• paul7834

Training doesn't have to be boring

Updated: Apr 2, 2020

I've not added to this blog for a while and I think there's one main reason; I've been rather busy riding my bike. Training rides are important and it's good to get decent miles (or kilometres if you prefer) under your belt, but if all goes to plan it doesn't give you a lot of interesting content to share.

There are, of course, exceptions. A couple of weekends ago Mrs M and I took part in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 46 ride. An amazing event which had over 30,000 riders completing either a 46 mile or 100 mile ride on closed roads around London and Surrey. We chose to enter the ballot for the 46 mile event earlier this year and were both successful in getting places.

We stayed in Essex with my in-laws and had a crazy-early departure (5:30 am I vaguely recall) in order to get to the mustering point in the Olympic Park by 7:30 am. Memories of our time as GamesMakers in 2012 came flooding back as we shuffled forward towards the start line. We set off bang on schedule at 9:00 am, which was pretty remarkable given the number of riders.

Spot the cheeky coffee before we started

The first surreal moment was riding along a deserted three-lane A12 towards the City, but we soon settled into the routine of ignoring traffic lights, zebra crossings and anything else that might slow us down. Our pace was 'steady' at best, largely because we wanted to savour the ride and enjoy sweeping across Trafalgar Square, along the Embankment and through the West End. After going over the Hammersmith Flyover, another thing that you don't normally get to do, we headed out into the country and enjoyed a fabulous run through Richmond Park. We returned though Putney, my old stomping-ground from my University days and flew back in along the Embankment to an amazing finish on the Mall. We were blown away by the level of support that we got from beside the road and there's no doubt that this helped keep our energy levels high.

Along the A12. I'd spotted my son with the camera

It's unfortunate that in any event of this size that there will be casualties, and we had at least three delays as we passed riders lying on the road being attended to by paramedics. You don't stop to ask what happened, but it definitely makes you think about what you're doing. We later learned that the 100 mile ride had (as you'd expect) more of such events and there were some very extensive delays and detours in some places.

On completion of the ride we met up with our son & daughter (plus her boyfriend) and had a leisurely time in Green Park enjoying the sunshine in the RideLondon 'Festival Zone'. To finish the day we went to watch the finish of the men's Pro Classic ride; a great end to a long and unusual training ride.

Finish line spot for the RideLondon men's Pro Classic race

So my advice, for what it's worth, is to build some interesting 'special moments' into your training schedule. Whilst in this case the distance was well within what I've been routinely doing in training, the atmosphere and unique setting made it a very special day.

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