Archive for the ‘Training’ Category

LEL 2022 – It could have been worse – Day 1

August 2022 came and at the start of it I packed all my riding gear and headed to England to participate in the LEL2022, I read many comments in the forums on what to bring with me and what to take on the ride and my head was so confused so I packed a lot of stuff.
One thing I did as a preventive measure was to not send any bottles or supplements, instead I ordered them from the UK provided I use and had it send to my friends house so I didn’t have to pay for shipping.
I started the morning of the weekend  by heading to the Airport and seeing the sunrise over the plane that will take me to the UK.

The flight went OK and I had a bit of a scare when the over-size baggage station in Heathrow airport was unmanned when I arrived and I feared that my bike was lost, It was only a short break the person took and when he came back he proceeded to bring out the bike case.
Breathing calmly now I made my way into London and once I got to my friends house I went on assembling the bike and making sure everything is ready for the event, I packed the items i wanted for the drop bags and made sure to go over the bags again to ensure I am not missing anything – as you can understand the paranoia of forgetting something was very high.

The next day I made my way to the registration ( also known as the start/end point) and followed the lines of the registration, it went smooth and I chatted with the other rides lined up with me.

When I got my card and number ( K34) I noticed some funny irregularities – on my Brevet card it listed my nationality correct, but on the bike registration card it stated I am from Ireland, I went to the organisers and thanked them for the “upgrade”.

I finished all my prep and headed back to my friends house to rest and get ready for the morning, I checked the time table for the DLR and Tube that will take me to the start and was relieved to see I will have plenty of time before set off.

Sunday Morning 
I woke up at 6 AM anxious and excited, decided to have my breakfast at Debden and went to the DLR station, only to find out that the information I was given was wrong – first train at my stop is not at 06:28, but 06:42 so now I  am  behind on my schedule.

The train arrived and i made the change in Stradford  running to catch the tube to Debden station only to find out i am on the wrong branch, so I had to wait at the platform for the right on which would arrive in 12 minutes .

I arrived at Debden station at 7:38 and my set-off time is 8 AM, I needed to rush to the start line (thankfully this section i was already on my bike and did not rely on anyone else) , so i got on the bike with other riders and we headed to the start.

We arrived at 07:55 and I had a choice between making my start time or breakfast …. I headed to the start and lined up in my group

We started on time and it felt like a valve opened, all the pent up anxiety and trepidation were out and only the excitement and desire to ride remained.

We started heading out to the hills surrounding Debden and formed into some smaller groups, as I did not come with a group and was riding “alone” I tried to draft one of the groups and get some help while making acquaintances, the pace that some of the riders set was brisk and in some segments too fast for me so I was dropped back to groups that started in time slots behind me, which didn’t bother me one bit, as I was “riding my numbers” – aiming to keep a 24km/h average.

The day got hotter as we progressed and once we were out of the London hills it became flat – The Ferns, a stretch of  about 80km of flat roads with almost no shade and a constant slight headwind, at about 80km from the start i had my first stop in a bus stop for some food and rest

Riders went by me as I enjoyed the short stroll and drink, the temp on the Garmin showed we had 31c, It felt a bit cooler, maybe due to the wind or the lack of humidity in that area. I climbed back on the bike and kept on my way to St. Ives , as we neared the control point the first of the de-tours would happen – turns out the road a head had an unplanned closure and we had to find an alternate route,  I joined a group and we explored back routes till we found our way back to the official route, ( I think we added another 5 k to the ride – thankfully no elevation ), and then we reached the 1st control point – 100 (official) km done (12:52). Looking at my times – I was bang on schedule – even a bit a head of my times, so I allowed my self a short food break, refilled the water bottles, stamped my brevet card and back on the bike we were – Next stop Boston ( the original – not the copy in the US).

This is when the rolling hills started to come, nothing too demanding but on-going for a long while, the scenery was beautiful and I stopped to take some pictures,

at one town along the way I stopped in a square under a tree to rest and drink, a lovely lady whose house was just beside the green saw me and offered a cold drink and to refill my bottles, I was so embarrassed by her generosity and  hospitality that I thanked her multiple times, and she said that I am welcome to stop and say hello on the way back. As i got on the bike I managed to latch on to a group that was riding my pace and we made it to the Boston Control point together , 189 (Official ) Km, Done. Again a quick food break, water filling, card stamping  (18:01 ) and off we were, we had 60km left on the first day’s agenda

The hills came much thicker and faster in this last planned section for this day and the legs started to complain: gels , energy and protein bars were the main source of food for the day and they proved to help even when the hills came on, at 20:35 darkness fell,

after the steepest climb of the day, me and many more riders resigned and walked up that hill , all joining the “not ashamed” club gleefully. Going down that hill into Louth is where it stared to get risky, the night was upon us, the route was under trees with no lighting ( we all had torches on the bikes but still ….) , I managed to miss a turn and had to climb back up a steep section to resume the route to the control point, and my legs were “hinting” that they wanted some rest.

