Monday, 20 February 2012

A lay off

So how are you? How have you been? Been up to much lately? Yeah I know. I should have called. Sorry.

It's been a few weeks since I updated this speil, or even threw my leg over a crossbar, but all for good reason. Work shipped me off to Chicago for 3 weeks of intensive training (labelled New Joiner Training, which is ironic given that I've already been working there for 6 months). As with most training courses, a 'work hard, play hard' approach was taken to the timetabling, with a fair few days of 8 till 8 lectures, exercises and case studies, followed by large meals, lots of crap fizzy larger, and studies in international relations. This being America, the food was large, plentiful and often greasy. Me being a glutton, there weren't many meals where I passed on the extra course/cookie/dessert...

Not mentioned above is the weekend fly-by trip to Vegas which involved some hefty bar tabs, large quantities of Grey Goose vodka, and not much sleep at all. All in all I think it would be accurate to say that 3 weeks of these kind of shenanigans is enough to put even the most elite athlete into fat camp, so it was certainly more than sufficient for me.

The Q pub - very 80s

From left to right: Snr Manager, Snr Exec, student (Shanil)

Chicago style

Deep-pan pizza pie

That said, I did make a conscious effort to hit the campus gym and pretty much managed to go every day. A selected highlight was a hungover half marathon run along Lake Michigan one Sunday morning - absolute bliss (even if it did involve some running). As a test to try and measure the slide, I had managed to get my Richmond Park 3-lap time down to 58 minutes the day before I flew out. The same ride (in similar conditions) on Sunday morning put me about 1 minute down on that pace, which isn't horrific and certainly manageable with some proper training:

After making good progress through the list in January, February has been a slow month and hopefully I will be able to make up for this over the coming weeks. Next weekend is the Hell of the Ashdowns - a sportive I have ridden for the past three years and which kicks off the sportive 'season' nicely with 100km on quiet lanes and some good hills to boot. The weather has been pretty atrocious in the past (snow, ice and wind) so I'm hoping that fourth time lucky brings at least positive temperatures. We shall see...

I haven't nailed down riding plans after that, but there will likely be a trip to the Chilterns, as well as riding some more London climbs with the usual suspects. A large chunk of the list (basically the 10 climbs to the West of Cheddar Gorge) I plan to do on a long-weekend of riding ending up towards Hayle - for a stay with Selene's Aunt and Uncle. So far I have Clive, Rich and Andy lined up as riding partners, but in the hills of Exmoor and Dartmoor, the more the merrier so please let me know in the comments section if you fancy coming for this. The rides haven't been planned in entirety just yet, but the plan will be to head west out of London on the Friday night with the aim of getting a full day's riding in on Saturday (Weston Hill, Cheddar Gorge and Crewcombe Coombe) and Sunday (the Exmoor hills of Dunkery Beacon, Porlock Hill, and Exmoor Forest - with the potential to extend the ride to include Challacombe Hill). After that, those who need to can return home, and I will fit in some Dartmoor riding to 'cover off ' the rest of the South West during the following week.

Other plans in the pipeline include a ride down Wales culminating in the Dragon Ride (5-10th June), and a trip up to the Scottish Highlands in late summer. Oh, and the minor event of the back-to-back weekends covering the Fred Whitton/Etape du Dales. Time to get training then!

No comments:

Post a Comment