So, this week the postman brought me the news that I have been successful in the ballot and have a place for the 2019 Prudential Ride London 100.
Those who have read this blog will know that my debut in last year’s edition of the sportive was far from a happy one after being knocked off my bike by some fool in Richmond Park. It was only a month ago that I recounted my displeasure with that day and made the statement that I was done with mass participation sportives.
The success in the ballot stirred something. In the days after the confirmation arrived it really gnawed at my brain, the nagging feeling that I had unfinished business with the Ride London 100. I couldn’t forget that I hadn’t been able to do the hills, it annoyed me that I hadn’t been able to enjoy it and put my best effort in due to the crash and the buckled wheel and I can’t shake the feeling that I don’t deserve the finishers medal that I got.
So, today, I confirmed my place for the 2019 edition of the sportive, I’m going to give in another go to banish the bad memories that I have of this event
I’ll be better prepared this time, I’ll be more vigilant and hopefully it won’t rain!
The best thing about this? It looks as though BOTH the fat blokes will be riding the event this year as Adam is in the process of signing up on a charity spot with The Rainbow Trust. It’s another chance for us to raise some funds and have a good time doing it.
Better get some training in…..
I’ve dabbled with Zwift over the last couple of years but I’ve certainly not put as much time into it as some people (hence my current standing at Level 10), in fact I’ve only just opened the Jungle course on Watopia and Alpe du Zwift is another 2 levels away for me! I’ve referenced my issue with this in another post, for the now £13.99 a month I think I should have access to everything1 That, however, is by the by where this post is concerned.
I have been going to the gym regularly, twice a week, for two years now but, although I have seen some pretty significant changes in my body shape and overall fitness, I haven’t really ever felt like I was doing anything that was focused and targeted. Recently I have changed my habits and I can already feel some considerable differences. My Tuesday gym hasn’t changed so much; some stretches, core work, light weights, leg raises and then a 5k run on the treadmill. Thursday is where I have made the change, I’ve turned to Zwift in my shed rather than heading into the gym to work on my base cycling fitness.
Now, in the past, I’ve gone and smashed out an hour and a half on Zwift, aimlessly pedalling around whatever world was on rotation and then spent the rest of my day wondering what (if any) benefit there was to that effort. This time I have been using the Zwift workouts and I can already tell the difference, the under 1 hour workouts are extremely time efficient and you leave the trainer knowing you’ve benefitted from the effort. My favourite, for my Thursday mornings, is the SST (Short) workout
SST stands for “Sweet Spot Training”, essentially getting you to hit a level that will build your base cycling fitness, it is all based on your overall FTP score so you will need to measure that in game beforehand (and that is tough!). The workout warms you up, then mixes four periods of five minutes at 96% of your FTP with four periods of five minutes at 88% of your FTP. You definitely get a great return for your time, without being taken into the red, so it is ideal for a pre-work workout.
The second workout I tried was an interval workout called ‘The Wringer’ and, my god, I thought I was going to pass out! It included 12x 30 second bursts of effort at 400w based on my (very low) FTP score. I managed 8 before my legs told me they weren’t going to comply with any more requests!
I was glad that I tried this but disappointed that I hadn’t managed to finish it. I wanted to do more intervals as I’ve heard they are extremely beneficial so, with one eye on completing The Wringer in the future, I made my own Zwift workout……meet the Mini Wringer!
I used the full wringer as a guide and reduced the interval watts to give me a chance of completing the whole workout. I dropped them from 400w to 350w and I’m glad to say I completed all 10 reps, but even better was that I could feel the exertion in my legs so it was testing enough to ensure that the workout wasn’t a waste of time. The SST workout will remain my go to workout with the intervals coming in where I cannot get out on the road due to time or the weather.
I also got to ride the New York course for the first time today. Yes, that’s how little I have used Zwift till now. I did the Central Park loop and it seemed like a nice course although I have to admit that the futuristic aerial skyways that appear in other parts of the course have put me off worrying about riding this before.
