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First back to back rides!

How gorgeous does Dorney Lake look in the sunshine!

Let's start with song of the week:

George Ezra - Paradise - great song! Link to YouTube video HERE

So it's freezing cold here in the UK (again - damn Polar Vortex) but that didn't stop me from managing to do two rides this weekend, as well as two gym sessions during the week. That's the first time this year that I've done 4 separate days in a week... and it felt good!

The gym workouts were the usual formats of one interval session and one sweetspot session (interspersed with some full gas sprints). No need to go into details here... just search for GCN workouts on Youtube to see examples of what I'm talking about.

Now for the weekend rides. It's super important to wrap up warm when it's near freezing outside! A good jacket, good bib tights and long fingered gloves are a necessity, however I'd also suggest wearing a cycling cap underneath the helmet, as well as a snood or neck warmer to stop wind rushing down the front of your jersey! You can see my lovely outfit here!

Initially I'd planned on doing 130km on Saturday, followed by 65-70km on Sunday however with the weather as cold as it was I could not feel my feet so had to cut Saturday's ride short to 67km. That's the benefit I've found of mapping out routes in advance, with part of it coming back near my flat - it means I wasn't stuck in a different county wondering how to get home and instead could just take a slight detour back home. Still, I managed to get some decent climbs in, including 4 separate hills with gradients of over 10%, so it wasn't exactly like it was a wasted day!

Don't let the sunshine fool you... that was a cold ride!

I learnt my lesson on Sunday and ensured there were no descents! I have a great loop that involves cycling through or past Dorney Lake (the picture at the beginning of this blog), Eton College, Windsor Great Park, Windsor Castle (in picture below) and Royal Ascot Racecourse which totals 68km and is pretty flat which makes for the perfect recovery ride. At least, it was originally supposed to be a recovery ride on Sunday but with Saturday's being cut short, I decided to put a bit more effort in. There was a lot of wind around and, as you all know, I train alone so as 3/4 of the ride was done into a crosswind or headwind it was fairly tough going. The last 15km was a lovely tailwind home, though... Well planned if I do say so myself!

Windsor Castle standing loud and proud!

I know it's a cliché but after a pretty tough week it's always so good to be able to head out for a few hours on the bike just to clear my head. Whether it's a hard training session or just a gentle ride, I always come back feeling so much better than I left (even if only 20 minutes ago I'd been swearing at the wind and the potholes!).

So, it's the end of February. How do I feel this is all going so far...?

Personally, I feel like I'm just about where I'd like to be. I've done a few long rides on my own and I'd like to think that if I can do 120km on my own in the cold then I could do 160km in a bunch in warmer weather. Hopefully the weather does improve from here on out and the UK gets some warmer weekends. Just a few degrees would make a massive difference and it probably enable me to push up to the magical 161km/100miles marker. I feel like I've got a good solid foundation on which to build up the back to back days.

What are my March goals?

Well, March should definitely involve at least one weekend with back to back 100km rides. Hopefully I'll make it to the training weekend in Cheltenham that Le Loop are organising and then the training schedule has a 160km ride on the last weekend of March. If I'm feeling good before then I'll happily bring that forward but if I'm sitting here writing a blog at the end of March saying that I did two weekends of 100km/100km rides and one weekend with a 160km ride then I'll be very happy with my progress. Hold me to that!

Nothing left to do now but to sign off!

As always, please remember that I'm doing all of this in preparation for taking on 6 stages of the Tour de France for charity so please do visit my fundraising page HERE and read more about this challenge. While you're there please, please, please do donate whatever you can!

Many thanks for reading :-)