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…

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…

Devil’s Den for Breakfast

Devil's Den
Devil’s Den

I woke early (about 5.30am) and as I saw the sun through the curtains I decided I would make the most of it. We had some family arriving at about 11am so I figured I could get out and get a few hours pedaling in before they arrived…

After making a small flask of coffee and a jam sandwich I got out my Genesis Alpitude and started riding at almost exactly 6am – with no real idea where I was headed. I went east(ish) towards the rising sun through Avebury and on to the Ridgeway. A basic plan started to form to head to The Devil’s Den on Fyfield Down to enjoy my coffee and sandwich.

The Devil’s Den is all that is left of a neolithic passage grave (or Dolmen) on Fyfield Down in Wiltshire. The two standing stones, a capstone and two fallen stones are all that remain of what was the entrance and was reconstructed in the 1920s. The huge capstone is believed to weigh 17 tons!

Totterdown Woods
Totterdown Woods

After “breakfast” I made my way back via Avebury and Cherhill completing a very nice 40k ride and got home at 9.30am just as everyone else was getting up.

What a great way to start the day! Same tomorrow???

Give me your answer do…

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I have started June well and so far 3 days in I have ridden my bike twice and ran once. Tomorrow is the turn of running again.

A friend told me that 30-45 min of running was a good way to help with bike fitness. It exercises the heart, lungs and legs which I guess is a good thing. But what is a better form of exercise – a 30 minute run or an hour on the mountain bike?

According to Strava I used approx the same amount of calories doing these two activities yesterday and today. But which did me the most good in terms of bike fitness?