Evans Ride It Cannock 2018

Good weather forecast for Sunday turned sour on Saturday night - this was going to be wet, wet, wet.

Packed the car in the rain.  Drove an hour in the rain.  Assembled the bike and registered in the rain.  Set off in the rain.  Rode all the way around in the rain.  Finished in the rain. 

Got home, rain stopped.

The organisers had already cut out the Long Route option - 80miles+ in rain just wouldn't be fun.  I switched to the 30 mile Short option to keep my exposure down to a couple of hours.

Event HQ was in a forest, down a track which meant the first/last 200metres of the course was on forest gravel track.  Well jacketed up I had a brief briefing and then sent on my way  - just about the last one to leave but caught up various soggy participants pretty soon.

Have I mentioned the rain?  Not cold, not windy but after a while it got to me - you kind of shrivel up inside your rain jacket and "cope".  Unfortunately that means you aren't going very fast and that means you start to get cold. 

Luckily the food stop arrived just in time (about an hour in) and re-energised with jelly beans I resolved to "push on" in an attempt to generate some internal warmth, and finish the event off as quickly as possible.

Another soggy rider completes
 Managed to pass quite a few pairs of riders on this more determined leg of my ride and found a single easy climb back up on to the Chase to give me confidence that I was nearing the end.  One disturbing thing I noticed - my leggings were oozing soap.  Clearly the last washing machine rinse had been less effective than the current "rinsing" I was getting on the ride.   

I'd have got less wet inside a washing machine.

Pretty low key end was fine and Evans had set up a rough changing room so it was possible to get dry.  Immediately on finishing I experienced the only pleasure such a ride affords - the pleasure of it being over - "I'm glad that's over" and then once changed the intense pleasure of having dry socks and a hot cup of coffee - life made simple, forget your worries, you've got dry socks and that's enough for now.

Big climbs in France and Italy

Here's a round up of blog posts from climbs I've done:

Stelvio


This big Italian one - be prepared for the village at the top - link


Agnello


You may not have heard of this one but it's 2,000m+ of climbing so how could I resist?


Maratonna climbs

I did 'em all so here's a series of posts on this spectacular area:








Winter Training

How to stay motivated through the cold and dark?  How to get better for next season?


"Gold medals are won in the winter, you just pick them up in the summer".

OK.  How to do this?  Conventional training means building your "base" miles - long, slow rides - hours of time on the bike - all about increasing your long-term endurance.  Then in the spring you switch to shorter, more intense training to get your speed up and your hill climbing ability ready for that early season sportive.

Sounds good, but is super-hard to do.  As the temperature drops, the daylight disappears and the rain comes in slant-wise that 2nd hour of slow riding looks less and less "fun". 

How about doing something different?  How about changing it around?  Lets do short rides in the winter?  Make them fast ones, with intervals.  Lets do hill repeats.

Lets keep warm, lets keep interested.  Lets get back home before its dark.  Lets keep riding regularly.