This Week I have Mostly Been Doing


This week I have mostly been doing; Riding my bike

The title should really be read in the voice of Jesse from The Fast Show but as I can only write on here you will have to do your own voices.

As you have probably noticed the XCRacer/Scimitar team are taking it in turns to describe a week of their training, and this week you have got me. I was actually supposed to be doing last week, but someone who shall remain nameless (in order to avoid embarrassing Phil) can’t read a simple schedule and leapt in prematurely and nicked my week off me. I had almost finished writing it when I spotted this treachery and so rather than write a whole new one for this week I have just added this paragraph and kept it until today, so this is actually last week.

Unlike most of my team mates I am not married and have no small children to worry about so can pretty much just ride my bike whenever I feel like it. I tend not to plan things in too much detail, I find that takes the fun out of riding and fun is of course why we all do it. For the kind of racing I do, mainly longer ones such as 12 and 24hrs, just going out and riding lots is probably the best training anyway.

Saturday, 5 April:
This started as a fairly dry and sunny day and so, for the first time this year, it was time to crack out the summer road bike. Living in South Lincolnshire means that opportunities for riding mountain bikes properly are somewhat limited. A bunch of us all meet up at 8:30 on Saturday mornings to go for a ride. We follow what is, by Lincolnshire standards, a reasonably hilly route and then stop at a cafe to eat cake and tease the waitresses, before heading home again.
The ride to the meeting point is about 10 miles for me, and we usually do about 60 miles, at which point most people wimp out and call it a day. However, Richard and I carried on to his house afterwards. I refilled my water bottle there and then continued without him. It was just starting to rain by this time and so I got a bit damp and, more irritatingly, got the posh bike a bit grubby on the way home. What’s the saying? “Never cast a mudguard till June be out”. Something like that.
Total distance ridden:103.6 miles

Sunday, 6 April:
Today was a bit damp and generally miserable when I woke up, driech as they would say up north (my spell checker doesn’t appear to like driech very much. Why will it do American but not Scottish? I do find American spellings rather irritating.) Anyway, I decided to abandon my brief flirtation with the summer bike and head back out on the winter bike with it’s mudguards and sensible tyres, and a pocket full of waterproofs. I stayed fairly near home, just doing some circuits, in case the weather really did turn horrible and I wanted to call it a day. However, it actually turned out to be rather nice, not too cold and no significant rain. It was properly windy though, and whichever way I went I seemed to be heading into it, I spent the whole day riding into a head wind.
Total distance ridden 105.0 miles.



Monday, 7 April;
Unfortunately I do have to go to work every now and again, which is a shame as there are many other things I would much rather be doing, most, but not quite all, of which involve bikes. I just do some admin for a local accountancy practice so it’s hardly the most physically demanding job and the hours are the bog-standard 9-5. Reading Donna’s blog last week I don’t envy her her job! [Week before last – Ed] Work is just under 8 miles from my house, and it is mostly quiet country roads and then a couple of miles of A road at the end. Despite this the traffic in town means that it is about 5 minutes quicker to ride than it is to drive. I am usually cutting it a bit fine as far as time goes so I always ride in the short way.
I run at lunchtimes a few times a week. I had a fractured kneecap back in December 2012 (ice-skating, nothing to do with bikes. The other fractured kneecap of November 2006 was bike-related. Both were surprisingly painful for such a small chip/crack) It is only in the last couple of months that I have begun running again. I try to avoid tarmac, due to other previous knee injuries which I’m sure you don’t want to hear about, so I headed up the nearest ‘hill’ to the fields at the top. This is the biggest hill near the town but this being Lincolnshire it is under 200ft (no sniggering from the Welsh readers please!)
On Mondays I swim after work. I started doing this in November last year as something warm to do in the winter and have progressed rapidly from Completely Useless to Poor. I shall stick with it and hope to have worked my way up to Average by the end of the year. I have made some noticeable improvements already, for example I can now breath on both sides, rather than just my left and am generally a bit faster. It was mainly breathing we were working on tonight, and also some arm work using the fins to help us concentrate on them.
The pool is in a different town to the one where I work, and so I set off on the bike at 5pm. The weather was OK when I left but I quickly found myself attempting to outrun a rather large and very black cloud. I failed miserably at this and ended up absolutely soaked and freezing cold by the time I arrived. Getting dressed afterwards for the ride home my shorts were still wetter than my trunks were! I had brought some dry socks and a dry base layer but unfortunately not gloves or shorts. It had stopped raining by then though so it was a slightly nicer ride home despite the unpleasantness of putting wet kit back on.
Total distance ridden: 37.8 miles
Running: 35 minutes
Swimming: 1 hour

 It was still not as wet in here as it was outside!

