Thursday 7 August 2014

Getting The Miles In

A couple of weeks ago I had a bit of time off and tried to make the most of by getting as many miles in on the bike, foot and hopefully back up in the mountains.

Josie and I started the week off with a Coast to Coast in a day bike ride and 6.15am Monday morning saw us dipping our back wheels in the sea at Seascale, Cumbria and pedalling eastwards. 240km eastward to be precise! Now things didn’t exactly go according to plan to start with and within 5 km Josie had her first puncture.  Not a problem until you realise you've left the spare tubes back in Seascale, opsie! After that and another mechanical 1km later (we nearly gave up at this point) we eventually got properly under way an hour or so later with a full supply of inner tubes (thanks Dad!) and thankfully things went a lot smoother.

Josie arriving at the top of the first climb, Hardknott Pass

Nearly there!

We basically followed the Open Cycling Coast to Coast Sportive route through the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales across the Vale of York and finally the North York Moors. Hardknott Pass and Wrynose Pass were a bit of a rude awaking straight out of bed and there were a few short steep sting in the tail climbs when you think you’re nearly there but it is simply a stunning route. And what better way to finish with the world’s best Fish and Chips in Whitby. (Thanks to all the pubs and cafes that kept our water bottles topped up along the way)
It had to be done - cheesy celebration photo arriving at Whitby. Love it!

After a lazy day in Whitby and a brief visit back into work it was out to Chamonix for the Tour des Fiz and a bit of Alpine climbing. The weather didn't play ball with the climbing plans unfortunately but we did manage to sneak one day up in the mountains on the Traverse d’Entreves which was so much fun. To be honest I could have probably just got of the cable car and gone for a plod around on the glacier and still felt like a kid in a sweetie shop with a big beaming smile. Its so long since I've been climbing on anything resembling a hill and even longer since I've felt the need and want to. But both are back and it was so nice to be back in that environment feeling I wanted to be there rather than feeling I should be wanting to be there.

A climbing photo, yes i do still do it, and yes it is still so much fun and I can't wait to be back out again.
Josie on the Traverse d'Entreves
To finish off the multi activity week it was time for the Tour des Fiz. 61km with 5000m of ascent, umm yes, that was hard work. I’d entered this as I wanted to see how my general fitness was coming on for the CCC at the end of August. As expected with one thing and another my training has been very limited and this definitely showed but still it was a fun (definitely type 2 fun) day out. The course is beautiful and I ended up finishing in 10hr 25min which I was really please with. I’d even thought I might get under 10 hours at one point but I completely blew up on the final climb and the descent all the way back to the finish was an absolute nightmare, a lot more technical then I’d expected and the legs had absolutely nothing left in them, if only I hadn't faffed as much at all the stops!

Start of the long 12km descent from the Col de la Portette

The decent from Refuge de Grenairon

Josie on the podium, 3rd in her category!

All smiles when it was over
So all in all a positive result from the day with a lot of lessons learnt. Firstly I faff way more at the food and drink stops than anyone else I saw! But the main one being that 5000m of ascent means 5000m of descent.  Kind of obvious when you think about it really... anyway I discovered I definitely don’t know how to descend. So what will I be doing for the next month? Well most likely you will find me running down hill in varying degrees of control trying to figure out how to do it, any advice is more than welcome! (well that was the plan when I wrote this last night... fast forward to 7am this morning in the yard loading a trailer and my back now has other plans.  I shall now be mostly found not running down hills but in the physio trying to sort out a sprained facet joint whatever that is - sure it'll be fine for the CCC....)

Looking down on Courmayeur. I managed to sneak a quick morning reccy of the start to the CCC the day I flew back home.  That is going to be a brutal warm up - 1400m straigh off the start line!

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