I realise that since posting about the planned cycle trip to Gibraltar I have been very shy of updates.
I don't really know why that is as loads has been happening. My planned routine was to have a big ride on the weekend and smaller rides during the week. My big weekend ride would increase by 10 miles each month, starting with 20 miles in September, then 30 in October, 40 in November and so on.
Training in September and October went really well, but things slowed a little during November and December due to Esme's birth. Following Christmas I was back out on the bike with a 40 mile ride which seemed far more comfortable than I imagined it would.
I shifted my training plan slightly and now aim to ride 50 miles in January, 60 in February, 70 in March, 80 in April and then 90 in May which should see me being very comfortable for the days in the saddle during the cycle to Gib.
The New Year signalled just five months until the trip, and focused a lot of my thoughts onto what bike I would complete the ride on. I had been training on my mountain bike, but I've known for a long time that I would look to ride a road bike on the journey.
With sales everywhere, and Tash and I having a lot of time at the moment, I started looking at bikes. More research than anything, but of course the inevitable happened. I found something that was just what I wanted and at a fantastic price! I sat on the 2012 Trek 1.1 which would have cost £550, but really wanted to step up to the 1.2 which came with extra kit (most notable a 9 speed cassette) but would have cost £700. A bit of looking around and I found the 2011 model of the 1.2 for £500! Bang on budget, and £50 less than the bottom spec 2012 model I was looking at!
Many thanks go to my Dad for helping me fund such a purchase at such short notice, and two days later my new set of wheels were parked up in the barn!
Keen to keep training, and get out on the bike, I did a ride last week one evening in temperature about 4 degrees. I was actually warm enough, and still in shorts, although my feet certainly got cold!
The weekend arrived and I was planning my first 50 mile cycle. I sorted a lovely route and Friday night sorted all my gear for an early start on Saturday. I wanted to be on the bike by 7am, a time I found out when everything was going to be frozen and with the sun not yet up neither were the temperatures! As a result I planned a pair of thermals for under my shorts, 2 pairs of thermal socks for my feet and a pair of socks to go over my cycling shoes!
All that gear may sound stupid, and I bet I sure as hell looked it, but I hate the cold and I always get hit in toes. I left on time and after 5 miles or so I'd warmed up my fingers and my feet were doing OK. All that changed by the time I reached 15 though and my feet were really feeling it and I seemed unable to do anything to warm my toes. I was cycling through lots of freezing fog which resulted in moisture forming on my eyelashes and my eyelashes freezing together! I decided to turn around, happy with a 30 miles ride in such unfriendly conditions!
Maybe I sound like a wuss, but by the time I got home this was how my feet looked!
Yup, I had frost on the outside of my socks! You can imagine how my toes were doing!
And I did the the majority of the ride without being able to refuel as my energy drinks froze up too!
I can see why Cavendish flies out to Italy for his winter training now!