Friday, 22 March 2013

Starting to get Desperate......

Yes that's right...I am starting to get desperate.
In the past week I have not managed to get out on my bike once...not even a quick spin around the block..... 

During the month that I was forced to stay off the bike I was unlucky enough to pick up some sort of viral infection....I seemed to have got over it and managed the ride out with the rest of the 10in10 Team and then the further ride around the Corfe/ Swanage Loop.....
Since then the infection seems to have returned and although I have managed to do some light training on the indoor static bike I have not been able to venture out......

Mind you the weather would probably have stopped me getting out much anyway.....
As I write this blog post the rain is pouring down outside and in some parts of the UK the snow has returned... 
This time last year we were enjoying glorious warm weather, it's amazing the difference a year can make as far as the weather is concerned....mind you it wasn't long after last years lovely warm spring weather that it all changed....the warm weather turned to rain and that seemed to be the trend of the weather for the rest of the year... 

Last year I had to go out riding whatever the weather in order to achieve my personal mileage challenge, this year my overall mileage no longer matters...it's a case of  'I've been there and done that'. 
This year my plan was to ride only during the nicer weather (unless I get caught in bad weather) unfortunately there hasn't really been any yet...nicer weather that is. 

That is where the desperation comes in...almost three months of the year gone and my training for the 10in10 is way behind where it should be at this point.
I look at the calendar and there are only two clear month pages left before June and the start of our big ride of the year.. 

I am beginning to wish that we had arranged to do the ride in September rather than June as that would have given us all more preparation and training time....but that is really just a wasted wish as the date is set and we have just got to deal with it the best way we can..
Lets face it...there are cyclists all over the UK who have planned or entered various events and are probably feeling just the same as I do right now.....
I hope that because the weather is late in turning to spring this year that when spring finally arrives it decides to stay with us rather than disappear again  as it did last year.... 

As with all charity fundraiser/challenge rides there is far more involved in the event than the ride itself.....our Ten Countries in Ten Days ride is far more than the 10 days of the ride...
There are all the days of training (that we hoped to be doing right now) and the planning involved in setting the whole thing up, plus the route planning etc.

There is a lot involved in a ride like this and the reason for it all..? 
Well in our case it is to draw attention to the good work done by Cyclists Fighting  Cancer and help them raise money in order to continue that good work.....
With that in mind I know that the desperation that I am feeling right now for the reasons mentioned above is an uncomfortable emotion worth putting up with......... 

Friday, 15 March 2013

Any Improvement....?

Improvement work to the Quay area at the Sandbanks Ferry
Due to the continued swings in the weather I have only managed to get out on the bike once since the group ride with the rest of the team just over a week ago...
I have been riding on the static indoor bike daily though and I have been concentrating on specific areas of training that I felt suffered a bit during my one month enforced layoff from cycling......

It's never easy being forced to stay off the bike due to an injury or any other medical reason but to be absolutely honest in my case I don't think that it set me back too far in my training plans.... 
As I mentioned in my last post I did notice some difference to my hill climbing from the point that I was at the beginning of February and so that is one of the areas that I have been working on......

The weather yesterday wasn't too bad at all, so with the promise of rain for today and most of the weekend  I decided to get a ride in......
The Corfe/Swanage Loop seemed to be the sensible route to do as I would be able to see the effect of the past weeks very specific training. My plan was to compare the ride I did as my first ride back out on the road ten day's ago with this weeks ride..... 

I left it till about 1100hrs before setting off as I thought that it would give the promised sunshine a bit of a chance to warm the day up nicely...
When I arrived at the Sandbanks ferry I could see that the work being undertaken to improve the small quay area to the left of the ferry slipway was coming along nicely...
I have the feeling that the workmen's schedule is planned to complete the work before the start of the Easter holiday... it will be interesting to see whether they actually achieve that..