So, there it is, I actually think I am starting to understand what Zwift can do for my fitness and how I can maximise the time I have in the virtual world
The winter always seems long, spending the working week with your fingers crossed that the weather will be OK at the weekend while flicking through numerous Instagram posts of the pros at their training camps in much sunnier surroundings than your own.
Last week, at long last, the pros returned to racing duty with Caleb Ewan taking the People’s Choice Classic and Daryl Impey recording a second consecutive victory at the Tour Down Under. It was a good week of racing, Richie Porte took his sixth consecutive win on Willunga Hill, Chris Hamilton took a brilliant 6th place on GC and Paddy Bevin surely would have won but for a crash on stage 5 that prevented him from being 100% for the Willunga Hill stage.
It got me thinking about what I would like to see in 2019, not what I THINK will happen but what I am hoping for. Here’s my list:
Cav To Return To Top Form
Love him or loathe him, the Manx Missile is/was/has been one of the defining characters of modern cycling. His record speaks for itself and it would be great to see him back to his best after his battles with injury and long term illness. The Tour is poorer without him. The current fly in the ointment is the injury to his long term friend and lead out man, Mark Renshaw, but hopefully Cav can get in the mix and make those sprint battles interesting to watch. It’ll be interesting to see how the BMC bike goes in the sprints too.
Mike Teunissen To Win His First Major Race
Ok, so I have a real reason for wanting this to happen due to Mike being my #cyclinggame19 rider but I do think it could happen. He’s back at Jumbo-Visma with a decent team around him and a decent bike to race on. He had a good spring last year, 2nd in DDV, 18th in Flanders and 11th in Roubaix so he’ll be aiming to improve on those results. He looks happy and training camp seems to have gone well for him. Obviously I’m hoping he saves that major win for Roubaix as we’ll be there to cheer him on!
Michael Valgren To Win At Flanders
Valgren had an exceptional Spring in 2018. Wins at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and the Amstel Gold Race were backed up by 4th place in De Ronde. With a Flanders conquering BMC bike under him I really do think he can win over the bergs this year and give Team Dimension Data the wins that eluded them so badly last year. With their World Tour status in question, TDD need Cav and Valgren to flourish.
Dan Martin To Finally Win Fleche
Always the bridesmaid, never the bride! Dan Martin’s results in La Fleche Wallone will be a source of irritation to him; 2nd in 2017, 3rd in 2016; 2nd in 2014, 4th in 2013, 6th in 2012. Martin has gone so close on so many occasions but living at the same time as Alejandro Valverde is a tough proposition and, when he does falter (like last year), there are superb riders like Julian Alaphilippe to step up and take the glory on the Mur de Huy. Fleche is the one that Martin would love to win and I would love to see him finally cross that line in first place
Enric Mas To Be A Home Hero At The Vuelta
I remember watching Mas win Stage 6 of Itzulia earlier in the 2018 season and I was mightily impressed with him. He beat a good field that day including Landa, Teuns, Quintana and Roglic. He had a solid Vuelta but his crowning moment came on the penultimate stage when he slammed the door shut on Miguel Angel Lopez at the final bend and beat him to the line in Andorra. It was a wise and tactically perfect finish from the ‘next Contador’. He finished 2nd overall to Simon Yates which was a fantastic achievement and, with Yates targeting unfinished business at the Giro, Mas will be hoping to go one better.
Katusha Alpecin To Return To Winning Ways
Kevin Poulton (formerly Caleb Ewan’s coach) has joined so they will be hoping that his influence and skillset will get Marcel Kittel back and firing at the top level. Kittel looked completely out of sorts last year so he’ll have a job! There’s some good young talent there (Tanfield, Fabbro, Guerreiro, Pollitt, Wurz Schmidt) but they will be expecting much more from their veterans, in particular Kittel and Zakarin. Bit of a personal one this due to my fondness for the team after the Alpecin Cycling weekend last year, I hope they do well.
