It has been cold. It’s all going well. Everything on track training wise. Kit still getting fiddled.
It’s been cold, unsurprising really, it has been winter. But logging early morning rides day after day, week after week, with temps barely rising above zero has been hard. It’s always going to be the issue with racing the Tour Divide and training in the Northern parts of the UK, but winter gets harder and harder to cope as I’ve aged. Circulation has been a bigger issue than ever this year and I’ve really had to think a bit different about what I’ve worn, and what I’ve eaten in order to try and keep some blood flowing. But now, with the temps coming up, everything is easier. I’ve been able to get back to LS jerseys and windshirts, even tempted shorts and t-shirt for some runs. Spring is here. Finally.
Riding has been going well, I’ve hit my main aim which was to log more time, distance and elevation by the end of February than I have in any year. I’ve done so, and then some more. I’ve had some solid chunks of training with one 500km week over 5 days using only commuting miles, anything on top of that is bonus. The first hour of any ride is now something that passes without me even noticing, like a single blink. Longer rides will come easier over the coming weeks. All these rides since the start of February have been on the current TD bike – in most cases they have also been with load, slowly building up so that every ride from the end of March will be with full race weight – wet weight too.
I’ve been doing a lot of miles while fasted and with low to no fluid intake. Wake up, into multi day unwashed kit, down a coffee, ride out of the house. Two hours later I will roll into work and start to eat and drink. At 1pm or so, I slow down the food intake to zero by 3pm, keep drinking, then roll out for another 3 hour ride around 5pm. Usually with a decent climb and descent. The fat has crept off, my mass as not dropped much in the past weeks as I’ve noticed I’ve been laying down muscle again. All positives.
The kit side of thing was mostly nailed over the past few weeks. My biggest fear is the obvious one – cold and wet rider having to go to sleep up high. I’m willing to sacrifice a bit of speed for the first week by taking more kit. I’d rather be wet and warm than cold and wet. So full, not quite Alpine, waterproof layers combined with warm and tested layering systems. I’m going into this thinking like an Alpinist – not a cyclist. So far, I’ve been down to -5 in driving snow and wind without a problem – admittedly with winter footwear. but that’s where the Tyvek sitting in my house
So where do I go from here? Well, the next few weeks are still about building base upon base. Time on bike will get a bit longer. Kit will get refined with final solutions that are coming to me – some news there in the future – and if all goes to plan I should be dropping a chunk of weight on the bike in the next few weeks. For now, I’ll just keep on keeping on.