At 21:43 I made it to the Louth control point, 242 (official ) km done – Garmin stated  248km. I parked the bike and settled for a night’s food and rest.

I wanted to have a solid night rest to be able to continue for the 2nd day tomorrow, so I asked for a 5 AM wake-up, I tried to ask about the other Israeli rider from the volunteer team, but was unable to get anything, once I charged my phone I got the sad news  that he had to abandon due to technical issue.

Breaking the 400km

It is Passover here in Israel and I have been adding more rides to my training, so much so that today I passed the 400 KM cumulative distance I rode this month and we are just about half way done, I don’t think I’ll put in another 200 KM this month, but give the sessions I do on the trainer and the rides with the group, I think there is a strong chance that I will break the 600 this month. Which will be a good distance for the training.

It is funny to think about it now but I have a sensation that after the LEL2022 I will not be able to look at my bike for along while, although I have been known to be wrong about these things in the past.

If you (whom ever you are that are reading this) want to keep up to date on my training, you can find it all on my Strava profile

Today’s training was a bit of a mistake, I planned on doing 70Km and ended doing 81.3km, I am not complaining but it just goes to show that sometime it is the small mistakes that help in gaining things, in the last several rides I find that my average speed is now 24km/h or 15mp/h which is much faster then I was 4 month ago (I was struggling to break the 23km/h or 13mp/h and the best thing about it is that I was able to maintain that speed for my long ride ( granted it was relatively flat), but still for my fitness, the fact that I am recovering from COVID and my general riding preference, it is a big thing.
I just hope I’ll keep improving so I can do the ride and complete it. Fingers crossed.

Kicking in to Gear

The LEL2022 is getting closer and with it my trepidation of not being up to the task, I partially blame COVID for it, being sick and off the bike for a period of 6 weeks obviously did not help my preparation efforts.
Last week I decided that I need to add in more long distance rides to get my body and mentality ready for the event, so I planned for a long ride on Saturday, the first one with Daylight saving time, which ended being also the first hot weekend of the spring.
Never the less I started the ride at first light and put in the miles:

I rode from home to the northern border (in the past you could have seen Lebanon, but the gate is now fenced as to not give possible shooters any visibility across the border.
On the way back I felt the heat draining me and I had to stop 30K away from home and my initial planned distance. I was drained to the point that I was unable to walk to the car when my friend came to pick me up (2 m from the bench I was sitting on), luckily there was a traffic jam so by the time I got home I recovered enough to be able to walk home.

I need to add such rides to my training for the time that I have left.
I need to hope for cooler days, but with the summer starting, this maybe a hard thing to expect.

Brevet Tel Aviv 200 – Just ??

Last Thursday I did the Tel Aviv Brevet which was a 200km night ride.
Let me reiterate this, this is a night ride in July  in Israel. If you think you have hot days, know that the months of July and August are considered the hottest here in the Middle East and to those countries that have a shore line, the average humidity is ~70%, so that night we had the “lovely, cool” evening that at 1AM got to 25C, the rest of the time it was closer to 29C.

The ride itself started in the North of Tel Aviv and headed south, it took me an hour to get out of the city due to traffic and traffic lights so I was already behind on the pace I wanted to keep.
By the time I reached the less crowded roads I felt as though I was under pacing myself and that I packed less nutrition items then I would need.
the route itself was fairly flat in this section, but i did not allow myself to be lolled by this as I knew the route is taking me to the region at the foot of the Jerusalem mountains, so it will be rolling hills to over come.
At the first checkpoint (46.8km )I refilled my drinking bottles and grabbed a 5 minute break and some food, it felt good to be off the saddle but also had the feeling of “I am wasting time”, so I activated a music app on my phone and resumed the ride..
The next 15k were nice as it was slight down hill and had a tailwind that pushed me and helped me recover some “lost time”, but as i went off the well lit roads it started to creep on me how perilous it was, Did I mention that I was doing this solo ?
Both of the next two checkpoints were well lit, one being a petrol station was a dead ringer, but when I started heading back, that is when the problem started, my rear light died.
Thankfully I anticipated that and brought a power pack with me and plugged it in to charge, problem is, it won’t work while being charged.
I said Ok, and rode on….After another 4 km, my headlight died.
This is more serious so I stopped at a bus stop unplugged the rear light and started charging the head light ( which also won’t work while being charged), having only one cable meant I was able to charge one of them so I alternated between them, some time going without rear light and some time without a headlight.
Thankfully I made it back to the petrol station and was able to purchase another cable and plug both devices to be charged while I rest my legs and replenish my drinks.
The next leg of the ride was by all accounts the easiest section from a pace point of view but also started to be saddle sore, so I tried to peddle as many sections as I can while standing and not sitting, I manged to get to the last checkpoint and noticed that I am more then 2 hours behind my initial ride estimate, so I shorted my needed stop, and got back on the bike with a minimal stop.
I kept on charging my head/read lights to make sure I have enough to be seen till I get back, of course 15 minutes after I resumed riding, Sunrise started …
I was still 45k from the end but for some reason it felt much easier doing those kilometres although I did do several stops to ease my backside.
As I was getting close to the centre, and the early hours of Friday there were more cycling groups on the road, some were polite and others not so much.
One of them encouraged me to take the wheel of the last of their team riders, they were going at about 38km and while I was maybe pushing 29km, obviously i was not able to gain the benefit to draft them.
Slow, tired but steadily I entered Tel Aviv and made my way back to the peer where I started, the place was packed with joggers and cyclists too and I looked at them with envy as they don’t have to do what i just went through.
As I looked at my phone I to stop the music, I saw that there is an invite from my cycling group for a training session happening right now, It took me less then a second to decline and head home.

