Sunday, 17 May 2009

King of the Downs

More like the Ups! Today is officially the longest I've ever spent on a bike. 8 hours and 35 minutes to be exact. Why? I'm asking myself the same question right now. It's also the most wet I've ever been on two wheels. I've been less wet in a swimming pool. At 60km, riding up Box Hill, the heavens opened. I had a rain jacket but it was like fighting a forest fire with a glass of water. Pretty pointless. At times we were riding through rivers that had formed on the road.

Today's ride is one of Evans' Ride It! events. A super sportive. This morning (and afternoon) involved 180km with 10 climbs along the way. Namely - Leith Hill (451ft climbing in 2.1 miles), Pitch Hill (559ft climbing in 2.1 miles), Combe Bottom (422ft climbing in 2 miles), Ranmore Common West (271ft climbing in 1.5 miles), Box Hill (567ft climbing 2.6 miles), Tulleys Farm (252ft climbing in 1.8 miles), Weir Wood Reservoir (342ft climbing in 1.3 miles), The Wall (406ft climbing in 0.9 miles), Yorks Hill (394ft climbing in 1.1 miles) and Titsey Hill (386ft climbing in 0.8 miles).

Sorry to get so technical but I think it's the closest an amateur in the UK will ever get to experiencing what's it's like to ride a stage of a Pro Tour event. (Bar going to the L'E'Tape in France.)

Because 180km just isn't long enough, I decided to get lost and do and extra 10km. So, today I rode 190km. Nice. (My bum is not friends with me.)

Cleverly (NOT!) the steepest hill (mountain) of the day is saved for last. Words can't describe the world of pain I was in creeping up Titsey Hill. Looking down I even saw a slug overtake me. It was only pride and ego that stopped me from walking it.

Come August 2nd (Ironman UK), I know my legs will thank me for today's punishment.

Bring it!

(King of the Downs profile - western and eastern loops.)

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Running a PB!

I most certainly heart running a PB. Last weekend I competed in the Richmond Half Marathon. It's a great course, not a hill in sight, quiet roads and great scenery. It's also a running club organised half marathon, so there's much fewer runners than the big money-making half marathons. It also means most runners are semi-serious (committed) runners that run regularly and belong to a running club. It's great standing at the start seeing all the different clubs being represented. A nice social occasion. Until the horn sounded.

The plan was to run my own race and not run alongside my training partner Beloki as he has the tendency to go out too quickly for my liking. I prefer to start out on race plan pace and remain consistent through the race. After 3 miles I was feeling amazingly good. Not breathing hard, managing to stay under 7 minutes per mile and still enjoying the sights. It was an awesome morning along the Thames. Sunny and the perfect temperature for a race.

Miles 8 and 9 were tough. Partly because we were running on the long straight tow path between Hampton Court and Kingston but also because the loose surface of the tow path felt awkward to push the pace on.

Finally I got to the last mile were I was able to really keep the pace going which felt great. It's so cool to finish a race strongly. I put in a cheeky sprint over the last 100m just to get in front of my training partner, mainly for psychological reasons : )

The other significant point is that this PB came after a few weeks of really hard training sessions with the UK Ironman in mind. The Richmond race was all part of the preparation so to be getting faster means all the extra swimming and riding I'm doing is helping my running hugely.

So with a new PB of 1h31m35s I'm hoping it's not long until I can try go under 1h30m. Small steps.