So has my targeted indoor training had any positive effects then..?
Well I am pleased to report that it does seem to be making some improvement overall...the hills were still a bit tougher than they were at the start of the year, but did seem slightly easier than last week....my average overall speed was up as well from 15.2mph to 15.5mph and yes...the conditions and wind speed were broadly similar....You can see the rideHERE
If things continue to improve like this I will be more than pleased by the time we all set off to complete our 10countries in 10days ride in 12 weeks time. 

Before that of course we have a training camp planned for the end of April and a week after that we have all entered a local sportive as a measure that we are all on target with our training.... 

On top of that I heard some exciting news today....... 
Although I can't say too much at this stage...what I can say is, that our Team and the 10in10 Ride seems to have attracted the interest of a cycling journalist and there is a possibility that we could have some coverage in a national cycling magazine...that's all I dare say at the moment.....as always I will keep you all posted here at the purpletraveller...

Friday, 8 March 2013

First Rides.....

The 10in10 Team
A couple of first rides this week...
On Monday I had my first ride out since my enforced layoff.. 
If it is of interest you can see the ride here.... 
I was reasonably pleased with the results although I seem to have lost some form on the hills...to be honest I felt I was climbing the hills like Mark Cavendish with a baby elephant on his back. No doubt the form will return as I get back into regular riding again....In the meantime this is an area that I will be working on when out on future training rides and also on my indoor training sessions.....

For my second ride, which was on Wednesday it was also a first! 
It was the first time that the 10in10 Team had all met, let alone go for a ride... 
We all met up at a car park at Sandbanks for a bit of a photo shoot before heading off to the ferry and a ride out to Lulworth Cove and back. You can see that ride Here....

Dave brought the Team Motor home along for the photos which you can see behind the team members in the above photo. We also met Steve Milnes who has joined us as the team mechanic and backup for Dave.. 
In the photo above running from L to R the team members.........  are Trevor(Yes..that's me)-- Dave Vaughan(Driver/logistics)-- Lorenzo Maraspin--Steve Milnes(Mechanic)--John Donoghue--Jon Joynes.

The group ride was very much more of a social ride than a proper training ride. 
We were joined for the ride by Peter Calcutt who has joined us in the past for a couple of Touring trips to France as well as numerous more local rides and various backpacking and camping trips...

While we were cycling the roads and hills of the Purbecks, Dave and Steve went on ahead and met us all for Coffee Tea and Cake at Lulworth Cove which is one of the Dorset coast's beauty spots. During Bank Holidays and the Summer season Lulworth can be a very busy place like so many other popular tourist spots, but at this time of year it was reasonably quiet. 
Since my last ride to the Cove about ten months ago, it was good to see that the surface on the approach road had been repaired allowing a trouble free descent into the village...

Wednesdays ride certainly put into perspective the amount of training required in order for us all to succeed at the mammoth task that we have set ourselves.....We have thirteen weeks in which to achieve our training goals.....
Hopefully as the weather starts to improve we will all be able to get out and ride together on a regular basis....

Naturally I will post news and photos of the training rides here at the purpletraveller blog.....

Friday, 1 March 2013

New Month..New Start..and Cycling Glasses.

Looking towards the Purbecks.
Well...that's another month done and dusted. 
For me, February was a month of standing still as far as my training was concerned... 
Four weeks is too long to be off the bike, when all you really want to do is just get on with the training for whatever cycle challenges you might have set yourself for the coming year....Anyway..we are now in March and I should be back on the bike sometime during next week... 

The picture above is a view from the end of my road looking across to the hills of the Purbecks....I do most of my training over on those hills and the first thing I did when I knew that I would be able to return to the bike next week, was to wander down to the little viewpoint and gaze over to those hills where I have had so many happy rides in the past....

