So today I rode 120km. It was very hard.
Despite setting a pretty leisurely pace, and fueling regularly, from 50km onwards lactic acid was starting to build up in my legs and my heart rate was steadily rising trying to get it flushed out. At the same time, because I was taking it pretty gently, I had less weight on the pedals and more on my sit bones – which became very painful.

So the majority of the ride was a mental struggle. I had to keep reminding myself why I’m doing this. I know that the actual ride will be more difficult still. But whatever it takes, I’ll dig deep and find it.

I’m quite proud of how far I’ve come though. I started training around August of last year – not even on a bike, but just getting in better shape by doing circuits and the odd run. At this time I only rode my bike once every couple of weeks, usually for around 25 to 30 miles.

In October I started training properly on the bike, and since then I’ve been riding around 3-4 times per week, and have clocked around 2500km in total.

It takes many years for a cyclist to build up a level of base fitness that would allow a ride as long as I’m doing to be easy. After just a few months of base training, I’m nowhere near that level – my body still isn’t efficient in turning fat into energy. Combine that with the fact that I naturally have a very high proportion of fast twitch muscles (basically my genetic makeup is that of a sprinter rather than an endurance athlete) and you can understand why such a long ride is going to be challenging.

When I am finding it tough on the bike, my mind now automatically flashes up images and videos from Hillsborough and I tell myself to man up.

I’ll be out again tomorrow, and again on Sunday.

119.69 km in 5h:27m:13s using Endomondo.

via Endomondo Cycling Workout.

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One thought on “An exercise in mental toughness – good training for the ride

  • March 9, 2012 at 20:09
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    Absolute respect Ben. Simply amazing work

    Reply

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