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!

10k a day for July

A lot is said of the 10,000 steps challenge to improve your health and I bought a Garmin Vivofit last year to track my general activity levels other than my mountain bike rides.  I was surprised and started to make an effort.  We got a dog last year – that helped!  Since last summer I have been conscious of my daily steps more than my weekly cycling and its been good to keep an eye on such things.  I felt bad if I had a day of less than 5000 steps and made up for it by going for a run or taking the dog for an extra walk around the field… Anyway to my experiment..

10000 steps and 10km cycling everyday for the whole month  with no compromises and making up for poor days.

Starting today 1st July I am going to do 10000 steps a day, my average is up on this figure but I want to make sure I do 10000 each day.  I am also going to cycle 10000 meters a day – or 10km.  Again my recent average is above this but I am going to do 10k a day and not use a 40k ride to make up for 3 days off the bike.

Why?

  1. Running, walking and cycling everyday is good for you
  2. Finding new/alternative 10km bike routes will be interesting
  3. Why not… Lets see if it has an impact or benefit.

Oh and I get to write blog posts and tweet about it…