A Footnote (which may only be of interest to me)
Although the routes and distances of the Cyclone B ride (Yikes! that names a bit too close to an infamous, genocidal gas for true comfort – let’s just call it the Middle Ride) have changed slightly, I found looking at my past times a nice little barometer of improving form.
2010 was the first time I rode the Cyclone, with Toshi-san on a bike he had somehow miraculously cobbled together from an old Trek Alpha frame acquired on eBay and other assorted spares and cast-offs. I was inordinately pleased just to have finished, much less record a time under 5 hours.
2010= 4 hours 44
2011 = 4 hours 31
2012= 5 hours 15
2013 = 4 hours 17
2014 = 4 hours 02
2015 = 3 hours 41
2011 marks the year I started riding seriously with a club again, and from then there has been a satisfyingly steady progression (ignore 2012 when the weather was genuinely appalling and I spent a fair amount of time waiting at the tops hills for others in our group). That year aside, each ride shows gradual increases in fitness and loss of weight, but it’s worth noting the emphasis is a gradual improvement – over a lengthy period of time.
Sadly, if there’s a quick fix to turn a 50 year old+ ambler into a semi-proficient cyclist I’ve yet to find it. The improvements are the slow, accumulated consequences of all year, all weather riding (winter be damned), increased miles, both the implicit and explicit encouragement of club mates, and no small amount of physical pain and discomfort. All of which, perversely comes laced with huge amounts of fun.
Incidentally a text from Toshi-san after the ride suggested a whole litany of useful recovery routines, hot bath, protein shake, cold shower, massage, chilly beer, butty of choice, crisps, chocolate, coffee, milk, lemonade, digestive biscuits, compression socks, feet up on the sofa watching the telly…
My recovery routine on Saturday afternoon? Finishing the decorating of Daughter No.2’s room as the rest of the family had started something they couldn’t finish. Sigh.