Tag Archives: london to brighton

Week ???

Well I’ve lost all track of time and all momentum, week 9, 10? Who knows. 

What I do know is that London to Brighton is just two weeks away. Yep, 74 miles of mud, gravel, road, ups and downs is just two weeks away. And I’m not gonna be there. I think. 

Basically having just come back from two weeks holiday and about three weeks off the bike dealing with a hip dysplasia flair up before that, I’m having to give serious consideration to whether I’m able to ride the L2B. 

I’ve just been out on my bike, a gentle 8 miler, mostly off road, but 74 miles? Hmmn. I reckon I could do it. But I’m not really in shape. It would be a suffer fest. And could balls up my hips for another three/four weeks after. I’m not really prepared to go through that agony again just for a t-shirt and a finishers medal, no matter how shiny it may be. 

I think setting goals with my hip dysplasia is counter intuitive. Yes goals are good (and I wouldn’t have nailed the South Downs epic earlier this summer if it wasn’t for my L2B goal) but the commitment (and expense) kinda writes a cheque that my hips can’t always cash. 

I’ll see how I feel when the weekend in question comes around, I did after all complete the South Downs epic and managed (just) all the hills over what was a seriously hilly 40 miler. 

But my thinking now is more along the lines of just get out and ride, without ambitious goals pencilled in the diary. Sure I’ll still have goals and still will attempt some ambitious rides as hip pain allows, but they will be on my own terms, at a time and date of my choosing and with the option to back out without being out of pocket. 

And that (to me at least) seems more in keeping with the ethos of mtb anyway – of riding (and finding) your own path, rather than a pre set, signposted and marshalled course. 

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Week 6 

Halfway through week 5 I’d be struggling with niggling pain in first my right, then left hip which had limited time on the bike. Frustratingly I’d also got a shiny new stead which I was itching to introduce to my local trails. 

Rather foolishly I pushed on past the niggles, took the new bike for a thrash then attempted a bikepacking trip earlier this week. Result, slight niggles turned into major discomfort and I’ve hardly ridden in nearly two weeks. 

I’m now a week out from a two week holiday abroad (with limited chances for biking) and then just over two weeks before London to Brighton. As it stands I’m not feeling confident. 

I’m frustrated as things were going well, I thought I’d be managing the distances and ride frequency well and my hips had been largely holding up. 

This last week however has left me lacking confidence in not only my fitness but also in my hips and whether they are up to the challenge I’ve asked of them. 

I’m certainly not going to make any decisions at this stage but I need to give serious consideration to the L2B. I know that with care, the right training and nutrition I can cover some serious ground, the 40 mile South Downs epic in June proved that, but perhaps I’ve just not got given myself enough time to build a solid base foundation of miles under my belt. 

As it stands now on Sunday, both hips are pain free and I’ll try some gentle rides out next week but I guess only time will tell if I’m feeling up to L2B… 

Week 5 – food, injuries and a new bike

I always struggle with lunch. Not the eating it part, more the logistics. 

I’m not that organised so making a prepared lunch seems like a chore and as I’m often out and about between offices for work, storage and transport become an issue – no one wants a chicken salad that’s been sat in the car all morning. 

fridge required


So yea, it’s a hassle but buying lunch every day gets expensive and there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to pick up something suitably nutritious. 

save some for lunch


I’ve therefore made a conscious effort this week to do a little planning ahead. Nothing revolutionary, just simply cook/prepare a healthy evening meal and make sure there’s enough for lunch the next day. No extra work, no extra cost and means I’m using more of my fruit/veg/salad rather than it going off a couple of days after foraging for it in Tesco. 

Highlight of the week was picking up this beauty… 
I’ve written some words about my first impressions here but if you just want a quick review – it’s bloody awesome! 

plus size assisted PRs!

 
Training hampered by a slight twinge in my hamstrings early on in the week which wasn’t helped by over enthusiastic desire to get out on new bike. Rested up since Thursday which has been frustrating but I know is the
right thing to do. 

Certainly one of the frustrations of hip dysplasia is I never know whether it’s my hips causing referred pain or whether I’ve actually injured something. I keep getting recurrences of what feels like hamstring strains and will certainly look at positioning on my new bike but it’s annoying given the work I’ve put in to build up my core and hip strength lately, not to mention the improvements to my diet. 

Looking at the times of some of the Strava segments ridden on my new bike however and I’ve not exactly been taking it easy, perhaps I need to slow it down a little… 

Week 4 

First week of eating like Bear nearly got off to a shaky start, Monday saw me in an all day team “workshop” with lunch provided, a potential minefield of white bread, pastries and all kinds of nutrient shy foods. 

I made it out alive, loading up my plate with raw veggies and fruit and stepping on just one quarter cut white bread sandwich. Phew! 

Whether it’s the diet or just enthusiasm I’m not really sure but either way I was up at 05:50 Monday for a kettlebell workout. 

Rounded out the day feeling great and with a chicken and green salad for dinner. 

cooked with coconut oil and lemons and limes for extra zing


Not sure if it’s the diet, the current heatwave gripping the UK, or the fact my wisdom tooth is playing up (extraction due Friday) but Tuesday and Wednesday I felt quite lightheaded and pretty drowsy by early evening. I’d certainly not been feeling hungry but perhaps had been a little shy on carbs since the weekend.
Might need to keep an eye on the “balance” of my plate and ensure I get enough fuel for my workouts and biking. 

