Mixing it up

Variety is the spice of life[1]. As I continue on this training journey, mixing up what I do is important for two reasons; firstly it ensures that different muscle groups are exercised and strengthened in a bid to increase all round stamina and secondly it means that the training does not become a chore. I am actually enjoying the training more than I thought I would, in part as it’s taking me to places I have not ridden before or link trails together in a different way but also it is making me feel better not only physically but also mentally.

Everyone needs some stress in their life but commonly within bounds that allows it to be controlled. Others thrive of the stress (excitement) of uncertainty. The increase in endorphins within the body is one of the great benefits of exercise and is well documented. Moreover, exercise or physical stress can generally be be controlled by the individual which is why it is such a popular part of many people’s routine. Last week I completed three totally different rides, each of which will benefit me in the long term when it comes to completing the #RatRaceCrossing.

Monday involved a brilliant 38km ride with just my iPod, bike and mother nature for company. It was a cold morning with the ground wonderfully crisp making the normally soft climbs far more enjoyable. The route (that I made up in my head over breakfast) incorporated two big climbs linking three brilliant sections of really steep and/or technical trail with a hilariously fun blast through Glentress trail centre and a scenic warm down along a disused railway line, now a superb multi-use path.

Mega Monday Ride

Tuesday I grabbed a quick half an hour with my wee boy who is just discovering the joys of riding a bike; massively satisfying from a mental point of view and keeps the love of riding a bike high 🙂

Singletrack shredded!

Wednesday was a completely different session. Reunited with my amazing, but pain-loving, training partner Janey who only had a short time window, we concentrated on strength building by out-of-saddle hill climbs. Three repetitions of a 2.4km grade 4 climb in a fixed gear selected at the start of the climb, interspersed with huge grin-inducing descents. This hurt; still nowhere near my PR time of almost a year ago but then that was a one off, not three in a row! The benefit of riding with someone else when doing something like this was clear – we were spurring each other on, neither was going to let the other slack!

FullSizeRender (1)
Hill climb pain!

I am privileged to be part of the Dirt School coaching team so Thursday saw me swap bikes and head to the steep and technical downhill tracks of Innerleithen with the Borders Academy of Sporting Excellence MTB students for a day concentrating on race strategy, goal setting, pace setting and the concept of perceived exertion[2]. Although the context is different when discussing a 3 minute downhill run with a 3-day, 200 mile expedition, the principles are the same and will help me come July.

Recorded training stats to date (2016):

Distance 438.8 km
Time 39h 37m
Elev Gain 14,561 m
Rides 25

Money raised to date: £95.00 [goal £1500]

Here’s my donation page: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/CharityCrossing
Here’s why I’m doing it: https://charitycrossing.wordpress.com/about/

Massive thanks to those helping me achieve my goals:
Dirt School Training Plans
absoluteBlack Chainrings #OvalThis
Scottoiler Cycle keeping the drivetrain running sweet
Sweet Protection clothing


[1] ELIZABETH KNOWLES. “variety is the spice of life.” The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 2006. Encyclopedia.com. 5 Mar. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

[2] https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/knowledge/training-plans/supporting-documents/article/izn20151119-Training-Plans-Supporting-Documents-Related-Rate-of-Perceived-Exertion-Scale—RPE-0


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