Tuesday 21 May 2013

Extreme Weight Loss....

One kind sponsor has promised so-much per pound weight lost between Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the end of the Tour de Force.  But I think neither he nor I intended it to go to such extremes..

I was in Alderney harbour at the weekend, on our boat, having sailed over there for the weekend.  Just prior to going ashore, I checked the mooring and saw it had jumped out of the roller and was chaffing.  I tried to haul it back, but just as I lifted the rope, the boat was lifted by a wave bringing the rope hard down on the steel  edge of the anchor roller.  Unfortunately, my left middle finger was caught under the rope and the last inch or so was avulsed (look it up!).

A trip to Alderney hospital confirmed it had taken 1/2 the last finger bone, and needed to be tidied up properly to heal.  We searched the front of the boat, but the tip was probably in the sea.  A few alternatives were suggested, but in the end it was better to sail back overnight (Nelson style) and then get it dealt with in the UK.  It's now been cleaned, 'debrided' and dressed, and the healing process can begin.

This is the finger now now.  I have picture of the finger just after the accident, but it's really too gruesome to post here.  Let me know if you really want to see...

Tuesday 14 May 2013

Getting Closer...

It's not very long now until I head to Corsica to start Le Tour.  5 and a bit weeks.  On the cycling front, I feel fairly well prepared.  I've felt fine at the end of the long rides I've done, and am going quicker than I have for a few years - provided that I eat enough!  I am probably asking for trouble by saying that.  I think the problems (and there will be many....) will be more related to the following:
- General wear-and-tear on the bike and body
- No recovery time so minor niggles can't heal.
- Weariness not just from the cycling but the coach travel, new hotels having to sort out food, washing, bike issues etc.
-  Making sure that I stay upright on the bike and don't hit anything.

I've looked in detail at the schedule, and I'm thinking of the event in 4 sections:
- 3 day warm-up in Corsica - heat will be a real issue here
-  5 days across the south of France ending with the Pyrenees
-  6 days of La France Profonde going almost directly from Brittany to Provence
-  6 days of Alps and the end.
In other words, 4 nice cycling holidays strung into 1!

I'm sure there will be many moments of exhaustion, pain and despair - but at the moment the one I'm dreading the most is the long day to Mont Ventoux.  I've been on Ventoux twice and the mountain leads 1 1/2: 1/2 on points at the moment.  On both those occasions, it came after about 80-90 miles cycling.  This time, however, it comes after about 120 miles of riding.

I met Rick Wates last week to try to persuade him that WWMT should support Chiltern Lighthouse - the charity of which I'm a trustee.  No definite answer yet.  I'm ramping up the fund-raising effort at the moment, so if you are thinking of supporting me - please do it now!

Thursday 2 May 2013

Getting Out there

Finally winter has ended and conditions have improved for riding.  For the 1st time this year, I ventured out on my bike wearing shorts as opposed to  long tights.  Oddly enough, it seems to make me go much faster, and I was substantially quicker on my standard 2 hour ride.  Any idea why shorts make you go quicker?  Anybody else notice this?

The wonders of GPS and the Internet have combined to produce Strava, allowing one to get competitive against people who you've never met, will probably never meet and who have no interest in me or how fast I cycle.  Is this a good thing?  It certainly allows me to obsess about a multitude of details about otherwise unremarkable rides.  Why, for instance, was I slower up Kop hill yesterday than the day before?  Is having a pulse of 160 for 20 minutes a good thing?  The trends on Strava are clear however - on very gentle, non-technical pieces of road, I am quite good!  However, as soon as the gradients get steeper, gravity takes its toll, and I slip down the rankings.  'Twas ever thus.

A winter of doing ergos has left aerobically fairly fit - with my 1hour erg score about the same as 5 years ago.  From now on, I think the training should focus on time on the bike - trying to get used to the hours in the saddle.  I reckon there will be many problems on the 3500km around France - but few will be related to lack of top-end speed!