. Slept to the sound of wedding drums

 

Started riding in time to watch the sunrise over Pristina and take in the Kosovan rush hour, Kosovans know how to rock a car share! Decided I like Kosovo, even more so after a second breakfast of the best burger ever. Rode to the Macedonian border, then relaized Id lost my Garmin charger- wrote out some directions in my notebook. Got another puncture. Didn’t enjoy riding in Skopje, possibly worse than London. After a while, travelling south, Macedonia became beautiful, then it got dark. I  met some police, they were in the bushes but friendly enough and directed me to a hotel

 

Macedonia was pretty special, I saw goats, donkeys, horse and carts, bikes and tractors. Met man collecting figs on a horse drawn cart, he gave me a fig. The “road” deteriorated to undulating, gravel/rocky track resulting in ~ 15km at walking pace.

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 I Crossed into Greece about midday, roads were better. It was very hot, I  ran out of water and didn’t see any shops or garages for a long time. Struggled to find way on to the road to take me East. Lots of circles/u-turn. Stopped at garage at 18:00, as finishers party was starting  Tough moment, gutted not to be there. Dinner/Lunch of Maxi Croissants and Coke. Pushed on, taking frustration out on the road.   Stayed under a tree in a compound with a melon seller and his large extended family. They covered me in a blanket as I slept

 

Day 20

LAST DAY- I HOPED

-Early start 4.30am up and over some bumps to Alexandroupolis for breakfast then on to the Turkish border, where Garmin stopped working, again. Luckily there aren’t many roads in Turkey, first a hot, windy busy motor way, then hill into a relentless head wind and finally the turn to Canakkale for the final sprint (well 60 km or so. At this point I felt invincible albeit with mixed emotions about approaching the finish- I didn’t want it to end and go back to normality. I also wanted a lie in. I  almost got eaten by the big white dog at the tunnel, found out later I wasn’t the only one. I Arrived at Ecebat for the Canakkale ferry with 45 minutes to wait, time compose my thoughts. Arrived in Canakkale to a warm welcome of TCR finishers, most of whom I had met on route. We had done it!!!

 

 

 

 

 

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#Inthiskit

Sponsorship & Primal Europe, my thoughts

Today I finally got to meet the people behind the brand at Primal Europe. Lead by James Smith and wife Judith, this family run business based in Plymouth represent the European arm of Primal cycling apparel that was kind/mad enough to sponsor my Transcontinental Race, in the process becoming valued contributors and supporters. I arrived by bike, riding over Dartmoor from Dorset a route I would certainly recommend.

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Daisy, Top Dog at Primal Europe HQ

I was welcomed with a tea, a tour and an introduction to the Primal Europe crew, the majority of whom have grown within the company through local apprenticeship schemes, as well as office cockapoo, Daisy.  It was good to chat TCR, bikes, kit, Pokémon & politics in person, as well as see the work (and boxes of kit) behind the predominantly online merchandisers who, unsurprisingly, appear to be growing in popularity.

Sponsorship was something that a few people had mentioned I should try and get, especially those who had seen the state of my personal cycling apparel collection. One of the guys at the Chevaliers (London based bike club I ride with), had tried to start the trend #inthiskit, an endearing (I think) # surmising the contrast between my cycling style and attitude, to the many “all the gear and no idea” riders out there. I still didn’t really have that much of an idea, but I was probably going to push boundaries a bit further than the average lycra junkie touring the surrey hills even if I looked like I had got dressed in the dark with a selection of lost property/unwanted kit.

