Quick update, more to come.
I rode my bike.
Hit triple figures.
Now sat with my feet up with the tour on.
A beautiful day stuck in a stuffy confining office is rarely an enjoyable experience.
52.5 miles of glorious country lanes on a warm summers evening aboard my bike.
I feel epic.
It’s two months until ironman.
It’s time to make or break.
I have a project.
It’s ambitious and something I have yet to try.
You will hear parts of it in the coming months.
But you will have to guess what parts are included.
I hope to share the results with you in the new year.
A niggling thought has been consuming the very depths of the back of my mind for the passing months. “Has my sight deteriorated as a result of my eye ulcer and infection?”
Well, a couple of weeks ago I plucked up the courage and called the opticians. I had to wait due to work and personal commitments, but tonight I arrived to receive the inevitable news.
Well I did until it was pointed out to me I was in the wrong opticians… my eyesight can’t be that bad surely?!
After an initial assessment on a weird electronic contraption, the eye test started in ernest.
30 minutes of felting graduated lenses later and examinations of the back of my eye the results were presented.
You have a substantial scar on your eye.
You do have a prescription and we can offer you glasses.
I don’t think they are necessary given how little the prescription is.
Good news. So for now I am glasses free and will continue to live life unaided.
Statistics. Sport is getting flooded by them.
Whether its pundits looking at passes completed to 1000th second differences in the hundred meters, we are getting number obsessed.
From apps to bespoke watches, the modern day athlete and enthusiast can monitor everything from their heart rate and cadence, to their speed and distance. But what does this mean?
A more scientific approach, but a detachment from listening to their body. Reading computers can only do so much. Listening to the body is vital. Preempting and reacting to hydration, nutrition and stress can make the difference from finish an event or training session.
On Saturdays ride I realised I was looking at the numbers too much. I was overanalysing every digit, paying a 3 inch touch screen far too much attention. Turning it off would not have been beneficial, as the average data is useful for reference. So instead, I used the sat nav option to show me the road ahead, and after some initial caving ins, adjusted myself to the new experience.
Put simply. It works.
Your attention is more about the experience of what is around you and your riding, rather than what is my speed running at.
But! I forgot to press start on the return leg and therefore missed 15 miles of data. Grr!!
Seems it’s hard to ignore the numbers.
Today was an odd day (Saturday).
I had completed my first real exercise in a week, after the heat and noise of London destroyed any notion of sleep when I was staying at my girlfriends last weekend, and heat and hayfever hit me hard in the week.
I rode 28.1 miles after work on Friday. Epic winds attacked for the entire duration, making it a challenging and sapping ride. In my naivety I thought I would be able to run and cyle the following day. After all, there’s not log left. Time is of the essence.
So I awoke with stif heavy legs and feeling weak. Right, forget running. My nutrition post ride had not been optimal as I hadn’t eaten till half 10 at night and so therefore tried not to go to heavy. I didn’t pay off.
Setting myself infront of the tv, le Tour and Formula 1 would have my attention, in between killing things on a games console.
I grey itchy. I need to do something.
After 2 hours of itv coverage I had had enough and suited up for my own Tour de Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. I rolled out, still not feeling great and optimistically put the target at 50 miles. It’s been sometime since I have done anything noteworthy.
I got to the Cambridge side of Bedford and wondered “how far can it be?” Typing in a random address into my Garmin Edge 800. Not too far, achievable, so off I set.
Well there were two issues. I only had two bottles of water and 2 Mule bars/3 gels. Plus no means of purchase. Sod it, what’s the worse that can happen.
I’ve bonked or hit the wall before and after it sets in things aren’t so bad so carried on regardless. I’d passed through St Neots when I looked at my distance and saw a sign for Cambridge. 16 miles. I calculated it should have been 50 from my start point and I was currently on 43 miles ridden.
I wasn’t half way, had eaten half my food and drank 1 and a bit bottles. I think I should start heading back.
It was a good job I did.
My body went from powerful to lethargic as I rationed my water as best I could. The hills weren’t too bad but the final 7-10 miles was tough. I was running on empty, dehydrated, thirsty.
But I made it back in good time.
92 miles. 30 more than I had ever ridden, and on the back of a hard ride Friday night going all out and with a nutritional disaster on hand.
Things are back on track.
2 litres of water, a huge recovery shake and a shower later, I felt awesome.
Dehydration is crippling. Good thing there are aid stations at races.
In the mean time for similar rides I have learnt valuable lessons.
1) carry money
2) carry more food
3) carry more water – bigger bottles or using tri holders.
I feasted and I’m here 5 hours later wide awake.
It was an epic ride and a good measure of where I am and what I can do through sheer stubbornness and control.
It’s been a long few months. I woke up at the end of March with severe visibility impairment in my right eye without warning. I didn’t really know what to make of it.
Over the coming weeks I would come to learn that I had suffered from an eye ulcer and the following reaction had been caused by immune system over protecting me. What followed was a week off work and three months of medication.
My training suffered severely, I could barely walk in a straight line, let alone run, cycle of swim. The winter favourite, the turbo trainer was dragged out of the garage and I rode till my balls went numb.
I was scared as real information was scarce. The internet told me a million things, but what came out of medical professionals mouths was limited and often incorrect.
I battled with it, got depressed and eventually accepted the possibility I could loose the sight in one eye.
Having taken part in a visual impairment course some years ago I knew that it wasn’t all doom and gloom which helped my decision making.
Well a decision didn’t need to be made as I made slow but steady progress.
My heads up.