Archive for June, 2010

Yesterday Mark and I decided to cycle the hills around High Wycombe. As the best rail station for Mark was Beaconsfield, I plotted the route from there. My wife drove me the 2.5 hours to the start point. I was very close to cancelling the cycle ride as I have been suffering badly from a virus, this had given me a chesty cough.

We started off on a course that I plotted on Bike Route Toaster, http://www.bikeroutetoaster.com/Course.aspx?course=145113

After a 5.5 miles I was coughing to the point of nearly being ill. I continued after stopping a few times and taking my inhaler and having a Halls Menthol Lyptus lozenge. The course was tough, more for my lungs then my legs. But it was very scenic. I am glad I did this in preparation for touring in Wales.

During this trip Mark gave me a tip, do not think about the hill, just concentrate on getting to a specific point, once you have got to that point, concentrate on getting to the next point. It is surprising, but this really works.

The 38 miles turned into 42.5 miles as we took a slight deviation from the route. Mark later plotted the elevation which was just over 2400 feet elevation in the day. I am happy to say that I completed it, even with a bad cough and a lot of wheezing up hills.

This morning I had no leg pain, no localised muscle pain at all. I had a general tired feeling which I don’t know if that was the cycling or the virus. I do know that my training on Chapel Hill has given me the ability to do this.

I am going to rest up this week and try to get rid of this virus as it is the only thing that will stop me touring in Wales.


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The first time I went for a cycle ride with 12kg on the back of my bike I could only do a 20 mile cycle ride on the flat, even though I could go 52 miles the previous week without a problem.

Following this wake up call, I decided I needed to do a lot of training if I am going to make it from Cardiff to Bangor fully loaded. I therefore started taking about 13kg in my panniers to work every day.

Once I was happy with this I decided to do some fully loaded training on hills. Unfortunately Cambridge is the flattest place on the planet. However we do have a few (small) hills. One of these is called Chapel Hill and goes from Haslingfield to Barrington in Cambridgeshire. Chapel Hill is about 100ft ascension and if you go from Haslingfield to Barrington it is a 10% climb for half a mile before it descends. However, going from Barrington to Hasslingfield it is a longer more but less steep route still rising to an ascension of about 100ft.

The first time I did this fully loaded was on a test tour that I went on with a friend (Mark). I could only do this once whilst we were testing out our bikes and gear. I therefore decided to make this my testing ground for hills. I went there fully loaded and managed going over Chapel Hill 4 times (2 return trips) which is a total of 400ft climb.

The next time I did it fully loaded I managed 8 times (4 return trips) which was a total of 800ft. I then got a virus that knocked my out for a while and made me unable to train for a week. The next time I was well enough to do Chapel Hill fully loaded I only just managed 8 times over Chapel Hill (800ft).

The last time I did Chapel Hill training, I went after work like all the other times. I therefore had to cycle to work, then to Chapel Hill, train and cycle home,  which was a total of 44 miles. But this time I had my front panniers as well, I therefore ended up taking about 17kg. Even though I had the extra weight I managed a massive 16 times over Chapel Hill, that is about 1600 ft climb.

The 1600ft ascension and 1600ft descenting training on Chapel Hill had taken me 2 hours. By the time I got home it was 10:30pm. When I got home I was tired and very hungry and I just ate and ate.

I am now typing this blog post 2 two days later and my legs still hurt.

Tomorrow, my wife will be driving me and my bike and gear to Beaconsfield for me to spend the day touring on hills with Mark. The route we are planning on doing is http://www.bikeroutetoaster.com/Course.aspx?course=145113.

This route is about 38 miles and an ascension of over 2000ft. This should take us about 5 hours to complete plus an hour to stop for lunch.

The route above was mapped out on Bike Route Toaster which is a really good cycle route mapping tool and it is free to use. If you want to you can give a donation to them. Try it out (http://www.bikeroutetoaster.com/)

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A friend of mine (Phil) invited me to go cycle touring and camping in Wales, for 4 days and 3 nights from Cardiff to Machynlleth. This is a decent distance with a fair few large hills. It is a little more than a beginners route.

I have since invited another friend of mine (Mark) who has done cycle touring before. This will be my first cycle tour and it is a bit of a challenge doing cycle touring in a hilly place like Wales since I live in Cambridgeshire, the flattest place in the world.

Cycle touring generally comes in 3 types.

  • Credit card touring –  Where you bring very little with you and use hotels, Bed and Breakfasts or Hostels for your sleeping and food.
  • Supported touring – Where you take all of your things with you and you are accompanied by a van etc carrying your things
  • Fully loaded touring – Where you carry everything you need on your bike, this includes everything to camp with, cook and for emergencies.

We will be going Camping touring, which means we will be carrying at least 12kg of things on our panniers.

I will be making a list of all of the things that I have discovered whilst making getting things together to take with me.

I have already noted some advice and tips about the type of kit that I should be carrying, I have compiled these together in Touring tips.

Over the past few weeks, we have decided to cycle from Cardiff all the way to Bangor. This will take us 6 days and 7 nights. I think I will struggle with the hills as this means that we need to go over the Snowdonian mountains.

I will keep this blog updated with my training and the Lon Las Cymru route itself.

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