Testing Mind, Body, and Bike

It’s been so long since we have last written a post. So much so we almost decided not to bother anymore. Many things have happened since January which we want to share, details all in good time, here’s a quick rundown:

  • We got a place in Transcontinental No 5… Woop Woop!
  • We bought new bikes, because why wouldn’t we
  • Training plans have been developed
  • Short, Mid, and Long term plans have changed slightly
  • We still love riding our bikes 🙂

Last time we attempted the Transcontinental it didn’t go great, and this can knock the confidence. Ellie’s front wheel lifted a lot on the Muur and she had to walk up, and I tore the ligament in the back of my knee rendering me useless in the middle of France… Good Times.

We’ve taken training and kit a lot more seriously this time, admittedly the kit side of things is quite enjoyable. So when we had the opportunity to take a few days off over clock change weekend we couldn’t resist making the most of getting out on the bikes.

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Look how pretty they are 🙂

We got ferried out to Calais Thursday night with the ambition to set straight out, as only fully committed cyclists do. We then decided that kipping in a hotel and setting off with fresh legs made more sense. It’s still March after all and a bit chilly at 1:30 in the morning.

The first day of riding involved battling into a headwind all the way to Geraardsbergen. I ended up in a bad place quite quickly. A combination of breaking in a new saddle, thinly padded shorts, headwind, and general tiredness made me paranoid about my knee. It was fine but I just couldn’t stop focusing and analysing it.

We finished the day strong. Our average speed of 20.9km/h for the 150.9km/+450m route is perfectly respectable for a full day of headwind.

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It doesn’t look as windy as it is, thank fudge for aero bars

Breakfast the next day was a “quick” jaunt up the Muur. This climb had been haunting Ellie after having to jump off, she absolutely smashed it this time. It was great to see her super stoked at the top, I personally thought it was steeper than I remember.

I couldn’t do another day with the shorts I had bought so we took a brief detour to Fashion for Cycling, a shop we had been impressed with before for it’s sheer size and variety. The next day was more leisurely and with the wind behind us we covered the journey to Saint Quentin (161.4km/+1263m) at an easy average of 21.5km.

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Celebrating on top of the Muur

Sunday in France is tough if you’re not prepared. Over breakfast we discussed the where next? and decided to head to Lille satisfied that we had achieved our goals of:

  • Do the Muur – like a BOSS
  • See how the training is going – really well it’s great to start feeling stronger on the bike
  • Back-to-back long days
  • Weight check our luggage – we can still trim a lot of gear

We enjoyed the 103.3km/+689m journey to Lille with much less wind and the sun shining at an average of 20.3km/h.

Back home and enjoying the comforts it is now exactly 4 months until we start the race. We know what we need to do to achieve our target and it’s going to be a lot of busy weekends ahead.

Brace yourself, summer is coming!

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