Monday 17 June 2013

Sponsored ride update: 1 down, 1 DNF, 2 to go.

By now I should have completed 2 of my 4 2013 sponsored rides unfortunately though that is not the case!


For the first week in June I was preparing for Nightrider and really looking forward to it. I was taking it easy on my normal commuting rides (partly to recover from King of the Downs, partly to be rested for Nightrider), I cut down on the number of my commuting rides and I was also staying up much later at night to get my body clock prepared for my late night ride. On Thursday night I stayed up till midnight and got up at 9. On Friday night I stayed up till 4 and slept till 12.

On Saturday night I was ready and raring to go. My wonderful support crew Linzi dropped me off and at 10:30 I was ready to go well ahead of my 11:10 start time. The event was running a little ahead of time so I was able to start a bit earlier than my allotted time. We had a brief talk about safety and then we were off, along a short access road out of Crystal palace, up to a junction with a main road and off down the first hill. I was really looking forward to my cycle through London through the middle of the night.

Whilst going down this hill, HALF a mile into the ride there was a very loud bang and my rear tyre was completely flat. I managed to stop the bike without falling off and was grateful that I had 3 spare inner tubes on me and a spare tyre - I felt very well prepared. Unfortunately though that wasn't going to help me. My actual wheel had broken, the steel rim had come away from the rest of the wheel...

Well, I didn't have a spare wheel on me! The mechanics at the start point didn't have a spare wheel either so there was nothing I could do - I had to give up. Without a rear wheel I couldn't do the route. I couldn't even wheel my bike along as the broken rim was rubbing on the brakes.

I was really disappointed by this, utterly gutted. This was the ride that I was looking forward to the most. I am doing Nightrider in Paris later in the year but I don't know Paris, it's not my city so it's not as special.

Anyway, these things happen. Time to move on...

London to Brighton

Next up in my series of rides was London to Brighton (L2B). This is the 4th time I've done this ride (the 3rd time I've done it for the British Heart Foundation). It's a nice ride that's not too hard - other than the final hill Ditchling Beacon. I made similar preparations for this ride as I did for Nightrider, took my commuting rides a bit easy and took a few less rides.

Linzi had done a great job putting together a T-shirt for me with Alastair on the front and with a list of all my rides on the back. I do these rides because I enjoy them but I am really pleased to be able to raise money for the BHF in Alastair's memory. This T-shirt lets people know why I am doing the rides.

I had been lucky enough to get a 6:00 AM start which was great as there would be less traffic on the route, it did mean a 4:30 alarm though to give me enough time to get up, get the bike ready, cycle the 10 miles to the start and get there 30 minutes before the start. This didn't quite work out and I was a little bit later than I wanted getting to Clapham Common at about 5:45. There was already a pretty big queue:

I got started at about 6:10 once all the people in front of me got through the narrow gate at the exit of Clapham Common. There were a lot of people in front of me but after 5 miles or so they thinned out quite a bit.

I had a great ride and really enjoyed it. I felt really strong and was going pretty quick for the whole 53 miles. Even right at the end after the tough ascent of Ditchling Beacon I was able to do a sprint finish getting up to 29 MPH to finish in about 10 seconds short of 3 hours 30 minutes. About 30 minutes better than last year.
You can see how many people I was passing during the ride in this time lapse video I uploaded:

For anyone that's interested you can see the full details from this ride on Strava:

That's about it for now. The next ride is the 100 mile London ride in early August. I am planning on doing a 75 mile ride around 3 weeks before that in preparation. I'll do another update after the London 100 as that one is going to be a bit of a challenge. 100 miles is a long way and will be the longest I've ever ridden.

If you haven't sponsored me yet and would like to please visit my Just Giving page:

Monday 3 June 2013

2013 Sponsorship and Training update

Well the sponsorship effort is going pretty well so far so thank you to everyone who has donated. I have raised £970 of my chosen target of £1000 so far so very close to reaching it. I am confident that by the time I have completed all my events I'll get there.

