Last weekends ride was a really good one for me. In fairness I did struggle with the pace set by Malcolm at the beginning but then I always seem to find the first hour the hardest and things generally get easier after that point. Once I got into my stride I was pretty comfortably keeping the pace on what was our fastest group ride to date.
This week I didn't get out until Wednesday afternoon and after a few nights not sleeping particularly well, I had to force myself to get out to make sure the miles kept ticking over towards my monthly goal.
I felt sluggish from the beginning and where normally that shakes itself off I couldn't manage it on Wednesday and I just felt pretty rough. My legs really didn't want to know. It was a slog to be honest but I carried on and eventually managed 58.6km. I'd be lying if I said I enjoyed it – it was windy and I just didn't have it in me on the day.
I also had a couple of moments along the way – throwing a chain off for the first time going up a hill going from the big ring to the small one. Then a more confessional moment when I was trying to get a banana out of my back jersey pocket whilst riding. I lost my balance and ended up veering into a ditch at about 25kmh. Fortunately I only got the front wheel in and managed to stop spectacularly without falling off – I did feel like a complete fool in case you're wondering. It was indicative of the ride though.
If I'd felt tired before hand, afterwards before dinner I lay on the couch with the kids who were watching TV and I nearly fell asleep. I can't remember the last time I felt like that after a ride.
The best thing about this ride apart from finishing it was that it moved me to only 30km from my goal for this month of 620km, which in turn would take me to 2,500km for the year so far.
Last night I had a call from Warren who said he had the day off and wanted to know if I would join him for a ride this morning. We arranged to meet in our usual place at 9am. Foolishly I made a strategic error in my preparation and didn't change to my Easton wheels (my lightest ones) before I left the house. I'm not great at mornings and had enough challenge doing breakfast for myself and the kids before I got on the road just after 8.20am. So it was my heavy wheels for today's ride.
One of the strange things about my riding at the moment is that although I seem to be struggling a bit physically, mainly just feeling tired, my speed is good. Even this morning getting to meet Warren I was a minute faster than I'd ever been getting there and I wasn't trying too hard. So the speed seems to be ok which is a silver lining. After today's ride of 66.44km and 860m of climbing the speed is still reasonable but I'm just battling to feel strong on the bike.
Warren was on good form and I definitely held him back today which I haven't really done since we met in April. It was a beautiful morning though and it was lovely to be out on the bikes.
I've put my Easton wheels back on for the weekends ride (weather allowing) as they do help me.
I think my problem might have a couple of strands to it. Firstly I've done more cycling in the last 4 months (2,200km) than I've ever done in such a short period in my entire life. In 2008 I did 400km in the entire year. This month I've done 650km with one more ride to do. So perhaps part of it is just good old fashioned fatigue.
I'm lucky enough to have a couple of young kids but they regularly disrupt my sleeping (and I go to bed too late most nights) – so again fatigue seems reasonable.
Lastly, after my bike fit, I'm using my legs differently (engaging more of the muscles) and Adrian who did the fit suggested I take it a bit easier for a while to allow myself to adjust. I haven't taken it easy though – pretty much every time I go out I'm pushing the pace as much as I reasonably can without overdoing it – so I might be pushing a bit hard too soon.
I'm planning for a slightly quieter August though, so I'm sure that will help. We're going to France for a couple of weeks and although I'm taking my bike I won't be riding too far or often. I'm only looking to do about 450km in August so that will help and I'm sure my legs will get the hang of the new bike position soon too.
I enjoyed my ride today, much more than on Wednesday and I'm looking forward to getting out tomorrow. I'm mostly delighted with my progress and my results – I've had a couple of "bad" rides in the last few weeks, but mostly I'm continuing to make progress.
More soon – thanks for reading.