Monday, 7 January 2013

Karen writes: SRAM cycle

I've signed up for the 2013 SRAM Tour de ranges cycle ride round the Hunua Ranges, it's advertised as 'the most beautiful ride of the year'.  Kate is busy that weekend so she wont be coming but we did this route in November and we reported that it was spectacular but all HILLS and more hills.  This ride distance doesn't really fit with my training plan, which asks for a 130km long ride that week not 110, but using the power of justification, I figure since hills are so much harder than flat riding the 15% shorter ride will be just fine.
The thing with long rides is that they are by definition...long.  It is also now summer so rides are usually hot and with Auckland weather you can often expect windy conditions at some point on most routes, especially coastal ones. For a slow cyclist like me getting any sort of distance is also extremely time consuming and its hard to be cheerful getting in the saddle knowing you have 5, 6 or 7 hours ahead of you of just pedal eat pedal eat pedal eat.  So by entering this event one of those long rides has suddenly become much more appealing, I get to participate in a bit of hype, see some top cyclists line up, the gun will go off delivering a shot of adrenalin at the start and then I can then bumble along for 5 or so hours, free of responsibility knowing I'm not out by myself being the only mad rider on the road.  Hopefully I can talk to other back of the pack riders and best of all there will be water-stops so I don't have to lever myself off the bike and clip clop into a shop with the shopkeepers looking at me like I am going to rob the place or sweat unnecessarily on the clean floor.

This will also be a chance to test Ironman nutrition, because being in an event does something to your insides that just pottering around training by yourself doesn't, perhaps its being in a state of natural anxiety before a 'race' or perhaps its the inclination to push a tiny bit harder when there are other people around who look like they are struggling and should be slower than you (but usually aren't). There can also be a physical stress from being out in a more adverse situation than usual because when you pay money you turn up whatever the conditions, whereas on a normal session you minimise discomfort, like go early if it's hot weather, shift to another day if it's windy or rainy.  Whatever the reason, if I get a stomach ache or run out of energy it is usually in an actual event, not when I'm dawdling around the backroads of Clevedon with the option of heading for home the minute things get a bit hard.

So here are my long cycle distances over the next 7 weeks and 4 days - 120km, SRAM 110km, 140km, 160km, 110km, 140km, and 100km. To tell the truth though, I suspect I wont be doing that last 100km before Ironman. Hey, I just said '7 WEEKS', that means only 5 more weeks of real training, getting fitter and staying uninjured.  Wow, last time I looked we were still in double figures!