London – Paris continued
Erica Bund of Zest Magazine has set herself the Challenge of riding this year’s London – Paris Cycle event. But starting from scratch with her cycling it’s interesting to see the progress, and as lifelong cyclists it’s easy for most of us to forget just what an undertaking it is to build up to this level. There are also the entertaining trials & tribulations that come with acquainting yourself with long distance riding.
“Erica’s London – Paris Training
I did it! I set myself a target distance and actually achieved it. A 40mile round trip to the office in Central London and back home. It ended up being a little further than I planned though (43.4m) as I managed to get lost a few times. I’m finding that my navigation is fast becoming my biggest downfall in my cycling training. If I knew where I was going then I’m sure I’d get there much faster! I’ve learnt my lesson (slightly) after last week’s trip and my technology failure.
This week I printed out the route to take with me, and armed myself with Transport for London’s Local Cycling Guides just in case. And it worked brilliantly – if you take out the element of human error. Because, as it turns out. I’m not very good at following directions. I mean, I’m happy enough looking out for a road name and knowing that is the next turning to make. I just tend to forget that the next turning does not necessarily mean the next junction, and it might actually be more than a mile down the road! And, it does also rely on me realising that the reason I can’t find the next road is because I’m missing one of the pages in my directions (in fact, I was missing two! I didn’t even realise this until I got home as I resorted back to the gps map on my phone!) What I need is a bike equivalent of a car’s sat nav – which will tell me not just where to turn, but also when.
Despite these problems, I made it in to work, through areas I only know from seeing the names of stations on the train. It did take me nearly three hours though! I’m not sure how that fits in the league table of commutes but think I’ve got a bit of work to do if I’m going to make it a more regular trip! It was nice to get a contrast from the country lanes of last weekend. The sights in a city can still be impressive, even if they aren’t rolling hills and fields. I got to see Wembley stadium fairly close by and cycled along the Grand Union Canal, some of which is very pretty.
It’s also strange how much more quickly my ride seemed to go this week. I’m not sure if it is because I always had people around me, even though I was cycling on my own. Or if it was because I had recognisable landmarks for me to gauge my progress. The hardest part was the final 5miles or so, when I knew I was nearly home but not quite. I’m much happier with my progress this week though. I’ve upped my previous longest ride by 51% – not a percentage I’m going to use as a benchmark for the future. I’ve also now managed more than half of the length I’ll be cycling in first day of London to Paris.
I’m beginning to understand how it feels to be in the saddle for a long period of time (and so far have only suffered minimally from the usual cyclists complaints!) Although I haven’t yet done it, I also think I’d be able to go out cycling for a second day as my aches and pains are significantly less than they were when I’d started out. Not bad with 20 weeks still left to train.
Cycle Training Weekends
Throughout my training I’ve been trying to get a bit of variety into my rides, heading out in different directions wherever possible, sometimes on my own or sometimes as part of a group. I am really looking forward to mixing it up even more though in the next few weeks as I’ll be getting out of my local area for my training rides. And for one of them I’ll even be in Spain. What could be better than fresh views, with new people and getting some great advice along the way, hopefully with a little bit of sunshine!
My first weekend, over Easter, will be spent on the Cycle in the Sun retreat in Murcia at the La Manga Club resort with the team from fitness 12 retreats. With 3 rides over the weekend, expert advice, stretching and a chance to relax in a luxury spa – what more could I want! I’ve always loved Spain but haven’t really had chance to see much of it. This is such a great opportunity to see more while getting out on a bike.
I’m following this cycling weekend closely with another so I won’t have any time to get bored!
Heading off to Salisbury on the 14th April for the Discover Adventure Cycle Training Weekend. These weekends are specifically designed to prepare you for a longer charity ride such as London to Paris. It’ll be a great opportunity to gauge my fitness levels and work out any areas in which I might need to put in some extra work (I’m already thinking hills…) And with 80 miles covered in total, it’ll definitely give me an idea of what it’ll be like to cover longer distances two days in a row!
Over the rest of the summer, before I take on the 4 day ride to Paris, I’m also hoping to get in a couple of one-day rides such as Cycletta or Diva 100, one of the other rides run for Action Medical Research. These give the chance to cycle up to 80/100k in one day (depending on venue) so then I won’t be far off the 135km needed in my first day! I’m so excited about the chance to see different areas – the dates just can’t come soon enough! “
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