Proficiently novice

Yesterday, the hottest day of the year, James and I cycled to Nailsworth and climbed the ‘W’ (or the Ladder, if you prefer).

Afterwards I visited my parents for dinner and to clear out my old bedroom. Look what I found…

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So, it seems that I have been proficient at cycling for 17 years, which suggests that I have been a novice for quite a long time. I think I must be one of the most proficient novices going.

Apparently, I also had an afro (or is it a perm?)

Apparently, I also had an afro (or is it a perm?)

There was also this little badge…

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I wonder whether it is a pre-requisite of the ride?! …Maybe I should wear it, I wouldn’t want to be turned away at the start after all of this training.

Either way, it’s reassuring to know that I am a competent cyclist.

Laura

Hints and Tips

The weekly Prudential RideLondon hints and tips e-mail came out today and it caught my eye! It looks like it may have been written for me…

 

Screenshot of e-mail

Screenshot of e-mail

Be kind to your gut…Survive long climbs

They were a bit disappointing really, common sense and things I have already learnt, although ‘Go with what you know’ makes a lot of sense…

Go with what you know

“People should try to relate the unknown of tackling long climbs to another area of cycling, such as time trials or any other sustained effort they are used to. That helps to put it into context.”

When I see a hill up ahead the groan is audible to all those in the vicinity… maybe if I were to learn to put it into context as suggested, then I would have a more positive mental attitude. A ten mile TT is basically 30 minutes of sustained effort – a hill is never going to be that.

Be kind to your gut …

..was slightly more interesting and split the article up into ‘Nausea’, ‘The Runs’ and ‘Windy days’. Nausea was of the most interest to me…

Nausea

Anyone who has ridden a time trial will be familiar with that horrible wave of nausea that comes on at the finish. It’s possibly a sign that you’ve put the right amount of effort in, but if it comes on more frequently it can interfere with your enjoyment of the sport. Dehydration and low blood sugar can contribute, as can overeating before an event, and even anxiety. Low blood sodium can also cause nausea and is best avoided by drinking hypotonic sports drinks – simple water does not replace the sodium lost in sweat.

Whilst Windy Days simply explained that passing wind up to 15 times a day is average, and that ‘excess’ flatulence is probably just a perception.

 

On that note… I am off for an Italian meal, carbo loading for tomorrow’s adventure.

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25 days to go – refocusing

A busy, and tiring weekend kept me away from my blog. Chris (yes, that brother of mine), was riding in the Dunwich Dynamo and I offered to pick him and his friend Danny up from Dunwich beach first thing in the morning (their ETA was 6am). Ollie and I decided we would make a weekend of it, rather than getting up at a crazy hour and making the 3.5 hr journey from Swindon to Dunwich. We dropped Chris off in London at around 10 am Saturday and headed off for an afternoon of Go Ape! 

After Go Ape, the unthinkable happened. I camped! Actually pitched a tent and attempted sleep, in a field full of campers, bbq’s and dogs, during a thunderstorm.  However, I didn’t fully engage with the activity; we got up at 3 am to collect the boys, who’d made amazing progress and were due to arrive. So, I didn’t get the chance to experience the shower block. Oh well. 

I’m not sure who was more tired – the boys who had just ridden 120 miles or me after half a night in a tent. 

So I didn’t get any riding in over Saturday and Sunday but on Friday of last week  I had the pleasure of meeting and cycling with David, who is the CEO of Voluntary Action Swindon and supports the Swindon MS Centre (he is riding London 100 in support of the MS Centre).  Here’s a picture of us taking a refreshment break: 

David and I

David and I

I also, had a good ride last night. Finally. Thanks to @bgddyjim for reminding me to drink electrolytes and to James for pointing out my lazy cadence.

A few months ago, when I first bought my Garmin I made a real effort to keep my cadence high and I saw a definite improvement in my cycling, but over the last few months I have met new cycling buddies. I’ve been chatting and have lost that focus resulting in a slow and lazy cadence and thus making cycling harder for myself. Last night, with a more focused approach to my cadence, I managed to keep up with Ollie while going up a hill. I did however do 37 miles with a loose wheel, and the first 5 minutes with my front brake off – so I remain defiantly novice. 