Midweek ride was a solid 8 miles including a pr (knocking 49 seconds off my previous best) on my local cat 4 climb.

oven baked chicken thighs with tomatoes, mushrooms and brocolli

To counter the lack of carbs I tried out one of Bears oaty pancakes for breakfast on Thursday. It was certainly solid and kept me going until 3pm! 


Finished up the week with back to back weekend rides, setting PRs on a couple of tough offroad climbs. I’ve also just taken the plunge and ordered a new bike, a semi fat Pinnacle Ramin 3 “plus”, so will be keen to see how my times compare on the new bike when it arrives! 


Weight is hovering around 15 stone, two whole stone dropped since April but I’d like to drop even more, box full of healthy fruit and veg should help with that. 

distance and volume increasing, more kettlebells needed though!

Week 3 – you get out what you put in 

Pretty useless effort this week on account of an epic case of man flu striking me down on Wednesday. 

only one bike ride 😦


I moped around in typical man fashion, frustrated at missing workouts but then got to thinking about why I was ill. Overtraining? Perhaps but volumes had been lower than usual since starting my new programme. What about diet? 

I thought I’d been reasonably healthy in my fuelling but on reflection there was probably room for improvement.

I still eat a lot of processed foods and often grab a meal deal wrap and crisps for lunch if in a rush.  Not disastrous but not exactly a great foundation. 

In my search for a structured programme for strength workouts , I’d purchased Bear Grylls “your life, train for it” book which in addition to some easy to follow (but epically tough) workouts, had a section on nutrition and fuelling for exercise. Nothing radical in fairness, just a focus on eating the right stuff – lots of greens, lean meats, fish etc – but it was enough to give me a little more focus. 

does what it says on the tin


So today, Sunday, I’ve made a start, not only on the new strength routines but also on a healthier diet. I’m hoping the two combined will help me push towards shedding more fat, improve my energy levels (both for workouts and life in general) and that maybe the healthier food will reduce some of the aches and pains. 

Quick dash to the shops saw me returning with heavy bags bulging with healthy goodness. My wallet was somewhat lighter though, how expensive is coconut oil?! 

Bear’s “kick start” smoothie


I completed one of Bear’s kettlebell routines which left me broken and in need of fixing. A one pot stir fry medley of eggs, sweet potatoes, mange tout, peppers, mushrooms and carrots cooked with my new coconut oil did the job. 

bit more nutritious than beans on toast

So it’s only been a day but so far I feel good. I’ve felt full and not wanted to snack as I often do on weekends. I also feel less guilty about a post ride Sunday night beer 😉 

Early days but I’m determined to stick to this and see what results it brings long term. 

Round up 

First full proper week of new training plan and surprise surprise I’ve not stuck to it! I did three strength sessions and three rides as planned but as is often the case life got in the way meaning I didn’t get out on the bike Friday so two of the rides were sandwiched back to back, either side of an overnight bivvy/bikepacking trip, hardly the end of the world! 

reduced volume compared to previous weeks but a bit more focussed


Strength work is going well, legs feel strong although still niggly with twinges, mostly in left leg but certainly manageable. 

Upper body also improving, discovered much to my amazement that I can now do pull ups – albeit with somewhat dodgy form – for probably the first time since I was a kid, well chuffed! 

Cant’t wait for more of this on the Bear Bones 200


In other news, I’ve bagged a spot on the Bear Bones 200, a bikepacking/endurance mtb ride through the Cambrian mountains in Wales. It’s off-road, in Wales, in October and only two weeks after L2B,  should be epic! 

L2B off-road – strength training

As mentioned in my previous post, my right hip is pretty shot (and the left’s not much better). A strong core/stabilising muscles (glutes in particular) is needed to support and take the strain off my knackered hips.

Trouble is, I struggle to be disciplined enough to stick with a solid, regular strength routine. With a bumpy 75 mile mtb ride on the horizon however, I’m determined to put the work in. 

Aiming to do a minimum of two (maybe three) strength workouts a week, my main focus is going to be on legs and core, with a bit of upper body thrown in to keep me stable on the rough stuff. Currently my workouts look a bit like this:

Two sets of:

  • Back extensions (x20 reps)
  • Kneeling/easy press ups (15)
  • Kettlebell swings (12, 16kg bell)
  • Clamshells (20)
  • Side laying leg extensions (20)
  • Seated rows (15, resistance band)
  • Reverse wood chop (15 each arm, resistance band)
  • Straight leg raise/or wipers (10)
  • Side steps (50 each side, resistance band)

I’ve invested in a balance/wobble board which I use randomly either single leg or both legs and recently bought a Swiss ball to do some wall squats to target my quads/vmo and inner thighs. 

I’m aiming for 30/45 minutes per workout, Tuesday I hit 45 minutes but this evening only about 20 using the Swiss ball and balance board.

All of the above I’ve picked up from the Internet/books but I’m not really following a structured programme as such. 

I’d be interested to hear any suggestions for an effective and easy to follow conditioning programme that can be done at home/with minimal equipment. Shout if you’ve had success with a particular book/programme/app etc 🙂