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Lanterne Rouge… Presque

Saturday, midday-ish, set off on my first cycle of the year with John, Gio and Mark C. Dont have a record of the route (broken Garmin 405, see last post) but we were going round the Campsies (Crow Road), Balfron and various other bits of North of Glasgow that I don’t really know much. As per usual, the eary flat part of the run went fine, giving me a chance to practice riding with a group, trying to stay on the wheel of the man in front to get the benefit of the slip-stream. Took a turn at the front, doing my bit to help the team “train” move along. Still need more practice at this part of cycling, which I really wasn’t aware of beyond knowing that it obviously helps to be in the slip-stream of the guy in front. Our first major hill, Crow Road, the group split as the more experienced riders zipped off leaving me (quite happily) slowly crawling up the hill at my own pace. Had a short refuel stop at the view-point, before pedalling on to the ‘meet at the top’ where the others were starting to cool off while waiting for me to arrive. A quick mars bar and we were off again, downhill for a good stretch, giving me a chance to try and recover from the hill. Bit more mixed (but mostly flat) roads, and I was starting to flag, seems my return to fitness was not quite as good as I had thought. A mid-cycle route meeting was had, with my decision of “whichever way is shortest, I’m knackered” resulting in the ‘short route with a small hill” chosen and we were off again. A nice route lay ahead, not that I was enjoying the scenery that much as I again took to the back (someone has to fend off the oncoming cars!) but the ‘small hill’ didn’t seem that small as I made judicious use of the lowest gears I had. Relief wasn’t far away, reaching the top for a long, long downward stretch, but the climb had taken what little energy reserves I had left. A mile or two further on and I was dropping off the back with every slight hill we hit, so a roadside conflab with Big J was in order. Daylight was fading fast, I was shattered and going on in the dark was looking a bit risky, the decision was made to ‘retire’ at around the 42 mile mark (with ~10 mile to go). The others went on, to return in a car and pick me up. Next time I’ll get to the end…

photo of Gio, Sammy, Ian and John, prior to the cyclethe gang, pre-cycle (Gio, Sammy, Ian, John)

Post-cycle, curry and LEJOG meeting at Gio’s with most of the team present, with a few jobs assigned, flights booked and progress being made.

In other news, as of today have a new GPS watch to track my runs/cycles – a Garmin Forerunner 205. Took it out on a 5 mile run after work. It picked up the satellites in seconds, tracking my route perfectly, showing my 405 was a dudd. For those interested, you can see the stats for that jaunt at http://connect.garmin.com/activity/142287368

Now if I could just translate my running pace to the bike and build up my endurance a bit more, I’ll be sorted.

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getting back in the saddle… nearly

ok, I’ve not been out on the bike for weeks, so feel a slight fraud posting this in the training section, but I have done some exercise. Friday, Sunday and tonight put in a 2.5mile run, my best just over 18 minutes tonight, so reckon I’m just about back on track to join the rest of the LEJOGers on wheels soon. Friday saw my Garmin Forerunner 405 die at the end of my run, so its on its way back to Amazon for a refund, and I’m having to resort to old tech – my ageing Timex Ironman – to keep tabs on my runs (and, yes, cycles when they happen).

Previous to these last 3 outings, I’ve done nothing for weeks. Excuses? Not great ones, but did have a fine bout of (suspected) norovirus between Christmas and Hogmanay – look it up if you don’t know what it is – but enough to say I wasn’t straying far from the bathroom… This knocked me for six, managing to drop 3kg and put my training back weeks. I was managing sub 45min 10km back in late Nov/Dec and had enough stamina built up on legs to just about keep up over a 30-40mile cycle. Still, the only way is up, and there’s a pre-LEJOG planning meeting cycle planned for Saturday. Something to aim for, though its looking likely that the delightful Takmadoon will feature. I’ve only been up that nasty hill once, on my first ever outing with Gio and John back in November, my first proper cycle since I was a teenager. I managed up it that time without either falling off or having to stop, but didn’t realise this cycling malarky was so unkind to your thighs! More practice on hills seems to be the only way forward. Can’t say I’m looking forward to that, but John has promised me it will get better…