So.... I have a nice pretty, organised and highlighted blog schedule sitting there in my diary. And I've managed to get through a grand total of none of the planned content for the last 2 weeks. Who knew an office/business move, house move, endurance event training and social life could get in the way of productivity?
So, what about that endurance event training- because it's 6 days to go until Ride100. The 100 mile cycle that I last spoke about because I was starting to become seriously concerned about my lack of training... Remember this post about my training?
Not only did I not manage to get creep that mileage in, but I also went down a deep dark hole of 'what have I done?!'. The Fear kicked in big style, and I was all set and ready to pull out, and call it a bad job. But. And here's the big but... I did decide to have one last shot at a long ride to see how it went.
I should add in here, this is not a way I would recommend to approach a challenge where you'll be pushing your body. Going into an event undertrained is dangerous especially if you've never done an endurance event before. There are a few reasons I decided to give this a shot...
-I am fitter than I've ever been. I'm more active and I'm more in tune with my own limits.
-On that note, I used to ride 100-120km at a time on a single speed bike (no gears) and I used to do just fine. I'm meeting this particular challenge head on with 30 gears and a bike specifically designed for the job at hand- gotta help with those hills!
-I am stronger than I think I am- this brings me nicely on to the #RaphaWomens100 ....
17th July 2016 marked my 3rd Women's 100 ride, a chance to celebrate and encourage women's cycling and all the awesomeness that goes with it. It's not a single organised ride, it's a day in the calendar on which women pledge to ride 100km world wide- solo, en masse, with friends, in mountains, by lakes and through cities. Pretty cool, huh?!
2 years ago, I rode London-Southend for my Women's 100 pledge and it was horrendous. Essex isn't all flat, and undulation in 28 degree blazing sunshine on a single speed destroyed a little bit of my soul. I didn't have fun, I didn't feel a sense of accomplishment, I could quite happily have left my bike on the rail tracks at Southend Central Station that day.The only saving grace was the ice cream I demanded we stop for at the end of the ride...
This year, I decided (with Tom in tow, because anything I can do, he has to have a go at too) to have another shot at London-Southend to exorcise some of those demons and to take one last training ride with 2 weeks to go until Ride100- which is roughly 160km (100 miles). I've mentioned my training has suffered massively, but I also know with endurance sports training is as much about making sure you can keep going for a length of time as it is about running or riding or whatever it is you do for a set distance. I didn't run 26 miles before I ran a marathon but I also knew that if I found 100km tough going 2 weeks before Ride100, it would be time to seriously consider whether I would be putting myself at risk by taking part.
I had a BLAST. I'm hoping it'll remain tradition for London-Southend rides to be gloriously sunny. My tan lines are something else. I joined a BHF organised ride with marshalls & rest stops (I signed up officially, I didn't just hijack it...) and it was lovely to see people of all experience levels setting out for the day. My bike rode smooth and easy, my hydration and fuel were bang on the money- I didn't constantly need the bathroom, but no dehydration or hyponatraemia problems, the hills didn't leave me feeling weak- one or two made me work for it, but for the most, part, I had the much sought grin and feeling of joy that first drew me to cycling outside of my commute. I finished the ride having made an effort to maintain an 'easy pace', and it showed- whilst hungry, I wasn't so shattered I could barely move, and no soreness or stiffness either!
No soreness.... just tan lines!
So no, my training hasn't gone to plan. No I wasn't entirely sure, and I'm still not entirely sure how 100 miles will go. But I know that I am fitter and stronger than ever before. I know that I have a better understanding of how my body performs during endurance sport than ever before, and I'm now looking forward to Sunday more than ever before.
Over the course of the week, I'll be sharing a few more Ride100 posts- I'm very lucky that I'm working with Skoda Cycling for this event- they are one of the sponsors and you may also have seen thier sponsorship of the Tour de France as well as having their own pro team. I've got some really incredible kit to show you thanks to the lovely people at Altura Cycling(seriously though, clever kit AND it's green....). And I'll be doing another 'What I Eat In A Day' post to show how I prepare myself for big sporting events. It's been a bit quiet over here on my blog lately, but I'm back, and ready to fly the flag for Team Skoda, for women who like to kick sporting behind, and for myself- let's do this!