Lakesman Half 2021

The weather app was probably the most used app on my phone in the last week. Dean and I were heading up to the Lake District to take part in the Lakesman Half triathlon, deferred from 2020. We’d tackled the full distance event back in 2018 and thought that doing the half would be a nice excuse to go back to the area and perhaps spend a little more time enjoying it. We’d seen previously how quickly the weather can change out there, having seen cyclists battling round the country lanes in driving rain on the day before race day, only for it to be beautiful sunshine on the day itself. Hoping for the best, planning for the worst. 

A familiar yet beautiful view

An early start was necessary on Saturday to get us up there in time to register and thankfully it was an uneventful journey. We had time to register, rack our bikes, suss out the entrances and exits of transition and enjoy a pint before finding some dinner and checking in to our B&B, the same one we’d stayed at before, run by 7-time Everest summitter. As we approached the race HQ we saw the finishing arch, with its flashing lights and motivational music pumping out. I started to get really excited and enjoyed the feeling of things being familiar. 

It was a sunny afternoon so that pint in the sunshine was thoroughly enjoyable. I struck up a conversation with a chap wearing a Midnight Man finisher t-shirt  who was also enjoying a drink with his wife and two dogs at the table next to us. The event takes place in Dartford, very close to where I grew up. It’s easy to strike up conversation prior to events like this where most people are staying over. The whole town was swamped by event t-shirts and sport related tattoos. In our wisdom we’d not booked a table for dinner but Dean’s skills of persuasion came into effect and we secured a table for an hour at a lovely Italian. It was still early in the evening but we also had an early start so we retired to our room to sort out our kit and wind down ahead of an early night.

At 4:45am my alarm went off. I’d like to say I lept out of bed full of enthusiasm but reality was that I rolled out of bed, fumbled for my phone on the opposite side of the room, flung open the curtains and stumbled to the bathroom before I could consider falling back to sleep. Half an hour later, after a breakfast of weetabix and alpen with banana we were out the door and following other bleary eyed athletes down a path we’d not been down before (are you sure this is the right way?) hoping we’d end up at transition. 

I’m now completely sold on the concept of transition bags. Previously athletes were given kit bags for each part of the transition and there was a change tent. This year it was more traditional with no tent and everything being by your bike. Boxes of a certain size were allowed but I don’t see the appeal of man handling those whilst also maneuvering a bike. My tri bag had all the right compartments and pockets and made set up a breeze. Just as well because soon I was pouring water down my wetsuit (thanks for the tip Hannah) and kissing Dean farewell on the shore of Derwent Water. Athletes were given the option not to do the swim this year due to swimming facilities not having been as accessible during lock down so Dean opted out and I’d opted in. Despite only having swum twice this year I knew I needed to give it a go. I’d get round by hook or by crook and it’s too lovely a place not to swim if you have the opportunity. This year’s swim had a rolling start which I really liked. I got sudden nerves on my way down to the water which Technical Official Jamie helped to quell with some kind words.

A few strokes of front crawl, a few strokes of breaststroke, I was struggling to find my rhythm and I swore at myself. Try again. Goggles are fogging, best sort that out. A sudden exclamation beside me from one of the many wetsuit clad, blue cap wearing swimmers “It’s you!”. I played along, having absolutely no idea who it was. Bit more crawl, bit more breaststroke, a mix of sighting correctly and sighting as I used to (incorrectly). Every stroke gets me closer to finishing. The water was beautifully clear and cool, the scenery so stunning that once again I almost didn’t want to finish. But I did, with a big grin on my face as I jogged my way to my bike.

Game face

Unusually this was the bit I was most confident about. Hills? Pah, I’ve done loads of them recently. Miles? Bring them on! I sucked down a gel and got on with it. Absolute bliss. The sun started to break through, the scenery was stunning, I found a good rhythm and pace, chatted to other participants as we played leapfrog down the country lanes and enjoyed the feeling of being strong. Dean had been able to set off as the first swimmer came into transition so I knew he had a head start on me but my heart fell when I saw him roadside at about 30 miles, fixing a puncture. I hoped he’d catch me up but knew he was dealing with shoulder and back issues so it was very much a suck-it-and-see day for him.

The course felt lumpier than the full distance course but the last 15 miles were harder work still. My mantra throughout was “this should feel easy” as I didn’t want to ruin my legs for the run, but I felt myself flagging in the last few miles despite fuelling consistently. The sound of transition and the isight of the marshals put that grin back on my face and I sashayed back to my rack spot and set off on the run. 

