My next big event is the VÄTTERNRUNDAN 300 KM in Sweden. For those of you who aren't familiar with this it is 180miles of cycling overnight, around Lake Vättern, Sweden in June.
There are 2 challenges here! 1 - cycling 180 miles, 2 - cycling overnight!
So, this requires some training. Usually March is a time when spring begins, the sun comes out and miles on your bike become far more pleasant. This year the weather appears to have had other ideas and March was a snow and frost filled month that has eventually given way to a very wet April. Now I'm not talking April showers, I'm witnessing whole roads turning into potential open water swimming venues.
This is making cycling a little less pleasurable than it could be...
I recently took part in the London Phoenix Easter Classic - 72 miles of cycling around the Essex countryside on Easter Monday. Sound lovely hey? The weather had other ideas, it poured with rain in the days preceding the event and then rained even harder overnight just for good measure. This left roads that resembled rivers for the event.
Still, feeling quite hardy I still decided to give the event a go along with a few members of my cycling club Romford CC. 5 of us started, 3 members were doing the short route (35 miles) and myself and my friend Hasan did the long route, the roads were wet, but the weather wasn't too unpleasant for the first few miles, so we were quite optimistic. After the routes split though it was a different story! It rained, the roads were already flooded, we had to do an interesting bike/swim through a rather deep flood in the road at one point filling my shoe covers with water. Shortly afterwards my friend Hasan got a puncture and the with the amount of water that poured out of his tyre we joked that we could have kept pet goldfish in there! 3 punctures between us and a lot of soggy cycling later we eventually got back to the event HQ resolving that the route would have been quite pretty if the weather was good and we would potentially consider riding it ourselves another day. Miles in the legs, but the enjoyment was a little lacking!
I have now received my Primal Europe Ambassador kit and it is gorgeous! Did you know Primal do some great custom clothing. As with most cycling kit designed for spring/summer wear it is a jersey and bib shorts, and I have been desperate to get a chance to wear it! This weekend despite the miserable weather I decided that I would wear my kit regardless, and I love it! I did need to borrow my boyfriends Primal Europe Inertia cycling cap though as it matched my kit so so well... Maybe I need to buy one to match?
I headed out on Sunday with the cycle club and took a few new riders on an intro loop before heading back out on my own to play a strange game of tag, trying to catch the club before they got back into our local area, this gave me a few miles on my own to work on my pace a little.
This week I will be keeping my exercise quite light as I am taking part in Brighton Marathon next weekend. Then the cycling training will begin in earnest.
To help train myself for riding through the night I am volunteering as a Ride Angel on the Ride the Night events on the 5th and the 26th May 2018. I previously volunteered for this role in 2016 and really enjoyed it. These are female only events fundraising for Women V Cancer. Participants ride 100km from Windsor racecourse through central London and Back to Windsor to fund raise for charity. As a Ride Angel I will be riding the route as well, offering support and encouragement and helping anyone who gets into difficulty, repairing punctures etc. It really is a great event and as it has been so popular in recent years this year they are running it twice, so I get 2 sleepless nights in May!
I am holding out hope that the weather will improve soon, but in the meantime, I will keep plodding along through the rain, knowing that the rewards of being fit when the weather turns will be great. I have also just ordered some more Primal spring/summer kit, quite optimistic that one day I will get to wear it!
Have you carried on cycling through the winter or have you resorted to the turbo trainer until the weather is warmer and drier?