As I mentioned before, I’m at about 2800km so far for the year. Certainly not epic by any stretch, but given we’ve 2 small kids at home, trying to get time at all is an achievement.
Since I’m time-stretched, focussing on diet was one of the biggest bang-for-buck efforts that I did, but that doesn’t help with on the on the bike stuff. So, for a typical week:
- 1-2 times lunch-time 20km efforts ( a mix, but sometimes up to the cat 4 Shallee Climb)
- 1-2 late night turbo sessions (maybe 1 hour at zone 2)
- 1 x 1.5 hour after work spin
- Longer cycle on Sunday (75-10km)
Before I talk about a couple of the longer spins and sportives I did, I just want to take a minute to discuss the shorter ones mentioned.
In and of themselves, doing a 20 -35km spin wouldn’t be enough to get through a 700km week. However, the key thing is the consistency of effort: having these shorter blocks make it a lot easier to fit into life, and if you miss one, it’s much easier to squeeze back into the calendar.
For me, one of the most useful efforts was going up the Cat 4 climb at lunch. Over the years I’ve always avoided climbing, trying to haul 105+kg up anything more than 1% is actually a big effort, and hitting 13% in spots (averaging 5% over 3km), it’s definitely one I would have avoided before. However, after my exploits at the Wicklow 100 I decided to see if I can begin to add in a few more tougher climbs to my routine.
It’s still hard, I’ll max out my heart rate, and will usually have to stop for a few seconds on the steepest ramps. And while my 14+ minute PB is a long way off challenging for a KOM (currently at 6.10), there’s a definite improvement.
Going solo for most events I ended up picking just 2 more that were more suited for the rest of the summer, as well as an unofficial one.
- The Glin Knights Sportive
- The Ring of North Kerry
- Lap of Lough Derg
The Glin Knights Sportive
First up was the Glin Knights Sportive, 110KM around West Limerick. This was the first proper spin where I began to feel like a cyclist, cruising away at my own speeds for the most part, sitting on where it made sense, otherwise, doing what I could.
Overall there was just over 1,000m of climbing, the vast majority of which was loaded into the first 60km. I did my best to conserve a bit of energy, but even the second half was flat it was into the wind for good bits, and I probably did 30-40km solo. I did manage to sit in on the Cycle4SickChildren train for a bit at the end, but even at that, I lost the wheel a few km from home.
Welcome to Hell! The greeting at the base of the Cat 3 Rooska Climb
I was pretty cooked at the end, but really enjoyed the day out. Also enjoyed the smiley faces on each climb! An extremely well-run event, it’s obvious they put in a lot of effort marking out the routes, and marshalls at each junction. Definitely, one I would come back for.
The Ring of North Kerry (RONK)
For me this is the closest to a “home” event, being run over the area I grew up in. Having said that, since I didn’t cycle at the time, there were a few roads it was a first time over for me!
A flatter route than the others, at about 780m, with only 2 “climbs” to speak of, being Beale Hill and Kerry Head, the total distance coming in at 120km. It was a good bit windier as well. The terrain definitely suited me more, averaging 25.6km/h, but with torrential rain for the last 30-40 km (which I ended up doing solo), I was definitely happy to get back to Finuge at the end! Much like Glin, I was flagging at the end, but was able to go longer and harder, again showing some signs of improvement. Once again I really enjoyed it, great hearing Kerry accents when out on the bike, and well run by Finuge.cc
Lap of Lough Derg
The last proper (100+) spin before tapering was a spin around Lough Derg with the Mizen to Malin crew, a repeat of our biggest training spin before M2M. I didn’t get the fuelling right at the start, and it was a lot lumpier than I remembered. No proper climbs, just lots of little kickers in the first 50km. There was also torrential rain for the first 2 hours, bad enough to almost call a halt to a proceeding. Mike and I also did a little 60km spin the day before (I had PRs on 9 out 11 segments, and a 2nd and 3rd on the others).
But we drove on and had a coffee in a cracking little cafe called “Blas” in Portumna. Very useful was the fact that they had a track pump, which came in handy when we realised we had a flat when walking out the door.
I definitely hid in the wheels more that day, especially into the wind on the way back, but again, I didn’t absolutely collapse at the end
Overall parcours-wise Wicklow was definitely the hardest, and the routes did flatten as I got through the events. But even normalising for this I could definitely feel stronger on the bike, with fatigue setting in later, and later in events. The time to recover post-event also reduced dramatically by the end (although there might still be stiff quads the day after!).
Overall I’m still a long way off being “fit”, but I’m definitely a lot “fitter” than I was. Less than 72 hours to rolling out past the Eiffel Tower, there’s not much more training to be done at this stage!