Thursday, 1 September 2011

Hills are the enemy.

Photobucket Traveller's exercising regime has evolved exponentially since arriving in London. Upon reaching these sunny shores, in an attempt to battle the Heathrow Injection, T took up running. It was a slow process to begin with; she was quite unfit and could only run a couple of laps of the local running track. Then she started on the slippery slope of entering competitions: first a 5k, then a few 10ks, then a couple of half-marathons, until finally she found a sport that required an even more ridiculous level of fitness - the triathlon. As she writes, T has only completed one sprint (mini) triathlon and is currently training for a 3/4 event which will happen in a couple of weeks.

Between the two triathlons, Traveller was preparing for something even more insane...

It all began one beautiful, sunny day in Majorca, Spain; RF's husband and another friend hatched the mad plan to ride from London to Paris. Now, before T continues, RF's husband must be explained: he is one of those peculiar breeds of human that loves to exercise; he rarely goes a day without it and is only really happy when he's pushing through some kind of pain barrier (Exhibit A: he rode through the Pyrenees while T whisked his wife off to the Greek Islands) He has been a sort-of-coach to T and RF throughout the last few years, always telling us to 'harden up' and to get moving (we have a habit of talking too much while we exercise!). So, with that in mind, you can understand that the trip to Paris would not be a luxurious, relaxing week long adventure stopping in local towns and sampling French wine and food along the way. It was going to be a hell for leather two day sprint where they would eat on the bike and stop over just once for a sleep, a shower and a nice big dinner.

Without really understanding the sheer extremity of the task before her, T, very enthusiastically, asked to join in. This resulted in a serious discussion where she was told that she could do it if she trained really hard and where she was promised that she would be left behind if she couldn't keep up. Traveller agreed to these dramatic conditions (still not really understanding) and commenced training.

 So, back in May, T was given a training schedule which included four sessions of cycling a week: a one hour paced ride, an interval session, a hills session and a long ride which grew gradually from seventy kilometres to one-hundred and twenty kilometres. It all seemed possible, except T grew very busy at school, started to get sick and missed a few sessions. Quite a few sessions. Then, in July, they had a practice ride to Brighton; a 100k ride from London which involved quite a few hideous looking hills and let's just say, T did not do so well. She even had to walk up one hill. For shame! She was then told that she could still come to Paris, but she had a lot of work to do. Her schedule grew from 4 sessions a week to 6 sessions a week and totalled 400K+ of riding which translates into hours and hours of pedalling! Luckily, she was on school holidays!

Without expanding too much on the grim hours of painful, solo pedalling that ensued, T is happy to report that she did complete the training schedule and reached the level required for the Paris ride! She was, of course, nervous but felt proud that she had managed to improve her fitness so quickly.

Next up was the ride itself which did not go quite to plan...

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