50 miles still feels like a very long way on the bike. Way longer than I know I can manage at the moment. But that is slowly changing. Not only statistically, but I can feel the change.
I’m still only managing to get out cycling a couple of times a week. I’m pushing to make it 3 times a week, but recently it has been twice a week. Still, this last week I covered a respectable 33 miles. 12.8 miles (average 12.4mph) on Thursday evening and 20.4 miles (average 12.5mph) on Saturday.
Distance-wise, Thursday ride wasn’t anything special, I’ve covered that sort of distance a few times, but Saturday was special. Saturday marked the first time I’ve cycled past 20 miles in a single ride.
The route I took wasn’t exactly flat either. I’ve started to pick out root with some inclines in them. This particular route had an 8% climb into Blidworth. Now usually I’d see that on Strava when planning my route and think not today. But I need to start tackling these climbs. I never expected to get up it without walking, but I did and at 7mph average over the distance of 0.2 miles. It might not seem a lot, but my chest was heaving when I reach the top. The feeling of me conquering that teeny, tiny hill was amazing! It just spurred me on for the rest of the ride.
I wasn’t alone up the little hill either, a farmer and his tractor sat behind me until I got to the top. He wasn’t close, he kept his distance and just let me get to the crest of the hill. I waved him past as I could see nothing coming the other way when I got to the top. He not only past with plenty of room, but he also took the time to shout “keep going” on his way past. Thank you for the patience and encouragement, Mr Farmer.
For the most part of the ride, I was able to get into a good groove with the cadence and speed. I tried to keep at a pace and I felt I could achieve all day. I was comfortable, not pushing but not dawdling either. I kept checking the computer and it was consistently reading around 12 mph. This I was happy with, it shows progress over the last couple of months where previously I would have been doing 10 mph on average.
Seeing progress like this while cycling has given me a lease of life. I want to go out more and more. I’ve started planning different routes with the aim of heading out Tuesdays, Thursdays and a longer one at the weekend. Planning trips out around different local areas. Areas I would normally think “that’s a bit far” or “there’s a right hill to get up there”. But they’re making their way onto my routes.
I keep thinking the more I can get out, the more I will adjust to the time in the saddle. The more my legs will be used to pedalling away, getting my fat backside from A to B. The more my fat backside won’t be screaming at the lack of a seat under it. The more my weight will drop off, so my legs and backside aren’t strained as much.
As motivational as this post is… yesterday being Tuesday was a planned ride day. That has been put off, hopefully for tonight. The rain we have had in the East Midlands over the last 48 hours has been horrid. I read somewhere we’ve had a months rainfall in two days. Mix that with some really strong winds and I really didn’t want to risk being taken out by the weather.
It’s fair to say I’m a fair-weather cyclist at the moment. I don’t mind a bit of rain, but when it’s battering down like it has been doing I’d be quicker swimming a few miles instead. Maybe there is something there about a duathlon – but I’m not that adventurous.
But for now, it’s about time. Time in the saddle, on the road between now and in 59 days. I look forward to my mini adventures as I train for my 50-mile ride. Hopefully, some others do who need some inspiration to get out there. If you want to follow my rides and diet, you can find me often posting pictures of food and the outside on Instagram.