With the realisation that my running seems to be getting worse, I made a decision to vary things with some serious cross-training.
Since the garden revamp, Hayley, my carbon-frame steed, had been standing in my bedroom, literally begging me to ride her, so it would have been rude not to really.
I'd had a broken up week at work. Monday was spent in the office and then I didnt return until Friday as I was doing my St John Ambulance First Aid at Work training course. The good news is that I'm now a fully trained First Aider but the bad news is that I almost passed out when the trainer was describing the symptoms of a broken pelvis. My stomach just churns at the thought.
So with the training course being held locally, I was home by 4pm every night, which gave me the extra time to get off my backside and out on Hayley.
Tuesday was great. A quick(ish) 20+ mile of my old training loop, averaging just over 17mph.
It was great to be back out on Hayley. I'll be honest, the legs were hurting big time. My HR was all over the shop but the feeling of flying down Birchwood Road at over 30mph came flooding back and the adrenaline was buzzing big time. Two laps of the training loop and I was done.
Got home, had a quick stretch and then put on my running shoes and went out for a 5km run. No effort, no pace, just a plod. I was determined to enjoy it. It was seriously slow but my legs felt like jelly after the ride.
I was spent by the time I got back but thats exactly what I was looking for. I need to start pushing myself through the pain barrier and then the fitness will start coming back.
On to Wednesday. I enjoyed the Tuesday night ride so much that I wanted to get back out on the road again. So thats what I did. I was planning to do the same again pretty much but as I pulled up to the traffic lights at Avery Hill Park, I realised my old buddy Richard Williams was just ahead. A quick sprint and I was on his back wheel. When he realised I was there, he was happy to see me and delighted to see me back out on the bike again. I'd been thinking of phoning him about going out for a ride one night but I thought he would have been doing some proper training so I resisted.
Rich asked what I was up to and I said I was going for a potter. He said I was more than welcome to join him. When I asked where he was off to, he casually replied oh, just a 50 mile loop out to Toys Hill and back via Cudham Lane.
Now in the old cycling days, this wouldnt have been a problem for me. Cudham Lane is a long 4 mile upward drag averaging out at 4% gradient and most Kent riders will know Toys Hill at Westerham. Not particularly steep but its long. I thought to myself, ok my legs are still sore from Tuesday but I'll give it a go. If I struggle, I'll just turn back and cut the ride short. I know my way back so it shouldnt be a problem.
Well I need not have worried.
Seriously, what a great ride. 50 miles in just over 3 hours at an average speed of 15.5mph. Ok, it wasnt my fastest ride of all time and I did sit in Rich's tow for 80% of the ride but I dug in and got it done. The hills hurt a lot as I'm not bike fit these days. Having only ridden 150 miles this year so far, its little wonder. The only riding I have done has been on flatish loops but this was much more like it. My HR was much more stable and lower than the previous day (understandibly because of being in Rich's tow) and I felt great. My legs did feel drained for 24 hours after the ride but that was to be expected.
It was by pure chance I bumped into Rich but I'm so glad I did. I've got the bike confidence back now and thats exactly what I needed. I think it may well be time to step away from running for a while and cycle some more miles instead.
Cheers Rich, a much needed break from the norm and it really was like the good old days :)