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 –

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!

Making the most of it

Icknield Way Trail
Icknield Way Trail

A week away from home working and staying on the Cambridgeshire-Essex border didn’t look like it was going to provide many mountain biking opportunities of an evening. Looking at the map around Saffron Walden there also appeared to be very little in the way of bridleways or trails. But I was not going to be deterred so I took my hard tail with the intention of doing some exploring.

The Slade - Saffron Walden
The Slade – Saffron Walden

Heading into Saffron Walden from my accommodation in Littlebury looked like it was going to be a simple road ride, but my trusty Garmin Edge helped me spot a little byway that proved to be a lot of fun. As I neared Saffron Walden (after only a mile or so) I found a dried up river bed (The Salde I think) that I followed right through the town – it was a bit of fun and had a few drops and hops to keep me on my toes.

Audley End Estate and Gardens
Audley End Estate and Gardens

The local landmark is the Audley End estate – it looks very nice but was of course closed to cyclists. My little explore was only around 14km but was certainly worth the time.

Large Snail at Coploe Hill Pit
Large Snail at Coploe Hill Pit

The following evening I pedaled up and over the M11 motorway, hoping to explore a wood I had spotted on the map.  It was very clearly marked as private so i decided against it and instead tried to follow something that was called the Icknield Way Trail.  As with may trails and bridleways at this time of the year they look very tempting a map but turn into a nettlefest when you actually find them.  I think I was stung more in about 100m of trail then I have ever been before and it took my poor legs a good 2 days to stop tingling.

The Icknield Way Trail looks actually very interesting and it goes from somewhere in Bedfordshire and all the way towards Thetford Forest. The 170 mile route looks very interesting but if the short section I rode is anything to go by, cover your legs!

The highlight of this little ride was certainly the snails at Coploe Hill Pit. It looked like a great spot for a ride (a disused chalk pit), but it was overrun with huge snails and a ride through would have certainly resulted in a few getting crunched so I headed back into the wind and a tiny bit of rain.

Italian Burger at the Queends Head Inn, Littlebury

I final explore on Wednesday evening was much more successful. I had found a walking route on the internet called Beechy Ride – sounded ideal – so decided to head south of Saffron Walden for an explore.  What I found was some fantastic singletrack and bridleway routes. Some 20km later I was back at the pub tucking into an enormous burger and a few pints of Stowford Press.

The route can be seen below on my Strava pages along with a couple of photos on Instagram.

Yesterday I visited Hadleigh Park – the site of the 2012 Olympics MTB route – but that’s worth a post of its own I think.


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!

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:

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!

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.