Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Last Lap

Following the travails described in the last post, this week I have been back on the bike and was pleased to find that both my knee and butt seem to have recovered, or at least recovered enough so that I can ride. The Plan for Beginners  that the London 100 organizers  sent me called for one last endurance ride before the event and this was successfully accomplished, and so now I am on the last lap.
After training since January I have now covered 4423 km, climbed 33294 m, which is the equivalent of climbing up Mount Everest four times,  and expended 100925 calories. On the days when I was resting from the bike I have been swimming and covered a distance of 45 km.
The plan does call for some arduous effort up until the Wednesday of this week but I suspect that it was aimed at people far younger than me so I am going to rest more and just go for a gentle tootle around to-morrow before concentrating upon cleaning the bike and fuelling up.

I am doing all this to raise money for the mental health charity Mind and would like to thank the almost 100 people who have rallied to my cause and raised ~ £2500... now I have to do my part.

For anyone who would still like to sponsor me, and there is a free recipe booklet entitled

 Cycling Food on the Go - Recipes for Success

for everyone who does make a donation, however small. The recipes in this booklet have been contributed from friends around the world and each recipe comes with a little story of just why the recipe was special to them. If you would like a copy just go to

Friday, July 19, 2013

Week 10 Day 4 and I am falling apart :-()

And it was all going so well.

I have this year cycled  4261 km, climbed 32387 m and expended over 97382 calories

I have worked on my climbing, and refuelling at the top with jelly babies, I have felt more comfortable and got quicker, even in the land of the Derbyshire Peaks which hopefully compare to the streets of London.

And then on Wednesday I felt a slight twinge behind my right knee. Worse, with the weather so hot I have sweated more and despite taking so many precautions I have developed a couple of saddle sores.

I have NEVER cycled 100 miles and at my age I suspect fitness soon evaporates and this worries me with the event only now 2 weeks away.I am treating the sore with hydrocortisone which seems to be having a positive effect.. I wonder if one can comfortably wear padded under shorts under padded bib shorts..I may be forced to try it for after all this effort I WILL compete at London.

I have heard that the streets of London are paved with gold and I am dying to see this sight.

I live in fear of the monster of Box Hill and its friend Leith Hill which at 2.1 km long and with an average gradient of 6 %, peaking in stretches at 17% will be my hardest challenge.  When attacking these monsters I will need encouragement,  which will be provided by my domestique ( my son ) and also by some visual stimuli as I ascend the climb.

I will be looking out for these, and a big Thank You to Andrew Wright, Countryside Manager for the National Trust for this area,  for permission to use his photographs

and at some point it would be nice to see

and though on the day I will be too rushed, this epitomizes my total ethos to cycling

Wish me luck !!!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Beginning to dream...

Only 23 days to go to my cycling challenge of a lifetime.

And I am beginning to dream.

In preparation for this day I have this year

Cycled a total distance of 4122 km
Climbed 31067 m
Swam 41.3 km
and been seated on a bike for over 207 hours

I suppose that I have two big worries about this challenge. The first is , at my age and with my level of fitness, am I just physically capable of cycling 100 miles, ( 162 km ) on a single journey. And the second worry is will I be quick enough. It is not a personal thing here but more of a worry that I will let others down and get in the way of the proper cyclists who are competing in the Prudential London Classic who ride after us but on the same course.

I received my final instructions this week and in a way these worries have dissipated. This is because the organizers have introduced a set of cut-offs so that those not up to the pace will be pulled out thereby ensuring that the proper cyclists are not disadvantaged. They have also introduced a set of detours so that those near, but not quite the pull out mark, can be sent on a slightly shorter route. With these instructions then there are safeguards for Old Age Pensioners like me in the event that we find it all a bit too much.
The start  times seem to be organized with military precision. There are two starting points before the courses combine after 6 km with 19 waves leaving each point and from what I have heard from others, people will be leaving every 2 minutes. With 20000+ riders that should be some sight!  I think I must be the last person leaving the starting gate as my time is 08-00. That surprised me a little as I said that I was aiming at completing the course in 7 hours 30 minutes ( compared to the 9 hours maximum permitted ) and I thought there might be one or two people who had estimated a time a little slower than me..
The story of the tortoise and the hare springs to mind :-)  Speedy OAP !

For one of the training sessions this week, the plan called for an hour's run at a Zone 2 moderate heart rate on a flattish course. As I sped through the quiet Derbyshire lanes with the sun shining and the fields and hedgerows flashing by I began to dream that I had escaped the peleton who were riding on a flat stage in Brittany in the Tour de France that day.. Head down, legs going in a perfect harmony, this was bliss and epitomized the joy of cycling

(  Though this image is not of me but a picture I took at the Belper 25 mile TT last weekend )

Can I now dream of cycling down the Mall on August 4, the 100 miles completed, and the Challenge conquored?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Getting Ready for the Last Lap

The training plan for my challenge in the inaugral  London 100 mile Charity Ride at the beginning of August called for one last big effort and last weekend was the summit of my training efforts.   At 130 km it was my longest journey ever and was accomplished non-stop; the event itself of course requires another 32 km on top of this but the plan reassures me that riding in a group, plus the adrenalin of the day, will make up the shortfall.

My annual statistics now stand at

Total distance cycled this year = 3937 km
Total ascent climbed = 29357 m
Longest journey = 130.4 km

Encouragingly my average pace has also increased significantly  ( by 30% since the beginning of the year ) and if I can keep it up for that extra 30 km I should be OK, especially as I will have my son riding with me to carry the load ( I hope!! ) and provide encouragement.

Just looking ahead at the activities called for by the plan shows that I am now beginning the tapering stage to the big day, and I am thankful for that for my body is feeling a little tired and I now need a rest day after a long , fast ride.

This blog has also reached a milestone with over 10000 views from 25 countries across the world. I find that quite amazing.

I am doing this ride in order to raise funds for the mental health charity, Mind, but there are also many other worthy causes and to-day I was privileged to meet two ladies who are cycling for Great Britain in the World Transplant games to be held in South Africa in a few weeks time. One has had a liver transplant whilst the other has had a kidney replaced and now both do a tremendous amount of work to publicize the need and benefits of Organ Donation. Are you signed up to support this cause?

They were seeking a photo to be used in some local publicity campaign and I was happy to help. Naturally I arranged to meet them at a local tea and cake shop...cyclists  needs their nourishment!

If you would like to sponsor me on my challenge then you can make a donation at

Any donation, however small, is very welcome and as a mark of our gratitude we will send you a pdf copy of our special booklet  ' Cycling Food on the Go - Recipes for Success '  which contains both recipes and stories from around the world

Thank you.