My relationship with Primal Europe began with an uncharacteristically bold tweet which was picked up by Managing Director, James, in the build up to the race. Prompted by a notification that Primal Europe were following me on Twitter, I looked at their website. I was instantly drawn to the vibrancy, the colours and the focus on an inclusive, adventurous spirit, spanning “weekend warriors” to “serious athletes” with the emphasis on fun. I mean this is why we ride, right? We enjoy it. Even better the kit was colourful, different, abstract and in stark contrast with the rules of the “Velominati” as Primal Europe offer a variety of non-black cycling shorts. High on life, excited by what was to come and feeling brave I threw caution to the wind and DM’d Primal Europe’s twitter account. I wasn’t really sure what to expect or what to ask for. I think I kept it rather vague to start with. James had heard of TCR, and it interested him. I think  this and a good degree of luck opened the door for me. We then had a bit of an email exchange, as James and the Primal Europe team were interested to know what chance I actually had of finishing the race and sent though a few questions. Me, being the mildly obsessive, occasional overachiever, probably spent a bit more time crafting a response than others may have done. This evidently was a good approach, giving James the answers he wanted, or at least were good enough to give me a chance. As a result, within 48 hours I had gone from sending a speculative twitter message to being a sponsored athlete (kind of). Boom!  In actual fact, the process of sitting down and going through the questions James raised was actually really helpful for me as race prep, to identify where I was at, where I needed to be and where my gaps were. It certainly gave a bit more focus to the final few weeks. It also formed my first blog for Primal Europe, along with a prologue on the race by the Primal Europe team which can also be seen on their Tumblr page.

After the written Q&As, actually possibly in the same email, he is pretty direct, James proposed some terms, which were in good alignment with what I had hoped for in my pedally day dream scenario, ultimately they would swap kit for pictures, a few blogs and social media content. It was agreed that during the run up to the race and the TCR itself I would do daily pictures/ videos for Primal Europe’s Instagram as well as a few Facebook “live chats”. While James sorted this and worked with me and the media team to get the first blog live, Judith and the warehouse team were quick off the mark to talk me through the kit they had in, advise me on what I might benefit from and send kit through to me. Within a few days I was wearing new primal kit- #inthiskit had a whole new meaning.

 

Those that followed me during the race may have seen my media was a little intermittent, not quite daily, I had certainly had expected to chat/video more than I did. From a practical perspective, media sharing was limited on some occasions by logistics, battery life was an issue, my power plan (dynamo/battery pack combo) didn’t quite work as planned. Secondly, this was ultimately a race, even at my pace, so on days where concentration and speed was low, stopping to take pictures was a distraction I tried to avoid. Thirdly, sometimes I was grumpy. Although Instagram mainly showed me smiling from some beautiful locations looking pretty happy with bikelife, some, unquantified amount of the time, I wasn’t, or simply lacked the emotional strength to broadcast. In these dark hours (often literally), I did take some pictures/videos yet luckily recognised that I was portraying a negative, teary, over dramatic grump, seeking sympathy (a few of these did make it out, ie the “dog kennel” video from Montenegro, CP4).  On my own, or in the company of those privileged enough to be close to me, I can be cranky and miserable, however I can pedal my way out of a self-pity sulk much better on my own than in company and I think that applies to the company of social media. I also didn’t want to be remembered for, or focus on the low moments, they were certainly part of the experience but in context, they weren’t that bad, really. That said, I did use the #stillsmiling progressively less. It is both good and surprising to hear how so many of those following had no idea how close I was riding to the scratch line, I don’t think I would have stepped over, but I was certainly close to falling at least. Perhaps I have begun to master the art of media manipulation.

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I thought i was smiling when i took this, evidently  not

 

 

As a result, I didn’t post as much as I’d planned for Primal Europe. I was lucky that James and the Primal Europe team were very laid back. James, previously in the armed forces, ex pro-rider and TCR fan probably had a better idea of what I was letting myself into than I did. He had expected things not to go to plan, something he shared after the event, obviously.  Throughout the TCR, it was clear that my race and wellbeing were always at the forefront of everything, rather than media goals which I really appreciated.  James, Judith and the rest of the Primal Europe team gave great support to the ride as did those following my social media posts through their platform. Sharing the experience definitely made it more fun. I don’t know that all sponsors would be so laid back, although I suppose if you are sponsoring something as unpredictable as the TCR I suppose you should expect things to not go to plan.  After meeting them all today I’m definitely keen to keep the relationship going, not only because I love the kit, but I like what they seem to be building, a local business, in a European market, part of a global organisation, focused around a love of adventure, the outdoors and cycling.  The Primal Europe kit and brand seem to empower its wearers to define their own style and be their own cool. I like that,  #inthiskit.