Viviani To Win Milan Sanremo
After years of waiting for an Italian to win MSR, Vincenzo Nibali stormed to victory last year in one of the most exciting finishes in the whole of the racing calendar. The tifosi will be hoping that Viviani can make it 2 in 2. By my count Viviani had 18 wins last year and he picked up right where he left off in stage one of the TDU. If the bunch stays together over the Cipressa and the Poggio, Viviani will sprint on the Via Roma and La Primavera will have another Italian winner. Fact.
Richie Porte To Stay Upright For Three Weeks
I did say this isn’t necessarily what would happen! Plagued with crashes and injuries, it would be amazing to see Porte complete a Grand Tour in good form and to see what he is actually capable of as a GC leader. Unfortunately it never seems to go right for him. On the Roubaix stage of the Tour last year (Stage 9) Porte managed to crash out before they’d even reached the first cobbled sector, the general response was “Well, it’s Richie Porte isn’t it”
Tao Geoghegan Hart To Get More Opportunities At Team Sky
There were a lot of unsung heroes in the pro peloton last year (Adam Yates and Richeze to name a couple) but Tao Geoghegan Hart stuck out for me. As a foil for Egan Bernal at the Amgen Tour of California he was absolutely superb, he towed Bernal round the West Coast of America and still managed to finish 5th on the GC himself. He then picked himself up and did another huge turn for Team Sky at La Vuelta. He’s a talented, level headed lad and I hope he gets a chance to shine
Tim Wellens To Take A Win, Somewhere, In The Spring
I don’t know what Wellens is doing half the time but I like it. He’s always looking to attack and animate the race and that’s great for the spectators, but he hasn’t got it quite right for him….yet. I think and hope this year could be the year we see Wellens take home a major title
Strade Bianche To Be As Enthralling As Last Year’s Edition
Brilliant race last year, just brilliant. Tiesj Benoot’s win after bridging across (with Pieter Serry, then on his own) to Bardet and Wout van Aert, then dropping them and powering up the climb to the Piazza del Campo was amazing to watch. The images and photos from the race were memorable to the max, whether it was Tiesj’s mud covered face or the anguished face of Wout van Aert as he cramped up on the way into Siena. It helped that I had a winning bet on Tiesj at 20/1 but it was a great race and we’ll be spoilt if it is as good again this year
Bardet To Return To Top Form At Le Tour
Well, he needs to doesn’t he?! The low amount of TT kilometres and the amount of 2,000+ metre finishes (5, I think) play more to Bardet’s strengths so this may be his best chance of a Tour win. Sky will be desperate to deliver a 5th yellow jersey for Froome and we all know that they are a phenomenal unit but, with uncertainty around the future of the team, riders could be more swayed by personal achievements and that could open up opportunities for others. I hope Bardet looks for those opportunities and injects some excitement into this year’s event, I’ve had a little bet on him at 40/1
So, there it is, plenty of fingers crossed moments! I’m sure it’ll be another great season of racing and that Eurosport subscription will be my best value purchase of the year (again).
The above picture, from my personal Instagram account, was posted 5 years ago today. I had just placed an order for my first bike since I was a teenager, a 2013 Specialized Sirrus Hybrid bike, and it frightened me to death.
Rewind to the previous June (2013) and my son, Zac, had just been born. Having a child is a momentous occasion in the life of any adult and I was no different. I had the same hopes and fears as every new parent; I hoped he would be happy, I hoped he would be healthy but, more than anything, I questioned whether I would be good enough to be his Dad. Moments like that can often be lightbulb moments of clarity, where new ideas form and a new resolve to change for the better is found. It took slightly longer for me, October to be precise, but what happened changed me for good.
