At the end of July I'm going to be riding the Prudential RideLondon - a 100 mile cycling event on closed roads around London and the Surrey Hills, made particularly famous during the 2012 London Olympics. Last week I realised that this event is only 14 weeks away, and so I needed to start my proper training plan sooner than later!
Each year I try to attend the RideLondon event and enjoy watching the thousands of cyclists flooding past in their bid to finish, and in most cases, raise lots of money for charities. Following the 'civvies' event then it's the turn of the pros - with over 150 professional cyclists including the likes of Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish taking to the same route in the UCI Europe Tour race known as the 'Surrey Classic'. It's an event that is basically the cycling equivalent of the London Marathon, - giving riders the rare opportunity of riding on closed roads before the pros, and to be cheered along by thousands of spectators along the route.
Getting on the bike again
It's been a while since I did any serious cycling, mostly because my confidence was knocked following a serious bout of pneumonia in 2014. Over the last year all I managed to do were quick 2-3 mile bursts into the city centre from work for meetings, but nothing more. My lungs hurt, my legs felt weak, and I stopped enjoying it. I slowly came to the conclusion that I needed a target - a goal. Something to make me focus on getting back into cycling and feeling healthier again. I signed up to the RideLondon event and chose to ride for Prostate Cancer UK hoping that the extra motivation of a charity place would spur me on. It worked.
The first serious cycle ride in over a year
Yesterday evening I donned my cycling gear, cleaned my bike, adjusted my saddle and launched myself into the unknown. I decided that rather than worrying about my speed or cadence I would just take the bike out and see how I got on, and so I left the Garmin at home (OK, it wasn't charged) and just had my phone with me running the Strava app for tracking the ride and looking at the figures afterwards. This took the pressure off and really helped me enjoy the ride at a pace that felt comfortable - not a pace that I felt I needed to be hitting.
The Strava analysis for this ride is below, and if you're a stats nerd then you can view even more details by visiting my athlete page:
Overall the ride felt good. I was quite surprised that within a few minutes I was feeling fairly confident again, and definitely free from the burden of worry that had built up for so long. By the end of the short blast around the local villages I was generally pleased with how I got on, and so I now feel I can actually start to train properly and rebuild up my strength and stamina over time, ready for the event.
Over the next weeks and months I'll be posting my cycling exploits on this blog. It's good therapy and helps me focus on the training that I need to do to do a 100 miler with confidence, and most importantly, enjoy the day.
As I said above - I'm riding this event for Prostate Cancer UK. If you feel you can, please sponsor me at www.justgiving.com/ChrisoftheHays or just leave a comment below with some encouraging words!