Highs and Lows - Resolutions Update

Time for another update on my New Years Resolutions, as I've gone through a few more deadlines!

1) Sub-23 minute 10 mile Time Trial - Actually managed to complete one! I went through a protracted process of ordering some COMPLETELY LEGITIMATE wheels from China, which involved a lot of emails, and dealing with some very strange credit card security. End result was that I took delivery of a large box at work with 2 sets of deep section carbon wheels (with a brand name that had no bearing on the actual manufacturer), and some aero handlebars for my road bike. Main thing about the wheels is that they take "clincher" bike tyres, which are the ones that most people use (so you can change your own punctures, and they take inner tubes), while my old TT tyres took "tubular" (or tubs), which are 1-part tyres, with the inner tube sewn in, and then the tyre is glued to the wheel rim. These typically cost £80-100 to repair a puncture.

So, with my bike newly blinged up, I headed off to the A4 one Tuesday night, and took part in the Reading CC Time Trials. My previous PB (set last year) was 24 mins and 25 seconds. I beat that by almost a minute, but it's not a sub-23 minute time. I only found out afterwards that I hadn't pumped the tyres up enough (due to the depth of the rim, there is a valve extender, and this means the pressure gauge on my track pump does not work properly...). They should be at 110-120psi, but they were actually at 60psi...oops! I went and did a 25-mile TT on the same course the week after, and went through 10 miles in pretty much the same time, and then held on to do a sub 1-hour time. This was my first ever 25-mile TT, so really happy to get under the hour.

I have 3 more attempts at a sub-23 min TT (by picking the fast courses Reading CC do), and they are all scheduled into my riding plan. The 23:28 time has given me confidence that this might actually be achieveable, though I'll still need a bit of luck with conditions.

2) Sub 5-hour 100 mile ride (really hoping for that RideLondon place!) - Got my start time for RideLondon (6:27am...ouch, and I need to be there an hour before).

I did the London Revolution 2-Day Sportive (100 miles on day 1, and 90 miles on day 2) in late May. I recorded the 3rd fastest time for the first day, and the fastest time for the second day, as well as the fastest time overall. Utterly chuffed with this, and it's a great vindication of my recovery (everyone else was watching football, I was in the physio area stretching and working my leg muscles out).

Both days were hilly (about 1900 metres of climbing Day 1, and 1400 metres on day 2), and with open roads, and the fact that I did the entire thing solo (no joining packs, no drafting) I'm really pleased with the times. RideLondon is a lot flatter, and with closed roads, and plenty of drafting opportunities I think 5 hours is achievable (fingers crossed for good conditions!

3) Achieve Power/Weight ratio of 5, maintain throughout the season (April - September) - This one is almost certainly going to fail. My weight has crept up slowly, and I'm not at about 68.5kg, while my target weight is 64kg. I'm being philosophical about this...I've been doing a lot of miles, and I don't think it's viable for me to have a strict diet control, and rack up 200-300 miles of cycling a week.

I'm trialling using a coach to shape my training plan. I've gone for a company called Dig Deep Coaching, as they wrote the training plan I used over winter. I've been assigned to an ex-Pro called Tom Murray, and we're about 6 weeks in to a 12-week block (which ends with RideLondon, and a 10-Mile TT attempt). Generally it's going OK, and I'm finding it good motivation to get out and complete sessions, as you have accountability to the coach for failed/sub-standard efforts. The next 6 weeks are focused on 3 sportives I have scheduled, and the 10-mile TT attempts.

4) Beat every hill I face - On target. I've done the Mallorca trip (see 7 below), and did about 11,000m of climbing as part of 550km of riding in 6 days. 2 huge climbs are included there...Puig Major and Sa Calobra (both took ~45 minutes to complete). My endurance fitness is currently pretty good. Got 2 hilly sportives in the next month (The Magnificat, a 128-miler that covers the South Downs, and the Woodcote Classic, which is only 82 miles, but finds most of the ramps in the Chilterns).


5) Read works by 4 new authors - I've read a couple of books by Jules Verne (The Mysterious Island, and 20,000 Leagues under the Sea). Disappointing, especially after I found Arthur Conan Doyles stuff so good. just started "The Martian" by Andy Weir, and it's had a promosing start!

6) (vague) Be aware of new music, add to collection where appropriate - not done too much on this one...again, missed this one a bit. C-, could do better.


7) Survive holiday with Gill's family - DONE! Went really well (apart from one thing I'll come on to). I'd suggest not flying Monarch. Check-In queue took nearly 2 hours, they lost a bag on the way out, and on the way back we were hanging round for about 2 hours for our bags to re-appear.

I spent the mornings cycling around the island...getting up and out very early to avoid the heat. The afternoons were spent round the pool, or sleeping. Generally it was great, and had great fun. On the last ride, the day before we flew, I did a gentle 25km ride to fluch out the legs, and with 5km to go crashed (turned into a road which was just gravel, front wheel washed out, and I went down), landed straight onto the hip. Bike was fine, and I crawled the 5km home, but the hip bruised up. It's a classic Hip Pointer injury, and for the last week I've been unable to train at all. For a couple of days I could barely walk, however it's responding well to treatment (ice, rest, anti-inflammatories, and last night I had a sports physio do some work around it to release some of the muscles that had seized up. I'm confident that over the weekend I can do some gentle sessions, and come Monday I should be back to full bike training.

8) Adopt and maintain a long-term healthy diet - this again is a slight struggle, especially at the weekends, where I'm doing endurance training sessions that burn 2500-3000 calories...it's pretty hard to refill on healthy food, you need to get calorie-dense stuff inside you. I think my current plan is to be as good as I can realistically be until September/October, and then go back to strict calorie counting to drop the weight back down.