Outside (without George Michael)


One of the joys of rural England – some weird place names. Challow station closed in 1965 – no doubt the road sign will catch up one day.

The week started with the turbo – 180km (112.5 miles) over the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at over 44kph average (27.9mph).

Wednesday was a great example of the importance of pacing. I managed 50km in 1:02:07 @ 48.3kph (31 miles @ 30mph) but had intended to do 65km. I started too fast and was pretty well cooked by 40 km. I revised the target to 45km but then tricked myself into doing 50 – important things those mind games!

Saturday was back to London to finish helping our older son move. Sunday morning I was not feeling great from carrying stuff up to his new flat but I went out for a ride – just my fourth since early November. The weather looked OK and the plan was to clock up 100km (62.5 miles) at a fairly gentle pace.

It was a really good route – made up as I went along – through some lovely villages, including Goosey, Goosey Wick, Bampton, Charney Bassett, East and West Hanney, Kingston Bagpuize and Filkins. It rather felt like living in a GK Chesterton book or an Agatha Christie ‘Miss Marple’ novel.

It was one of those breezy days when the wind is always in your face. I understand the physics – if you have a 10mph wind at your back, once you go over 10mph you meet air resistance which feels like a headwind – but it still feels really unfair.

Although it was reasonably bright, I didn’t think it was very warm so I was wearing a compression top, a merino base layer and my thermal jersey and long trousers. On the way round I passed a young woman wearing a sleeveless vest – I really am every bit the wimp that I’ve been thinking I am!

Foolishly, I went out faster than I’d planned – I was still at a 28.5kph average at the 70km point (17.85mph at nearly 44 miles). Sadly it had just started to rain by then and the breeze got up strongly (actually) in my face so I lost a bit over the remaining ride and finished (a rather broken man) with 100.7km @ 27.8kph (63 miles @ 17.4mph).

I’d set off late morning, with just a couple of cups of coffee in me. The theory is that training on an empty stomach helps teach the body to burn fat. I don’t know if that works but it certainly seems to harm the ride itself as there is a clear nutritional deficit. I took just one gel (for emergency purposes) and a bottle with squash in it – and was very pleased to have the gel at about 40 miles as I felt like I was running out of energy in a big way.

For the White Horse sportive, I’m hoping that a more sensible fuelling strategy will help enormously.

So, 280km (175 miles) in a 6 day week (to get back in sync after the Bank Holiday). Strangely, that’s just a mile less than I rode in an elapsed 22.5 hours when ‘everesting’ in July – I must have been a bit fitter then.

I started the week at 69.5kg (nearly 154 pounds) and finished at 66.8 kg (a loss of 6 pounds). On balance, a pretty good week – but very hard.

4 thoughts on “Outside (without George Michael)

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