It’s early season for us cyclists so you’re never quite up to speed. The bulk of my training tends to focus on peaking for late summer and the Wild Wales Challenge which has become an annual thing for me - my big one for the season if you like.
To get in shape of course requires many miles on the bike, far more than you’d probably ever do as a runner. The first proper challenge was the Early Season Mow Cop Challenge - an event that is relatively flat over 70+ miles, aside from the portion called the ‘Killer Mile’.
Now the ‘Killer Mile’ is exactly as a it sounds, and it’s not something you would normally attempt to tackle this early on, but you just have to give it a go don’t you. At first the incline is a manageable 5-6% but this quickly ramps up to 10%, then 13%, 16% and topping out at a whopping 26.6%.
Many who came quickly bailed out and did the walk of shame. I was determined to dig in and get up. Gritting my teeth and cursing my way up the climb, I saw what I thought was the peak of the climb and put one final lung-busting last burst in (incidentally with the heart rate peaking at 204!) to reach what I thought was the summit - but there was more. Having trouble breathing at this point I needed to take stock and had a 30 second breather before carrying on with the final portion. At least I didn’t walk any of it.
As it panned out there was so very little of the climb left that if I’d paced it that bit better I would have done it without the required breather. One of the lads in our group had hit the kerb on the climb so had had to stop so was far from happy. We’ve planned to go back on Bank Holiday for more of the same!
To give you an idea of the climb, here are some shots of the day tackling Mow Cop (I'm in the black adidas cycling jacket). Not only will they demonstrate how much effort I was putting in, they also demonstrate the blog image uploading that you’ve all patiently been waiting for is now operational (just click on the 'Upload' tab, choose your pic from your desktop, click 'Send to server' and 'Ok' and you should be good to go).
Incidentally, the rest of the ride didn’t go to plan. Having ridden Mow Cop we were heading back on the flat and fast section of the ride when my spoke went ping. I tried to tie the broken spoke to another in order to carry out but the wheel was running out of alignment that it was now rubbing on the frame.
I tried to trundle to the finish - in fact if I’d had trainers on instead of cycling cleats I would have run Jonny Brownlee style to the finish - but the friction of tyre on frame caused the tyre to blow. I had to walk a short distance to the nearest landmark, which happened to be Beeston Castle, where I had to sit and wait to get picked up by one of my fellow riders who had already finished.
He cheered me by bring me a danish pastry that we always get at the finish in these events and also brought a finisher’s medal which I felt a fraud accepting because I hadn’t actually finished!
Next challenge is the much more simpler matter of a 5k at the the Liverpool Rock n Roll event where I'll be hoping to go under 24:30 mins, which may not be a big deal to some but would be an achievement in my eyes, especially given my focus is largely on the cycling these days.
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