I have a love hate relationship with the Etape du Tour. I love the focus that it gives me and the challenge. I hate the event on the day but love it once I've crossed the finish line. People refer to this punishment as “type 2 fun” - awful whilst it’s happening but fun in retrospect. Late last year I got cajoled into entering the 2020 Etape and I knew I needed to log some decent base mileage beforehand, as most of my rides for the last year had been high intensity, low mileage affairs, otherwise known as a fun blast after work.
When the CW5000 mile challenge came around I thought this would be a great opportunity to focus on the base mileage that I needed for the Etape. I looked at my previous years’ data on Strava and noted that it was 2016 when I last did over 5000 miles in a year (also training for the the Etape du Tour)
Then Corona hit, the Etape was cancelled after lots of uncertainty from ASO and I was gutted albeit slightly relieved. I also felt a bit like Forrest Gump in that I should probably just keep on riding for no other reason than I was enjoying it . Keep running Forrest!
The year started well and I was mixing Zwift rides on my own, road rides on my own and MTB rides on my own! I have been protecting my wife during lockdown as she was shielding. I like riding on my own, my agenda, not following a club mates’ back wheel and never really planning where to go. I prefer to see how my legs are feeling, or looking which way the wind blows and choosing a ride accordingly. That makes it sound poetic, its not, I'm not, it's just that Salisbury plain is no place for a headwind!
I've logged a good few rides with my kids and have introduced them to “PE with Ben”. It’s a bit like the popular Joe Wicks PE sessions but far better as it includes bikes and you get fresh air in your lungs and you don't have to listen to Joe Wicks giving “shout owts”. The kids progress on the bikes is great to see. Their confidence is improving and we have a great local route which is fun to ride and adds to my mileage tally! I also get to annoy them with my very own ”PE with Ben” theme tune whilst riding.
Heading off road
The MTB rides are what I love most. I love riding off road however they are not conducive for accumulating mileage. Still, I treat them as a rest day and enjoy riding the local singletrack. The Zwift rides have been where the mileage gains have come from for a time starved cyclist.
I did my first metric century on a turbo which just seems bonkers to me as previous to using Zwift I had only really used some old Tacx rollers where 45 minutes was definitely type three fun (no fun at all, not even in retrospect). The thought of two hours on Zwift now seems quite reasonable (sort of) and I know I can chalk up some good mileage and get some great fitness gains .
I have also seen other CW5000 riders on Zwift. I joined the Facebook group and some familiar names have cropped up in such places as the Tempus Fugit desert and other exotic sounding locations. Seeing riders names on Zwift that you recognise is a strange type 4 fun (I made that one up). How can I feel delighted to see a familiar name or feel some sort of kinship to a virtual group whilst Im in my garage in Dorset? Its slightly bizarre but thats the world we live in at the moment
Hitting the trails with Isaac for a bit more PE with Ben fun
The plan for the remaining part of the year is to keep on riding . I reckon I should be on for about 6500 miles in total and I don't want to waste this fitness and am desperately hoping there's some sort of event I can enter next year. I also fear that if I stopped riding the pounds would pile on as I seem to be consuming my own body weight in Fox’s biscuits everyday. There are other biscuits available but don't bother, Fox's are the best.
I am determined to do some sort of challenge before the year is up. I need some goals, Im one of those goals-driven annoying people who are only happy if I have something mapped out on a spreadsheet. Maybe three thousand metres in a day of climbing? or 200kms in a day ? or my own hell of the North Dorset lanes avoiding cow muck ? I’ll await the monthly newsletters that are sent by the CW5000 monthly challenges and pick something I fancy and strive to keep the lid firmly in place on the biscuit tin. As the cliche goes, winter miles, summer smiles.
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