Well, that's it. Two weeks to go and now all my main training for my 24 hour race is done. My last long ride was today and apart from a few hour long rides and my regular commute to work I am now winding down and resting up. I've allowed myself a longer taper than I'd normally do for a race but I want to be fully rested and injury free.
I'll be quite glad to finish my training to be honest, it's been a mixed four months. I'm not sure how I got this idea to race 24 hour. Guess I've always really admired those who go on big adventures or do things that would push a persons body to the max. It was a passing thing on Youtube of all things that got me thinking about it. I saw a video on the 24 hours of Exposure a unique 24 hour race in that it was for solo riders only and was very geared up for 'rookies'. It just seemed so tempting, so by the evening I'd asked the wife who said ok. Before I went to bed I'd entered and paid up, before I went to sleep I was already regretting my decision.
I knew the training would be hard. But in a way it isn't as hard as normal XC training where you have to do lots of interval, power and speed training on top of a good base of endurance. This was all about the long ride. Hours in the saddle with some fast tempo pace thrown in for interest. Personally I hate interval training, I have a real mental block to it and can muster all manner of excuses to not do. Long riding is really what I do anyway. Just going a bit longer and not standing chatting was all that changed in my attitude.
Why I found this hard though, was time commitment. I am first and foremost a dad and husband who just isn't selfish enough or prepared for the arguments of going out all day every day. What this has invariably meant is early morning rides on my own. I don't have friends who want to be out riding at 5:30am and I don't blame them. It can be lonely at times though not to mention tiring, I'm usual heading home as people are getting ready to go out. I've grown this nack of now talking to myself which my prove useful in race. Its been dark, extra cold first thing but eerily beautiful and it feels like I'm the only one out there watching the beautiful sun rise over hard frosted fields and meadows.
I have as a rider totally changed from the one I was last year. I have lost 6.5kg in weight am now only 61kg, and so have regained my climbing prowess. That and I now spin at a much higher cadence. I'd become a real stomper over the years averaging around 70rpm but through training now spin closer to 90rpm meaning my legs are more efficient but ultimately I can ride longer without fatiguing my legs. This is probably evident as after 6 hours in the saddle I am still fresh enough to play football and rugby with the kids for the rest of the afternoon. Its a promising thing for my future race. While I don't feel I've had enough time to train (two more months would have been better) and so won't place highly, I will survive.
Sadly my last month of training has not been so good as its been hampered by regular minor injuries, which has meant me backing off my training load. I am now in better condition but of course a niggling doubt has crept into my head of whether I've done enough. But I guess that question will always be there. I could have trained more but then I could have made the injuries worse. I thought it better to start my race a little less fit but ultimately in one peice and with a greater chance of finishing.
I've done all I can do now training wise. I have devised my plan for eating drinking. My bike is running and working well, I've got lights for 8 hours of darkness and a nice big tent. I can sit on job well done. That'll do pig. That'll do.
Time to race...........