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Archive for February, 2008

Need to get back on course

After being on my course in London last week, I was limited to how much training I could do. So, this weekend I decided to make up for it by riding for about 25 miles. I re-attached the tube on my hydration pack and tested it was not leaking.

It was pretty cold so I wore my tracksuit over my cycling gear and set off. The wind was blowing against me, but it was only mild wind. By the time I got to about 10 miles away the wind was blowing against me so hard that I found it hard to breath. I had gone from doing 19 miles per hour down to doing 8 miles per hour so I continued to 12 miles. I decided to turn around at 12 miles so that my return 12 miles would make 24 miles which was fine.

I turned around and instantly got a boost with the wind and I was riding up to 25 miles per hour, I was trying to get over 30 miles per hour so that I would trip the 30 mile per hour sign that comes on when you do more that that speed but 25 miles per hour was my maximum speed.


About 5 miles further and the wind had changed course and was once again strongly blowing against me until it got me back down to 8 miles per hour. I made it back after cycling 24 miles in 1 hour and 33 minutes. At this rate I will be able to do the London to Brighton in less than 5 hours.

My maximum speed was 25.6 miles and my average speed ended up to be 14.6 miles per hour. Considering the wind was so strongly blowing against me for a lot of this journey, I didn’t do too bad.

If you want to see more pictures of my cycling you can either see my photo galleries on Facebook or see my pictures on Flickr (
http://www.flickr.com/photos/23774591@N08/).

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Always dark

Last week

As I was on a course in London last week I didn’t cycle to the station everyday. I drove in on Monday and Thursday as my wife was not at work and I could therefore take the car.

When I did cycle, I had to get up at 5:30am so that I could get the early train at 7:15am. it took me about 35 minutes to cycle the 8.5 miles to the station but it was very dark at that time of the morning. On the way back it was about 6:30pm so it was also dark on my return.

Remembering what had happened the previous week I had to be very careful as it was very icy, and my back wheel was skidding quite a few times.
On Friday, I was tired from the course and all the travelling though the week and I was riding on autopilot. We had finished earlier so I managed to get back to Cambridge by 5:30 so it was just getting dark, so I decided to go home the longer way.
It is on windy roads without any road lights but I thought I would be OK as it was not dark yet. In the 15 minutes it took me to cycle from the station to the roads with no street lights the sun had gone completely but I had no choice, I had to continue. I have good lights on my bike, I was wearing a high-visibility back pack and a reflective harness, so it was not too bad. Although the roads that I used were very long and out of the way I was surprised how much fast traffic it had. I just took it very carefully and it was not too bad, thankfully there were only cars on that road and I was obviously visible enough. I will not do that route again after dark, it is not worth it.

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Neither wind, nor rain, nor sleet, nor snow…

Two weeks ago

The last couple of weeks have been interesting. I have cycled through all weathers. I have learned how to cope with it, it is not great but necessary. Freezing fog was terrible, I took these pictures just before I entered the freezing fog, and I am glad I did, once I entered the freezing fog I could not see anything. For a couple of days the freezing fog stayed around and it made cycling difficult and dangerous.
During the week I had to work late, this meant that it was dark by the time I got back home. With the temperature being so low it was also very icy. On the way back one evening I got dazzled by a car’s headlights and I must have hit something like a stone because I lost control of my bike whilst doing about 12 miles per hour, I knew that I was going to come off the bike as I could no longer control it, so I had to make a decision either to fall left, onto the road or to fall right on to grass, possibly some concrete or metal fence posts. I took this option and hoped for the best. I landed in some bushes and grass. Managed to get up and ride home. I had some cuts and bruises but it taught me to be more careful especially after dark.

Last week end I wanted to push myself, even though it was very cold I wanted to do around 30 miles. Unfortunately, by the time I could leave it was getting dark so I decided to do 10 miles instead and would try to get back before it was dark. I set off with my hydration pack on, I got about 4 miles and stopped to take these pictures. I was freezing and as I took my camera out of my back pocket of my cycling jersey I realized that my hydration pack had been leaking onto my spine at the small of my back. So I decided it was time to return home so I only ended up doing 8,5 miles. I have never felt so cold in my life, all of the way home the freezing wind was blowing against my back making the situation even worse, I have never been so glad to have a hot shower. I later found out that the hydration pack was fine, but it needed the tube fastening back in as it was no longer a tight seal.

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Hydration is vital!!!

It is important to keep hydrated when you are riding for a long distance. The last couple of long rides, I have had to stop each time I wanted to have a drink of water. The problem is it is difficult to take the waterbottle, remove the dustcap take a drink then replace the dustcap and return it, with one hand whilst trying not to crash your bike into the nearest ditch. The last time I rode 22 miles in one go I only ended up drinking 0.5 litres of water. This could not continue for long.

So, I heard about hydration packs, you wear them on your back like a back pack and you have a tube to drink out of. I got a reletively cheap one to try it out, which carries 2 litres of water, and the best thing about it is the further you go, the more you drink, the lighter it gets.

Someone at work told me about a route that takes you down by the river, it is 15 miles long and takes you on all different types of roads and tracks. I decided to try it out today, and also try out my new hydration pack.

It was a very nice day, the first day I can don my lycra with no track suit over the top. Summer gear all the way. I set off and it was a warm day with a cold wind, but I continued. I took the wrong road at one point but a few minutes later I was on the right track. A few miles in I saw the river.

The track down by the river was about 6 miles and it was fantastic, I then realised why I was doing this whole thing, it made it all worth while. It was a very good recovery ride, you could not do that route quickly as you have to avoid pedestrians, joggers, other cyclists, and people fishing. It was a really good relaxing ride, I recommend people to find your own routes.

I got into cambridge and back on the roads and back home. The whole ride was relaxing it was 15 miles, but I took my time with it, it ended up taking me 1.5 hours. I will definately be doing that trip again.

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What does’t kill you will make you stronger

Just over a week ago, my wifes car had break problems, which will cost a bit to put right. So she has borrowed my car and I have started cycling to work on a daily basis.

I have discovered that I can cycle in the rain and cold but the one thing that makes things difficult is the wind. I have had a few cases where the wind was so strongly pushing against me that it has taken me twice as long to get to my destination, and by that time I was exhausted.

Last week I was travelling along an ‘A’ road and a large lorry coming in the opposite direction had so much force that pushed against me it nearly threw me backwards off my bike.

The last occurance of this was the day before yesterday when an articulated lorry overtook me fairly close, as it passed me the part of the trailer in between the wheels formed a vacume and I had to struggle against the force until it had passed.

These are some of the challenges that I have had to face with the invisible forces. I don’t want to experience anymore servere weather like storms, ice or being pelted by large chunks of hail. Hopefully I will not have to worry about them, the more the weather improves as we leave winter behind.

Although my challenges are in the summer, I cannot only ride in nice weather. If I did, I may not be able to handle the wind blowing against me, rain or any other forces we may encounter.

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Open up the blog for comments

I have been asked to open up my blog for comments, I had it set to only allow posts from people with a blogger account, but since I am asking for comments and advice, I think this is a wise move.

Now that I have, anyone can post comments on my blog, it is good to hear the views and advice of other people. Please post any advice on diet or fitness that you think may help me in my challenge.

Thanks

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