I had smoked for years. Not just casual smoking either, 20 a day since I was a teenager in senior school, nearly 20 years all in all. Looking at Zac I realised how unfit I had become, I had played football and cricket well into my late 20s but as my 30s hit and my knees gave out I played less and less sport and gained less and less exercise overall. I wanted to be able to do all of the things a Dad should do with his son; run around, play football in the garden, ride bikes without becoming a wheezing mess, gasping for air. For that reason I resolved to give up smoking by doing Stoptober so I got myself the worst tasting e-cigarette I could find and an app to tell how many days I’d gone and how much money I’d saved. It went surprisingly well but, in order for it to continue, I knew I had to have something to throw myself into, a goal to focus on and something to achieve so I signed up for the British Heart Foundation London To Brighton bike ride and placed the order for the bike. The rest is history I won’t recap.
I’d always enjoyed watching the Tour de France on TV and actually had a chance live encounter with the race in 1990 as a 13 year old on a school trip to Mont Saint-Michel, but I never really considered what the purchase of that bike and that goal of giving up smoking may lead to. We completed our epic cycle from London to Paris and raised a lot of money for the Rainbow Trust and I completed the Ride 100 amongst many other sportives. This year we’ll be in the Arenberg Trench to see the pros thunder by in Paris Roubaix and I’ll be off overseas to cycle through some of Sweden’s amazing landscape. I have completed things that I would never have thought possible 10 years ago and I have a deeper understanding of a truly wonderful sport, as well as meeting some brilliant people along the way.
All that from one simple order for a bike…..
At 8:30am on the 29th July 2018 I wasn’t particularly loving life. I’d moved under 100 metres in 20 minutes, it was raining, I was soaked, I was cold and there was still 45 minutes until my wave were due to set off on the Prudential Ride 100.
What followed, in all honesty, was one of the worst experiences that I’ve had on a bike. There were people everywhere, all over the road, with not a clue what was going on around them. This was magnified when the roads narrowed and I found myself picking through a lot of less experienced cyclists who found themselves struggling on small inclines. Ultimately, it was a lack of experience and an absence of awareness that caused me to be knocked off my bike in Richmond Park. On one of the short, sharp climbs that the park is famous for, I was sticking to the right hand side of the road to overtake the slower cyclists on the inside as per the instructions we had been given at the start. As we neared the crest of the climb a cyclist in front of me, without looking, veered out into my lane knocking my front wheel sideways, throwing me diagonally over my handlebars. For some reason my shoes did not unclip so the bike followed and came crashing down on the inside of my right thigh. I was thankful for the Kask Mojito helmet I was wearing as my head bounced off the tarmac. I sat at the side of the road dazed, with a pounding headache and annoyed that my participation might be over because of someone else’s idiocy. However, I had raised a lot of money and I was determined to finish for the charity so I clipped back in and cycled the last 70 miles with a badly mangled and buckled back wheel (a wheel that eventually had to be rebuilt, costing me £200).
I managed to finish the ride but I had not enjoyed much of it at all and the throbbing pain in my head prompted me to go home rather than stick around to watch the end of the pro race.
It was this experience that led me to the conclusion that I am going to give mass participation, charity sportives a miss from now on. I don’t find any enjoyment in them now as I spend all my time being wary of the less experienced cyclists around me. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing but respect for people getting on a bike, getting some exercise and raising a lot of money for charity but I will be concentrating my time on smaller events from now on.
I didn’t want to let much time pass in the New Year before getting out on my bike but, due to family commitments, that first ride had to wait until the 2nd January. I didn’t go far, 30km, but it was enough to get those legs working and to see what kind of shape I was actually in
I didn’t feel too bad but it was clear that there’s a fair bit of work to do to get back to the levels of fitness that I had last year. 30km was enough for that first run, work to do!
Today I went a bit further. My friend Ben text me and we met up at the Lavender Fields near Woodmansterne, it’s a popular route for cyclists as the roads from there form part of the London to Brighton cycle ride. Ben is a seasoned cyclist with Étape du Tours and Mount Teide to his name so he is a handful to keep up with but I did ok! Below is a video of the roads from Markedge Lane to Rocky Lane, a lot more traffic than we’re used to actually but a good run. We turned for home at Nutfield and came back via Farthing Downs.