PS: Primal Europe are having a warehouse sale this weekend, at HQ in Plymouth check it out if your about.  Primal Europe Warehouse Clearance 13th -16th October

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Primal Europe prepping for their Warehouse Sale

PPS: Strava Link to my route, I’d recommend riding it, although perhaps starting from somewhere less random than Whitchurch Canonicorum, maybe Mortonhampstead or Exeter.

 

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Beautiful riding across dartmoor to Primal Europe HQ

 

 

Also, I have finally put together some pictures and some words on my TCR, which I have posted on Primal Europe’s Tumblr Blog Page #Happy trails, check it out.

 

The Story so Far- Tinder to TCR to The World…

I went on a Tinder date with a guy who accused me of being a Bike W@n*3r, in jest obviously. Turned out he was too, in fact more so than I was. Over our 2nd, I think, bottle he told me about this bike adventure he had done, across Europe. Sounded like a spiffing idea, in fact it sounded like the best thing ever. So over our next, 3rd?, bottle, I signed up.

On boxing day, at a garage somewhere outside Wantage, taking a break from the headwind, I saw the email from Mike and Anna, TCR  Leaders. It was good news.  Time to get prepared. #TCRno4.

I did some cycling and other stuff. Of note:

7 months and 3 days later the TCR started.

19 days and 22 hours later i finished the TCR.

12 days later I quit my London Job with a view to cycle the world.

to be continued…

Saddle Sore

Being unable to sleep due to pain in ones nether region, a sign of strength? Of bravery? More likely of stupidity and stubbornness.

Turns out this isn’t one of those training aches that doesn’t appear to subside if you ignore it and push through.

At least I’m not male and the bruising won’t risk my fertility.

90 miles of stand up pedalling was probably good climb training .

Cost of bike fitting next weekend now seems substantially better value for money.

I’m probably not being overly optimistic by thinking a new saddle will fix it. Unicorns could be real too.

On the plus side, while this  weeks rides ultimately cut short by inability to sit on my bike, 300 + mile week legs feeling fresh.

Will have to resort to running, gym and swimming this week to allow healing.

Ergh, that means the tube.

 

 

 

 

 

A is for Awkward

I don’t mean to be difficult, however, unfortunately i just am. It can make me seem a little awkward at times. Or as if i think the whole world revolves around me. I know it doesn’t, that would be in stark contrast to the gravitational qualities of the sun. Surely even BoB would understand? However, i get that sometimes, with my favourite people, i could be better at being less of a dick.

On a professional  level, or with those i don’t know that well i find being communicable something i am actually good at. I love communicating new information, teaching, presenting even selling (if it is something i believe in, luckily normally it is). The challenge for me is maintaining that sunny demeanor or rather, perhaps more honestly, believing in my own self worth – hence resulting in an inability to sell me.

i appreciate how that may sound rather self depreciative,  somewhat depressive, I am not. I have a perfectly good and rationale acceptance of my strengths in life, but also my weaknesses. However, one thing that i have come to recognise is that i am perhaps a little more self critical than the norm . Also, that i value time alone. That is not to say that i don’t get lonely, sometimes. Rather, that i would a) prefer to do something alone than not do it; b) rather do it alone than with someone that i find irritating* C)  do something pointless for the sake of companionship.

