I am rewriting this as best as I can, sadly, earlier today, my previous post of this title was lost forever. WordPress ate it. I hope this is a suitable substitute.

It’s been a great couple of weeks for me and cycling and yesterday, quarter of a mile before the end of my evening cycle commute I hit the big one – 100 miles in August. It’s taken me 13 days to crack and I’m very proud of my achievement.

I know some out there could cycle that in a single morning, but they probably weigh about as much as my leg, and have probably been riding seriously for some time…

Here’s the Garmin stats for August, as of this morning (including my morning commute)

I’ve not yet lost any weight, and remain 140kg or so, despite the whacking 8,000 calories Garmin (using the heart rate monitor) says I’ve burnt, I put this down to a good weekend with good friends with meals out, and hope to see some significant improvement soon.

Other metrics I’m pretty please with include my heart rate, I topped out at 190bpm on my first ride, and now barely get to 170bpm when I’m putting some good effort in, and my average has come down significantly and quickly (this mornings commute averaged 133bpm for example) and I’m enjoying learning about heart-rate zones.

Aside from my commuting miles I spent much of the weekend doing bike related things of one sort or another.  Friday saw us collect my wife’s bike from the store, and have a cycle carrier fitted to the roof of the Land Rover (meaning that the boys clothes and nappies could join us on journeys making use of the reclaimed space). Great for taking two bikes away as we plan to do in the Lake District next month. I do need step ladders to get the bikes up there though, the roof bars are 2.2 meters off the ground without a bike in them!

On Saturday we had a “Family Trial Run”, just 5 miles or so around the local area, but incorporating a killer short incline (for me anyway) from the beautiful Haxted Mill, just down the road from us (literally, we live on the same road). We decided to include a pub visit to grab a sandwich and made a stop at the Old Eden, which has been a pub for 150 years, with part of the building clocking in at over 600 years old. Apologies to There and Back Again for a lack of historical marker photo, but none really exist over here. I will make an official recommendation to Downing Street as I’m sure it would make this blog more interesting.

The boy enjoyed cycling so much that he promptly fell asleep, with his helmet at quite a jaunty angle over his face. He doesn’t need a helmet at the moment as he’s cocooned in the seat, but we’re trying to get him used to it, and make the association automatic. I’m not sure the look would catch on anyway…

Sunday saw me take on a more aggressive sort of ride, with my Brother-in-Law on his Specialized Secteur Sport.  He’s the sort of chap who likes to attack every ride, but thankfully stayed with me at a slightly slower pace (he averages 20mph on his 8 mile commute).  We were cycling from his house near Epsom to my father-in-laws in Old Isleworth, a fairly straight forward ride, with a nice cut-through of Richmond Park.  We were able to use his local knowledge to take some of the quieter back roads to Kingston Gate, when he posed a question “How’d you fancy a lap of the park?”. Knowing I’d slowed him considerably I couldn’t very well say no, so off we set. It’s quite a hilly park and at exactly 10 miles, 168 feet into the ride I bonked at the top of a hill, which Strava assures me hits 12.8% for about 3 feet near the top. I couldn’t go on, my legs were screaming and I’d run out of go. You can see it at about 46 minutes here

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/210382990 (anyone know why this doesn’t embed??)

Luckily I had an energy gel with me, which I quickly gulped down with some water, and after a couple of minutes I was ready to go. It’s all about nutrition I think, you have to put fuel in the tank to make it work. That morning I’d had a couple of poached eggs, with Smoked Salmon and 2 slices of toast, and, it obviously wasn’t enough. At the time of the bonking Garmin told me that I’d already whipped through about 700 calories, way more than i’d eaten in the morning. The whole ride burned almost 900 calories (one of the benefits of being the size i am is that you provide your own resistance training). Given that I’m trying to lose weight, eating more seems counter intuitive, but in reality needs to be a consideration. Naturally this isn’t such an issue on my shorter commutes.

Another highlight of the ride was watching a heavily-antlered deer run across the road 30 yards in front of us, and narrowly missing another cyclist. We looked around for the infamous Richmond Park regular, Fenton, but couldn’t see him.