Tuesday, 8 April
I rode to work again this morning. It amazes me how many of my colleagues who live two miles away spend their time whinging about traffic and parking, it would never even occur to me to drive if I lived that close. These are the same people who moan about never being able to lose weight, I wonder if these things may be related?
Normally on a Tuesday evening I would play badminton for a couple of hours. Like swimming this is a sport at which I am not very good at all but which I do just because it’s fun. However, we play in the sports hall of the local college and this was closed this week due to the Easter holidays so I went for a slightly extended ride home instead.
Total distance ridden: 23.0 miles

Wednesday, 9 April
This was a pretty similar day to yesterday, a short ride to work and then a slightly meandering route home again in the evening, albeit a slightly different one.
I went for a run at lunchtime, up the same hill as Monday but around some different fields at the top. It was a lovely sunny day here. The flatness of Lincolnshire does put most of my fellow bikers off the idea of living here but the weather is generally a lot better than pretty much anywhere else in the UK. We have had a lovely winter, only been cold enough for a frost half a dozen times and fairly dry. I have seen on the news that this hasn’t been the case elsewhere. We get on average 16” of rain a year here, about a quarter of what they get in North Wales.
Total distance ridden: 26.9 miles
Running: 36 minutes

Thursday, 10 April
I drove to work today. This is quite an irritating thing to do and means that I become one of those people who whinges about traffic and parking while doing my best to add to the problem.
The reason for this is that in the evening there is the Thursday night time-trial. Normally this would be a 10 mile race but the first two events are 7.75 miles as we are still a bit short of daylight.
I had a bit of a blonde moment and forgot where the start was, it was only when I arrived at the start line for the 10 mile races and realised that no-one else was there that it dawned on me that I was in the wrong place and I had to have a bit of a sprint to get the correct start line on time!
I felt like I rode pretty well tonight, there was a bit of wind but it never made it a slog. I only encountered one problem in the race, a car in front of me wanted to turn right and had come to a standstill waiting for traffic in the other lane to pass. For some reason he had stopped over to the left side of the lane. The oncoming lorry meant that I was reluctant to go around the outside of him and so I braked and headed for the very small gap between him and the kerb hoping to get passed without taking his wing mirror with me. Slowing from 25mph down to 18mph costs time, but accelerating back up to speed again costs more, I would guess that I lost about 10-15 seconds in total. Other than this the race went well and I was happy with how I rode. There was a decent turnout of 36 riders, I finished one place lower than last week in 5th but was 18 seconds faster, despite the slight delay.
On Thursday evenings there is usually the pub quiz, a rare moment of non-training related activity for me. The only other thing I do which doesn’t involve riding or running is tinkering with bikes in the garage.
Total distance ridden: 7.75 miles racing, 4.7 miles warm-up

Friday, 11 April
I could pretty much just copy and paste Wednesday’s bit in to here, such is the exciting variety of my life. The running route was a little different, as was the ride home in the evening.
Total distance ridden: 22.3 miles
Running: 34 minutes

Saturday, 12 April
Road riders don’t seem to do variety. This week was trip to the same café we usually go to on a Saturday morning. I had decided to try the summer bike again, hopefully without cursing the weather. Everyone else was out on the posh bikes too and so it was a reasonably quick ride, the café stop was very welcome. I am sure the waitresses were delighted to see us lot all piling in, they must miss us when we’re not there. I topped up with a toasted brie and kiwi baguette (don’t laugh, try it) and a chocolate roulade with some raspberries and ice-cream, which is usually enough to keep me going until the end. The others all called it day at about 60 miles again, leaving me to continue the ride alone.
Total distance ridden: 104.2 miles



Sunday, 13 April
An early start for a road ride in the sunshine. I rode up to Sleaford, just over 12 miles away, to meet the others. We then headed south east into quite a strong headwind taking turns at the front. We had a café stop at about 40 miles, a cheese omelette and a sticky toffee pudding and ice-cream for me. The ride back got a bit competitive, the tail wind made it pretty quick and the group split up a bit as the fast guys really put the hammer down. Occasionally road bikes can be fun. I had about 70 miles on the clock when we got back to Sleaford so I carried on and did a couple more loops just to bring up the century. It was a lovely warm sunny day and it would have been a shame not to.
Total distance ridden: 103.3 miles


So that is a week in my world. Other than the bits where I have to go to work it is good fun. Next weekend (This weekend – Ed) will be  (was - Ed) the Margam Madness 8hr race which will be held on Saturday 19th. (was held on. You really need to sort your tenses out! - Ed) This is all very exciting, I had a delivery from Scimitar Sports on Monday so this will be (was!!!) my first outing in the new XCRacer team kit. My race report will be up on here shortly. (OK, we'll allow you that one in the future tense)

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