Laura 

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Low confidence and no energy

It is 22:18 – I haven’t eaten dinner yet. I have just been on the worst ride ( Ollie got stung inside his mouth by an evil wasp so it was probably worse for him). It was only 33 miles, but at about 13 I wanted it to be over. Every single mile from then on was painfully slow.

Normally on a ride of over 70 miles there comes a point at which I have so little energy that:

  • turning my head to check for vehicles at junctions becomes a nice to have, and something I choose not to do.
  • taking the risk and riding over pot holes seems preferable to pointing them out or avoiding them.
  • signalling is considered a complete waste of energy.

I hit this point at around 20 miles. 

As I was prepping for the ride this evening and getting my biscuits ready I thought to myself, ‘it is only an evening ride I won’t need much fuel’, so I put a digestive back – leaving three Fig Rolls and one digestive in my jersey. Big mistake.  This was also the first ride in absolutely ages in which I didn’t have any Jelly Babies with me – oh how I missed those little green men. Bonking is described within the Oxford Dictionary as; (Of a cyclist or runner) reaching a point of exhaustion that makes it impossible to go further. I felt alot like this today.

I couldn’t decide if I was angry, frustrated or upset but I was in such a bad mood; my tiredness was affecting my balance and several times I wobbled towards the bushes. It terrifies me that one month from now I will be in a London hotel bed, wondering how little sleep I can get away with and still manage to complete 103 miles. I’ve hardly been able to manage more than 20 for the last few weeks! 

One month to go…Programme and Instructions

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Finally, in TdF news: Fool TdF spectators into thinking you’re a British rider by lying on the ground next to a bike.

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Darling it’s better down where it’s wetter…Take it from me

Under the Sea… Under the Sea…

Wow – I want to cycle the Channel Tunnel!!! It looks amazing! 

(or alternatively Yorkshire would do – there’s no potholes there you know)

While I am on the subject of Yorkshire check out this inspirational video even without the blemish free roads, Yorkshire looks like an incredible cycling weekend away!

The most watched sporting event of the year has kicked off, if you hadn’t realised then where on earth have you been? As a cyclist and someone who writes a cycling blog, people expect me to be able to make intelligent conversation about le Tour de France. I know the names of three cyclists: Wiggins, Cavendish and Froome (two of those aren’t even in the Tour) – I have no more knowledge on the subject than the average man on the street, in fact I probably know significantly less! I just hope that I can get through the next 20 days by pointing out that my blog is that of a novice cyclist. I spend all my time training, working and studying, so I don’t have time to follow the pros too! 

Saying that though, I am currently watching The Cycling Show, on ITV4 – Laura Trott has been on giving her top tips for riding London 100. As far as I can tell, the tips were; work your way up by adding 10 miles to your ride each week (time consuming!) and to do make sure that you’ve done 100 miles before the main event. However the main thing I took away from her interview was that she has never ridden Box Hill. I’ll be making my own rules then… and no chance am I doing 100 before the day, it’s not a race for me, it’s about completing the mileage.

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Name in print, rides in stats

Earlier in the week I spoke to Liz Mackley from the Swindon Advertiser, view the article she has written about me here.

Liz is also raising money for charity and is writing a blog; Podge to Plunge

Finally, before I head off on my bike, here are some of my cycling stats: 

My cycling stats

and the details of my rides:  http://veloviewer.com/athlete/1479961/rides

Laura 

41 Days, 9 hours, 40 Minutes, 39 Seconds…

Yesterday was a bad day on the bike… I professed to hating cycling. I was forced to walk up a hill or two (not through lack of fitness), it was muddy, gritty, rainy and my energy levels were poor. Poor Ollie had to put up with my frustrated strop. My brother’s inspirational words of the day were:

Days like today give you an edge on the competition. Did you see any other cyclists? I didn’t see one

He has a point – “Morning” got boring and nodding the head got tiring this morning in the sunshine!