One thing I need to keep an eye on is the pain I’m starting to get in my knee, I suspect this is plain old overwork, and I intend to cycle through it where possible. I know rest-days are optimal, but I have a week of enforced rest next week when I travel to LA and San Francisco for work, and am keen to get all the miles I can in before I go). I’m going to take an ibuprofen pill before rides and maybe apply voltarol gel, knowing that there’s a lot of recovery available next week.

A worry about the travel is the shocking lack of willpower I have, and the shocking quantity of food served by restaurants in the USA.  Something I’ll have to deal with on-the-day.

Until then, I’m going to work on changing the scales.

I just spent an hour writing a post and I disappeared. Not even in the drafts folder. Grrrr.

There was a programme on the BBC earlier this week, presented by a Doctor who my wife and I find pretty watchable, and it was on one of our favourite subjects – weight loss. We tuned in…

I’ve attached the accompanying BBC website write up here, which nicely condenses the hour long programme into a bite sized chunk.

Essentially, the programme explores the concept of extreme low-calorie diets, day-on day-off fasting and the ideas of 5 days on, 2 days off fasting. And here’s the thing. The pragmatic, intelligent doctor/presenter is sold on it.

Many many health indicators of his move into the a healthy category, especially things like Cancer risks and cholesterol after just 5 weeks.

I know that nutrition is important when cycling etc, but I’m sorely tempted to explore it further, not necessarily for weight loss, but rather the overall health benefits.

Here’s a link to the programme itself (probably UK viewers only I’m afraid), I recommend giving it a look!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01lxyzc

Piers Morgan on twitter : And yes, I was very disappointed @bradwiggins didn’t sing the anthem either. Show some respect to our Monarch please!

Bradley Wiggins fan’s response: @piersmorgan I was disappointed when you didn’t go to jail for insider dealing or phone hacking, but you know, each to his own @bradwiggins

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Something happened today which brought things sharply into focus, three people made me feel like a complete dick in the space of 5 minutes. The worst part is they were just being friendly.

I’m in Madrid today for a quick client meeting, which wrapped up around 2:30pm local time, generally i’d slope off back to the airport to catch up on emails and work, but today the client pointed me to a nice little restaurant just around the corner from his office and I thought it might be nice to experience a proper summer for an hour or so, sat in the sun with a nice lunch. I also planned to have something healthy rather than the airline lounge offerings.

I sat down and took a look at the menu, which naturally was in Spanish, a language I know little of, save for the words ‘jambon’ and ‘queso’. It also happened that this dish had the phrase ‘bajo en calorias’ next to it. Rocket scientist i’m not, but I can crack that code any day of the week ‘low in calories’. Perfect.

I ordered the dish and it became very clear that between the waitress and I, we couldn’t understand each other, she asked questions and I shrugged politely and reiterated my order and we smiled and she left.

She went away having written down the correct item, when a few minutes later another waitress came up to me and started pointing at the other dishes, still not sure of what was being said I made it clear that I was very happy with my choices, and thanked her for a service she’d clearly tried to deliver.

Then a gentleman approached me, I recognised him as a guest from another table. The waitresses had canvassed the whole restaurant looking for an English speaker, they wanted to make sure I knew that I had selected the low calorie option, and wouldn’t I like a nice steak or fish instead? I have never felt so ridiculous.

I thanked him, politely for I am British, and reassured him that I was fine, thank you. Then I opened my magazine and did my best to ignore everyone, left as quickly as possible after my (perfect as it happens) meal and got to the airport as quickly as possible. Where I now sit typing this, having just eaten a bowl of pasta I didn’t need, and wondering where the positivity of the day went.

I had a sensible breakfast at Heathrow this morning, declined the on-board food and was feeling pretty in control, an embarassment like this then causes me to dive into the arms of the very source of the problem in the first place, food.

Tomorrow I hit the bike, hard and start again.

Another 5.5 miles logged this evening, taking the total to 11 or so, and around 900 calories burnt off for the day. Slower on the way back, but it is almost entirely uphill, so not too worried!

