About me: I am currently 47, I was ok fitness wise at the start of the year, I play hockey regularly and was doing 2 or 3 tough circuit training classes a week. I used to road bike lots when I was younger. I had mountain biked a fair bit during my my “middle ages”. I bought my first road bike for many a year in 2012, a Specialized Allez and started to go out more and more on road, and less and less Off.
Once I signed up for the C2C it was time to spend more time on the bike. As a basic rule I wanted to do a set amount of miles a week, increasing that amount through spring and into summer.
I planned to do three tough 100 mile plus rides that included over 10,000 feet of climbing.
I also joined the Alba Rosa Cycling club at the end of 2013 and they run regular club rides on a weekend as well as specific training nights, I planned to attend at least one ride a week. In reality I found their Tuesday night ChainGang training worked well for me. 32 miles at a fast pace in formation averaging close or over 20mph.
The aim here was to do at least 50 miles a week, which I’m glad to say I managed to exceed most weeks.
This graphic below is the training log from Strava
I had some time off early April as I was also training for and taking some ski instructor exams, so once they were out of the way I was back in the saddle with a new weekly goal of 100 miles.
Once again the graphic from Strava, culminating in the C2C in a day at the top. I’ll pick out some of the bigger rides after this graphic.
There are four noticeable rides in the above list which I think really helped set me up for the C2C in a day.
The routes are:
Kidstone and Fleet Moss http://www.strava.com/routes/600335
Wiggle Tour of the Peak route http://app.strava.com/routes/600347
Tour de France Stage 1 and back to Leeds http://app.strava.com/routes/600358
Hills, cobbles out west http://app.strava.com/routes/600362
First one in May at 113 miles included decent climbs up Kidstones and Fleet Moss. Fleet Moss was very, very steep at the top after a long slog. The feeling was if I could get up this I would be ok for Hardknott, which turned out to be true.
Fleet Moss is one of the “100 top UK climbs” with stats from Strava as follows
Strava segment: http://www.strava.com/segments/6687966
The second big training ride was a few weeks later, following the Wiggle Tour of the Peak route and was an eye opener to eating properly. This was 114 miles with 11,150 ft of elevation.
It included some “Official 100 climbs” including Winnats Pass
and Holme Moss
The route had loads of decent other climbs which don’t make the Official 100 including the Cat and Fiddle, the Rake and many others in the area.
I didn’t eat enough and my pace dropped right off at the 80 mile stage. The learning for me was to eat little and often. For all future long rides I ended up eating every 30-45 mins after the first hour.
I wanted to eat real food, what worked for me from this day onwards was wraps with cream cheese and ham rolled up and cut into three. I also took peanut butter and Nutella wraps also cut into three and supplemented with malt loaf and bannanas.
I also added in Torq Energy Drink Powder and Torq Gel Sachets which I used near the end of the bigger rides.
At the end of May we planned to do 135 miles and the Tour de France Stage 1 loop was the obvious choice, with the extra miles being made up cycling back to Leeds from Harrogate.
With proper eating this ride felt fine and we both felt we could have done a further 15 and hence were confident about the C2C in a day now. This was 135 miles with 10,558 ft of elevation.
The weekend before I did a smaller distance but similar elevation in some very hot temperatures. So this was “just” 88 miles but with 10,157 feet and was a tough ride including my first CAT 2 hill.
Other non-Cycling Training
I carried on doing circuit training up until May then really just cycled, apart from doing plenty of core (back and front) exercises throughout June.
The Big Day
The ride went very well, it was certainly tough but I managed all the climbs without stopping or dabbing so that was Goal 1 completed.
Goal 2 was to complete the event in under 12 hours, which I am also pleased to say I also succeeded
Goal 3 was to stay awake long enough for a pint after giving up beer in June and that was also ticked off!