I think  for me, the really awkward thing about having a tendency for being difficult, is the temporality of it all. I can be both the awkward one, and yet also the least likely ” awkward” person in the group. Characteristics  that i personally seem unable to affect. Sometimes i feel so out of place in social gatherings, I may as well be stark naked with an obvious case of HSV-1. Alternatively, particularly with my nearest and dearest, i am a total grump. Yet on other occasions,  I am the first one to make friends and the person to make the greatest and wholly positive impact

That is why i like cycling, or exercise in general and why i am so excited about the TCR (this years challenge). It gives me an aim and an excuse to spend many happy, reflective,  hours in the saddle. For me, it takes the Awkard away. I like being able to personally push my boundaries, relative to my own abiity, judge myself accordingly and then de-brief over a beverage. I can also quite respectfully excuse myself for an entire day of any activity (or time spent “vegging out” as appears to be a current trend).

Following a ride or training session, i i find the silly barriers that surround social interaction dissipate, or if they don’t, then at least there is the option to talk about a common interest, exercise, training , doping, mechanical doping…. It also provides a security blanket, a conversation point for those non training related gatherings. For that inevitable moment when, following conversations of “gap years”, weddings,summer balls, fashion, pop culture,  work chat, that girl from school, expectant eyes leer, waiting for your comment. I find sport/exercise is normally a get out of jail free card, for which i am entirely grateful.

*perhaps ,my definition of irritating is both narrow an subjective excluding most people most of the time.

Rest Days are Relative

I believe in the science behind rest days. I understand, a fair amount of, the science behind rest.  I believe that rest days are as important as training days. From past experiance i know that, for me, rest days are awesome for improving my performance. So why am i so reluctant to rest?

Because I am competitive. Because i get a voice in my head that say’s “no one else is resting”. Because I have so much training to do. Because surely something is better than nothing. Because “i can take it easy”. Because i want to get quicker, faster, stronger, leaner. And all of the Becauses somehow form a cyclical cycle creating a giant reason not to rest.

So do i need to rest?

I mean, all of the anti rest voices are right. Times a ticking, i do need more miles, i probably am long way behind where i should be and the end goal, the TCR (which i paid for this week and had time off confirmed by work) is going to be exhausting; everyday, without rest.  However, today isn’t a TCR day, today is one of many training days, training days can include rest. if i really think about it, with my rational brain,  i think the answer is yes, yes while i maybe don’t need to rest, i should rest.

I know this because I am tired. All the time. My resting heart rate is a lot higher than normal.  My legs have that dull ache, that quickly progresses to mild stabbing pain if i try to up the tempo, climb a hill.  My times are down, Richmond park laps are getting progressively slower. My commute is on average at least 2.5 mph slower (over 7.5 -10 miles route dependent) now, than it was at the start of Jan. Yes the roads are a bit busier and there are still roadworks that have got worse- but not that much so.

I have even succumbed to being overtaken on my daily commute without even trying to respond. In fact, today, i got overtaken by a GIRL on a BROMPTON!

So why? Why do i need to rest, when my peers don’t? When i know i can do more? For the simple fact that I am doing more than I was. I have been overloading my body and to get better, stronger,  i need to give it time to recover and to respond to the stimuli i am creating. There is a lot of research to support this..

So,what is rest? Well i think rest is relative. I also think that i am bad at classifying rest. For example, on Friday, i felt pretty tired. After the longest ride in years on the previous Saturday, my “rest” day sunday was a 1.5 mile swim. I proceeded with  Monday; 5 km run, 20 miles riding and a netball match; Tuesday, just 15 miles on the bike; Wednesday 40 miles; Thursday  20 miles & two games of netball. Plus over 45 hours in the office, numerous nights in the pub and French class.

Saturday was an intended non-bike training became 45 minute run and 45 minutes plyometrics. Sunday, after being out until 2.30am, I overslept, was late and missed the the club meet, managed a rather pathetic 20 miles (it was pouring with rain) before heading home. Sunday night i went for a “gentle swim”,  2 miles later…

Today, Tuesday, I woke up, put on my running gear to run (pre commute) then went back to sleep. I overslept. I was unable to conjure up the needed speed to make it to work and was late, significantly so. Yesterday, i ignored my first alarm missing another run. All week i have been feeling drained and turning to coffee and bad food choices to “keep me going”.