We managed 50km overall with a fair amount of climbing so I was really happy to get that under my belt. That’s 51 miles in the first week of 2019, only 1,531 more to beat last year’s number!
Roll on next weekend!
It’s that awkward time of the year between Christmas Day and New Year. You know, that time where nobody knows what day it is (aside from those poor few who have to go in to work), BMI is measured in cheese percentage and getting off the sofa results in the landslide of numerous Lindt chocolate wrappers.
…..everyone, that is, apart from cyclists!
I have seen this time of year referred to as ‘the perineum’ of the year but that’s a bit strong and for cyclists it seems to present an uplifting and positive tone. It’s a chance to reflect on the year gone by and to look forward to goals and aspirations for the coming year. Show me one cyclist who makes a rash commitment to a goal while merrily drunk at a New Year’s party. Go on, show me!
For me, after the planned precision of London to Paris in 2017, 2018 was a bit more sedate and a bit more confused. I completed some big rides like the London to Brighton & Back and the Ride 100 but, ultimately, they didn’t live up to expectation and that was a disappointment. On the other hand I cycled with the Alpecin Cycling Team and enjoyed the scenery of the Serra de Bèrnia i Ferrer in Spain whilst on holiday so all was not lost. I would like to do more cycling abroad, it’s a completely different proposition.
In an infographic my year doesn’t look bad at all
As I look forward to 2019 my plan is simple, just to keep improving as a cyclist, enjoy it and lose some weight. I currently weigh 81.8kg so I have about 7.4kg to lose before I’m not considered overweight. I going to steer clear of big sportives as I’ve found little enjoyment in them this year, I’m going to ride with friends and get the feeling back. I’m off to Roubaix (to watch) in April with Adam and then I have a trip to Sweden planned for July to cycle round the archipelago that lies to the east of Stockholm.
A stomach bug has kept me off my bike between Christmas Day and now, annoying as I had planned a Boxing Day ride, but I managed a 5k run yesterday and a 30 minute recovery spin on Zwift this morning. The run wasn’t the fastest I’ve ever done but, after the illness, I’ll take it! I was just happy to complete 5k!
The good thing about being ill was that I didn’t consume anywhere near the amount of festive goodies that I could have done!
My Strava account tells me that I haven’t been on my bike since 10th November, almost a month. That’s pretty embarrassing really considering my commitment to myself that I wouldn’t shy away from the change in the weather and that I would keep myself as fit as possible. In truth external factors have driven that short hiatus; a nasty stomach bug, a trip to see England trounce the Aussies at Twickenham and the works charity ball have all made weekends short on time, energy and motivation.
Before that I’d had a run of bad luck. One trip ended with a double puncture and a fight to stay upright on a fairly steep descent, then a grovelling phonecall to my wife to come and get me (20km from home) as I only had one spare tube with me. Then I took part in the Wiggle Kent Classic where I quickly realised that I was completely out of shape, tired, terribly overdressed for the conditions and felt bloody awful……and I got a puncture about 10km from the end. So all in all, I wasn’t exactly ‘feeling’ the whole bike thing anyway.
I have still been going to the gym so, with the weather looking ok for tomorrow, I should be able to get back out there and get a short ride in to get myself going again.
Back in October I had a new experience, Adam and I went to the Six Day Cycling event at the Lee Valley Velopark in Stratford (the one used in the 2012 London Olympics). It was an amazing experience, track cycling with beer, lots of lights and the constant accompaniment of a DJ in the middle of the track. We got to see quite a few events from Madison to the Keirin and it was brilliant, I really enjoyed both the action and the atmosphere and I will be going back!
