The First Cycle Training Session…
Despite many distractions in January and the cold weather reinforcing my instincts to stay home and play on the computer I was all sold when Essancekenobi suggested that we start our cycle training for the year.
Last year we both independently did different cycling events for charity and for myself I was pleased to have been able to complete the challenge. The more interesting thing was that we both did no specific training before entering our respective events. This seems a bit crazy but we are both of good fitness levels from our normal daily lives and therefore were not overly concerned with training. It worked, we both successfully finished.
This year we are working together and entering both events alongside each other, there may also be some additional events we both do and some that we will do individually. As with all things the details will become clear in the fullness of time.
What makes preparation more complicated now is that in addition to wanting to better our respective performances from last year our events are one week apart. Granted we are not talking the Tour de France followed by the Olympics but knowing that things can be improved is an important part of our preparation.
To start the ball rolling Essancekenobi found a a 27 mile ride posted on Endomondo that seemed like a good (and quiet) route. Naturally this was a start to figure out things like pace, fitness levels and to check that we and our bikes are up to the task. Fortunately I spent time plugging the route into Garmin Connect, which would come in handy on the ride as I could then remember the road names (most of the time).
We set out just after 10:30 both ready to embrace the warmer temperatures that had been forecast. As you can expect navigating our way out of town with the traffic involved us choosing safety and walking for some of the busier sections. Soon though we were on the minor roads where we were able to cycle easily without frustrating too many motorists. In fact on the quieter country roads we were able to find those considerate drivers that were passing us with care. In turn we were moving into the side of the road where possible to let cars get by. As with all things mutual consideration makes the world a much happier place.
Not thinking about the time of the ride (this is our first ride of the year remember) we were able to take time and stop off for some photo opportunities along the way. After all we are entering our events for the fun not to race, after all the only person to race in life is yourself (in my opinion).
Now the true joy of being able to cycle with someone is (when you can hear each other) there is a conversation and the company that brings. After all if you were cycling a route not looking at the scenery and with no one else that would just be missing something. Naturally we talked through the usual things going on in our lives and exchanged jokes. I’m a natural talker so no real concern on chatting through any particular topic. We are also both techy types and enjoy our gadgets. I tend to go even further and name my devices individually. The car has a name, as does my bike, iPad, iPhone and my computers. As of the time we set out my new Garmin had no name. I just hadn’t thought of anything appropriate, especially considering that it could easily be considered to be a component of the Phoenix (my bike).
Essancekenobi voiced the interesting suggestion of the Tail-feather which was an obvious winner to me. I like a touch of whimsy every now and then.
On many occasions it wasn’t only the cyclists talking, Tail-feather was also getting in on the act. Bleating at us when we ventured off the course that had been plotted and gently acknowledging when we found our way again. This was incredibly useful when I couldn’t remember the road names. I haven’t yet figured out the turn by turn directions but having Tail-feather talk to us seems more fun somehow. When we were unsure we picked a road and if Tail-feather didn’t complain we carried on.
After 25 miles and 3 hours (not counting stop time where we paused the timer) I hit my hunger wall. I knew what was happening as this was the same experience last year. I lost my drive and the exercise was then for me to make it back to home. This was why we were training, we need to find these limits and plan to move past them. Quite simple in this case by making sure I have enough food to feed at least once an hour to keep my head in the game.
The first training ride is now complete and we managed 27.8 miles in a “moving time” of 2 hours 50 minutes at an average speed of 9.8 mph, we climbed more than 500 metres during the course all at an average temperature of 6.3 degrees celsius. Next week we are planning a longer cycle (or possibly a repeat) depending on how the week passes.