A little something every day

Thats Me That Is!

So I said I needed to do a little something every day in June and today I did a little run.

6.1km after work took me about 35 mins. Doesn’t too bad but something was a bit dodgy about the first km as it looks like I had the Strava app paused for most of it!

I wore a pair of North Face cross trainers that I have had for a while, they seemed like they should be perfect for the job. I was wrong. While they are comfy to wear they don’t have enough bounce for running.

To add to the pain I climbed 90m over the duration of the run too – I really need to find some flat areas to run!

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Tomorrow its June

Bike Village
Bike Village

Yes, tomorrow is the 1st of June 2014. That means it less than 3 weeks before I go to Bike Village again. I’m excited, but this year I feel totally unprepared. A rotten Winter and Spring have simply meant that the amount of riding has been lower than it should be and my fitness is not great. So I need to make some tracks over the next few weeks to soften the blow of a week of alpine riding!

We intend to raise some money this year for the National Autistic Society as my friends son has autism so we want to raise awareness of this complex developmental disability. All money raised will be donated to the National Autistic Society. They are the leading UK charity for people with Autism, and their families. Click on the Just Giving Page link below for details:

http://www.justgiving.com/thefoxers

Strava June
Strava June

We are going to attempt to climb the equivalent height of Everest during our week away and I’ve got to prepare for this. I need to do some form of exercise everyday – running, cycling, walking, digging the garden! Anything… I have joined a few Strava challenges to keep me motivated and this Thursday is Run 2 Work Day! What am I thinking?

A busy few weeks are ahead at work also, but I need to get fit. Watch this space and check my progress – if you are interested that is!

Two Tunnels Bath

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A few weeks ago I decided I needed a big ride. Not necessarily a ride with some big climbs but a ride that meant I was out on the bike for a good few hours.

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After a very small amount of planning I decided a round trip to Bath was in order. The start was going to take me from Calne to Chippenham along the old railway line and the finish was going to be the canal from Bath via the Two Tunnels to Devizes. I hadn’t worked out how I was going to get from Chippenham to Bath, but I set off anyway.

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Once in Chippenham I let my Garmin Edge 800 pick the route to Bath. It wasn’t too bad. Avoiding the main A4 it took me through some villages and generated quite an interesting route across 3 counties.

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After a few ups and downs on the way to Bath I eventually ended up in the city centre. A little behind my original planned schedule as I had left home 2 hours later than I had wanted to. I was going to have to work hard to get home in time for family tea time!

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Once I had refueled in Bath with a very nice hot dog and a coffee it was time to head back and find the Two Tunnels. The tunnels are a converted railway line through some hills just South of Bath and opened late last year as part of a large Sustrans project. It’s pretty cool to ride underground like this in a dimly lit tunnel. Read some more about the project on the official website.

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The ride from Bath to Devizes wasn’t the most exciting (25km and flat) but there are some beautiful spots along the canal. Bradford Upon Avon and it’s wonderfully restored tithe barn and the lock flight at Devizes are two spectacular sights.

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After around 6 hours and 88km (55miles), my longest ever on the MTB, I was back home. I was pretty tired having not fully prepared myself with food and snacks and my bottom bracket giving in somewhere along the way.

Would I do this again? Maybe, though I may do it in the opposite direction. While a 25km flat section was easy, it was a little dull for the return half of the journey. The ups and downs of the first half might be more interesting as a return leg.

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The result of my little trip encouraged a few friends to make the trip to the tunnels and for the plan of a future club ride along the canal to finally make its way to the calendar.

I learnt that I am quite happy on my own for 6 hours and with a bit more planning (ie food) I could have gone further and longer.

As the weather has improved I should be getting out on the bikes more often now, come back soon and see more photos and hear more from me as I build to me 3rd trip to the French alps in June.

Before this there was an attempt at that…

ASICS trainers

I have mentioned previously that my mountain biking came about by accident a few years ago. Having done various forms of martial art over the years (tae kwon do and shotokan karate), it had been a while since I had done any proper exercise so I decided I would try running. Even the smartphone apps and music couldn’t keep me interested longer than about 3 weeks, so I gave up.

It was going to be some time before I was going to notice any improvement in fitness or ability and I gave up long before either. I don’t regret it as such as I bought a mountain bike and my life changed, but looking back now I wish I had stuck at it a bit longer.

Garmin Vivofit

Different forms of exercise can compliment and benefit each other and a friend of mine recommended I gave it another go to help with cardio fitness. So a few weeks ago I dusted off the trainers and went for a run.

2 miles and the next day my quads were aching! I hadn’t really stretched so I suppose I had it coming, was this a good idea? This time with Strava and some automatically generated goals (best 1km, best 5km etc) and a new found love of stats and of course a desire to get fit I stuck at it.

Gadgets help me and I really like my Garmin Vivofit and the Garmin Connect App. These along with Strava are helping me record my activities and encourage me to get off my back side.

Now only 3 weeks and a handful of runs later I am running 5km under 30mins and I have set my self an adventurous goal of running 10km by the end of the month – that’s only 10 days away!

I have a cold this weekend so I’m not doing anything to make it worse, but 10k by the end of April is a must. While it’s not a cycling goal it’s a fitness goal.

What have I been up to?

It’s been a while since I wrote what I would consider a proper blog post, I have thought about it, just not found the time. So I thought I would fill you in on what’s been going on, mostly from my biking perspective.

Winter is coming (yes I have finally started watching Game of Thrones)… Oh wait no winter has gone, though it keeps dropping in every now and again to say hello, seemingly every time I plan a ride! Since December and the Winter SPAM my riding slowed (who’s doesn’t?), the cold, the wet, the mud and the darkness are not the most helpful of ingredients to encourage you out on your bike.

Winter did linger a bit longer this year and the result is a much less fitter Tim. Memories of last years visit to Mudtrek come back and two recent trips to Wales, one to Cwmcarn and the other to Machen made me realise just how poor my bike fitness is.

I don’t feel too bad, long rides and my general fitness seems ok, but months of short rides with little climbing have certainly weakened my climbing ability and both recent trips to Wales were tough on the legs. My new job has also had an impact.

I know park around 20m from my desk and I’m in an office with no stairs. It might not sound like much but I think that my new job has reduced my walking and stair climbing by enough for me to gain an inch on my waist in 3 months. Add this to the business park environment, rather than high street and the lunch walks have also been on the decline. Oh and they do like tea and biscuits…

So something needs to change as in 2 months time I’m off to Bike Village again.

This will be a week of 50k rides with a minimum of 1000m climbing each day – this year we are also Cycling for Autism – a charity that is very close to the heart of my good friend John as his eldest son has autism. The challenge is to cycle/climb the height of Everest in a week and to raise awareness and money for the charity. Good cause aside for the moment, the trip to Bike Village is going to be tough and I want to be fit enough to enjoy it!

So what am I doing? Well I bought a fancy fitness band / watch from Garmin that is basically a fancy pedometer with a red bar to prompts me to get up and go for a walk. The result is a walk at lunch time, and two short efforts mid morning and afternoon to get away from the desk.

I have also started the occasional run. I tried this a few years ago and rapidly got bored but my basic fitness has made it easier this time round and I have set some small goals to aim towards.

A benefit of the new job and office location is its a little closer making a bike commute require less planning and effort – last week I rode 3 days.

I’ve started to waffle on a bit, so I think it’s time to wrap up with some details and goals:

2 months til Bike Village
I need to lose about 8lbs and get fitter
Watch my food and walk 4-5k every lunch time
Need to ride the bike three times a week (once or more to work)
My 5k target for running is 25mins
My end of April target is to run 10k, and in under an hour by end of May