Passing a Milestone
As you will have seen from my last post, I have started to worry a little that I'm not cycling far enough on each ride. With only ten or so weeks remaining before the big ride, I've only been able to cycle 10 miles at a time. It is said that if you can cycle half the distance during practice then you'll be able to cycle the full distance on the day. By that reckoning, I will currently only be able to cycle twenty miles, instead of the full 100.
Week 5's schedule was clear - 10 miles on Tuesday, 10 on Wednesday, 15 on Friday and 30 on Sunday. Instead of the first ten miles I did 5, although I did get to do the second ten. Thursday night was a tough night for me so Friday's ride wasn't possible, and I was immensely frustrated. So this morning I tried to at least get in my first 15 mile ride (instead of the 30 on the training schedule).
I set off later than usual and my legs were sluggish. I knew that this wasn't going to be a record-breaking ride. It was interesting how much warmer the temperature was as compared with my normal rides and it reminded me that closer to the ride itself I'm going to have to do some heat training. I'm not used to temperatures like this. The first five miles I covered in 22:36, a good minute and a half off my personal best. But then I found my groove and got stuck in and, to my surprise, I finished off 10 miles in 43:35, which meant that my second ten miles had shattered my 5-mile PB at 20:59. This was now my new 10-mile PB, if only by 9 seconds!
I set off for the third leg and found it hard going. But for the first time in over four years, I was able to cycle for over an hour, and completed my first 15-miles in 1:07:30. This is a major milestone for me. I appreciate that my training schedule is harassing me to be at 30 miles by now and that I'm well below that, but at the end of the 15 I felt like I could probably go on and do 20. I didn't because I had to go home, shower, have breakfast and then get into work for the Ritual Forum.
A lot of cycling distance is mental. I know that I can theoretically cycle 70 or so miles because I did for the Rabbis' Relay Ride back in England four years ago. Of course, there it was cooler, at much lower-altitude where the air was easier to use, and I was healthier back then. In particular, I was about 20 lbs lighter. That makes a difference - the more I weigh, the more effort I have to put into shifting my bulk. But mentally I'm not there yet, as well as physically. Now, though, I have no excuse not to cycle 15 miles as a minimum for each practice ride. Interestingly, week 6's schedule has two 10-mile rides, one 15-mile ride and a 35-mile ride, a total of 70 miles. That's not going to happen. If I can do 10, 15, 15 and 20 this week - a total of 60 miles - I'll be making real progress.