No cycling (or exercise) of any type tomorrow as I’m off to Madrid for the day, cab picking me up at 5:15am (groan) and I’ll get back around 10pm.  I will do battle with BA’s booze generosity and work on my will power

It’s been a positive weekend from a cycling perspective, and I’ve now crossed a significant number of goals off of my list already!

We went to visit my wife’s parents in Dorset, and I took my bike down to experience the countryside down there, it’s stunning!

I came to a manned level crossing in East Stoke towards the end of the ride, and the attendant opened the gates to let me through along with a car behind me. Naturally this was the point I had my first SPD related wobble, managed to get my foot out just in time and keep it upright, but I very nearly tumbled on the mainline Waterloo to Penzance!  The ride itself was stunning, starting with a gradual 4.5 mile ascent before heading South past Bovington tank training centre and Monkey World and the following National Cycle Route 2 from Wool towards Wareham – the use of NCR 2 wasn’t intentional, in fact I didn’t even know it went so close to Wareham.  The route was pleasant, and the long uphill drag at the beginning was a challenge, my speed dropped to walking pace on more than one occasion  however after 11 miles I felt positive and not too burned out.

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On Sunday I wanted to get out again, this time following NCR2 until I got bored and wanted breakfast, however as I was about to walk out of the door the heavens opened and I had a mild change of heart. We had breakfast and headed back towards home. I have been badgering my wife to join me on the bike for a family bimble for some time now, and we stopped off at Halfords for her to see what sort of bikes are out there. To cut a long story short we are picking her new bike (with basket on the front and baby seat on the back!) on Friday. She settled on one of these:

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I know Halfords can get a bad wrap regarding Bike Shaped Objects, however this is a solid bike, at a reasonable price and is perfect for the sort of riding my wife will do! The one downside is that most child seats aren’t compatible, so we had to go for a Topeak solution with a rear rack fitting.

When we got home the weather was glorious and once we’d unpacked the car I headed out around the local countryside, making a point of going places I’d never visited since we moved in last year, a little over 6 miles for this one.

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Finally today. I fulfilled one of my primary goals which was to cycle to work. We used to live in Dulwich, about 5 miles from the office, so very early this morning I loaded the Tachyon into the back of the Land Rover and drove just over 22 miles to our old house, hopped on the bike and cycled to work! No dramas, though being back in the rush hour traffic on a pushbike instead of a motorcycle was enlivening! I’ve not been overtaken on a commute for nearly a year!

I arrived at the office after taking around 30 mins to cover the distance, pleased with myself and early enough for a shower.

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Overall I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself at the moment, however the ride back to the car tonight is all, baring two short descents, uphill. So I expect a little pain on the return leg. Watch this space!

I’ve been a bit nervous about the two sky rides I’ve signed up to, one Edenbridge to Hever loop of about 11 miles, and another a 30 mile route around Sevenoaks, including up and down the Weald once or twice. I got off the turbo last night determined to get some road miles in after work tonight. So, when I got in I quickly swapped the 600cc Bandit for the Tachyon, and one helmet for another and hit the country lanes. And I didn’t do too badly…

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I stopped twice to catch my breath, for just over a minute the first time, and for a couple of minutes the second time as I decided to take my inaugural Bike/Signpost picture at a pretty duckpond, about 6 miles into the ride, with 3 left.

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Feeling rather pleased with myself after all that, small steps I know!

I also ordered some ‘aspirational’ cycling kit, starting with the Team GB Bibshorts. I haven’t mentioned them to the boss-lady… They weren’t exceptional value let’s say.

I’m going to keep a regular log of these things as they happen. Feeling pretty good after over half an hour on the turbo this evening. My wife is out and the boy is sleeping upstairs, so despite the glorious weather I’m indoors on the turbo. 

By disabling the GPS function on my Garmin I have been able to log my time, HR and calories using Garmin connect, which I like. Here’s the report, by my guestimate it is probably a 7 or so mile ride equivalent.

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According to the more detailed report I managed to lose 7 feet of elevation. Which is odd.

I’ve just watched Bradley Wiggins come in over 40 seconds ahead in the Olympic time trial to claim Gold! Well done to him and Froomey with the Bronze!