Friday, August 17, 2012
The Challenge : MIND over Body
The amazing cycling achievements at the Olympics on both track and road have left me in awe. This, combined with the success attained by Team Sky, has inspired many. So, how does all this affect me? And what can I do to build upon this legacy of cycling excellence?
Next summer, just hours before the world's top cyclists race the RideLondon Classic, 20000 cyclists will have the chance to cycle a modified version of the London 2012 Olympic Road Race. This new event offers a unique opportunity to become part of cycling history. Celebrating the legacy for cycling created by London 2012, RideLondon 100 will start in the new Queen Elizabeth Olympic park, then follow the closed roads through the capital and onto Surrey's stunning country roads and hills. With leg testing climbs and a route recently made famous by the world's best cyclists, this promises to be a truly spectacular event for all involved.
One of my sons is quite athletic across a range of sports and is always looking for the next challenge. To channel this energy, he undertakes events and at the same time raises money for MIND, a mental health charity. Last weekend he phoned me up and persuaded me to join him in entering the London 100 as part of a weekend of the celebration of cycling. It was only after that I had rushed upstairs, filled out the relevant forms and despatched my cash that I realized that this was a 100 miles ride not the 100 kilometres that I had assumed. Furthermore, there was a time cut off as they wanted the finishing place cleared in plenty of time for the elite riders to perform and demonstrate their prowess. Entry to this event is by ballot or at the invitation of one of the chosen charities so it will be awhile before we know for sure whether or not we have been accepted.
Now 100 miles, or 160 kms, is significantly further than I have ever ridden before and to make the time cut off I will need to pedal at least 10% faster than my normal current average. My son informs me that it will be no problem as if half the ride is spent climbing hills the other half can be spent freewheeling down the other side and so, in reality , I will only be pedalling for 80 kms which is within, or rather just at the limit, of my current endurance.I think there must be a flaw in his logic somewhere :-() In any event, some serious preparation will be required and it better begin now!
When cycling ; weight kills. So my master plan involves stripping my bike of all the surplus stuff that I carry in my saddle bag and persuade my son to become my super domestique and load him up with spare tubes, pump, multi-tool, chain tool. SRAM link, extra clothing for changeable english weather, suntan cream, anti-insect bite cream, food, drink, maps, cycle lock, keys, mobile phone, etc.
I can then make the bike even lighter by removing the mudguards, and could this be the excuse to purchase a set of American Classic lightweight wheels which not only will roll faster than my Mavic A417 rims with Miche RC2 Racing Hubs but will also weigh less.
Obviously I will have to address the question of my own personal weight, but perhaps a haircut will suffice in that department.
To achieve this challenge is going to mean that I will have to ride further, faster and for longer than I have ever previously done. To keep track of my progress I intend to record my training rides on Strava and use the tag , London100T, to distinguish my training efforts from my social cycling.
The target is to ride 150km at an average of at least 21kph and then hope that the sense of the occasion and the tow from the pack will provide the extra push needed to arrive back in central London within the designated time and so complete the Challenge.
I suspect that this really will be a battle of Mind over Body