I now have five weeks before I start the Deloitte Ride Across Britain which means one month of training left! This has given me the added boost I needed after a slight wobble in the training mojo two weeks ago.
Last weekend we had the first really bad weather for what seemed ages with heavy rain on the Saturday and gale force winds and rain on the Sunday. I went out on a training ride with Carl on the Saturday morning bright and early. We had great plans to do five climbs on a 100 km loop round the south Wales valleys. In the end we settled for two major climbs and a shortened ride due to the filthy weather plus the very slippery roads. Carl normally drops me on the hills – see my previous post under “Gravity”. This time out the tables were turned and Carl had a very bad day, possibly due to a heavy training week, plus my training was starting to pay off. I decided to take Sunday off – there was absolutely no point in crashing in the wind and rain so close to the start of the big ride and missing one session wasn’t going to make too much of a difference.
Last week I bought some new shoes and changed the cleats on my old shoes – cleats wear out and become less effective. This resulted in a slight flare up in my left Achilles heel, a problem I have had in the past. I have also splashed out on a new bike to replace my Specialized Roubaix as I was finding my Cannondale SuperSix too aggressive and uncomfortable for successive long rides. I’ve gone and got a Trek Domane – great service from Ride Bikes Wales, a local bike shop at Talbot Green. I’m a great fan of the cycling formula n+1 for the number of bikes you own!
As a result of getting a new bike and having problems with the cleats on my cycling shoes, I booked a bike fit with Magnus Backstedt at his fitting studio in Newport Backstedt Bike Performance. Magnus is an ex pro racer and won the Paris Roubaix race (also know as the Hell of the North) in 2004.
The bike fit set up involves lots of reflective spheres being stuck on all your joints and a 3D stick man being created by a computer using the feed off six cameras – all very complicated and clever. It is also a very quick process compared with some other bike fit models and allows almost instantaneous feedback on minute changes. For example, my saddle was moved down two millimetres in one change. Magnus also had a look at my cleats and made a few adjustments.
The proof was in the riding! Two rides round the Chilterns (for the hills) and the Vale of Aylesbury (for less hills) this weekend on the new bike and no problems with the Achilles – yippee! I even managed a few new personal bests on some of the climbs. On Sunday I repeated part of the ride I did in April in the Deloitte Ride Across Britain training day. It showed how much easier it was riding in a group – much faster and less effort required in April despite my increased fitness now. A great learning point for the ride itself.
Next weekend I have my last organised sportive, the Wye Valley Warrior, starting from Chepstow Racecourse. It will be a 91 mile ride so a good final test. At the time of writing this post, the hot weather we’re experiencing may have turned so it may be a test of wet weather riding over a long distance. Fingers crossed for no rain but slightly reduced temperatures.
On the fundraising front for Dementia UK, I have reached my initial £3,000 target which is absolutely fantastic! I don’t want to stop at £3,000 but push on and see how much I can raise for such a good cause. If you would like to sponsor me, you can reach my Virgin Money Giving page here