Sunday, 24 May 2015

Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP) ElliptiGO Training update + EDIM ~ failure or fortune?...

Training for PBP has been going well with some solid mileage on the ElliptiGO in the past few months. The sluggishness and lack of speed I felt at the beginning of the year has gone as I've regained some ElliptiGO fitness. However I'm still nowhere near where I was last year when I PB'ed at 100 miles in 5:32 and struggle to ride this pace for even one third of this distance at the moment. There's still 2.5 months to GO though and two big 600k rides at the end of the month and June.

Windsor-Chester-Windsor 600

The first is Windsor-Chester-Windsor (no explanation of the route required there!). This is an extremely popular Audax ride and a 600k qualifier for PBP. My final qualifier of the campaign having completed 200k, 300k and 400k rides. I didn't infact blog about my last Audax qualifier  - Asparagus and Strawberries 400k which was a circular tour of the Norfolk Broads starting and finishing in Manningtree. It was uneventful and straightforward - in other words ... It was the perfect qualifier. I'm hoping for much the same at the WCW next weekend. Although only 200k difference in distance, the difference in approach between a 400 and 600 is fairly significant. We rode straight through on the 400k well under the 27 hour cut off time in a time of 23 hours. The 600k has a cut off of 40 hours and we expect to use most of this time. Thus stopping and sleeping strategies play a much bigger part. The two schools of thought is that it is certainly possible to ride straight through the night and into the next day without sleeping (as we did on the Flatlands 600 last year) and complete the 600, however one would argue (I think rightly) that if you have time in hand it makes far more sense to take a 2 hour power nap mid ride to reduce the risks on the road, and simply to enjoy the whole experience a lot more. And probably most importantly of all, these qualifying rides aren't just about 'qualifying' for PBP, they're also about 'preparing' for PBP too. I think this latter concept is lost on a lot of riders who just want to just get the qualifiers 'out the way'.

So my strategy and approach for WCW will be to treat it as a complete 'dry run' of PBP. It's exactly half the distance for a start so perfect to test everything out. I will plan my moving pace in advance, how long I will stop at each control to stamp brevet card and refuel, how long I will sleep and if all goes well I'll come in well under the 40 hours for WCW. My ticket to PBP will be as good as in the post, which then leaves me to "enjoy" by second scheduled 600k Audax ride - Pendle 600.

Pendle 600

I say "enjoy" only because the pressure will be off regarding PBP qualifying however the Pendle 600 is a monster of a ride taking in a circular tour of Northern England and passing through several National Parks including the Yorkshire Dales, North Yorks' Moors, and The Lake District. The total climbing is over 10,000 metres with typical gradients between 15-30%! Sounds right up my street :-) I actually looking forward to this one far more than WCW. WCW is just about executing a plan and getting from A to B within 40 hours. There's a lot that can happen between A and B but it's quite a robotic existence for those 40 hours. Pendle on the other hand will be a real adventure into the unknown exploring new limits on the ElliptiGO and doing so in some epic landscapes.

ElliptiGO - Every Day In May (EDIM) Challenge - failure or fortune?

I want to finish this post exploring my thoughts to training during May in the lead up to WCW and specifically the official ElliptiGO Every Day In May Challenge. EDIM as the name suggests requires you to commit to riding a specific distance every day. As I did (and completed) last year I committed to riding at least 20 miles per day. The reward for completing EDIM is points and we all know what points mean - Prizes! Free ElliptiGO swag to be precise. There are 750 points up for grabs by completing 20 miles each day in May. It would take riding seven official century ElliptiGO rides in races to rack up the same number of points which is why it's hard to resist. Easy right!? Wrong....

I started the month full of my usual enthusiasm with the full intention of completing the Challenge. It would be tough though as a week's holiday in Hungary during May means that I knew I'd be unable to ride for 6 days. ElliptiGO Inc provided some flexibility in the Challenge meaning that on days you simply can't ride you can do 'alternative training' or have up to three NO-GO/rest days. So mathmatically I could complete the challenge but only just....

Sorry I realise this is getting quite boring now.... So I'll cut to the chase. I threw in the towel in week 3 knowing that the Challenge wasn't actually going to aid my training for WCW. And it was the right decision. I'm in Hungary now enjoying the first day on holiday lazing around and not doing a lot (...just blogging!). To complete the Challenge I would have needed to not miss a single day of riding before I came away (that bit was possible) but I would also need to run for 2 hours on thee days whilst on holiday. Now most of you are probably thinking.... AND! So what?... Get running Blofeld. But I knew a week ago when I threw in the towel that firstly I didn't want to run for that distance on holiday even if I knew I could, that secondly that it wouldn't help my preparation one little bit for WCW. I want to be fully rested and ready to GO for my final qualifier. So there it is folks.... An unnecessarily long explanation and excuse for why I failed to complete the EDIM challenge, but as the title suggests perhaps it's my fortune that I did. 

Now where's that Hungarian chocolate cake.... Carb loading for WCW you understand.... ;-)