Week 2 completed with me covering 191.4km. Only 8,620km to go!
The weather, coupled with my 'wildcard challenge' of completing 1000m of hill climbs on the bike at 6% or more meant that this week was a real test in many ways.
So, it's heavily skewed towards cycling again this week, the breakdown went like this:
183km cycling (most of it on hillls!)
Having covered a total of 386km so far, I would currently be just outside Puerto Berrio in Colombia. This is a major river port on the Magdalena, handling a lot of the famous coffee that comes out of this part of South America.
Again, the weather conditions in my part of the world couldn't be more different from my virtual one. Snow and ice in London whilst Puerto Berrio basks in 33deg!
The week got off to an interesting start after an unexpected snowfall on Sunday.
I had my mind set on a swim on Monday though, and so I tenaciously navigated my way out of a very icy street on my hybrid bike. The trip was rewarded with a VERY cold but lovely swim in the Thames, though yet again a super high flow rate of around 270 meant that what should have been a 400m swim registered as 156 as I battled against the current. Daaaah! Though as you can see, I'm still grinning like a lunatic...
But the most challenging part of my training was yet to come.....I had the hill climbs to do and neither the roads nor the weather were looking favourable. Could I do this on my turbo trainer indoors? Coach Tom said no, that was too 'easy' apparently, but advised safety first and that I could delay it until next week. But wimping out is not my style.
I did appreciate that steep downhills on skinny road bike tyres might not be the best idea though and I so decided to do them on my trusty hybrid. Now where to do the challenge? One of my favourite destinations to get the hills in is the Chilterns, but with travel of that distance out of the question just now I had to focus closer to home.
I am lucky to live in North London close to some great hilly locations. For those familiar with cycling in this area, there is a gem of a hill near Hampstead towards Highgate called Swain's Lane. Averaging at a gradient around 8% and maxing out at 20% over 900metres, it is the location of the Urban Hill Climb Race and enjoys legendary status in the London cycling community. That, coupled with some surrounding climbs and a 'nice' 12% hill near where I live, and I had my plan sorted.
Oh but the weather was grim. Rain, rain and more rain (the picture on the right was not taken in real time!). I used to do some hill reps with some of my cycling club buddies a few years ago on this circuit when...
a) it was dry
b) I was on a road bike that weighs about 7kg and
c) we did about 5 or 6 of them in a week
Contrast that with...
a) it was soaking wet
b) I was on a hybrid bike weighing about 14kg and
c) I had to do 15 reps this week
So, this circuit (8 hills) done 2 days in a row, elevation 517m each day, I think we can safely say job done!
I apologise for any motorists who witnessed me shouting and laughing manically in the rain wondering if this was some biblical event I was in the midst of....bucketing rain and plague (Covid). I found myself muttering 'is this the fine line between tenacity and madness?'
And so with very tired legs (and yet again in the rain) I had some running to do. too My second swim of the week came unstuck when not only did I get caught in a major downpour getting there, but was advised that the river flow was 'dangerously fast' so (even I) couldn't swim anyway.
But I do love a challenge, and although the week might have been grey and testing,
I did receive some bright news from my parents in Aberdeen. My dad had been for his vaccine! Although, like the past 13 months, I could only see them onscreen, I could feel his excitement that there may just be a light at the end of this very long tunnel....
Denise Yeats is an events director, communications consultant, endurance athlete and avid adventurer.