Wow, who could believe we are into lambing season already, yes I’ve recently some beautiful lambs out on my last few rides. How quickly has this year flown. I am very pleased to say that my mum is back to full health and enjoying life again. So, determined to kick start the year well, I’ve been lucky enough to get away with my bike a couple of times already this season; a bit of sun is always welcome early on in the year.
Starting off with a fantastically hot week in Calpe, circa 20 degrees daily, 6 days cycling in shorts/jerseys so early in the year was a pleasure. I went to Calpe last year in March, and the weather was cold and generally wet, the amount of cycling I managed was not great either, it’s amazing how much weather can impact the enjoyment of cycling. I think it’s probably fair to say I much prefer warmer weather for cycling but it doesn’t stop me from getting out in the cold and wet here in the UK, I just endure it rather than enjoy it! Whilst out in Calpe I found using the PH 1500 tablets from Precision Fuel & Hydration both on and off the bike really helped with hydration and being able to maintain a good level of cycling each day without feeling really tired or dehydrated. I could also feel the benefit of all those Zwift Donny Chain Gang sessions I had been doing prior to Xmas. It was a great time to be out there as many, well nearly all, the pro teams were also out there on training camps. It is quite humbling to see them whizz past you, knowing that they aren’t going full pelt. I did get quite a surprise though when I asked one team member how many more hill repeats they were having to do on a particular hill I was riding up, ‘another 8 times today’ was the reply!! This really shows the dedication it takes to be a professional rider these days, I think once was enough in one day for me.
So 10 days after Calpe I was jetting off again, this time to Lanzarote, island of sun and wind with some additional unseasonal rain this time round. The resort I stayed at had forgotten, or conveniently not, heated the outdoor pool, so cold water swimming it is then. The daily early morning swims I had planned were now in the afternoon to ensure that there might be some heat from the sun (or at least when you got out of the pool). I also had to ensure I managed two longish runs if I was to follow my training plan for the half marathon I planned to run 4 weeks after returning. Fortunately, the 2 days the weather was particularly bad gave me the opportunity for those longer training runs. The rest of my time was spent cycling, using the same approach to hydration and fuelling I had used in Calpe allowed me to consistently ride without feeling drained. One of my favourite rides on the island is up the Fire Mountains and around El Golfo, the ride didn’t disappoint.
The Lucky Clover Half Marathon day also arrived; it was a run in the Suffolk countryside billed as one of the most scenic runs around. The website mentioned that the route was all on road, great as I’m not really an off road runner and didn’t give any elevation. As the run was in Suffolk I had rather assumed that the course would be generally flat so I thought my training on hills at a slower pace in Yorkshire should serve me well. I followed the race day plan provided by Precision Fuel & Hydration, so felt adequately prepared. As I had to travel a couple of days beforehand to get to Suffolk I looked at the weather, it looked to be cold and wet, so I packed accordingly. Big mistake, the actual day was warm but very windy so I was way overdressed and I had no other option but to wear what I had brought. The terrain was not pan flat as I had expected but surprisingly undulating, especially the second half, with the last mile off road on mud, not my favourite. So despite the good preparation I didn’t manage to get that PB, not that I had expected it so early in the season. The countryside and villages were very pretty which made up for it and the cake at the end was very welcome.
I have a few learning points from the last few months:
- Ensure you plan your hydration and fuel needs around the event/s you are planning
- Take a mixture of kit with you to accommodate for a variety of weather
- Verify and check out the elevation and terrain of the event
Very soon the time trial season will be in full swing and I’m quite keen to get back into having a go.
Thanks for reading and until next time,