Hard Graft

The snow seems to have held off a little in the past month, so I've been working on getting some mileage out of the bike. It's still been stupidly cold, and wet, and windy, so it's been a long way from pleasant, but it's important that I get myself moving now, so I don't suffer too much in June.

On the last weekend in January I did a training ride with Threshold. Really good day, and great confidence builder for me. There were about 50'ish riders there, and after a number of talks (Halfords, who are providing the machanical support, SIS, who are doing the 'sports nutrition' aka liquid carbohydrate, as well as a little bit from Chris Boardman and James Cracknell) we all kitted up for a ride in the cold, slightly icy West Berkshire countryside. I bit the bullet and put myself in the fast group, along with about 14 other brave souls. We were being led by a local lad, a 9-hour Ironman (which is a pretty awesome time), an SIS athlete and Cracknell himself. We very quickly managed to lose the lad who knew the route (he dropped back to help a straggler, and we missed a couple of key turnings), and found ourselves about 10 miles the wrong way, and on a main A-Road. After a bit of discussion and map-pointing we decided to head up towards Swindon, then cut back to the route. The A-Road managed to contain a fair percentage of arse-hole car/va/lorry drivers, most of who received cheery waves and verbal abuse (it would have been quite funny if one of them decided to stop...Cracknell is a big fella, and some of the other guys were well-built too, and I'm more than happy to kick when they are down), but we eventually found our way back on route, just in time for a monster 16% climb. If I'd known it was coming I would probably have failed it, but as it was I ground my way up, which was a huge mental hurdle beaten (I've previously died on 11%+ hills). We ended up going past the slower groups (who had cunningly not taken an enormous diversion), and most of our group ended up staying back with them, so at the end only 3 of the riders finished as the fast team, and I was really chuffed to be one of them. We covered about 70 miles in total, with just under a mile of vertical climb, and an average speed of 17mph.

Since then I've ben doing the mileage I can, averaging about 150 a week. I'd really like to see that moved upto about 250-300, and hopefully once the weather sorts itself out, and we get a bit more daylight I can work on making that happen. As the big countdown on my blog reminds me, it's now 110 days to go...all the transport is booked up, and it's really time to knuckle down and get the mileage in. In March I have a week off, and I plan to do 9 days of 50+ miles a day (about 3 hours in the saddle), to put in some hard work on recovery and fatigue management. Towards the end of March I have a weekend in Exmoor planned with a mate, and we are going to do laps of the UK Half Iron-Man course, with a goal of doing 100+ miles in a day, with about 3 miles of vertical elevation as some hardcore hill training.

When I'm not cycling, running or swimming, really enjoying being back into 40K. I've been going down to Spiky Club in Reading, and finding out that;
1) I suck at 40K
2) Tau are a really un-forgiving army to play

I have an impressive loss:win ratio at the moment...perfect in fact. I am un-non-beatable. as such I intend to start work on a second, and more forgiving army to help me learn the game... This time I'll be working on a Blood Angels army, as they have a new Codex out in April. I've picked up a job-lot of second hand miniatures, and planning to begin work on painting them sometime this week. What I really need is another dose of snow, as that gets me painting in double-time, however it does affect the training somewhat!