The final push / Enduro 6 weatherwatch

A fine collection of awesome machinery

UK24 is just around the corner now. I’m right in the thick of a few weeks of ‘bigger than usual’ training weeks, including some ace-and-very-long-indeed rides, sometimes with Phil and sometimes with Dave. The last very big ride, a attempt of the Trans Cambrian Trail, being a somewhat ill fated affair (but nevertheless very useful as a training exercise and as a recce for a later attempt at the whole ride). Following this ride both Dave and I have vowed to learn how to use GPS devices more effectively but I think we were both encouraged by just HOW BLOODY FAST WE WERE ALL DAY. Even the unplanned time-trial-style end to the ride after a day of offroad climbs (totalling just short of 5000 metres) was despatched quickly with a turn of speed and freshness of leg normally seen at the start of a ride, not 80-odd miles of Bloody Big Hills later.

Cutting a long story very short, we took one too many wrong turns and ended up quite a long way off course. We canned the ride due to concerns of failing light and the realisation that setting a new record for a ‘3-day ride across an entire country in a single day’ would have to wait.

Still, plenty to feel good about. In fact it was a test of fitness just at the right time, a few weeks before a big race, when you need a sign, a confirmation that the hard training of the preceding months, the long slogs in the rain, the horrid interval sessions, the hours spent on the turbo trainer were all worth it and have actually made a difference. Dave’s blog contains much more detail of the ride should you want to learn more (and I urge you to do so).

Anyway, back to the present. Enduro 6 this weekend at Catton Park. Interestingly, this will be the second time I’ve raced at Catton since the time when I vowed never to race there ever again after the extreme mud horror of SITS 2008. The last time I raced there I actually stood on the podium so I’m quite glad I’m rubbish at keeping my word with those sorts of things.

Despite past successes, Catton is just about tolerable for a 6 hour race (rather than a 24) so I’m quite looking forward to this weekend’s event not just for the training but also for the change of scenery, a giggle with some mates who are also racing and for another one of those hopefully confidence-boosting tests that I mentioned earlier.

The weather? Looks like rain…

‘it’ll be reet’

With less than 6 weeks to go until UK24, the time for the ‘final push’ has arrived. Training up until now has frequently been ‘patchy’ – there has often been something,  a reason to shorten or worse, abandon a planned session or ride…a cold, a broken bike, a late night, bad weather…discipline has definitely started to slip! At times things have been so disorganised, inconsistent and random that I’ve considered focussing on Mountain Mayhem (a month after UK24) instead and treating UK24 as some kind of hardcore ultra-tough training exercise. I am however acutely aware that I ALWAYS feel like this 5 or 6 weeks before a big race. So I’m ignoring it and cracking on.

On the plus side, I’ve done some hard riding without the risk over overtraining, I’ve been looking after myself (I’ve even been having regular massage), I’ve at least maintained my fitness levels since the Strathpuffer and I’m feeling nicely motivated for the next few weeks of long, hard training rides and hard-earned recovery. The kind of rides that start off hard then get progressively harder 😉

I also promise to take more photos and blog more over the coming weeks!