Next Wednesday I am meeting up with the rest of the guy's from the 10in10 Cycling Team at the Studland Ferry for a ride and in order for a Team photo to be taken....
It will be the first time that the team will have all met let alone ride together, so it will be an important day for us....
In pure training terms I doubt if much will be achieved on this first ride together, but  it will be great to finally all get out on the road and see where everyone is right now with their individual training plans...and formulate what we need to be doing as a group in order to start to work together as a team in the future....
Optilabs Prescription Cycling Glasses
One of the things that I have been asked about over the past few weeks is cycling glasses...Now I know that a lot of people don't actually bother with them, but if you have ever been on a 50mph descent and been hit in the face by a large insect such as a bee you would not have any doubt that a pair of cycling glasses are a very important bit of kit.....

That is exactly what happened to me during my ride back from Gibraltar...I saw the insect a split second before it hit me square in the centre of the left hand lens of the glasses I was wearing....The impact was pretty massive forcing the lens right into my face with a loud and solid thwack!!... 
If that had hit me direct in the eye I can only imagine the level of damage to my eye that it would have caused....
Later on that day when I was cleaning the glasses I noticed that the impact had actually caused a small but quite deep scratch to the surface of the lens.....
So, they can protect you from flying insects...grit...etc and they also help to protect the eyes from the constant buffeting of the wind...

The first few pairs of cycling glasses I have used over the past ten years were obtained from Optilabs.... As I am slightly shortsighted it is not enough for me to just buy a pair of cycling glasses off the shelf so to speak...No, I need to have prescription lenses as well....I have had two pairs from Optilabs but following my cycling accident and the temporary loss of my sight in one eye afterwards I found that my eyesight seemed to be fluctuating and it started to become a bit expensive to keep replacing glasses/lenses......
Tifosi Cycling Glasses with prescription insert fitted
I started to look around for a cheaper way to solve the problem and found Tifosi Eyewear and their Roubaix glasses with a separate prescription insert.... 
Now first of all Tifosi Eyewear has absolutely no connection with the manufacturers of my Tifosi Bike... I will admit to being attracted to the make because it matched the name of my good old training steed, but that is were the connection ends....

The glasses had a very good review in a cycling mag and seemed to be exactly what I was looking for....they come in their own zipped clam style case containing the frames and three sets of lenses...Clear....All condition Red...and Dark Smoke.. 
The set cost me £49.95 if my memory serves me right... 
They are quite a large lens which curves round the shape of your face offering a first class protection....

The prescription inserts cost an additional £9.95 and clip into the frame behind the lenses. 
If you enlarge the image above and look closely, you should just be able to see the insert behind the dark lenses..I tried to get some light coming from behind in order to show the insert up for you.... 
My optician arranged to fit my prescription into the inserts and hey presto...the job was done... 

Now I know that you can get some really expensive glasses for cycling, but by the time you have factored in the cost of the prescription it can put them well out of a lot of peoples reach....
I have obviously not tried all the glasses out there in the market place..and all I have done here is to share with you what I have purchased.....

To re-cap....

The Optilabs glasses are good and I can recommend them. The glasses are superb and the company was efficient and courteous to deal with. However although they are cheaper than a lot of sources it can become expensive if you either keep losing them or like me, have to keep altering the prescription...

The Tifosi Roubaix glasses are a good product...the nose pads are fully adjustable so that you can achieve a perfect fit and there is plenty of grip in the arms. The nose pads and arm ends are non-slip for the days when you are struggling up those hills in the heat of summer and you are covered in perspiration.... 

The frame is made from a very flexible polymer which is both lightweight and heat resistant.. 
The three lens types supplied will cover all conditions that you are likely to be cycling in and they enhance contrast making them ideal for fast riding.... 
I have never had any problem with them misting up in damp conditions either. 
Last but not least, for the style conscious of us out there... they look pretty cool too..

My final spot of advice would be to always wear a set of cycling glasses....do not ride without some form of eye protection....try to avoid using your normal everyday glasses as they really won't cut it in the full protection stakes at speed and anyway they really are so uncool!

Lot's of Changes Ahead ....

I thought that it was about time that I posted another entry on this blog, although to be honest most days have seemed a bit like Groundhog...