A lot of Saddle time

Good job I’ve got decent shorts, 3/4 knickers and winter tights as in the last week I’ve worn them all on three long training rides. Lots of saddle time is great for my ironman UK training but has left me a little behind in my blog so heres a quick round up of the last 175 road miles on the bike.

As a warm up to my week of sportives I had a lovely tough BRICK session to start the bank holiday weekend,  this consisted of 40 minutes turbo / 20 minutes run off the bike x3 so a solid 3 hours. I set the turbo up in the garden then ran out and back along the country lanes. Played havoc with my hay fever but a good controlled timed environment and a solid training session in the bag.

View from the turbo - not bad ;-)

View from the turbo – not bad ;-)

Bank holiday Monday was the Santini Cotswold Spring Classic and all finishers got big chocolate easter eggs and hot pasta. I must have changed my mind three times on what to wear of this event but it turned out to be a perfect day for cycling. A gentle start soon turned into a hill climb sweat session followed by the middle section being relatively rolling country lanes then a couple of beastly hills at the end. Three distances were on offer I took the 103km route which took me 4 hr 11 mins riding. I only refilled water bottles and pushed on to simulate ironman racing more. Rode mainly alone but came along side a couple of other riders for a mile at a time. Great to see many friends from police tri, local clubs and pirates, as I’m getting a regular at sportives I now know I can turn up alone and am bound to to meet someone before after or during the ride.

Are we at the top yet ?

Are we at the top yet ?

Rolling through the Cotswolds

Rolling through the Cotswolds

A well organised event, great route on plenty of open lanes. Well stocked feed stations at Performance Cycles Poulton. Easy access & parking at  Cirencester Collage. Would like to go back and do the autumn version.

Natalie, John & I at the finish

Natalie, John & I at the finish

Santini Cotswold Spring Classic

Santini Cotswold Spring Classic

 

On Friday I headed off to Pembrokeshire the first of 3+  hour drives all for some more saddle time. Registration was in St Davids, the UK’s smallest cathedral city. Blue skies and calm seas greeted me as I dropped down to the coastline. We were given a timing chip to hang around our necks, maps, TORQ gel and race numbers. A chance to mill around the small expo and enjoy the sunshine, as little did we know the forecast would be wrong and we were in for a stormy day on the ride. A pre ride pasta  dinner was arranged but as my hotel was 30 minutes away I headed to Haverfordwest for dinner and an early night.

Stunning scenery driving into St Davids

Stunning scenery driving into St Davids

Relaxed registration & calm before the storm

Relaxed registration & calm before the storm

5:15am alarm and the sky was black with heavy rain clouds, the roads flooded in places and a howling wind rattling the gutters and drain pipes. I was way too early for hotel breakfast so got the kettle on for porridge pots and a cup of tea. The forecast had said heavy rain showers from 10am but the 40mph winds were well underestimated ! Arriving at St Davids I got parked in the school/sports centre and rolled to the start. Of the 1500 riders the local paper took a picture of my mug and another lady who I would play cat and mouse with on the roads as we battled the winds.

All smiles at the start !

All smiles at the start !

On the Friday  I was scared of the climbs on the 79 mile route I was entered for, however  it wasn’t the hills I should have been scared of as I conquered those & ride them all, no pushing this ride, my first. It was the 40mph gusting winds and hail thrown in with the heavy rain that scared me. Saw one cyclist blow off his bike in front of me, luckily he landed on a grass verge not under a car. For the whole ride the rest of us were buffeted around in the wind and rain. It was so bad the the puddles had white horses and chop on them. The expected stunning views were a blur in the rain and greyness. The stinging hail meant you kept your head down.

Went off course with 30 others as a direction sign had been blown away ! This was soon collected and nailed back in place. There were multiple puncture from rain debris as it washed down the lanes. Most riders dropped down a distance, I went from middle to short, still took me 4+ hours to complete 50 miles, the same time as I did 64miles on Monday.

That was the most challenging weather ride I’ve done. Luckily the winter tights, overshoes, long fingered gloves, fleecy skull and multiple jackets did their job to keep me warm and dry’ish.

Welsh cakes, old school potatoes & bananas went down well from feed stations where the discussion was about dropping a distance. Only 2 gold classifications were given for the 50 mile route due to the tough conditions.

Full KUDOS the the guys that did the full 100 miles including fellow pirates Ewen & Darren. Ewen’s ride report sums up the 100 miler very well – On a Day Like Today

Only a 500m vertical climb from St David's Cathedral to the finish.

Only a 500m vertical climb from St David’s Cathedral to the finish.

I grabbed a BBQ pork roll and headed to the sports centre for a shower. “Sorry were closing” was not what I needed to hear. Luckily the lad took pity on the bedraggled wind battered cyclist before him and said If I could get in and out in 10 minutes I could have a hot shower and change. Heaven and much needed. Then on to a four hour drive home with a couple of food stops and through driving grey rain.

On Sunday  managed to get out for a 6.5 mile recovery run with the step kids, this time the rain shower was refreshing.

Remember hat BBQ pork roll ? well by Sunday night it was rebelling and I had the worst stomach ache. Having been awake most of the night I decided against a swim and so headed off to Mnachester as I planned to ride the IMUK new rout eon Tuesday. It was a very long drive as I stopped at every service station up the M4, M5, M6. An early night and sticking to water seemed to help and I managed breakfast and a leisurely start.

The planned 53 mile route

The planned 53 mile route

Getting to Horwich I had a 53 mile loop on the new route taking in Sheephouse Lane and Hunters Hill.

Well some how I missed a turning notice off the Garmin and before I knew it I was back at Rivington reservoir and the bottom of Sheephouse lane. Not wanting to do a full 53 mile loop I decided to tackle Sheephouse Lane a second time and repeat the loop I’d just ridden.

My route on the day x2

My route on the day x2

Hope plenty of direction signs & marshals on the day.

Hope plenty of direction signs & marshals on the day.

 

Sheephouse Lane you were mine today - twice ;-)

Sheephouse Lane you were mine today – twice ;-)

OK so not the IMUK route I planned but Sheephouse tackled and I’m chuffed that it was relatively easier than I expected. Loved the graffiti on the road and the long swooping decent and views from the top. Iwill have to go back with a guide to find and conquer Hunters Hill the new bad boy on the block for 2014 IMUK !

Found an Italian restaurant which looked quite posh ! and whilst I was not dressed for it as still in my sweaty cycling kit they took my custom and cash and I had the most delicious lobster ravioli with mozzarella and chilli oil garlic pizza bread. Perfect post ride fuel that set me up for the drive home, which luckily only took me 3 hours 20 with a petrol stop.

Best post ride food, fresh Italian Lobster ravioli

Best post ride food, fresh Italian Lobster ravioli

 

Now with only 12 weeks to go until  I will be on course of ironmanUK in exotic Bolton for real. The training is really ramping up.
Next week I  have my biggest training block to date – Friday is 2.4mile swim / 100mile bike ride / 10k run. Luckily broken up by food & recovery drink breaks.
Then next day 60 mile sportive, followed by a bike/run brick on Sunday then to finish off on Bank Holiday Monday an extended Olympic distance triathlon ! Tired looking at it.

But all required to Be the Best I can be on 20th July 2014

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