I had no idea how I was going to fare but I’d done the maths and I knew I had plenty of time to complete the section even if I ran/walked it. I was still scouring the course for Dean, hoping I’d see him on one of the switch backs or even roadside, but no sign. Head down, get in the game, left foot, right foot, keep moving forward. It was HOT. And someone, in their infinite wisdom, had included a set of STEPS in the run course. And because this is a lapped course, we had to do them three times. I swore my way up the first time and then used the second and third times as an excuse to walk and eat or drink. I adore the run route, not for its scenic nature (it’s not) but for the camaraderie. Every marshal, every spectator and even the majority of the athletes (the ones who aren’t quite broken yet) cheer you on. It’s magnificent.

Three laps later, my aching hip flexors and I were heading towards the finish line and I swa Dean, on the side lines, hand outstretched to hi five me. I was so glad to see him. I ran through the finish banner, arms outstretched in celebration and almost burst into tears. The shorter distance was no less hard, it’s just hard in different ways. I looked at my watch; I’d completed it in under 7 hours. I was very happy with that. It was only later, after I’d hobbled my way out of transition and was sitting on a bench with Dean forcing myself to eat a cheese and pickle roll that I realised that I had achieved a new PB by 24 minutes. Given I’d barely swum and I knew my run time wasn’t my best, this was HUGE! I was gutted that Dean hadn’t felt up to doing the run but it was the right choice for him and he had mentally prepared himself for the possibility so we will leave it at that for now.

Later that afternoon, and that was one of the nice things about doing the half distance, we did have more time to relax, whilst sitting outside another cafe the “Midnight Man” and his wife passed by. We ended up sitting at adjacent tables again for more conversation during which time I discovered that it was he who had exclaimed to me in the lake. I mean, what are the chances? I love those 24 hours after the event as they’re punctuated by knowing looks from other people also wearing finisher shirts, demolishing ice creams and huge plates of pasta, people who have a slightly haunted look in their eyes or the remnants of race number tattoos on arms or legs. Even at service stations on the way home the following day we were striking up conversation with people we’d never met.

Post race milkshakes

We celebrated early, fell asleep early but also woke up early the following morning. My hip flexors were extremely tight so we took a wander around the town before our hearty breakfast, to see the lake and pick up some pasties for the journey home. We would have loved to have spent more time exploring but we didn’t have the leave to spare. Maybe next time. I thoroughly enjoyed the distance, the race organisation was top notch as before and I really surprised myself. Maybe a sub 6.5hr half ironman is within reach…

Triathlon will not make you pretty

Triathlon will give you scars from bike wrecks, bruises from running, fried hair from chlorine, more freckles than anyone deserves from hours on the trail, funny tan lines that never quite fade, and we don’t even talk about what it does to toenails. 
You may absolutely kill those new skinny jeans (two sizes larger, thanks to your new hamstrings and glutes), but getting them on is harder than the last two days training combined and your arms are so tired.
The longer the distance, the more muscle you need, and when did my waist get that wide? Your arms get big, your butt even so much bigger. You stop wearing heels because, hell, I don’t need those to stomp on the world, I can do that barefoot.
You gain weight, cut inches off your hair, and forget what nail polish even is because you never have all 10 toenails at once. You will be dirty, sweaty, sunburned, and have the hairstyle of “I swam then put on a bike helmet” a lot of the time.
Triathlon is not a pretty sport, not the training or the competition, and it forces you to let go of that supposed measure of your worth. The course doesn’t care what you look like. No amount of masks or façades or meeting societal expectations will bring you to the finish, only your true self will take you there.
So you terrorize your hair and your skin, you live in gym clothes or pajama pants, show up to work with goggle face, and wear nothing but sneakers. And one day it dawns on you as you’re training for your next race…
You don’t care.
In the countless hours you’ve spent alone with yourself in the water and out on the trail you have learned who you are, intimately and with brutal honesty. You know your worth as a fellow human. You are real. What you look like is so far down on the list of things that actually do really matter that you barely even remember it.
So, no, triathlon will not make you pretty.
What it will make you is fierce, brave, equal, strong, genuine, healthy, empathetic, true, focused, passionate, driven, willing, happy, assured, radiant, independent, and honest.

I do not take credit for these words. I don’t know where I found them but have kept them, waiting for the right moment to post them.

Not London to Amsterdam Day 4

“Think of it like the final day of the Tour de France, where they cycle around Paris drinking champagne”. That’s how day four of our adventure was sold to us by our support team. Only thing was the soreness of our backsides, heaviness of our legs and the knowledge that we wouldn’t be drinking bubbles on the ride (and had we attempted it I think we’d have ended up in a hedge somewhere) didn’t really support the idea.