Yesterday (Sunday) I did my first and only proper training ride this year. This was The King of the Downs, a ride organised by Evans cycles that I did last year. It is a 55 mile ride with 5 tough hills. This is actually probably tougher than all of my rides except for the 100 mile ride in August.
I was really pleased with my performance on the ride. I managed to shave nearly half an hour off my moving time (4ish hours down to 3 and a half) from last year and pretty much an hour off my total time. This was largely because I only stopped once and didn't walk up any of the hills.
As well as improvements in the overall time I got much better times on all the hills in the ride. This is not really a surprise as I am over 40lbs (about 18 kgs) lighter this time round than last year. That is quite a lot of extra weight to haul up the hills so I had a big advantage this time!
The ride details are here if you want a look:

Other than this ride I haven't done any specific training at all but I have been doing my normal commute to work - this is up to 180 miles a week if I ride all 5 days. In a normal week I will cycle all 5 days.
In May there was a challenge on Strava to do 1000km in one month. I thought that I was going to reach this but missed by only about a day's commute! Too many bank holidays and things to get to after work! I shouldn't have a problem getting to 1000km in June though with all my charity rides.

This Saturday is the first charity ride. It's the London Nightrider which I am really looking forward to. Last year was great fun and I hope it'll be just as good this year.
The weekend after that is the London to Brighton ride which I am looking forward to as well. I've got a nice early start (6:00 AM) so shouldn't have problems with traffic getting in my way.

I think the weekend after that I'll have a bit of a rest after 3 weekends filled with 50 mile plus rides!

That's it for now. I'll do another update and let you know how the first lot of charity rides go.

Sunday 28 April 2013

2013 Sponsored Ride Update

Hello! (if there are any other readers left out there).

I am resurrecting the blog to update you on my sponsored rides that I am doing in 2013 (and hopefully persuade a few of you to sponsor me!).

Since my last update in 2011 I've cycled very nearly 10,000 miles on my new bike (although really not very new anymore) and have lost over 50 lbs so am now slightly less of a Big Bloke on a Bike!

2012 was a difficult year for my wife and I as my father in law died very unexpectedly in February at the age of 60. He had a heart condition which we did know about but had no idea how serious it was.

In 2012 I cycled in support of the British Heart Foundation in memory of Alastair and I will be doing so again in 2013. Last year I managed to raise a massive £1697 thanks to many friend's and families generosity.

Me after the 2012 London Nightrider

Alastair's death was a huge shock to all of us and obviously caused a lot of upheaval in the McNair family. He was a wonderful man and we all miss him very much. I hope that by supporting the BHF I can help to prevent this happening to another family.

This year I am upping the bar a little and will be doing 4 events totaling 277 miles!

These events are:

  • Nightrider London 8th June - 100 KM (62 miles) round London starting at around midnight 
  • London to Brighton 16th June - 53 miles from Clapham Common to Brighton 
  • London 100 4th August - 100 miles starting at the Olympic park, round the Olympic cycle route on closed roads finishing on the Mall 
  • Nightrider Paris 21st September - 100 KM (62 miles) round Paris starting at around midnight This is quite a step up from the 2 events that I did last year. 

100 miles in one ride is a long way so I need to prepare for this. The first two rides should be fairly easy without any preparation and they will be good preparation for the long ride in themselves. I am also doing King of the Downs the week before Nightrider. That's a 115 mile or 50 mile ride over 10 big hills around the Epsom Downs. I'll be doing the shortened 50 mile, 5 hill ride and then hopefully recover in time for Nightrider the following week.

Between London to Brighton (which is the week after Nightrider) and the London 100 I've got nearly 2 months. I've got a couple of free weekends then so I'm planning on doing a 75 mile or so to get ready for the big 100.

So far I've not really done any specific training. I've had 3 weeks back on the bike after being ill for a few weeks. In those 3 weeks I've done over 500 miles which is some pretty good training, particularly as I had some very strong head winds.

Anyway, I think that'll do for now. I'll try to post updates with how I am doing in my preparations for the big ride.

If you would like to donate to the British Heart Foundation and make all I am doing worthwhile please visit my just giving page here: