Another Solo Cycle

I couldn’t meet the Sunday cyclists as I wanted to play taxi service for my son, so I set off alone around midday, when others had done their cycle, had their coffee and were on the way home to relax.

Doing the same route that I had done alone last week, I tried to go that little bit faster…..or so I thought. I was actually 10 minutes slower, only 1km/hr slower but soul destroying. At last though, at 50 years old, I’m developing a competitive streak. I’m already planning when to do the route again but faster!

Over the Hill

Cleeve hill boasts to be the highest point in Gloucestershire, indeed the highest of the Cotswold Hills. I was disappointed to learn after making the claim on several occasions, that from the highest point by road, there are a few hundred additional metres to climb to reach the actual highest point! Not manageable by road bike but not to be deterred, a wild and windy walk with a friend and our dogs, got me to the highest point in Gloucestershire this week!

Cleeve Hill has become my training ground for solo cycles. For the first time today, I cycled up over down the other side to Winchcome and turned round and did the reverse. My stats will provide the basis for assessing improvements in speed training both uphill and downhill – sincerely hoping that there are some in the next few months!

Not the Highest Point in Gloucestershire!

Source: Goggle Maps

The Highest Point in Gloucestershire!

Source: Trigpointing.uk

Sleepless Night!

Pleased with yesterday’s cycle, I started to think about how long it might take to to cycle the first day of The Raid Alpine challenge……..

Source: Marmot Tours

My Latest Stats

Distance: 55km

Ascent: 1,100m

Moving Time: 3 hours 30 mins moving @ average speed 15.4kmh

Duration: 4 hours 30 mins

Day 1 The Raid Alpine

Distance: 137km

Ascent: 3,700m

Est Moving Time: 10 hours 30 mins

Est Duration: 15 hours

Start: 7am, finish 10pm. I need to recover, refresh, eat, blog, sleep, prepare, repeat…..six days in a row

There are not enough hours in the day!!!!

And then I read that there are only 23.934 hours in a day!

Image Source: spaceplane.nasa.gov

And then I remember how exhausted I was after my most recent cycle!

Before panic sets in, I remind myself that the hills yesterday were extremely steep in parts, the roads wet, slippy, with potholes, debris and few passing places. This made even the downhill slow!

Fast forward 175 days and I’m hoping all of the following will make a difference:

  • A lighter bike
  • A lighter me
  • Better road surfaces
  • 175 days more training
  • Improved nutrition
  • Optimising timings of meds during long cycles
  • Beautiful scenery
  • A new experience
  • Plenty of pace setters
  • A positive mental attitude
  • Group support

There is no time to waste, I must get faster and fitter…………but first, some sleep!

Image Source: Clipart

Sunday Morning

As is becoming a regular for a Sunday morning, I cycle up Leckhampton Hill to meet the Sunday morning cyclists at Cowley. It’s lovely for Al, Caroline, Jackie, Ric and Nigel to welcome us into their well established Sunday morning group where Al plans a different but invariably hilly route each week, with the essential coffee and cake stop. We rely on Caroline to check the route to ensure Al hasn’t got carried away with the hilly component of the cycle! It was drizzly and dreich for most of the cycle but a welcome stop at The Chedworth Farm Shop, helped energise us for the ride home.

The weather may not have been kind but the company was great and we managed 55km and over 1,100m of hills. (I’ve to climb 3,700m on the first day of The Raid Alpine over 137km!)

First Ride of 2020

With no offers of company for today’s cycle, I set off alone and tackle Cleeve Hill for my first ride of 2020. It is unusual for me to cycle so far alone, there is usually someone willing to cycle. It’s a very different experience, cycling alone but I enjoyed the challenge. No personal bests today on the hill but I am consistently faster than six months ago at both the uphill and the downhill. I also managed to get to Winchcombe from the top of Cleeve Hill without braking which is quite an achievement for me!

Having been overtaken by three cyclists near Staverton, I used them as pacesetters and gave chase for three miles – achieving three ‘personal bests’, according to Strava, during that burst of activity! Overall I am happy with my distance and pace this morning.

I find it much less fun cycling alone. There is no pressure but equally, there is no pacesetter and I could quite happy cycle along at a comfortable pace improving neither my stamina nor speed! I enjoyed the cycle. No coffee stop today and no conversation but beautiful scenery, quiet roads, mild temperatures, dry and so I could think of nothing better than being in the great outdoors!

2019 Statistics

The last ride of 2019 made me reflect on the cycling I have done during the year, before turning my attention to the challenges that lie ahead in 2020.

My Strava Statistics for 2019

The Strava statistics tell only the numbers, so here’s a little personal reflection on the experiences.

I cycled nearly 4,000km, predominantly throughout the beautiful, hilly, Cotswold countryside. Ventures further afield included a challenging but fun weekend cycling in the Brecon Beacons and later in the year, a week long cycle from Boston to Bar Harbour on the east coast of the USA.

Both, the Brecon Beacons and Boston to Bar Harbour proved to be hillier than almost anything we had experienced nearer to home and both proved to be a physical challenge as well as great fun. For Boston, the LEJOG Cyclopaths: Caroline, Paul, Paula, Julia, Marianne, Steve, John, David and myself were joined by friends from the USA and Canada.

For the Brecon Beacons, The Cyclopaths were joined by numerous friends and we had a wonderful weekend with long, challenging cycles along beautiful routes meticulously planned by Linda. As always, the company was fantastic and we enjoyed great food and wonderful hospitality at the lovely Foyles of Glasbury hotel.

I also enjoyed cycling Central Park in New York with friends, during one of my 50th birthday celebrations.

I loved cycling around Kyoto and Gion in Japan with Paul, where we both attended The World Parkinson’s Congress.

The rest of the miles were shared with many wonderful ‘Cyclopath’ friends and latterly with our friends, the Sunday morning cyclists who have welcomed us with open arms as we ramp up our Raid Alpine training. Thank you for letting us infiltrate your group – we thoroughly enjoy our Sunday morning cycles with you all.

Thank you to everyone who has shared some cycling miles with me over the past year. I have loved every minute of your company, your enthusiasm, your support and fantastic camaraderie. I couldn’t have done any of this without you all. I look forward to many more adventures during 2020.

Last Ride of 2019

No longer able to use Christmas as an excuse to put off training for The Raid Alpine challenge, I head out for my last ride of 2019 and a gentle re-introduction to my training following the festive period. It was cold but dry and great to have some new cycling companions (James and Jess) as well as Roland, for the morning ride.

Our brief was 20-30km, with a coffee stop around 2/3 of the way round. Never one to be constrained by a brief, we actually cycled 50km, with a coffee stop at 32km!

Despite the initial cold temperatures and a longer than anticipated cycle to our stopping point, after warming hands and feet by the fire at the Royal Oak in Gretton, by the time we were returning home, the sun was out and we were pleasantly warmed by it. A climb over Cleeve Hill helped keep us warm too. A great last ride of 2019, thank you everyone.