The last couple of weeks have been tough. I did an 80k race, which is one bottle more than I’m used to carrying, and demanding too, of eating at least something. I felt good though, and went off the front. These were roads I know well, so I was able to set myself goals knowing how far I had to go, where the tough bits were, and where I had to get to with a decent gap before I could think about looking for chickens to count. I never made it, but it was close enough to give me hope: I was hovered up perhaps 2k before that point. After 25k out front on my own I was toast and slid out of the peloton willingly, happy with my day’s work, but just a little sad I hadn’t quite had the goods to seal the deal.
So hope sprung eternal, and with a good performance to motivate me I took a day off work and told the kids not to get into trouble while I went to set about some serious miles. The figures are meh: 130-odd k in just under 5 hours, with 2,900m of climbing. It’s a tough ride, but perhaps not as tough as I made it feel. The last hour and a half’s suffering was dante-esque. What was supposed to be an enjoyable romp on the bike, a confidence-builder for the hundred miler at the end of the month has had quite the reverse effect. My legs are heavy and – to be brutally honest about this – my arse is killing me.
It would be stupid to read too much into this. Often, my best form comes after my worst. I’m not going to expect too much from this weekend’s racing, but I’ll be listening to my body with interest. And it’s finally pushed me into trying a new saddle to replace the Specialized Romin which sort-of-but-not-quite suits me. I’ve gone for a Bontrager Serano, which is an entirely different concept to the Romin, much more akin to the old Concors and Cinelli SLX’s of my youth. We’ll see how it goes. I’ll be reviewing it in the future, well after I’ve given my arse time to get used to it.
In the meantime, I suspect I’m going to be trying to rack up k’s as painlessly as possible, keeping up the training stress with consistency rather than big days. It probably won’t be enough to get me to the business end of the Round the Mountain in the right position, but there’s … just enough buts there to keep me hoping.
Not just the one I sit on. See what I did there?