Still in Covid days – turmoil all around

….So we are still stuck with the COVID-19 virus, Yay :-( !!
And to add insult to injury the kids have started the school summer break, Are you effing kidding me ? the school year was barely a 4 month of school and now they need 2 more month of not doing anything, that is just brilliant way to help this generation advancing their study.


Things are not changing much in my space, again a job change, this one of my design, I really liked the position and the impact I was having on the company, but there were 2 factors that “drove” me out:

  1. The company decided to move to a full work at the office ( 5 days a week), which for me was a big NO.
  2. The person I worked under was a micromanager, and was poor in listening – I tried to ask him for some training and push my ideas in our 1-on-1 meetings and for 4 month got no where. On month 9 of my work there I had a talk with HR and raised that issue, and all of a sudden he is willing to let me speak in meetings.

So after the 1st item came up I reached the conclusion that it is time to go,they hired another person and I went to work for a consulting company. They seem to like my services but they are doing thing in a very badly managed way.
Training is going slow – the heat is not conductive to training and the time in the morning is divided between kids and the new K9 – Shugi

He is a wonderful dog and very friendly.

The last thing that threw me to a spin was that my old company ( pre-Covid) started hiring for my old position, obviously I want back but now need to see how this will pan out.

Oh, and I started my PADI IDC course training ….


Job hunting & some cycling

Since the Covid-19 struck, I have been in turmoil both in the home front and the work side.

The company I worked for was involved in the public transport and as the world embraced the lockdown and physical distancing the public transport industry has gone to a forced hibernation, which in turn had many companies, including the one I worked for lay off personnel.

I have the misfortune to be one of these people that found themselves with out work and I have been interviewing and searching for more then 2 month now.

It gave me some time to study, but as the time to find a job is becoming longer my motivation to study and do things wains and I suspect the depression of not securing a job will come in soon.

Last week I interviewed for a company, and in the beginning I was hesitant about the position, but the more I delved into the details and it’s requirements the more intrigued I became in the job and I find myself anxious to here from them to see if I progressed to the next stages.

So, lets hope.


As a side note – since the lockdown put a serious hindrance to my training for the LEL2021 , I resumed my training three weeks ago with simple 30Km rides (with some moderate hills to see how I cope), which was ok, this weekend I tried to push myself and did a 30km lap of a route while pushing to shorten the time, I managed to shave 12 minutes from the lap I did with my ride partner, and then I added another 20km of slow ride just to put some more time in the saddle.

I am happy with the progression, but I have a L O N G  way ahead of me to be ready for next year. No rest for the foolish.

2nd Practice Ride

Today I have done my 2nd training session, which included a longer ride route and a lot more hill climbs, sdaly it also meant a large section of the ride was against a 26km head/side winds.

The only good thing about it was that the last 8km,when my legs,back and neck felt like could take no more,the wind became a tail wind which gave me the push I needed to the finish.

2nd ride

A leap from normal commute to 38km and from there to 62 km is good progress, and the body is complainign just about the right amount.

Getting Started

As I am so badly out of shape, and with the looming TDF stage ride only 2.5 month away, I knew I have the start putting in the saddle time and the miles on the road.

So today I did my first “traning ride” meaning I pushed harder the usual, looked for the more challenging bits to ride and tried to not let myself go down the the “slow” comfortable pace, to say I succeded in all would be lying, but I did managed to do 38Km with a total of 300m of climb in the ride.

This is the longest distance I have done in one go since september, and it is about 1/5 of the total ride I plan to do, so I have a long way to go before I’ll say I am showing signes of readiness.

If you want to follow my trainig, you can find it either on the Strava site/app (registration needed) or on the Sports Tracker, I will be stateing which rides are training rides and which are normal commute/fun rides.

Oh, and a side benefit of this, for one of the app’s I am using a heart rate monitor, and it shows the amount of kalories I am burning, I might just loose a few kg if i keep this up.