So…I have 41 days to regain my motivation and ability, something which really hit home this week, when I received an e-mail from London Prudential:

Confirmation of my start time

Confirmation of my start time

Receiving confirmation of my start time and having to book my travel seems all a bit too real, but on the plus side at least I won’t have to get up at 4 am and as a result of this e-mail I have planned my pre-event travel and have refined my plans for the Saturday. I will travel to London on the Saturday to take in the atmosphere! I have just signed up to take part in the Free Cycle, an eight-mile ride around central London’s closed roads, as a warm up for the main event.

So, this was just a short post really, but I would like to take the chance to thank Russell from 105.5 FM for running my story on his radio show (twice during the week and yesterday). I heard the re-run and it really wasn’t too bad! I hope that it grabbed the attention of the Swindon public and that they consider donating to Dressability. 

To finish, here are some of the professional pictures from the Runway Rumble: 

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The peloton

The peloton


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Laura 

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Nervous novice

A quick blog post on the night before my second ever sportive, this one is just under 30 miles longer though. At 90 miles, the mileage tomorrow is slightly more than what we did on our trip to Wales and back. So, understandably I am nervous. I haven’t yet managed to work out what caused the sickness and the weather is much hotter. Tomorrow will be a great test as to how well prepared I am for the August 100 – I suspect I will struggle as very little of my training has been in heat. 

I found this article last night, which I found really interesting. To see the image in a readable form visit the webpage: here

How your body beats the heat fromhttp://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/how-your-body-beats-the-heat/2014/06/10/5f4892e8-f0b6-11e3-914c-1fbd0614e2d4_graphic.html

How your body beats the heat

I have discovered that when you become a cyclist, becoming a nutritionist and physiologist is all part of the package. I’m still learning though, my stomach is just hoping that I am a fast learner.

Apparently one should ‘carbo-load’ before a big event and I’ve certainly taken on a lot of food today! A lovely, big chicken risotto for lunch and then at least two full adult portions of tuna pasta bake this evening. Desserts were of course part of both those meals – Eton Mess this lunch time and a calorific delight of Nutella and ice cream this evening. 

 

I feel sick before I even start.

 

Wish me luck! 

 

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A novice cyclist abroad

Yesterday was a bit of a reality check, there is a lot more work to be done before I can confidently cycle 100 miles in a day. Chris and I decided we would cycle to Wales and back this weekend; based on weather conditions and commitments Sunday was chosen as the best day. We set off at 0900, Chris from home and me from a lay-by in Hook – I was not convinced that it would be a good idea to progress from a maximum mileage of 71 Miles to 95 Miles in one go, so parking in the lay-by cut 14 miles from the trip. 

 

The Welsh Adventure was fairly uneventful apart from two attempted homicides, by a crazy squirrel and a nutter in a classic car. Pit stops were kindly provided by BP, Herb Cameron and the Severn Bridge Motorway services in the form of an unexpected toilet, anything we could possibly want; Easter Egg, Cheese and Crackers, Cereal bars etc… and a toasted sandwich which I saw again later on, respectively.

 

About 30 miles in, as we were going down an incredibly long and steep hill Chris declared that he thought Wales probably wasn’t so bad and might not bother to come back (the original plan would have seen us attempting to come back the same way). Anyway we made it to Wales and made some subtle changes to the route! Evidence of our arrival…

 

Bridge in the background

Not much further to go…

On the Welsh side of the bridge

On the Welsh side of the bridge

 

At 65 miles we decided to chase down a cyclist we could see in the distance, but sadly he turned off before we were able to catch him. While a mistake in Malmesbury meant that we had to do an extra hill and the ride from Malmesbury back to Hook was at an exhausted limp. Arriving back at the lay-by with just enough time to get me home for a five minute shower before visiting my friend in hospital.

 

At which point this novice cyclist became the worse hospital visitor in history! As soon as I arrived I had to sit down, before I fell down. Within 15 minutes my temperature went through the roof, I was sweating and my vision went blurred, then a couple of minutes later my lunch launched itself back into the world. 

 

Embarrassing! And only went to prove right, all of my friends who were telling me that I was crazy.My brother’s response to this:

Ha! Must be doing something right then. Laura Trott is often sick after riding her bike.

 

There’s some more work to be done before August – that’s for sure. 

 

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