I spent the last 7 months preparing for this tour, getting the base miles done so that I am fit enough to cover the distance, but equally importantly, so that I can enjoy the trip. The structure of the training was fairly straightforward based around three elements, namely; getting out consistently, increasing the mileage gradually, and getting some long spins completed as regularly as possible.
Getting out consistently
The plan was to get out for a cycle at least three days each week, ideally Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. The Wednesday cycle was important so as not to leave longer than three days between training spins. Simple and all as this plan was, keeping to three days during the winter months was a challenge. Over this period I managed to keep to the routine on only 6 of the first 12 weeks of the year, including one week when I failed to get any cycling done due to a nasty cold (or ‘man-flu’ as my wife would say). Of course, there were other weeks when I got out on more that three days, if the opportunity presented itself.
Increasing the mileage
With regard to getting mileage done, I set myself a weekly target of cycling 180 km for January, February and March, then increasing this to a weekly target of 250 km for the summer. I expected to hit these targets relatively easily, but looking back I managed only a weekly average of 133 km for the first three months and 224 km thereafter. Not as good as I planned, but still, I have managed to cycle just under 5,500 km already this year, spending 196 hours in the saddle. Probably as much as could reasonably be expected for someone with a full time job and a (mostly) supportive wife. ( ‘Hah!’ – I hear her say!)
Getting in some long spins
I tried to ensure that I would get in one cycle of at least 80 km each week during the first three months of the year, then one longer than 100 km from April on. This I have succeeded in doing fairly well, not getting a 100km plus done on just three of the last 16 weeks. And three of the cycles completed covered distances greater than 150 km.
The other significant event in my training calendar for 2014 was a trip to Mallorca in late April with a group of cyclists from the Marble City Cyclers and Kell’s Angles Cycling Clubs. This allowed me to do 5 consecutive days of good long spins, including some serious climbs. The trip culminated in the Mallorca Sportive, covering a distance of 173 km and climbing 2,300m. This was a hugely beneficial trip for building up strength so early in the year.
Training statistics for 2014
Total distance cycled – 5,452 km
Average kms per week – 179 km
Total elevation gained – 42,108 metres
Number of cycles – 86
Number of hours cycling – 196
So the training is done, all I’m waiting for now is the 1st August so I can get going and test those legs.