Over the last few months my life has been governed by * The Plan * , a 12 week guide to getting into shape for the London 100 ride in August where I have been persuaded by my son to put my aged body on the line and cycle 100 miles around the London Olympic Road Race route, a distance which I am still trying to come to terms with and one which I have not dared to imagine.
The Plan has dictated my life, and given that after the end of Week 1 you were supposed to cycle 40 miles, it obviously assumed some sort of prior fitness, something which I sadly lacked. So, for me, I started the Plan much earlier in order to attempt to get into shape in order to Begin the Plan.
Every day, I have cycled when instructed, rested when instructed, ate when instructed and consumed vast amounts of Cycling Food On the Go. Indeed I have produced a booklet of Recipes for Cyclists which is available free with any donation to the Mental Health Charity Mind. Please support me!
There have been one or two sacrifices that I have had to make in order to train for this challenge, such as the complete abandonment of domestic chores, gardening control, car cleaning ( though bike cleaning IS called for in The Plan ), shopping ( except for ESSENTIAL cycling stuff of which there seems to be an incredible amount ) and other mundane tasks.
However, The Plan has hit a buffer. An ultimatum from my wife that I either mowed the lawns or bought a sheep
Now I have considered this proposition very carefully but on going to visit some prize specimens have decided that those horns could inflict a lot of damage to the gleaming paintwork on my bike..and so the lawns have been mown.
This interlude apart, I have continued to build up the miles and so far the statistics stand at
Total distance cycled this year = 3685 km
Total ascent climbed = 27267 m
and I can now comfortably accomplish rides of 110km+ but the longest journey remains at 126 km, and indeed the plan does not suggest going further than this so as to dangle a carrot on the day to achieve the 162 km required. ( Having said this I have now been told that there is a Neutral Zone prior to the start which is another 3 km, hope this is not the straw to break the camel's back )
This week The Plan calls for a firm focus on climbing. Now I hate hills, and much more to the point, hills hate me with a venom that cannot be imagined. So, I need to give myself a target. A height to cumulatively ascend during this week. I thought of just picking a number at random, which according to some of my friends ought to be a number between 10 -50 m and whilst I would tend to agree with them, they are Flat Landers and I have doubts it would prepare me for the monsters of Box and Leith Hills. So, I have settled upon a figure of 1912 m, the height of Mont Ventoux, a climb which has a special significance to all english cyclists. It is also about the same total that will have to be conquored on London100, though in that case the total gradient will be spread over 162 km and not the mere 22km of the legendary mountain.