Lastly, we’ve taken to supporting Mike Teunissen in the 2019 Cycling Game over on Twitter. The game is simple – become a rider’s number one fan, support them unconditionally, interact with them through Twitter and be the best hype team around. I chose Mike because I think he has a tremendous season coming up and he seems like a genuinely nice bloke. He finished 2nd in the Tour Of Flanders this season but his move to Team Sunweb never really worked out, now he is back with Team Lotto NL Jumbo and raring to go in 2019. He is very capable of making attacks stick and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him take home the W in one of the big one day races next year. I’m kind of hoping he’ll race Roubaix so that we can go and say hello but I’m guessing Flanders will remain a big target for him. Kom Op Mike!
Those who have read this blog before will have heard me mention the ‘Nasty Little Rise’. It is a Strava segment that I encounter on pretty much every ride from my house if I turn right at the end of my road rather than left. It’s nothing special at all, 0.4 miles long at an average of 4.6%, but hit it when you’re not really fully warmed up and it is a bit of a shock.
I used this segment to measure my progress seeing as I crossed its evil path so many times, it’s also a great reminder to me of how far I have come since I started cycling. Obviously many things can impact a rider’s ability to keep improving, from adverse conditions to minor injuries or illness, but the overall pattern of improvement is usually fairly clear to see. I first logged this segment on in August 2016 (when I switched to Strava from MapMyRide) and it took me 3 minutes exactly, my PR now (in May this year) was 1:53.
To frame this, however, the KOM on this segment is 1:13 and has stood for over a year.
I’ve ridden the Nasty Little Rise 21 times now (since my switch to Strava) so I started to look for something close by that could take over as my benchmark improvement segment. It had to be something longer with the same, or greater, gradient so that I could continue to measure my improvement as a cyclist. I remembered a segment that I’d done over a year ago up Woldingham Hill, it nearly killed me that day, so I decided to go and have a go at it a couple of weeks ago. It is a 0.6 mile climb at an average of 7.2%, with some parts topping out at 11%, so it is certainly more challenging than the previous segment.
The first time I did this my time was 10:37, with a 4:46 moving time as I obviously stopped, out of breath and dying, for 6 minutes! That was 8th April 2017. Fast forward 17 months and I tried it again, 4:54 this time without the lengthy pit stop in the middle. I know I can do it faster than that as I wasn’t 100% well that day so it will become part of my regular rotation to see how much I can improve
Last weekend I joined the Alpecin Cycling team for a bit of a leisurely ride in London. On arrival we were given a bag full of official Katusha Alpecin team kit a sized up for our rides for the weekend. I was incredibly lucky as I’m a short arse! It meant I got the Canyon Ultimate CF SLX Aero with upgraded Zipp wheelset and SRAM Etap shifting, probably costing 3 times the amount my bike did! My pro shot came out ok!
We headed out of London, along the river to Putney Bridge where we turned off and headed down to Richmond Park. We rode with an ex-pro, Jörg Ludewig, who rode all the grand tours in his pro career as well as De Ronde 7 times and Paris Roubaix 6 times…
…..so he knew what he was on about!
Our pro photographer accompanied us on a rather wonderful PedalMe bike and some of the shots he got of us were brilliant.
I managed to stay upright in Richmond Park this time so that was a bonus! The bike was an absolute dream. I’d never used SRAM Etap before so I took it easy first off, however I found the system completely intuitive and very easy to use and I was soon changing gears without thinking. The biggest change for me was the wind impact on the deep rim back wheel, I was taken by surprise a couple of times particularly in the narrow London streets where the wind is funnelled at high speed. We had completed 72km by the time got back to the hotel.