We set out at about 10am for 36 miles to Lake 32, the lake used for the 113 triathlon (amongst others) in the Cotswolds Water Park. It was to be a virtually flat route, by comparison to previous days, and we had a swim slot booked at 1pm to look forward to. We gritted our teeth and set off with a coffee stop in mind at 10 miles. It may not have been far to ride in the scheme of things but boy were we happy to stop. Caffeine imbibed and a long chat with a fellow cyclist revived us a bit and we tackled the remaining miles, if not with vigour, then certainly with determination.

The heat was building and we had to stop a couple of times to stretch out. It was hard going. When the brown signs for the water park started to appear we knew we didn’t have much further to go and when we pulled in to the car park at a few minutes after 1pm the relief was written all over our faces. Our support crew relieved us of our bikes and handed us chilled cans of G&T – bliss.

Swimsuits on and everyone got into the lake, with varying degrees of shrieking and boldness. The cool water was utterly delicious and although I only bobbed about for a while I think it made all the difference to our legs. We polished off the last of the picnic food on the bank along with a bottle of fizz before loading the offending bicycles into the cars ready to be driven back to base by the guys. We were knackered and sore but happy. We learnt a lot about what works for us, coping strategies, recovery tricks and that we can do more than we thought we were capable of. The team work was the key to it all really and I cannot thank Cathy and the men enough.

It took me a week to get back on my bike but I’m commuting to work on two wheels and have invested in a new helmet and chamois cream. I want to keep cycling through the year, allbeit to a lesser extent than I have been, so that when December rolls around and training starts all over again, I’m more prepared. But I can’t quite think about that right now. I’m off for a run!

Not London to Amsterdam Part 3

Cathy and I met bleary eyed over coffee on Sunday morning. Actually I think I might have started with a cup of tea and a solitary slice of toast in an attempt to ease my churning stomach; nerves, not alcohol related. The weather looked fine, as did the forecast and that meant we were going to tackle the full 95miles. But I couldn’t face thinking about it as a whole. I allowed myself to think about the first coffee stop and felt that if I made it to the lunch stop then that was a win. Everything else was a bonus. So after forcing down some porridge and a coffee we set off under cloudy skies.

The scenery was still stunning and there weren’t many hills early on to distract us from it. More tracks got added to our imaginary playlist and before too long we were hurtling down a rather impressive hill that we’d just slogged and sworn our way up to meet the guys for coffee and cake. They surprised us by catching up to us in the car and heckling us. Well we thought it was some random drivers shouting abuse at us until we realised it was actually Dean and Barry shouting “allez, allez, allez!”. It was just the boost we needed as by this point we were getting a bit over-sugared and the thought of cake wasn’t really doing it. We were craving cheese scones. Unfortunately there were no savouries to be had but we did have some very nice banana bread and carrot cake.

I honestly don’t remember a lot about the next part of the ride. I think I’ve tried to block it out. Looking at the elevation chart I can see it was quite lumpy. I remember getting very tired of the lumps as it seemed that around every bend there was another. My head was starting to go. We’d free wheel down one only to be sent straight back up again. Our lunch stop of Borton-on-the-Water could not come soon enough. It was heaving but the guys had gone ahead to save us a spot by the water and set out the picnic. We felt like winners cruising into the village and the cold water on our feet was heaven. We could have stayed there all afternoon but we had to get home again. Anything now was a bonus for me and I realised there was no way on earth that we weren’t going to get through this ride.

We were due to meet the guys again in Cirencester in about 25 miles. A manageable chunk. More hills, more country roads and some roadside yoga. I stuck some cow parsley in my back pocket to make us smile. We saw the guys again as we played a little bit of leapfrog on a couple of lanes. Then it was just the two of us again and it was my turn to hold it together and help Cathy as her head started to go. The good old word association game came into play. I think we played it from about mile 55 through to mile 85 in the end. Usually food features heavily in this game but not this time, it was more about colours, resting, drinks, anything but food. It was getting hotter again, feeling oppressive in the lanes. At about 70 miles we cruised into Cirencester for cold drinks and a sit down. We were getting pretty uncomfortable by now and really just wanted to be home.

