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Training - The First Steps

graham's picture

orsman Cyclists ready for the off.

In the last 24 visits to the gym I've covered a total distance of 135 miles. That's between 4 and 6.6 four days a week for two-ish months. My heart rate has dropped from a screaming 175bpm average to a fairly sedate (for me) 162. I'm cycling 30 minute sessions in my lunch break and yesterday set a personal record of 6.6 miles in that time. It's not enough.
Last Sunday I traveled back up to Tewin to celebrate my Dad's birthday by taking a 40 mile cycle ride with him and my brothers. I got to try out what will likely be my cycle for the ride, a somewhat pimped 1980's Raliegh Record Sprint. My dad has a long standing love of these bikes which I share, and for good reason. They are light for thier age, thier handling is prcise if unforgiving and they are prtty damn robust. I owned one from the age of 14 or so and went on quite a few trips with it before moving to Cambridge. When arriving in Cambridge I perversely gave up cycling for many years only to pick up a series of very poor mountain bikes a decade later. It was good to be back on the sprint.
The ride started well, if rainy cold and we made the halfway point without major mishap. My road confidence, however, is at a low ebb. The heavy camber on the country roads, unfamiliar gearing system and my general out-of-practiceness conspired to make the first half a fairly nerve-wracking excercise. This wasn't helped by my cycling in german army boots on cleat-style pedals, couldn't be helped.
My youngest brothers leg was playing up from a football injury so he decided to bail. We had tea and toasties and readied to go, the Sprint had developed a rear flat though so I swapped on to Will's Scott ATB. We set off and with the ATB's heavier handling my confidence crept up until I was fairly steaming along. Except the rain turned to sleet, sleet to hail and then it got horizontal. I flagged my brother down and we had a quick chat we were both worried about catching a chill as we had long weeks ahead of us. We flagged my Dad down as he caught up with us and explained, it was decided that we would abort and fight another day. We found a handy and generous pub (The Beehive in Hare with, oh rapture, a real fire. My Dad headed on leaving myself and Ian feeling like complete wusses. In all we had done around 15 to 20 miles. Not great but not bad either, if it wasn't for the frankly appaling weather I don't feel either myself or Ian would have had any issues at all completing the full 40.
Next up is either we do and complete the original ride or we go on the CTC summertime ride from Stevenage. I'll write that up when we come to it.