Week 12 was a recovery week – all the usual sessions but without the brick runs and a much shorter ride and run at the weekend.
Week 13-15 was the start of the second block of build weeks. Longer brick runs and the rides building up to 90km all followed by a run. At the end of week 13 I also took part in my first triathlon of the season at Duston, which as I’ve already blogged about was a great success!
I also took another swim clinic with GreenlightPT as it had been a few months since my last one. I had been working on the various points that Adam had picked up last time with my head position, cross over on my pull and my exit on the pull so was keen to see if I had managed to fix these issues, plus the session always has a few time trials to check on performance.
I am pleased to say I had improved on all counts and my 400m TT time was a season’s best by some way and not too far off my overall PB. As ever though I came away with more to work on and a super tough endurance session that has really made me work in the pool.
Week 15 was rounded off with a full length 90km ride followed by a short run. I wanted to try to build a hill into the ride similar to the main hill at Outlaw and received a variety of suggestions, one of which was Ivinghoe Beacon, which would be around 50 mile round trip from home. I’ve never ridden this hill before so thought it would be a good one to try. Just to make the day really tough it started early in the morning at Box End, near Bedford. A quick lap of the cable lake – my first open water dip of the year – before heading home for a quick bowl of porridge and out on the bike.
I rode alone as my brother-in-law, who I normally cycle with has injured his hip and was unable to ride but it was a good test for me as I have to ride alone at Outlaw. It made for a tough ride as it was quite windy in places and although the only notable hill was the Beacon, there were a few undulations out there to keep the legs burning, but took me through some beautiful countryside before the climb up to the Beacon. The inital climb starts down in the village of Ivinghoe – I started the gentle incline strongly when a 4×4 decided to come round me and slam its brakes on – no idea why but the end result was me in a heap in the road still attached to my bike and said 4×4 driving off. The road was quite a busy B road so I didn’t want to be lying in the road for long, but typically couldn’t get my shoes off my pedals as I was lying down and then realised my Garmin was still going! Not sure what concerned me more, lying in a main road or the thought of my Garmin still running. Either way, I resolved both situations swiftly. A couple of drivers had stopped to check I was alright. Luckily no damage to me or the bike that I could see, although I was concerned about my new trisuit which I was testing as I had landed heavily on my side.
I dusted myself off and continued on my way, a little bit angry at events – I have no idea what the driver thought they were doing but they clearly had no concept of other road users, particularly cyclists and it was clear why so many accidents happen. With the bit between my teeth I took the Beacon by its horns and had a nice steady ride to the top – even passing another cyclist on the way. It wasn’t as bad as I had been led to believe – quite long, but more of a gentle drag than a major slog. It kicks up a bit towards the end but the views you are rewarded with on the way more than make up for it.
I stopped at the top to have a check I was alright after my fall and I could feel my left leg had taken a bit of a bashing – nothing too serious but could feel there would be bruises in a few days. From the top of the Beacon I was a bit hazy about the route back down to Ivinghoe. I could return the way I came but wanted to take a more scenic route through Ashridge Park, down Tom’s Hill and through Aldbury (anyone who watches Midsomer Murders will recognise it) – only problem was my phone couldn’t get a signal so my route wouldn’t show. i decided to play it by ear and make it up as I went along. I knew roughly where I wanted to go so set off down through the Park, eventually arriving at the top of Tom’s Hill (glad I didn’t come up that!) and descended into Aldbury. From Aldbury I found a signpost that pointed to Tring (wrong direction) so took a punt on a random road that I thought headed in the right direction – luckily it did and I found myself back in Ivinghoe village and on the route home.
Although hit wasn’t particularly hilly going home it did feel like a long slog but gradually the miles ticked over and I reached home in 61 miles. A fair bit over the 90km I was supposed to do but with a few stops I figured it had evened itself out! A quick run after to round of the full triathlon day and that gave me the confidence to know I can complete the Outlaw Half.