Training to DateMay 4, 2017, 8:07 am
Following my decision to take part in part of the Tour de Force in October I dusted down the turbo, got the mountain bike off the wall in the garage and installed them in the cold conservatory – an incentive to pedal a bit harder to get warm on the cold winter nights!
During late October, November and early December I got back into my old routine of an hour on the turbo every night in order to try and get the weight down a little. I had lost some 2.5 stone during my last foray on the Tour but, surprisingly, I had managed to reclaim 1.5 stone in the 18 months following. This had been a gradual increase and something that I worked hard on – drinking and eating as I used to!
In January, the weather was relatively mild and I managed to get out on the road doing a couple of gentle rides of 21 and 30 miles respectively up the Coast to Coast to Stanley and along to the Coast at Sunderland – my usual easy routes.
In early February the weather continued to be good to us and I completed another 24 mile ride into Newcastle with a couple of sustained climbs (well they were for me) just to see if I could still climb hills!
I had got back into the swing of things and was starting to enjoy it again.
18 February – first toughie!
Barrie, my new cycling buddy, and I decided to venture out on a longer ride and met up in Newcastle early in the morning. A 64 mile ride followed along the riverside at Newcastle to Corbridge, up to Slaley, along to Burnhopefield, Tanfield, Stanley and back home to Washington. A bit of a tough ride for the old man with almost 5,000 feet of climbing but also a pleasant ride in beautiful countryside and Barrie and I had plenty of time to solve the world’s problems as we chatted throughout the ride.
5 March – another venture out up the Tyne Valley
A 57 mile ride on my own in to Newcastle, along to Stamfordham, down to Stocksfield and back along the riverside to Newcastle and then home. Not quite as tough as the previous ride but still a lengthy tester with 3,500 feet of climbing.
18 March – soaked!
The weather forecast was supposed to be reasonable so up early and was just about to head into Newcastle to meet up with Barrie when it started raining. A quick text to Barrie to say it was persistently raining(!) but that I was still up for it and I waited to see if it did stop raining. Unfortunately it didn’t but, given the weather looked brighter towards Newcastle, I put my bike in the car and drove into Newcastle where I met Barrie. We set off and about 400 yards along the Quayside it started raining. It continued raining and after about 18 miles we concluded that it was not going to get any better and so we turned around and headed back into town. Not the best workout and it reconfirmed my views that cycling should not be done in the rain!
25 March – Crawleyside
An executive decision was taken on the Friday afternoon that Barrie and I would give Crawleyside a shot to see if our legs were up to it. A pre-arranged rendezvous was made at Burnhope and we set off down into Lanchester, along to Tow Law, down to Wolsingham and then on to Stanhope for a drinks break and gel intake before the climb up Crawleyside.
We weren’t 100% confident but we managed to grind our way to the top without too many issues – a real confidence booster and well worth the trip out. We then headed across the moors down to Edmundbuyers – Barrie stormed down the hill leaving me for dead (and I just about was!), before heading to Shotley Bridge where we separated and went out separate ways.
By the time I got home I had done 62 miles and over 5,500 feet of climbing.
1 April – Back to a gentle ride
No buddy to cycle with today so went off on my stock ride to Sunderland and North up the coast to South Shields and back. Nothing terribly exciting but a very pleasant and easy 50 miles.
I then headed off skiing for a week when a bit of the hard work I had achieved was undone with a lot of eating and drinking which pushed my weight back up a little bit.
23 April – Back in the saddle
A 60 mile ride up the Tyne Valley with a few diversions. Everything was going well until I arrived in Wylam to find the road up to Close House was closed. I therefore decided to follow the diversion which took me South over the river towards Ryton. I then followed the road to Clara Vale, a place I’d never been to, and not likely to again, and then over the nearby golf course. Unfortunately I did not notice it but I set off across the golf course just as someone was teeing off towards the green which was literally a few yards away from where I was cycling. Needless to say I went a bit quicker when I realised what was happening. A few minutes later I was cycling behind a couple who were obviously not golfers. The path was running parallel to the golf course and there was a fourball about to tee off just ahead of us. I thought that the couple in front would stop but they didn’t and so I took the view that I would continue right behind them much to the annoyance of the golfers – there were a few expletives!
Certainly getting there but still a bit of weight to come off and the thighs to build up a bit more. I am beginning to worry about the challenge ahead but I’m sure that I will get there and will, in any event, give it my best shot.
- May 4, 2017, 8:07 am
- Category: neil