and so the training begins....

Looking fresh (ish!) at the end of the 2013 London-Surrey 100
I've set myself two cycling goals this year; the London-Surrey 100 (mile) road ride and the South Downs Way (100 miles off-road), both in August.

South Downs Way 100

As the name suggests this is a ride covering the whole length of the South Downs Way national trail - from Winchester to Eastbourne, totalling 100 miles of off-rode bridal ways and tracks and with a little under 7000ft of climbing thrown in for good measure.  This is not a ride to be sniffed at and certainly not one that you want to take lightly as a point-to-point ride brings its own unique challenges.

G (my long time cycling mate) talked about doing this a number of years ago and started to put in some decent training for the event only to have our hopes dashed by a bad back (G's) and damaged knees (mine) resulting in us pulling out of the challenge.  We'd planned to ride as part of the British Heart Foundation's organised ride that takes place every year so that we'd benefit from the (minimal) support that they provide along the way but this year we've decided to "go it alone". 

This may sound like a daft idea as with 100 miles of tracks and off-road riding you really can be out there alone and punctures, broken chains and snapped bits take on a whole different meaning as does running out of water! But the upside is you can really take it as your own pace and, hopefully, enjoy the ride rather than worrying about missing cut-off's and time checks - plus it always seems to rain on the BHF event and 100 miles in the rain is not my idea of fun!

We've set a date for late August and are now starting to fret both about the organisation of the ride and the training needed to get ourselves there and back under leg power alone!

You can read more about the South Downs Way path, view route maps and plan your own trip here

Prudential Ride London-Surrey 100 - 2014

Just shy of 1,200 meters of climbing and 100 miles of closed roads this is a sportive like no other, the chance to ride on London roads surrounded only by other cyclists (ok so there are 50,000 of them!) is something that few people outside the Pro's will get a chance to experience so getting a place on this ride is fairly special.
For the second year running I have a place on the ride (2013 being the 1st year this event was held) and myself and colleagues will again be raising money for Naomi House children's hospice.

My ride time (as you can see from my Garmin log below) on last year's ride was marred slightly by punctures, broken wheels and spokes from some of my co-riders but that's kind of the way it goes on rides like these, it's not a race after all... Is it
So this year I'd like to hit, or break, the 5hr mark - a 20mph average would be a nice accolade to achieve, but some serious training both on and off the bike is going to be required to get myself there.

If you'd like to sponsor us/donate money to Naomi House & Jacks Place then you can do so via our Just Giving page - here

More information on the Prudential London Surrey 100 can be found here
and finally, my Garmin Connect log from last year's ride is here

So, on to the training.....

With a few rides under my belt in the last few months (some details in a previous post here) it's now time to step up the training properly so that I actually have a chance of achieving both of my cycling goals for 2014.

With that I mind I arranged for G and I to re-ride the 30 mile circular ride that I'd ridden a few weeks ago as a way of kickstarting our training for the events....

Saturday 19th April 2014 - 30 mile road loop from Fair Oak with G
ViewRanger route map - 
Garmin route map -

The day couldn't have been better, an early start (ok well early ish - 8am) meant clear roads which would allow us to get through the first 5-6 miles of the ride that crossed the larger roads before heading onto the smaller B roads that wind through the Hampshire countryside.
A chilly start saw G laughing at me in fingerless gloves and 3/4 bib tights while he was snug and warm in full lenght bibs, top and gloves - until the sun came out with gusto that is; remember, as a mountain guide once told me "be bold, start cold"

I decided to take my Spin Spitfire for this ride as the roads were dry and neither lights or mudguards were required - should maybe have double checked the pressure in my rear tyre first but you live and learn eh!

Spin Spitfire Mk3 - a Titanium loveliness!
Sunday 20th April 2014 - 30 mile road loop from Fair Oak - solo
Garmin route map -

The following day, awoken by our 2 week old daughter at some ungodly hour I decided to head out again and repeat the 30 mile loop from the day before but with the sky looking slightly ominous and overcast and with a shower forecast for later in the morning I took the Cannondale (ready to roll with mudguards and lights!) and opted for full length bib tights - still forgot the full finger gloves and waterproof that would have served me well at around 8:30am when the heavens opened and it bucketed down for half an hour or so!

I wasn't going for a particular time or out to better the averages from the ride the day before but oddly, despite the rain and stiff headwind, I managed to do just that.  I put it down to less time enjoying the ride and talking to G rather than a particular increase in effort and possibly that I'm still more comfortable on the Cannonade having logged 10's of thousands of miles on it rather than the few thousand that I've clocked up on the Spin.

Cannondale R700 - my "hack" bike

So from here on in I need to get in as many rides (both on and off road) as possible as well as getting on to the dreaded turbo trainer as often as possible and also keep up the 3-4km of swimming during the week and kettle bell work out's - easy, right?!

I'm always keen to hear your comments, suggestions and feedback on both the blog in general and the topics that I cover - so go on, don't be shy!


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