We agreed to meet the guys again at a petrol station for a final boost before the home straight. We carried on with the word association game, did more yoga, tried to enjoy some of our surroundings. It felt quite isolated and time was ticking on. Quick pit stop with the guys and we were headed for the last part of the journey, back through lanes I recognise from the last visit and then down the infamous White Way; a steep and winding road down into Dursley. What a rush! I’m not sure I have much in the way of brake pads left after that but I loved it. A final sweep into Durlsey and up The Hill to the house where we were met with We Are The Champions blaring out and chilled prosecco awaiting us. It was Cathy’s longest ever ride and a huge landmark for both of us.

We were sore, so sore. Appetites were nowhere in sight but somehow we managed some of the lovely BBQ spread Dean cooked. Sleep still didn’t come easy thanks to my legs cramping every time I moved but we only had 35 miles left to ride so it didn’t matter if we slept later on Monday morning.

Not London to Amsterdam Part 1

I will be the first to admit I got a bit lax with the blog posts towards the end of training. Work got super busy and even though I was tapering I barely seemed to have time for anything else. We did have a weekend in Dursley mid-May, which was lovely even if the weather wasn’t, and I got my first taste of cycling in the area. The last three weeks of training were 80 miles / 5 hours, 38.5 miles / 4 hours and 49 miles / 3 hours. I skipped one session entirely and amended another but kept all my strength and yoga sessions.

Finally the week of the 31st May arrived and I was starting to plan what to pack, how much food to take and so on and so forth. I wasn’t terribly anxious about the ride myself because, as I said to Cathy, we were doing this for ourselves, if the weather was rubbish we didn’t have to ride, if we got injured or had a major mechanical issue we had the guys around to pick us up and ultimately we were doing this for FUN. Easy to forget sometimes. Dean and I drove up to Dursley after work on Thursday ready for Cathy and I to start riding on Friday morning. We had a lovely dinner al fresco, played cards and attempted to get a good night sleep. Anticipation got the better of us both and we were awake way before our 7am alarms.

Coffee, breakfast and pep talks were the order of the morning. Kit was readied and then we were off, zooming dow the hill from the house ready to start our first adventure. The sun was out, we were in good spirits and the first miles melted away. Rolling hills gave way to the first views of the Severn Bridge which we were riding over to our first coffee stop. You may not think that riding over a bridge is anything special but for us it was truly magnificent and it wasn’t just the sugar from the brownie or the caffeine from the coffee that had us buzzing in Wales.

Onward to our lunch stop on the banks of the Severn with a view of the bore where we met our menfolk. A few epic downhills along the way which got me a top speed of 35.6mph! The guys brought a big spread of a picnic which we were able to enjoy at the end of a garden belonging to an elderly chap who invited us to use his picnic table. We didn’t really want to leave. Shoes and socks came off, views admired and after demolishing most of the food it was time to crack on. We roamed more country roads, felt the heat of the day bearing down on us and chatted all the way into Gloucester.

Gloucester was not a fun place to ride. The traffic was heavier than we’d encountered and people more impatient. We had a couple of near-squishes and were grateful to get out the other side of the fume-filled air unscathed. Onward to Frampton, the site of the largest village green in England and the pub where the guys were due to meet us next. It was a welcome sight indeed, and all the more so for surprise prosecco and and some ice creams.

From there it was a relatively short stretch back to Dursley and the slog back up the hill to the house. A total of 81.5 miles over 3,681ft of elevation in moving time of 5h40. We absolutely fell on the potato dauphinoise-come-baked-camembert dish we made for dinner. It was an absolutely brilliant first day. We attempted to do all the good recovery things, yoga, elevated the legs, protein shakes, magnesium spray and tablets, calf guards and so on and even though we were pretty tired sleep did not come easy. I guess it was the adrenaline!

Part 2 coming soon but in the mean time, please consider visiting our just giving page and donating to the cause. Thank you. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/cathy-owen4

Not London to Amsterdam Part 2

The alarms were set a little earlier for day two because, despite it being a lower mileage day, we wanted to finish sooner in order to maximise recovery time. We had about 60 miles in front of us and another glorious sunny morning. It was hard to get the coffee and porridge down and my gut was starting to complain about the amount of time it was being compressed and jostled around for but needs must. It’s hard for me to eat enough on long rides even with the longer planned stops.

The start of today’s route today was familiar to me, having ridden quite a bit of it when I came up two weeks back. We saw a lot more cyclists out and about on the quiet country roads over the course of the morning but had most of the roads to ourselves first thing. We started discussing songs that we might put on our playlist for the weekend. Things like Perfect Day, Rawhide and Bicycle Race were added to the mental list for later. Patches of wild garlic smelt strongly as we cruised by and prompted shouts of “garlic!” amidst the usual shouts of “hole!” or “car back!”. The first stop of the day was at 9:30 at a local stores shop that had a fine line in home made cakes. The lady behind the counter insisted on finding the largest pieces she could for us and somehow we managed them.

