3, that’s the magic number

Now where did I leave that camera?
Now where did I leave that camera?

My mini guiding business had its second outing today and for the second time I had 3 riders. Considering the time of the year, weather, mud etc and the fact that my little corner of Wiltshire is not exactly a MTB mecca, I am pleased and I think it bodes well for the brighter and drier months ahead.

We're on a byway to Hell
We’re on a byway to Hell

Actually, the smaller groups get me used to doing things right without an over-sized group to manage. Though I have led much larger groups before for MB Swindon, there is something a little more stressful about doing it when taking someone’s money. So extra care is being taken to get it right.

I’m having to give some thought to a refund policy due to some cancellations and I’m even thinking about a loyalty scheme!

This way and that way
This way and that way

We were treated to ‘no rain’ today and relatively mild conditions, which meant I set off in a tee shirt! It got cold once we stopped for a tea/cake break in Avebury hence the jacket in the pictures.

We've come a long long way together
We’ve come a long long way together

About 25km and 300m of elevation was just right for this beginners ride and it was great to see a rider returning for his second ride with me and pushing himself (and his bike at times) a little further on this outing.

Its behind you!
Its behind you!

I should remember to take more photos as most of these were taken around the Cherhill Monument and there were plenty of other places that would have made for some interesting shots.

As the weather gets better, I plan on putting some longer rides on in Wiltshire and I have some plans to to host a ride or two in Wales soon too.

Cherhill Monument, Wiltshire
Cherhill Monument, Wiltshire

Its feel great getting people motivated and cycling on the hills and I look forward to doing much more of this as the year goes on….

So now, not De La Soul as the title suggests, cos i couldn’t find a decent video, but Beastie Boys – 3 MCs and 1 DJ

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Back in the Saddle

EDIT Now with a video…

I hadn’t been out for a few weeks due to family commitments, a cold and yes I had avoided the rubbish weather on maybe 1 or 2 occasions; but today I was going out and needed to get some miles in and much needed time in the saddle.

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The UK weather certainly showed me that it can be unpredictable at this time of the year. I couldn’t decide to keep the rain gear and water proof gloves on or to pack it away and just wear the T shirt.  I had it all other than snow.

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This’ll do nicely

I planned a loop that I had to commit to and short cuts weren’t really going to be an option. But I went prepared with a small packed lunch, snacks and my Alpkit Kraku stove and Mytimug.  I had chosen a specific spot for my mid-ride brew, but my lacking fitness and some strong headwinds put me half an hour from where I wanted to stop.

But this little spot by the River Kennet worked out perfect.

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Cheers!

In some form of preparation for my upcoming British Cycling course I used only a map and compass for navigation. Yes, you may spot a Garmin on my bike in the photos but this was purely to keep an eye on the time and to record my activity.

My original planned lunch spot above Alton Barnes was a tad windy, but at least by the time I arrived at the highest point in Wiltshire the sun came back out and I could admire the views.

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I only did around 24 miles, but with 2000 ft of elevation gain (38km and 650m) it was a good test of my fitness after 3 weeks of no riding.

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Spending 4-5 solitary hours in the outdoors gives you time to reflect and relax and I realised how much I enjoy this time by myself as much as I do with friends playing about in the woods.

Wiltshire has a lot to offer for good cross country routes and with plenty of time to think about it, I really feel a plan coming together…

Lets Break It Down

10km run
10km run profile

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you will have noticed I went for a run yesterday. Exciting I know!  Well I have been trying again to help my bike fitness by adding some other exercise to my routine.  Running is an easy one to fit in to short spaces of time and if I get fit enough, I am sure I will find some pleasure in trail running at some point.

Anyway, just for fun here’s a breakdown of each kilometer and my final analysis: Continue reading “Lets Break It Down”

Its like mountain biking but different

Genesis CDF
Genesis CDF

Road biking doesn’t appeal to me, but I have heard from enough people about the benefits to be convinced of them. However, I have no desire to spend hours and hours travel mile after mile pedaling along the road to gain these benefits. I am also not built for lycra – I am not sure any man is!

I am happy to ride on the road to link up trails and I am happy to ride the occasional cycle tack and canal path. So, for sometime I have been looking at cyclocross bikes. The idea being that I could maybe go a bit further on the road on a bike designed for the job and increase those all important base miles to help with fitness.

Yesterday I picked up my very first (yes in my entire life) bike with dropped bars. I was a little apprehensive today as I took to the road on a familiar route with both on and off sections including a steep local climb. Apprehensive because I wore SPD shoes for the first time ages, found myself behind bars half the width of my MTB bars and where on earth are the brakes!?

The flat pedaling was fun, as I found my average speed creeping higher and noticed the absence of the usual resistance and zipping sound of my MTB tyres. Since getting home I noticed how all my local Strava sections involving tarmac had been beaten and I had 12 new personal bests – including on the climb mentioned above.

Some basic off road riding was surprisingly easier than I thought it would be. Putting that down to a comfortable ride on a steel frame. I tackled some roots, gravel, single track and a bridal way – and I loved it.

This is going to be a fun addition to the bike shed.

The Story So Far

How much do we have to walk each day?
How much do we have to walk each day?

On the 1st of July I decided I would get out everyday on my bike for the whole month.

Here’s the post – https://timfromwales.wordpress.com/2015/07/01/10k-a-day-for-july/

I was not going to try and replicate the Tour de France or do anything ridiculous – I just followed suit on the 10000 steps a day challenge and do 10000m (or 10k) everyday also.

Why? Well I am working from home mostly so I don’t walk to the car, walk around the office, go out at lunch time etc and basically I can take the day as it comes. I ride my mountain bike twice a week, and tend to walk a reasonable amount. But could I walk and bike those distances everyday when I didn’t have to leave the house other than a couple of dog walks?

The have been a few close calls so far – A busy day (sitting at my desk) here and there meant I had to make the extra effort with Brodie (the dog) and last night it was 8.30pm and I really wanted to sit down but I made myself get out on the bike and it was totally worth it.

So, 6 days in and I have been doing well here are the first 6 days of July:

  1. Bike 11.6km, 11,841 steps
  2. Bike 34.8km, 11,961 steps
  3. Bike 13km, 15,321 steps
  4. Bike 12.5km, 14,162 steps
  5. Bike 16.1km,  10,691 steps
  6. Bike 11.7km,  12,345 steps

That’s an on target, 100km by bike and 76,321 steps (or approximately 70km on foot also).

I know there will be those that commute further each day and ride much more each week – this is a personal thing and not me stating this is anything special. I want to see if there is an improvement on my fitness or sleep or health in anyway for me.

How do I feel?  I think I need to start to stretch my legs a little, even the 45-60 mins a day has an impact and I noticed last night my legs felt heavy and lacking a little bit of energy – could be diet related?

25 days to go including a very difficult day tomorrow where I am spending most of the day in the car – I need a plan!