The Spoke June 5, 2012

What's in a training 'regime'?

As I write this, there are less than three weeks to go until 2012’s RIDE24 gets underway. This time last year, I was keeping myself occupied acquainting myself with a new bicycle and panicking about almost everything. This time around, there are no such problems. The panicking will come, of course, but I’ve got that pencilled in for a diary entry nearer the time.

Improving on last year is one thing, but first I may need to do some work to return to the 2011 levels. I can’t really remember what they were, which makes any serious analysis quite tricky, and I probably won’t really be sure until I’m cycling round Goodwood on the Saturday afternoon.

I imagine that last paragraph probably won’t be a cause for celebration in the bikebritain household. My endearing ineptitude may have charmed all and sundry last year, but doesn’t have the legs in it to last another year, and I don’t really want to have to compose one of my hilarious accounts of the event which concludes with my being politely asked never to darken the door of this website again. 

To that end, I am on a training regime. A regime. Now, ordinarily, such a thing would have features like a structure, success criteria, and an increase in output in line with the event for which one is preparing. Mine has none of those things and, as a result, is probably not a regime.

Despite this notable setback, I feel like it might work. The ‘regime’ essentially consists of me cycling as far as I can in the time available to me, whenever possible. Thus far, in addition to cycling to work and back every day, the regime has manifested itself in round-trips from Bermondsey to Billericay and Tunbridge Wells, locations picked on a map for the simple reason that I had not been there before (or for a long time) and I could do the trip on a Saturday morning.

Living in London is a bit of a handicap. It takes forever to get out of the smog and the endless traffic lights which can be very frustrating when you are trying to prepare for an event which doesn’t really feature a great deal of either. I’ve considered taking my bicycle on a train to somewhere more suitable and starting from there (I don’t own a car) but I have a terrible record with such matters, not least when trying to get my bicycle home from last year’s RIDE24. More on that later. To counter these elements, I have been setting off at times I had forgotten existed. My trip to Billericay and back was done and dusted in time for me to sit down and watch the Test Match.

It’s been a revelation, both in terms of my own enjoyment and the feeling that it is doing me some good in preparing for the event. I’m going to try and fit in several more of these excursions before the big day. Or days. Then I might stop, in case bikebritain decides that this means I am ripe to participate in other bonkers events. I’d be happy to set the bar at a London to Brighton, but am concerned I might be lined up for a Cycle Oregon or the Death Ride in California.

Last year, the London to Brighton cycle ride happened on the same weekend as RIDE24. I did not know this beforehand, but by the time I got home afterwards, I certainly did. I don’t think I’m exaggerating to say that when you’ve just participated in an endurance cycling event, you really want to be at home quite quickly afterwards. I had an 80 minute train ride ahead of me, but I was prepared for this, a necessary evil in the whole ‘getting home’ hoopla. Conversely, what you want much less is getting to Chichester station to find that it’s a bus replacement service all the way to Hove and the bus driver is fairly disagreeable to letting you and your bicycle on board. Then, after Swazy kindly delivered me to Hove, realising that the London to Brighton means you can’t take a bicycle north until the next day (and even then you’re in a queue) is the sort of kick in the teeth that requires major dental reconstructive surgery. I ended up having to ditch the Trek with a friend in Brighton, arriving during and, due to my unusual feat ending up the guest of honour at, his son’s second birthday party, a sleep-deprived, sweaty mess. Collecting the Trek a few nights later, I vowed that such events would not be allowed to repeat themselves, and imagined this was the high-ground from which I would announce that I would be unable to participate in RIDE24 2012. So, Oscar, I wish you a happy birthday for a couple of weeks time. My gift to you is that the events no longer clash. It might be the best gift you ever get. From me, anyway.

Words - Lukey

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