Spring into training mode (quietly)

Oh so quietly, Transcontinental training starts

by themartincox   March 20, 2014  

frost

Over the winter months I *deliberately* gained some extra timber to give me an excuse to ride it off early in the spring, and with spring rolling around now the time has come to start peddling the pounds off (or shifting the stone as it were..)

Spring, that time of year when if it looks warm it’s actually freezing, but if it looks chilly out it’s probably quite nice! Sunrise is at 6.15 these days, and if it’s clear, then it really is freezing, and my bed is so warm - it hurts hauling my carcass out. But it only hurts for the first 5 minutes!

My clothing of choice for 6am starts are my Assos winter tights, they’re getting used every day (I tried with shorts and knee warmers on one morning when it looked nice out - but 2 degrees was way too ambitious!) With legs covered, balaclava donned and glasses at a jaunty angle, it becomes time to get out of the house (always hoping that you escape without waking any of the kids up).

Cold mornings are always a shock to the system, to be outside just 10 minutes after waking is like tumbling into a harbour after falling asleep on the steps during a night out - it just seems rude!

Within seconds there’s that familiarity, that comfort coursing it’s way through the body, shaking off the sleep and kicking it to the kerb like one of Madonna’s old husbands. Within a few minutes the legs are feeling warm, feet are happy and the balaclava is coming away from the mouth.

This is the start of another great day. Any day that can start with a ride has the potential to be great, quiet roads, birds chirping and blossom appearing on the trees - fantastic.

As the mind wanders to the Transcontinental race ahead, I find myself formulating training schedules. Whilst an extra hour on top of the commute is ok now, come June time  necessity calls for daily century rides (imperial, not metric) and I ponder upon the transition to those daily distances. Some folk like to train entirely indoors on rollers, and whilst this certainly has merits, it’s impossible to really get used to wind and cold and all the elements that come from being outside unless you are actually outside - and as the race gets closer the rides get longer and the mornings get earlier.

One of my memories from riding lejogle was that, by day 8, it would take up to 90 minutes to shake life into the legs - how will that work with a family and a degree to work on? It’s one of those questions that can only be asked as time rolls on - and I guess that’s one of the many reasons why a 2000mile race is so appealing!

So for now, the rides get longer minute by minute, a mix of effort and base mileage, nothing epic, nothing long, just sustained effort. This is where the groundwork is laid, foundations are built and mental battles are fought - and won.

2000 miles, 8 days. How hard can it be?

11 user comments

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Clean that bloody bike!!!

Ah! Condor

posted by Bedfordshire Clanger [309 posts]
17th March 2014 - 23:48

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Michelin tyres? Mucky front shifter? Why not just embrace winter riding and get a cross/tourer and avoid the crud being a real pest.

posted by Trull [58 posts]
18th March 2014 - 2:09

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haha that is one week's worth of cack on the bike! the joys of country roads!

And if i recall they are my winter tyres, not a single puncture in 6 months! Cool

Racer 074 for the 2014 Transcontinental Race; 2,000 miles from London to Istanbul.

http://themartincox.co.uk/2014/03/racer-074-transcontinental-race-2014/

posted by themartincox [329 posts]
18th March 2014 - 12:42

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That urge to ditch the tights and go out in shorts and kneewarmers is a tough one to resist...oh, to look and feel like a cyclist again!

ragtimecyclist's picture

posted by ragtimecyclist [125 posts]
18th March 2014 - 13:26

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Isn't it amazing how quickly things get mucky? I'm loving the early mornings too. I almost don't want the clocks to change and spoil it for a few weeks.

Ah! Condor

posted by Bedfordshire Clanger [309 posts]
19th March 2014 - 23:43

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ahhhh .... Bluemels .... Wink

the earlys are great though aren't they Smile

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [698 posts]
20th March 2014 - 10:48

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My nephew is riding the Trans-Continental again as well. He says he'll be better prepared than he was for it last year, since he has a much better idea of what's involved. I'm not sure what his training programme is but I'll ask.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2166 posts]
21st March 2014 - 9:38

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ragtimecyclist wrote:
That urge to ditch the tights and go out in shorts and kneewarmers is a tough one to resist...oh, to look and feel like a cyclist again!

Err, what? It's been warm enough for that for around a month!

posted by alexholt3 [52 posts]
21st March 2014 - 13:52

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alexholt3 wrote:
ragtimecyclist wrote:
That urge to ditch the tights and go out in shorts and kneewarmers is a tough one to resist...oh, to look and feel like a cyclist again!

Err, what? It's been warm enough for that for around a month!

You need to come up north for a bit alex. Temps still in single figures up here and that's before windchill is factored in.

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posted by giff77 [1045 posts]
21st March 2014 - 14:25

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Daily imperial centuries! I don't even get daiy rides in, what with work and family...

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3075 posts]
27th March 2014 - 11:47

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"Over the winter months I *deliberately* gained some extra timber to give me an excuse to ride it off early in the spring, and with spring rolling around now the time has come to start peddling the pounds off (or shifting the stone as it were..)"

^^^^^^

Simply an outdated and ridicoulas idea. Putting weight on over the winter is a nonsense, really, it's just an excuse for laziness and nothing more. Just makes it harder to get back to where you were at before (and then surpass it) we have not had a remotely bad winter and I have not had the turbo/trainer out once.
How about a methodology of training for non pros or top end amateurs where you just remain consistent throughout the year? Now that would fly in the face of convention wouldn't it!

“Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.”

― George Carlin

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posted by Cyclist [144 posts]
29th March 2014 - 18:56

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