It was no less warm or hilly than the day before and I think we were both flagging a little. We found ourselves craving savoury food and a scheduled stop at Berkley Tea Rooms was all the more welcome for the cheese and pickle doorstop sandwich we shared. The guys had given us a few tips the day before on how to improve our hill riding and our posture, all of which we tried to put into practice in the final stretch home. There was also a bit of roadside yoga to ease the backs and legs.

We were home just after 1pm with 58 miles and 2,229ft of climb in our legs. More elevated legs, yoga, magnesium and protein shake before a long and lazy afternoon with company, beers and a tapas on the terrace. We were planning to have a BBQ but couldn’t be bothered in the end so just had more tapas. We wanted to be out early again on Sunday as our longest day loomed; over 90 miles but the weather forecast looked wet which made me anxious. Cathy came up with a plan B, a shorter route, just in case worst came to the worst and we couldn’t face a long wet ride, for which I was very grateful. But even that wasn’t enough to help me get to sleep any more quickly…

The Taper Begins and the Tan Lines Strengthen

It’s slightly less than four weeks until our Tour of Dursley now and I for one am very excited. There’s a little nervousness around how we will cope with four days of cycling but I think if we tone down our pace a bit we’ll be fine. We’re not uber speedy, but we’ve certainly improved since the start and I think we have Zwift workouts to thank for that. Before that though, in two weeks time, I get to try cycling in the Durlsey area as we’re visiting Cathy and Barry there for the weekend. I’m bracing myself for the hills!

Both of us have put in some pretty hefty days this week to help build our stamina, although it might not have been intentional, just how the diary panned out! I had a day with a HIIT workout, a Zwift workout and a 90 minute run. Cathy had a day with a leg workout, a swim and a ride. We should have been doing the Surry Classics Sportive on Saturday but all week the forecast predicted heavy rains and high winds. Ultimately this is meant to be fun and 4 or 5 hours in the wind and rain does not fit that description so we decided not to do it. A bit gutting as it’s the first event we’d been able to attend this year but putting the ride off until today was definitely the right thing to do, even if I did have to tack it on after the 5 mile club run.

The sun was out, the wind had dropped and the air was warm. We powered up a category 4 hill outside Henley (that means it’s a pretty big one) fuelled by epic toasties from Velolife, one of our favourite stops, and marvelled at how pretty the hedgerows are now. Bluebells carpeted the woodlands and life felt pretty darn good.

No swimming this week. Long story short but there’s not a pool available on a day and time to suit me before the triathlon so instead I will be doing upper body strength, visiting the pool for some basic swims and generally hoping for the best. But with several strength workouts under my belt this week, 13.5 miles of running and 78 miles on the bike in 5h15 I’d say I’ve done a fair bit anyway.

The Triathlete Re-emerges

It’s been a very long time since I’ve swum. I think the last time I did it was in a lake and there was breakfast afterwards. I’d booked some lessons with Swim Expert last year after I’d decided that I wanted even more focused coaching than the club sessions could give me. The pandemic meant I couldn’t have them last year, but no matter, the event I wanted them for was postponed too, so I was delighted that I could roll them over to this year and get them booked in advance on my event. I even had a brand new swim suit for the occasion!

Fresh swimsuit for the first swim in months!

Sunday lunchtime I stood on the side of the pool ready to pick up some tips. It got off to a bit of a rocky start as the pool only gave the school one lane for two people, and my lane buddy was a small boy learning to swim. Not ideal. But we jigged things around and I got my half an hour, which I thoroughly enjoyed. My instructor suggested I needed a different venue and so I got on the phone to the company that afternoon. Alas, several days on it’s been concluded that there isn’t a venue with availability to suit, that is open in time for me to take my remaining lessons before my event. I’m a bit disappointed but hope I can divert the funds to a couple of 1-2-1 sessions with one of our club coaches. Perhaps I should have done that in the first place.

In any case it was a nice diversion from cycling which has taken more and more time recently. It was the last of the long double bike rides (50 miles a piece) this week just passed but my work rota meant I not only had to do them on non consecutive days but also split one of them. So 50 miles was done on Thursday, 25 miles on Saturday night and 25 miles on Saturday morning. Not ideal but life happens.

