It's been about a month since I got back from Lands End...a fairly banal train journey from Penzance, and Gill met me at Reading station (still dragging that damn bag!)
The injuries were more painful rather than physically debilitating. A tear on the fascia of the right kneecap, and minor tearing to both quad muscles. I've had a couple of physio sessions to loosen the muscles up...for the first week I couldn't bend my knees past 90', however now they are about 90% there. There are a couple of sore points remaining, but even they are fading. Having access to daily physio and massage treatments definitely kept me on the road. No saddle sore at all (thanks to Assos Chamois cream, a Selle SMP saddle and clean shorts every day!)
The bike came away almost completely un-scathed. 1006 miles, and no punctures. The chain never dropped, and apart from some expected wear on the chain, cassette and brake pads it's been fine...just a quick wash and grease up the drive. Given it was one of the cheaper bikes on display at RAB (there was apparently one bike there in the £10k region, complete with Shimano Di2 electric gears!) I'm really chuffed at how it performed...
...which was to get me in with the 7th fastest time overall, and 5th in the amateur stakes (Sarah Storey and Andre...both amazing pro-cyclists, but they can't be counted in the paying guests "it's not a race!"). 5th out of 600 starters is something I can be more than happy with. Chris and David came 1st and 2nd (and if I was going to be picky the guy who came 4th has a couple of questionable results). An official time of 62 hours and 25 minutes, and from the Garmin 58 hours and 44 minutes of actual cycling over 9 days (taking the results of someone I cycled with on day 2, as mine died). Thats an average moving speed of just over 17mph, with rest stops in the region of 10 minutes each.
The results really do show how effectively cycling in a group is...for my training rides I was doing 100 miles in about 6 hours. Average speed for 100 miles for the ride was about 5 ½ hours, and that includes way more climbing than I could ever do in Berkshire. As the trip went on my average heartrate went down, and average speeds went up, which also shows how the body adapts to stuff like this. I've done a couple of triathlons since coming back, and while the run and swim have been mediocre, I've PB'ed the bike legs both times (at 20km and 40km). Doing my normal training hills I've now got a couple of extra gears spare when I head up them (for example Sulham Hill, the steepest in the area, I can now do with 2 spare cogs, and I have a new aim to get up it using the large chainset).
I'm really glad I did it, and I'm totally chuffed with the result...given that 18 months ago I had never ridden a road bike, and 12 months ago I hated cleats (clip-in shoes) it's been a fairly impressive performance. I did approximately 10,000 miles of training over 10 months, of which about 40% of that was my daily commute to and from work. The rest was mainly long rides in the evenings and weekends, and "hours of power" during my lunchbreaks. It was worth every second, from the cold hours over winter, to changing tyres in the rain. Gill has been sterling support, having to come and pick me and a broken bike up on more than one occasion...she's probably sick of me cycling by now!
Next up I have London Triathon in a fortnight...I've gone for the extended cycle option, so it will be 1.5km swim, 80km bike and 10km run. As such the next couple of weeks will be heavy on the time-trial work, looking to push myself hard for 2-2.5 hours on the bike. I've treated myself to a bit of bike bling for the TT bike (carbon deep-rim wheels and a funky helmet)...they may help a bit with speed, but they certainly make you <i>feel</i> faster!
One downside was that my headcam didn't perform as expected...trouble getting it to charge, and a seeming in-ability to take video meant I didn't capture some stuff I had hoped to... Also the official photos were less than great, typically being taken in the first half hour when we were all wrapped up against the elements and cold, rather thn later in the day when we were in full flow...
The photos I do have were from random sources (some stills from the headcam, some from the phone, and some from the end when Rob took over photo duties!). There are some more on FaceBook for those who have me linked up on there...