I can’t help but think that if i had trained a bit smarter and taken better recovery days sooner I would have had a more productive last few days and reached training Euphoria- you know, that feeling when you ask your legs for more and they respond, making you feel invincible.

So tonight, i left snowy, my trusty Bipanion (Bike) at work and took the tube home. Yes it was crowded. Yes, true to stereotypes it did breakdown (for about 10 minutes somewhere round stockwell), yes I did feel like a lazy fraud and yes tomorrow I will have to face the horrors of the Northern Line in rush hour feeling far less safe than i do even on Blackfriars bridge between a black cab and a Bus. but, i think it will be worth it.IMG_20160202_231152

My writing are my own thoughts, however, here are some bits I find interesting;

Costa, P., Rhea, M. R., Simão, R., Leite, T., Perez, A. J., & Palma, A. (2015). Effects of undulatory and non-undulatory manipulations of aerobic workloads on aerobic performance. Journal of Exercise Physiology Online, 18(3), 46-55.

Kubukeli, Z. N., Noakes, T. D., & Dennis, S. C. (2002). Training techniques to improve endurance exercise performances. Sports Medicine, 32(8), 489-509.

Bushman, B. A. (2016). Finding the Balance Between Overload and Recovery. ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal, 20(1), 5-8.

Issurin, V. B. (2010). New horizons for the methodology and physiology of training periodization. Sports medicine, 40(3), 189-206.

Parra, J., Cadefau, J. A., Rodas, G., Amigo, N., & Cusso, R. (2000). The distribution of rest periods affects performance and adaptations of energy metabolism induced by high‐intensity training in human muscle. Acta Physiologica Scandinavica, 169(2), 157-165.

 

P is for Procrastination

“Writing a blog will be a good way to keep on top of training and a great way to document progress/experiences in the build up and during the TCR…”

Evidently, hasn’t worked as well as I had intended as 16 days after having the idea, I have yet to blog. Typically wonderful at procrastination. At least I am leaving myself room for improvement. This is still the  beginning.

Blog 1:

  • Thoughts on TCR:
    • Excited, is going to be Awesome. Best adventure yet
    • Strategy: Aim for 200 mile/day, sleep in establishments at nights
  • Thoughts on finishing TCR:
    • 100% chance, it cant be worse than the marathon and that was actually quite enjoyable in the end
  • Fitness:
    • Room for improvement. Realistically not quite enough time to get where I want to be but luckily I am stubborn enough for that not to be too much of a problem
    • My legs hurt- hills are not my friend- HEAVY!
  • Weight
    • Unknown: Heavy. Will add in. Knowledge is power, right?
    • Thoughts over last few weeks:
      • Weight loss will help with hills
      • Weight loss will happen with training
      • Don’t want to be too light at the start-will be at a significant deficit during TCR
  • Training:
    • MUST WRITE TRAINING PLAN. Have started conceptualising and bought a diary, both solid steps in the right direction
    • Aim to get 200 miles done this week, its day 6, 100 down, luckily Sunday is my favourite
  • Snowy
    • In good shape, courtesy of LBW.
    • Advised that Snowy is not the ideal bike for the challenge, obviously by someone who hasn’t seen Snowy in action
  • To do list
    • Write training plan
    • Plan AUDAX rides
    • Consider dates/locations for mini training breaks. #climbs
    • Learn how to fix bike
  • Buddies
    • Chapman, most forward thinking person in the world has already written his packing list. He could be a good influence.
    • Gaffacake + Eva, keen for some training away. Win.
  • Ideas/thoughts/other
    • Northants best place for steady long rides. As long as you avoid Northampton.
    • Getting stuck going downhill/mountain in the dark would be scary.