Friday, 15 March 2013

Consumed by the Challenge – #TrainingLikeTaylor

In my mind cycling is often defined by the challenges it presents. From my young daugthers trying to better their times on a lap of the local BMX track, to their middle aged father dragging his tired frame up an Alpine Col, it’s the challenge that drives us all on.
As much as I’ve resisted the lure of Strava, it’s recently taken hold, and it’s the challenges that have tipped the balance, and in particular the Training Like Taylor example. 31 hours and 51 minutes in 16 days. Some longer than normal weekend rides, complemented by extended commutes should see me through. Challenge accepted!
In the past the challenges I’ve taken on have all been relatively short, and have never lasted more than a couple of days. Ok, there has been one or two very long days in the saddle, but the end has always been in sight at the start. A challenge over three weekends was going to be a much tougher task.
Day 1 went well, but on day 2 disaster almost struck. The weather was good, and I was feeling  great. Spinning along towards the back of the group as we neared the far point of the Newport Cycling Club Reliability Ride, we approached the turn via a fast downhill section. In an instant I was off and sliding down the road, taken down by a hidden pothole! Fortunately I didn’t hit anything, or anybody else. Once I’d established that I was all still in one, albeit slightly shredded piece, my attention turned to my bike. I feared the worst, but miraculously it was relatively unscathed. A scuffed pedal, ripped bar tape, and the smallest of scratches to the rear mech. Amazing.
I might have been bloodied and bruised but I was also about 30 miles from home, so there was really only one option. Take a large dose of Rule #5, get back on the bike, and ride. The ride home took my mind off my injuries, but  getting in the bath when  I got home was agony. However, after the first two days of the challenge I had nearly 8 hours of riding clocked up!
The rest of the first week saw commutes extended whenever possible in order to chip away at the goal. Typically for the UK, the weather went downhill,  and as I was battling against a killer headwind on Thursday’s ride home I came close to throwing in the towel.  But it was just a minor blip, and another couple of hours were in the bag.
Beyond the halfway mark and the countdown can begin. Every hour ridden is an hour closer to the target. Into single figures and you’re almost there. SubZero mountain bike rides and ever longer commutes saw me within minutes of the goal. And this morning, with 2 full days to spare, I past the 32 hour mark. Take that, Mr Phinney! I’m now looking forward to a rare Saturday off the bike, it’s safe to say I’m in serious calorific defecit.
The next problem though is the same one which exists on the completion of every challenge, what’s next?

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