This is a new blog to document my training and preparation for a 110 mile sportive in September. The idea is to capture the thoughts and information I learn as I go along and be a motivator to help me do the training for what will be a mammoth distance. My furthest distance so far is the 47 miles of last year’s Pedal for Scotland “fun ride” which I trained a little bit for by increasing my mileage at the weekends to 60km. I completed the 76km in a comfortable 3 hours 39 mins and decided that next year I could do a proper sportive. However the Pedal for Scotland sportive is more than double the distance, so I need to do some proper training for it.
First of all, I got a new bike. My existing bike was a touring bike my dad had given to me – it was slightly the wrong size – nothing that meant I couldn’t ride the bike, but over long distances it became increasingly uncomfortable. I got a Scott Speedster S20 though the excellent Cycle to Work scheme and my (also excellent) local bike shop, Hooked On Cycling. Nick in the shop did an excellent job of sizing me up and picking the right frame and measurements. The Scott was chosen because it was basically the best available in the shop for the £1000 limit of the cycle scheme. I’ll discuss the bike itself in more detail in its own post sometime but it hasn’t let me down, has excellent acceleration compared to the tourer (not surprising when you look at the weight) and is a joy to ride.
Jumping straight to 110 miles is a big move even if I get the training right, so I’m hoping to do at least one other sportive beforehand, at a distance of 60-80 miles. Maybe the Graham Obree short route at 67 miles or the LEPRA Health in Action Edinburgh to St Andrews Charity Bike Ride which is 68 miles. I also want to do a longer tour in the north of Scotland, a route that is about 200km over two days through Sutherland.
My plans for training are simple and twofold – firstly continue my rather hilly cycle to work. Hills are slow work; at no point do I feel that I need to stop, but there will be no King of the Mountains for me. As my friend explained, the only way to get better at going up hills is to go up more hills. The second part is to extend my mileage each week. This worked very well for the Pedal for Scotland “fun ride” when I built up from nothing to 20km, to 40km and finally a couple of 60km before the ride. Getting up to 180km should be the same thing, just over a longer period. I’ve looked at some sportive training plans, notably the British Cycling Intermediate one, and whilst I’ll follow the general idea of that, I don’t need to worry about speed or special interval training at my current abilities.
Hopefully, over the current weeks, I’ll update the blog with how I’m getting on with the training and how I do in any sportives or rides I do.