The next morning we headed up to Trafalgar Square for the main event, joining in with the closed road cycling event on the route of the final stage of the Tour of Britain. While the others in the group flew off up the road, I took it a bit easy. I hadn’t cycled with other cyclists since the Ride London and the fall had made me nervous of the people on the route (many of them kids) who weren’t experienced in riding in these numbers of cyclists. It soon opened up though and we had a great time on the route, it was bloody tiring but a thrill to fly round the streets while bemused tourists looked on waiting for the main event
After a quick change back at the hotel, it was back to the VIP hospitality on the start finish straight to watch the final stage erupt with Caleb Ewan taking the win. I’d been tipping Ewan all weekend so I was delighted he came through! I also popped in the Pinarello shop to see G’s Tour de France bike and Froome’s Giro bike – the Giro trophy is the most beautiful sports trophy in my opinion, it is simply stunning and the history that it holds is mesmerising.
It was an absolutely phenomenal weekend, a money can’t buy experience that I will treasure. It makes me more determined to be the best cyclist I can be, to be ready in case another opportunity like this comes along!
I’m very excited.
There’s not a lot of times in my life where I have said that and genuinely meant it. I’ve been watching the Tour of Britain this week and I have genuinely enjoyed it. Particular highlights for me have been the Challacombe Hill climb, the scenery through Cheddar Gorge (a place I want to ride) and today’s finish on the Whinlatter Pass. Being the son of a Cumbrian and having spent many a summer in that part of the world I would’ve liked to have seen the pro riders tested on the likes of Hardknott, Wrynose and The Struggle (remember Wiggo running up there in the 2016 edition? See below)
Tomorrow, while the pro peloton is enjoying a slightly easier day from West Bridgford to Mansfield, I will be heading into London to play my small part in this year’s edition of the Tour of Britain. Through work I am very fortunate to have been invited to be a guest of Team Katusha Alpecin for the weekend, culminating in a VIP viewing spot for the final stage on Sunday and an opportunity to meet the team afterwards. First though is the real fun part for me, we are going to be put in pro kit and on pro bikes for a ride out through the Surrey countryside tomorrow. The chance to ride a top spec bike is mouth watering, although I’m slightly nervous about revisiting the scene of my Richmond Park Ride London fall on a more expensive bike that isn’t mine!
There will be photos, lots of photos!
As the summer threatens to give way to the inevitability of Autumn, then Winter, I start to look towards next year and what ride(s) I can work towards. Though this year is far from over, I always find it is good to get one or two big ‘project’ rides in the diary to keep the motivation high throughout the winter.
I always try to get one last sportive ride in before the winter months and this year is no different. Last year Adam and I did the Stroke Association’s Thames Bridges ride, this year I’ve signed up for the Wiggle Kent Classic in November. They are roads that are going to be very familiar to me, but I’m hoping that I’ll find one or two nuggets that can work their way onto my own personal route rotations.
I’m signed up for the longest ‘Epic’ course which covers 79 miles, plenty should the weather be against us at that time of year. The start and finish at Lingfield Park is nice and close to home and passes through Edenbridge on the way back where some of my family live so it is a very local route!
Secondly, more excitingly, is a trip that I have booked this week. Myself and two friends (Cam and Ben) are going to visit another friend of ours, Rob, who lives in the suburbs of Stockholm at the end of June. We’re taking our bikes and, over the four days we’re there, we’re planning a couple of lengthy rides to check out some of the stunning scenery that Sweden has to offer. I’m particularly looking forward to cycling round the archipelago, using the free ferries where required, as it looks absolutely stunning. Not too many hills at all, just some good roads.
A return flight, with a bike box each way and one checked bag, is costing us £235 each. Obviously, staying with Rob is minimising our expense while we’re there, I’ve heard Sweden is expensive.
Next week I’m meeting Adam to talk about part 2 of 2019’s potential foreign adventure. This year’s stage 9 of the Tour de France over the cobbles had everything and I was as excited by it as I am every year when Paris Roubaix rolls around. I text Adam to say ‘I have to see this live!’ so that is what we are planning, a trip to see the Hell of the North up close and personal…… possibly coupled with riding the short version of the Paris Roubaix sportive the day before.
That would make for an excellent 2019, cycling wise.