Web writer Alex Ballinger has his eyes on a fast ten this season, but he's never hit 5,000 miles in one year before. Can he do it, or will he get quarantined at the next race he goes to report on?
Name: Alex Ballinger
Job: Digital news writer
How many miles have you done so far in Jan and Feb?
Are you following a training plan, or just riding?
So far I’ve just been riding, mostly on the commute, which has helped keep the miles high in the bad weather, but starting a time trial training programme in March, not sure whether I’ll see the distances drop or actually increase thanks to the consistent indoor training.
What’s been your longest ride?
Longest ride so far this year is not actually that long, only 37 miles out from South London to the edge of Surrey in January. Have tried to stay relaxed about not managing any longer rides to keep the motivation high for when the weather finally improves. We’ll see how that goes…
Have you suffered any setbacks?
I had a very slow start to the year, not riding at all in the first 10 days. Firstly I moved house in the first weekend of January which kept me very busy, then I caught a nasty cold which kept me off the bike for a few more days. So I’ve been trailing on my weekly distance since I started, but hopefully can make up the deficit fairly easily. I’m currently 100 miles behind where I need to be, which I should be able to make up with one big week, hopefully in March.
What’s your ratio of indoor to outdoor miles?
Currently mostly outdoor miles thanks to my fairly hefty commute from London to Hampshire, but I still get in about a third of my miles on the indoor training. Once I start my training programme in March this will probably increase to 70 per cent indoor miles and they’ll definitely be more intense.
What’s your main target for this year?
My main target for the year is to break the 20-minute barrier for a 10-mile time trial, which means a majority of my riding is short and intense sessions, far from ideal for a big mileage challenge like the CW5000, but fingers crossed the added motivation of a specific goal will keep me out on the bike as much as possible.
Are you doing more or less riding than this time last year?
Definitely riding more than this time last year, despite the weather being worse. The longer commute has really kept me going and helped me keep riding through some tough weather, but I’ve actually enjoyed forcing myself to get out in all conditions. I also wasn’t using an indoor trainer this time last year, so that has been a huge boost for my riding.
Confidence, out of ten, of hitting 5,000 miles this year?
Currently I’d say it’s 50/50 whether I’ll hit the 5,000 miles. Last year was my biggest ever on the bike and I still only managed around 4,500, but there were a few points where I was off the bike for a number of weeks, particularly in the summer. If I can be more consistent this year, I think I can be in with a good chance, but this early on I’m not sure how that will go.
Editor of Cycling Weekly magazine, Simon has been working at the title since 2001. In that time he has written product reviews, features and news. He has covered the Tour de France more times than he can remember along with two Olympic Games and many other international and UK domestic races. Once an aspiring bike racer himself, he can still be seen at his club's evening races through the summer.
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