Sportive – lessons learnt (and forgotten lessons re-learnt)

Looks like it’s back to the bike after July’s ultra

After Sunday’s sportive, I postponed the usual Monday morning gym session. I was interested to see how the knee would be when I got up and was pleasantly surprised to find no ill effects.

The sportive was a fascinating example of doing almost everything wrong, but getting away with it. Especially interesting, as its a rather hilly and normally testing sportive but with the wind and cold this year it became – to use the most common, repeatable, description used by folks I saw finish – ‘brutal’.

I’ve ridden outside for just 140km (under 90 miles) this year and not done much on the turbo either. That left me very underprepared for the 112km (70 miles) sportive. To look on the bright side, it would have been so disappointing to have arrived at the start in great shape, intending to go a fast time – and then be entirely thwarted by the weather.

Although it was very hard, the main consequence of riding only 100km (62 miles) on my ‘proper’ bike beforehand was that my backside was not properly hardened for the strip of carbon fibre I call a saddle.

We got away late in the window allowed for starting, which meant we saw very few chains of cyclists that we might have been able to join to share the work into the wind. Although three of us set off together one shot off ahead and the other did the longer route so I cycled with him for 30km (about 19 miles) and then 51 miles (82km) alone.

I took 750ml of water and several oat bars and gels with me. I drank about 250ml and ate nothing. Before starting I’d had two oat bars and half a cup of coffee. It was so cold I wasn’t exactly sweating – but that doesn’t quite seem to be enough food or fluid.

It looks like just about everyone suffered in terms of time – mine was good enough for 1st in the over 60s category (and 4th overall) but was only 30 minutes inside my best for the longer distance which is an extra 20 miles (32km).

I like to get good advice but am stubborn enough to want to go with my own view until I end up proving that I was wrong and so validate the advice. My recent experiences have demonstrated that I am no sort of athlete but am almost within reach of ‘barely adequate’ (for an old bloke) at running and cycling.

However, to get better at the running I need to run more – and the knee may not be up to that. On the other hand, cycling doesn’t seem to come with as many inevitable injury prospects (in the absence of falling off).

To demonstrate my pig-headedness I do plan to do July’s ultra marathon (on a reduced training schedule) as some friends want to do some sponsorship for a charity we support and it’s a proper challenge. After that I’ll be limiting the running and going back to cycling as the main hobby and fitness regime. Thanks Jim and the Unironedman.

As this is a post outside the normal weekly routine, just one bit of Interesting stuff (early) this week

African wise words: You must attend to your business with the vendor in the market, and not to the noise of the market

9 thoughts on “Sportive – lessons learnt (and forgotten lessons re-learnt)

  1. unironedman

    Well, you’re still a glass-half-full man, despite the repeated attempts to do down your great work 😉
    Let’s give ourselves – if not some credit – at least some slack. It’s been a hell of a year. The fitness gig is really quite the luxury when we look at what’s going on around the world. But it’s still nice to be able to do it, and do it well, and feel like we’ve given it an honest go. But a year of yo-yoing in and out of lockdowns has really knocked the wind out of our sails, so I think we need to factor that in before we start keel-hauling ourselves.
    And as for running: too many miles (and indeed, junk miles) are not much use at our age (I’m going to proffer a modest 50+ and leave it at that). But there’s a lot to be gained by throwing in some speed work, fartlek, intervals, repeats, etc. In other words, less overall mileage but good return for the investment. I liken it to the gym. I don’t like the gym so I reason that if I am going to be in there, I may as well do something useful. Otherwise, what’s the point?
    P.S. Yes, not enough fuel on the bike 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The Omil Post author

      Thank you. After what the world’s gone (going) through, being fit and healthy is indeed something of a blessing. Perhaps my lesson is ‘carry on doing what you can do and want to do but don’t forget that age might have a say in how much of it gets done’.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The Omil Post author

        Not exactly a literary giant to challenge Mr Thomas, but ‘You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old’ (George Burns). I’m with Dylan and don’t plan to go gentle into that good night.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. bgddyjim

    My buddy, Mike is a pure runner who’s knees are shot. He says he’d trade his bikes in in a second if he could run again. I know what you’re going through. Whatever the case, I hope you find happy and enjoy it all.

    Agree with the UIM… Need more fuel on the bike. Mileage like that needs a banana, an oat bar and a gel… and a Coke!!! Can’t forget the ice-cold Coke.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The Omil Post author

      It’s odd – it never feels like I bonk and I don’t eat because I don’t want to … but i’m sure that you are right in saying that I do need it. I think the knees will allow me to carry on running – but perhaps with a bit more common sense and a bit less ambition.

      Liked by 2 people


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