We’re starting to taper now and I’m getting very excited about the Tour of Dursley as I’m fondly calling it, and also to switch the focus for my triathlon the month after!

Breakdowns and Brighton

You may have noticed that I didn’t post last week. This was a conscious decision rather than me just being forgetful. You see I needed a break. Those lines I’d written in previous posts about feeling tired, well I got really tired and utterly fed up and for a few days things were Not Good.

One day I woke up feeling really rather good about things. I don’t recall anything especially different happening during the day but by the time I got home my self esteem was through the floor, I was stressing about when I’d fit my training in whilst still being able to have quality time with Dean. Rational thought left me. I realised I was in a bad way when I found myself crying whilst pairing socks from the laundry. As I said, Not Good.

Eventually, after pep talks from Dean and Cathy, I pulled myself together enough to resemble a functioning human being, sacked off training for the weekend and enjoyed a beautiful sunny day with my husband. Now I can see that I had times like this during ironman training where I got super fatigued and really had to question why I was doing it. This is meant to be fun. I may not have done my two 40 mile rides but I haven’t lost fitness as a result. I’m now trying to ask myself each day “what do I absolutely have to do” and focus on that. If other things slip, well so be it. Basically it seems I don’t listen to my own advice nor do I learn from my experiences very quickly.

Anyway, I’ve felt like a much better person this past week and although I’ve not trained on the days I’d planned, I ticked everything off and made space for some unplanned or lengthier socialising (birthday gathering around a fire pit in our garden and a full day at a garden featuring tulips and sculptures). And it’s all culminated in a ride down to Brighton on Saturday, our longest single ride before our multi day event in June.

We could not have asked for a better day; the sun was shining, the route was delightful and we had some marvellous stops along the way including lunch at a vineyard and a detour over a 350 year old bridge. It all got a bit emotional as we cycled along the front into Brighton itself, remembering when we ran along there at the end of the marathon three years ago. We had fizz and chips on the beach to celebrate with Cathy’s brother and future sister-in-law who happened to have ridden from London to join us, dipped our toes in the sea and buzzed with joy at what we’d done all the way back to Berkshire on the train. Our legs felt good enough to cycle home from our respective train stations and we both managed rides on the Sunday despite feeling a little tender.

The week of the 12th April saw me cover 70 miles on 4h15 and this past week I completed 95.5 miles 6h25. If you haven’t already, and you can spare some quids, please do sponsor us here.

That’s a Kickr

How can a four day work week feel so long?? Probably because quite a lot has happened in it. I was pretty tired on Monday and Tuesday after the weekends efforts and the twinge in my knee that I think I’ve mentioned before came back. I tried to do a bit more stretching and used the magnesium spray which helped. I’m very much enjoying and grateful for the yoga sessions I’m doing each week. I’m a bit hopeless at stretching after my workouts even though I know it’s so important.

Part of the knee issue was down to my cycling shoes. It turns out I’d lost a screw and the left cleats were super loose. But even having fixed that my workouts this week still resulted in twinges post ride. I suspect tight quads are also to blame so more stretching and maaaybe a sports massage when I can.

No outdoor rides for me this week. Just didn’t fancy it. Instead I tried out Dean’s wahoo kickr turbo trainer. It adjusts the resistance to emulate the hills on the virtual course you’re riding which makes things a little more interesting. I’d heard him swearing at it in the past but I must have chosen less hilly courses because although I felt it I didn’t feel the need to curse at it. In fact, dare I say it, it felt a damned sight easier than my turbo! Given that this turbo trainer features a proper power meter it leads me to believe the resistance on my turbo is set too high despite it being in line with the Zwift instructions. This is a massive confidence boost because I’m pushing higher watts than I thought I was! I would love to do my FTP test on the wahoo and see what I’m *really* capable of. Of course this means I’d need to find a way to bring my turbo trainer more in line it… All in all I covered 52 virtual miles in 3h15.

In other news, I’ve had my second COVID-19 vaccination and am crossing fingers that it doesn’t give me any issues in the next couple of days. So very grateful to have had my jabs as early as I have and have nothing my praise for the NHS staff and volunteers who have been manning the centres.

And no sooner have we decided on this years challenge than we find another! Cathy found the Cathedral Cycling Route this week, which launches at the end of May, and it’s really piqued my interest. The 42 sections range from 15 to 151 miles in length and I think it would be a great thing to gradually work our way through sometime. You can of course still sponsor us for our Dursley challenge and the London to Amsterdam ride or request a crochet commission. We really do appreciate all your support.