On the 14th July I participated in a cycle that was just over 116 miles! My time was 7.15 hours- but considering I have only cycled as far as 65ish miles…. to nearly do double that was definitely a shock to the system!! I was just chuffed to finish. I was knackered. My legs felt like planks of wood. On a day as it was… with the sun shining during our own British Heat Wave- just made the course so much harder than it already is!
Full credit to the athletes and cycling enthusiasts who go out most weekends and cycle that amount of mileage. I honestly just don’t know how you manage to maintain that much enthusiasm, concentration, mental and physical stamina to endure the climbs and downhills of cycling. The first part of the course, the Coastal Route was alright, getting into the swing of things and having the views, getting my average pace consistent and being careful with my energy.. but then as soon as I get about 30 miles in- boredom. I’m so bored, sat in the same place in the same position, knowing I have hours to go… yeah I just have to realise that cycling is a chore for me, not a pleasure- but then again what endurance training ever feels like a pure pleasure?
I’m thinking to myself, if the training is hard-both mentally and physically then surely on the Ironman day I will be fully prepared. Don’t get me wrong I don’t care what the course throws at me on the day, I’ll do it. Yeah there were times during the course I felt so tired, I wanted to stop as the lactic acid was filling my legs but I kept going and didn’t stop. As long as you don’t stop and keep moving forward – thats all that matters. I think that if you can adopt the right mental attitude and still train on days where you don’t want to, you’re ahead.
I didn’t have any pockets or cycling pouches for my gels, protein and sweets. I used a bum bag very similar to my personal first aid bag in work 😉 and wrapped it around my handle bars. With this long cycle though, I realised I need preempt when my energy levels will drop and nip it in the bud before hand. An interesting fact is that your brain will get depleted of its glycogen stores about 20 minutes before your body, but even if you start to notice a dip in your cognitive function, you’ve probably left it a little late. It’s about maintaining a level of energy intake to avoid plateau, however for me this “should” be fairly straight forward… in laymans terms… EAT!
Nice to finish with these views though!