Thursday, 30 December 2010

Challenge Finished - 505.67km

Well that's it, challenge done with a total distance of 505.67km between the 23rd and 30th December.

It's been tougher than I thought it would be, unfortunately, there's been no exotic locations or jetting off for winter training in sunnier climes, instead there's been snow, ice, rain, wind, mud and fog with most of the kilometres covered being cold, wet or both. It's meant being a little bit selfish with my time and several hours of riding after dark to fit the riding around other festive commitments.

In all honesty it's a couple of hundred kilometres further than I would have normally ridden over the period and I think if not for wanting to complete the challenge once I'd started I would have been tempted to cut a few of the rides short especially when there was still snow and ice on the roads.

On the plus side I do feel it's done my fitness some good and despite eating lots of festive fayre I've managed not to put on any weight over the period. The challenge for me now is to keep getting in the winter miles and hope it translates into that mythical good form in the spring.

Day 8 - 40.84km

My legs were feeling a bit tired today from the last few days riding and not getting a chance to ride today until after dark meant I just did an easy short ride around one of my regular local loops to clock up the last few kilometres of the challenge.

Total ride time was 1h 45 with 40.84km covered at an average speed of around 23 kph.

Full Garmin ride stats are here - Festive Challenge Day 8

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Day 7 - 109.03km

Another misty day with on and off rain all morning, my legs were feeling a bit sluggish after the last few days and after riding small muddy country lanes yesterday I thought I'd stick to some better surfaced roads. My route took me through Wokingham and over to Windsor before heading back home through Eton and Maidenhead.

With the mist and the rain I only took one photo to give an idea of the conditions, the roads are now completely clear of snow and with many people still off work and hitting the shops it seemed pretty traffic free away from the town centres.

I was hoping to complete the challenge today but after checking the totals I'm still around 40km short so it looks like I'll be heading out again tomorrow.

The improvement in the road conditions and a fairly flat route helped bump up the average speed compared to rides earlier in the week. Total ride time was just under 4h 30 with 109.03km covered at an average speed of around 25 kph.
Full Garmin ride stats are here - Festive Challenge Day 7

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Day 6 - 118.01km

After the fhe reezing temperatures of the last few weeks the temperature is finally heading back above zero and the rain last night has cleared most of the remaining snow and ice from the roads.

I've recently been reading 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs: A Road Cyclist's Guide to Britain's Hills so for today's ride I thought I'd head over to one of the closer climbs detailed in the book, Combe Gibbet or what I know at Walbury Hill. It's not exactly alp like but at 297 metres Walbury Hill is generally considered the highest point in South East England (topping Leith Hill as the 2nd highest by some 3 metres) so it's about as hilly as it's gets around here.

I've ridden it before but never from the direction detailed in the book so I thought I'd give it a go from that direction, to be honest it's not that tough, it does get steeper as you go up but I think the description in the book that it "climbs fiercly beneath a canopy of trees" might be stretching it a bit far. Normally from the top there's a great panoramic view across the Thames Valley but today the summit was shrouded in mist so you couldn't see much at all.

From Walbury Hill I headed south towards Andover then back home through Whitchurch and Overton. It's been wet for most of the ride so some pretty miserable conditions, the bike looks like I've ridden a cross race rather than on the road but it's nice not having to worry about ice patches at every corner.

Total ride time was just overof 5h 20 with 118.01km covered at an average speed of around 22 kph.

Full Garmin ride stats are here - Festive Challenge Day 6

Monday, 27 December 2010

Day 5 - Back In The Game - 106.55km

It felt good to get back out on the bike after two days off, and after the last few weeks of sub zero temperatures today was a positively balmy 1-2 degrees.

A lot of the snow and ice is finally beginning to melt although the less well used country roads are still pretty much unrideable. I followed the route of a local sportive ride from Theale out towards Lambourn, an area known as the valley of the racehorse. In the summer you can see the racehorses training on the gallops that run parallel to the road and try and match their speed on the bike.

It's undulating countryside rather than big hills but riding in this area always seems to be a good guage of my fitness, if you're feeling good it seems you carry speed from the downs and make the ups without too much effort but when you're having a bad day the ups always seems a bit too long to make it without slowing.

Today the wind was the biggest challenge, everytime I'd turn a corner and think I'd get a bit of shelter it seemed the wind changed direction and blow head on. I think the Garmin needs a wind meter so you can see if the wind really is playing tricks on you!

Total ride time was just short of 4h 30 with 106.55km covered at an average speed of around 24 kph.

Full Garmin ride stats are here - Festive Challenge Day 5

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Day 4 - Boxing Day - 0.00km

No chance to ride again today, completing the 500 is starting to look a lot harder than it did a few days ago.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Day 3 - Christmas Day - 0.00km

No chance to ride today, just to much on the in laws to visit near London and my family to visit near Bristol seems we spent most of the day travelling up and down the M4.

I did get a new Rapha Cap from Santa though :-)