Hill training

April 27, 2014  |  Training Rides

I should start today’s post with a Happy 1st Wedding Anniversary to Andy and Lez. A good excuse not to use a rare week off for cycling.

60 miles today saw us attempting the route to Sutton hall again, with much more satisfying results – and not just because we completed the ride with all parts of our bikes in tact. I’m not quite sure the same could be said of Ian though; with a back strain from putting his bike in the car and a couple of close encounters of the Tarmac kind, there were a few moments where Mark & I doubted his ability to finish (or more accurately, start!) As always however, we sold him short and he soldiered on like a trooper.

The wind has continued to complicate matters by slowing us down but the Garmin elevation says we climbed 3300 feet today. Road names like Bull Hill Lane give you an idea of what we were dealing with. We are still worried that the climbs will be worse in Italy, but with a new cassette on my bike I have a better range of gears so there is scope for a little bit more. One guy cycling past us commented it that “it’s hard enough without luggage.” He looked like he does climbs like that on a regular basis though and was referring of course to our panniers carrying all but the kitchen sink. We may not go very fast but we always have weight, and I like to think, in many cases, go further than the cyclists with bikes you can lift with a finger!

The sun stayed out for most of the day despite earlier predictions of the weather over the past week suggesting rain or even thunder storms (Christine, I fully understand why you don’t want to go out in the rain- weather watching this morning would have lead to a day off if we’d woken up to a downpour – but remember in Italy- we’ve just got to get on with it).

After admiring the scenery and watching many little lambs jumping round the fields we arrived at Sutton hall. I think I am developing a love affair with the place, it’s so beautiful and the staff are so helpful- they even laugh at Ian’s jokes and refill our water bottles. We refuelled with a hearty feed and pudding (the joys of cycling) and Mark chilled out with a couple of beers; Ian and I preferring tea once again.

The journey home was sedate by comparison with a windy pootle back via congleton and Alderley edge (I can’t help but admire the beautiful houses on route with maybe just a hint of envy).

I have decided today that a group charter may be required to help me and Christine manage the boys. I’m still working out the details but some sort of sticker reward scheme for good behaviour springs to mind, assuming we can ignore the bad- it’s basic child care techniques right?

Training now being in full swing, we have made other progress this week and almost all our accommodation is booked for the trip. I am particularly excited about our Tuscan accommodation which comes with a pool, tennis court and BBQ. Ian has also been busy and ordered the tops, so we will at least have all the gear…

With 7 weeks till we fly I think we are all somewhere between excited and apprehensive. Not long to go now! Bring it on.

By Becci Johnson

Chief blogger and haribo coordinator.