Follow David’s progress as he follows the Seven Hour fitness plan from CW’s Health and Fitness for Cyclist’s magazine.

It’s only two short weeks until the first of my programme goals and I’m nervous.

The Fred Whitton Challenge is a true test of endurance: a 110 mile sportive encompassing the Lake District’s most brutal climbs, death-defying descents, often in cold, wet conditions – and here’s the really cruel bit – some of the most spectacular scenery imaginable, not that anyone notices.

So where better to spend my final week of full training for this test than… you guessed it… Dubai. Miles of flat desert, forty degrees heat and eight lane freeways criss-crossing scenery that can only be described as earth’s largest building site.

In fact, that’s not quite fair, even the sea is a building site in Dubai. The closest you’ll get to a death-defying descent here involves jumping into a high speed elevator having unwittingly chatted up the Sheikh’s daughter in the hotel’s penthouse bar.

But training must go on and, as any wiry old-school club rider will tell you, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And having done a couple of desert rides, kill you is definitely the firm favourite. If the searing heat and dust doesn’t get you, the convoy of cement trucks probably will. Or failing that, there’s a weekly group ride each Friday, 120km into the desert starting at 5.30am. Suddenly the Fred Whitton doesn’t seem so bad after all.



David Gilbert’s blog: part one

Are you following the training plans in the Health & Fitness magazine? Join in the chat on the CW forum