Etape Du Sussex

Having had a lot of ‘non training’ time while in Egypt, it was good to get some training under my belt this week.

Sunday was a 90 minute turbo with efforts, which put that week on a 2 hour total volume week.

This week started and ended well, Monday was a good 1 hour ish run session and Tuesday a swim session, Wednesday was a rest day due to a work event and a late night.

But Thursday I woke up early for a run pre work, but was so tired I sacked it off. I had a full on day lined up for Thursday and another work event in the evening. So I missed another session.

Friday I wanted to make up for two missed days so I definitely wanted to do the planned swim and then do the Thursday 30 min easy run I missed. However, Friday is usually a rest day so I am not used to going to the pool on a Friday, so it was a surprise to see the pool closed for kids swimming lessons.

So I went home, got changed and did a run and a few core exercises afterwards.

Saturday was a good day – I went to Tooting Bec Lido and did a 5 x 500 metre swim in the 90 m pool in my wetsuit. This was a good session. It got me used to swimming in my wetsuit again, a 90 metre pool was good so not loads of pushing off the walls and lots of sighting practise as it was a bit of a free for all. That’s an exaggeration but you did have to keep your wits about you. I was also able to draft a couple of people to get some experience of that, again the 90 metre pool meant this was easy to do. This was a really good find as it means I can do open water / wetsuit swim training without needing to get up at 5.30 am and make my way over to Heron lake.

I followed this up with a short easy run around Tooting Bec common and Saturday afternoon I chillaxed and had a power nap to catch up on lost sleep from in the week. And that led to Sunday …

Etape Du Sussex

I was unsure whether to do this SRS Events organised sportive, but having got the thumbs up from Mark I went for the ‘on the day’ registration.

There was a bit of a queue to start but once under way all was good. I have done a few of these sportives in the past but usually I ride alone. As there was a queue it meant a lot of people rode off together in batches of 10. We all rode off fairly easy and I used it as a warm up. After a while I had left my group and caught the group in front and this is how the ride went. I didn’t go ‘balls out’ at all. I climbed the hills with confidence but at a comfortable pace, there were a lot of fast descents and a lot of fast flats, where I could go on the drops and put some power down. I caught a group of riders, rode in their draft and recovered and pushed on to the next group.

A had enough food to not need to stop but I thought I might need some more fluids but as there was a mandatory stop at the half way feed station, I could top up supplies there. This wasn’t quite as easy as I planned. I took a while to find somewhere to put my bike as it was busy, I topped up my water bottles and looked for the guy to swipe my timing chip. After finally finding him his machine wasn’t working but that didn’t stop him trying for what seemed like an eternity. He sent me inside to find his colleague. I went inside and thought I would take a quick pee while there were toilets to hand and only one person queuing, big mistake – it must have only been a minute or two but again why didn’t I just find a bush in the many country roads I had, and was still, going to be riding on.

I finally found someone to swipe my chip, grabbed a couple of flap jack pieces and was on my way, but 6 mins that stop totalled – annoying as I wasn’t even planning on stopping at all.

The rest of the ride was as before, fast!

Nutrition wise I switched to gels as I wanted to practice taking them rather than solids. In total, for the entire ride, nutrition went like this, first hour nothing I did it on my big breakfast, drinking on the way to the event and a banana just before the start, then after the first hour I had two torq bars (a third of a bar every 20 mins) so a bar per hour, four pieces of Flap Jack, three gels, 750ml of sports drink and 750ml of water.

The rides are ranked and based on age and gender and there are three grades based on finish time. Gold for this event was a finish time of 3 hrs 55 mins or under. Towards the end I was trying to work out if this was possible to hit. I was 10K away and doing maths on pace and time to try and work out if it was possible, 5K away and on 3hrs 45 mins – could I do the last 5K in 10 mins? Push. Push. Push.

I finished in a time of 3 hrs 57 mins. Very frustrating as a) it was only 2 mins out of the Gold standard and b) If I hadn’t of wasted time at the feed station it would have in the bag.

So you live and learn.

I was quite achy when I got home and the 15 mins easy run later in the day wasn’t high on my to do list, but I did it around 5pm and felt a lot better afterwards and today. Active recovery – that’s the way forward.

Four weeks to go until the Vachery half and confidence is sky high.

Finally a big shout out to Lee Thomas and Paul Foster both of whom did Ironman Nice and both did it in a fabulous time.

Thanks for reading.

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