This is still a running blog. Really! But it’s masquerading as a cycling blog at the moment. Sorry, bear with me! One more cycling post and then I’ll talk running for a bit, I promise.
Because I’m training for my first century ride (the Surf City Aids Ride in September), I though I’d do a month-by-month summary of the training I did and the learnings I’ve made so far, in the hope that it proves useful for someone in a similar situation in the future. So here’s the scoop for May and June.
- I came at this with a decent level of fitness due to running and a previous history as a cyclist, but my longest ride for five years has only been about 15 miles.
- I have a road bike (a Trek Lexa) but, at the start of June, had only put about 50 miles on it, mainly earned cycling around with my little boy.
- At present, I’m still cycling in running shoes.
I did some research online to find a free training plan for a century ride but didn’t find anything really helpful so I wrote my own. It basically included:
- One weekly spin class
- One weekly long run, starting at 30 miles and increasing (by September) to 85 miles.
- One easy bike ride
- Running 2 or 3 times per week
In true Me style, I wrote this plan and never really stuck to it exactly but it gave me a goal structure to work with.
Cycle Training this month
- 15th – 31 miles. This taught me that, fitness-wise, I was in pretty good shape for biking. It also taught me that my poor nether regions were not in shape to ride 100 miles. So that was my starting point
- 25th – 20 miles.
- 29th – 18 miles. Definitely feeling easier than that first ride.
- Spin class – cycled 10.1 miles
- Rode 35 miles at 12.1 mph
- Rode 5 miles with the family
- Spin class – cycled 13.1 miles
- Rode 3.5 miles with the family
- Spin class – cycled 13 miles
- Rode 39 miles at 12.7 mph
- Rode 2 miles with the family
- Spin class – rode 15.1 miles
- Rode 60 miles at 12.7 mph
- Spin class – rode c. 15 miles
- Rode 11 miles with the family
- (This week, I wasn’t able to get a long ride in)
Overall, I was delighted with the progress I made this month. I was particularly excited about how much further I was able to cycle in spin class within a few sessions and also at how my road-cycling speed and distance increased.
Despite my desire to buy all the cycling clothes in the world, I have tried to curb my spending and only buy the essentials. This month, I have bought the following:
Top – I finally found a decent top that I love. It’s simple, looks like a running top but has these amazing pockets at the back. I got it in my favourite colour, coral. SUPER-happy with it so far.
Shoes – I agonized about which shoes to buy but ended up buying these dog-ugly ones because they were in the sale. I do not like these shoes but people keep telling me they will ‘make such a difference’.
Notably, they are mountain bike shoes and not road shoes. I did some research as to whether or not this makes a practical difference, i.e. can you wear MTB shoes on a road bike, and basically yes you can. It makes NO actual difference. The benefits are that you can walk much more comfortably in MTB shoes than road shoes, which are notoriously difficult to walk in. Being able to walk is important to me. Also, I personally think MTB shoes are slightly less ugly than road shoes, but that’s personal.
New Pedals – Clip-in shoes require fancy pedals. I got pedals that are flat one side and clippy the other side so I can ride in running shoes if clips freak me out.
Bike Computer – Riding using my running Garmin is not ideal so I bought a nice, cheap bike computer. I have yet to install it.
I don’t THINK I shall be needing much more gear. Maybe I’m being naive.
Learnings this month
1) Don’t screw in your own pedals. Or better, learn to screw your pedals in properly, or you may break a crank irrevocably and have to get a taxi home.
2) Spin classes produce giant endorphin rushes and are more fun than I expected. I was also surprised and pleased at how much further I was cycling in a 45 min class than at the start of the month.
3) Your bottom adjusts to cycling pretty quickly.
4) Respect the distance. As I knocked 40 miles off, I was pretty confident about this century malarky. As I finished my 60-miler, I realized that I had underestimated the distance. 100 miles is a long way to ride. I am now more circumspect about the challenge and more focussed on training for it.
My challenges for July
1) Fitting cycling in. My little man is home from school all month, I am still studying and I have several other commitments this month, so it’s going to be a challenge fitting those long rides in. I’ll do my best. My goal is to still be able to ride 60 miles comfortably at the end of July so I can build up over August.
2) Riding clipped in. I don’t want to be one of those wimpy girls who squeal and shriek about it but I am honestly rather nervous about taking the clipped-in plunge. I tried clipping in and out with my bike on the trainer and honestly, felt a bit panicky. Lots of work to do here.