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Is everesting good sportive training?


From the 2016 sportive, I think

Yesterday was my first sportive – my club’s excellent Farcycles Follyfest Sportive, now in its 5th year – after the everest. I wasn’t sure if having that in my legs would be good or bad – but it turned out to be pretty good.

I traded down from the 100 miler to the 70 mile ride on the basis that I could justify giving myself the treat of a 30 mile saving after the cycling in the alps. My aim is always to have an enjoyable ride and that fits very well with the thinking behind the sportive – great route through lovely Oxfordshire/Gloucestershire countryside with really friendly marshalling and admin and certainly the best food of any sportive I’ve ever done.

However, as usual, competitive juices got the better of me and I found myself in (at the back of) the front group. At the first feed station everyone else stopped. I was a bit surprised as the others were clearly better cyclists than me – but I guess they’d heard about the quality of the food on offer.

So I ploughed on alone. Eventually, on and off, I caught up with a few of riders from the 100 mile route and was enormously grateful for the conversations and a few essential tows. For 40-odd miles I played hare waiting to be caught by the following pack who were certainly gaining on me – but they never appeared (perhaps they stopped at the second feed station too – I didn’t).

So, first home from the 70 mile ride which is nice – but tempered by the fact that I know there were very many riders better than me out there. As with all sportives, it’s a ride, not a race.

Terrific food at the end and a really great bunch of riders to chat to. Chapeau to all who took part on the 35, 70 and 100 mile rides – and to all involved in the organisation and admin. Another great day out on the bike.

Perhaps the lesson – in true ‘sledgehammer to crack a nut’ style – is that everesting is good training for a sportive. If that’s the case, I’ll look forward to many sub-optimal sportives in the future.

Everesting week 7 – stuck in the foothills?


What could be inappropriate about this during the TdF?

I used to be in the ‘stretching (along with lunch) is for wimps’ camp but I’m re-thinking that one asĀ a fairly gentle run on Monday brought back the pain in my left knee and introduced a new one in my right heel.

The knee is the Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS) again – stupidly I didn’t keep up last week’s stretches of the left quads. The foot – I think – is Plantar Fasciitis from a tight calf/achilles and should be sorted (spot the theme developing here) by stretching the right calf.

At least I can comfort myself that I must be working some muscles with the current training – but if it’s only those two muscles, I’m in trouble.

That meant no cycling until Wednesday. To avoid aggravating the injuries with anything too long, I did my ‘standard’ training circuit – 45.1km with 319m of climbing. I managed a PB with a 30.9kph average. I was stopped 5 times for lights and once for traffic calming so I guess that would have been over 31kph without slowing down and accelerating 6 times. I’m happy enough with that (but it would be good to get the 31 recorded properly).

Friday was 48km with 575m of climbing at a steady 25.8kph but felt pretty good. Saturday was another 49.5km with 556m of climbing, at 26.6kph.

Week Single session hill reps Longest ride (km) Total km Total meters climbed


1 10 64 139 2178
2 12 79 162 2504
3 15 52 143 3038
4 20 62 138 3045
5* 15 53 105 2212
6 25 103 164 2823
7   50 133 1450


* +2 hours turbo trainer

I’ve been wearing my vintage Festina shirt recently the hope that it might encourage people to offer me performance-enhancing drugs – but it’s not working.

If you’re new to the sport and wondering about that, see here:

I had broken through the 65kg barrier (before my birthday weekend), my resting pulse is down in the mid 40s and my BMI about 20. I guess (hope) I’ll soon get to the point where there’s not too much more training that I can do usefully but I’ll carry on for a while and then try to keep it ticking over for a couple of weeks of tapering ….. with continued stretching.

Upping the training (literally)

A mixed bag. I went for a run with Mrs Omil doing hill reps but suffered afterwards with Achilles/planter faciitis problems in my right leg/foot. Next time I did laps of the old fort at Badbury Hill while she did the hill reps and that was better for me – but I still suffered a bit with my leg/heel. It feels like a bruised heel and a strained Achilles tendon just above the heel. I guess it’s a tight Achilles that is hurting and causing issues with the planter faciitis. Whatever it is, it hurts and I limp about all day.

As a result, I’ve ditched the running this week and went out on the bike on Thursday and today – both times heading out to Dragon Hill Road. On Thursday I did 9 reps and today (into a 20+mph headwind) 6 more. Today’s ride felt as hard as 50% more reps on Thursday – presumably in part due to a bit of residual fatigue but mainly, I guess, because of the wind. At times I was standing on the pedals and hardly making any forward progress.

This idea of training by tackling hill reps had better be a good one!

Getting on with it

After getting out on Thursday I was the sweep for Saturday’s club red ride. I rarely don’t enjoy a ride – my principle is that I ride for pleasure so won’t go out if I don’t see where the pleasure will come from. That explains why I ride relatively little in the cold months or if it’s raining.

Didn’t enjoy the club red very much. Ended up riding with a very good bunch at the back of the main group – but the mid-way stop was well past mid-way, one of us had a puncture and by the time we were approachingĀ the stop point the main group (other than Mark who did wait for us, thank you Mark) simply left. The aim has been that we regroup at the stop so that was disappointing. We need to stop for a short break anyway so we got entirely cut adrift.

As an antidote to that I went out this morning – back to Dragon Hill Road for 6 reps. I took it fairly easy and strangely managed to make the 6th my fastest rep of the day. I think I’ll try to mix these hill reps with some longer rides and see where that gets me for the WHC.

Training for 2017 starts here?

Out this morning for my first bit of hill climbing this year. Rode to White Horse Hill, Uffington, and did three reps of Dragon Hill Road. It’s about 1km long with 95m of ascent. In all I rode for 27.4km with 507m of climbing in 1 hour 11 mins. It all felt pretty good and I managed a PB on the steep bit out of Fernham to Ringdale Manor on the way back.

Not too bad for early March with very little riding being done to date – but not quite up to the 12 reps I did in 2015 in preparation for the Ventoux three-timer.

Out again tomorrow as I am designated sweep for the club’s red ride. As I say, perhaps this year’s training starts here!