After a heavy few weeks of mileage and weight challenges on the bike,I was starting to feel it, and taking some advice from a good friend, decided it was time to 'go with the flow' and listen to how my body was feeling.
That said, the 170.4km I covered were a lot harder than they should have been, as the calm sunshine on the Thames at the start of the week soon turned to 40mph gusting winds by the end of it! It's a bizarre feeling to be pedalling hard and barely going at 15km/hr one minute with the wind in your face, to then whizzing along at 35km/hr with a gust behind you.
But it's all good in terms of creating a realistic experience, as the last time I remember wind conditions like this was actually in South America in 2017 where we battled against it for the final 100km of our climb between Argentina and Chile buffeted by winds of over 40mph as this little clip confirms..
The 'lower' kms covered break down like this:
I took the opportunity to do a ride along the Grand Union Canal this week thinking (wrongly) that the flat conditions may make it easier in the wind. It's always a wonder to me how the landscape changes as you go west along this path. From the section which passes over the North Circular Road (always a bit surreal to see traffic streaming past on a dual carriageway beneath you), to the calm peaceful stretches near the Ealing parks. And yes, that is a ladybird bell on my bike - every serious athlete has one ;)
By now, with 1,575km covered in total, I would have passed the capital of Ecuador, Quito, and be traversing the Llanganates National Park. This park is famous for the 'Treasure of the Llanganates' referring to a huge amount of gold, silver, platinum and electrum artifacts supposedly hidden deep within the Llanganates mountain range of Ecuador by the Inca general Rumiñahui. The park also boasts the 4570m high peak of Cerro Hormoso (or beautiful mountain). It is the landscape here that really speaks to me as it looks nostalgically like the rugged beauty of my homeland in Scotland (albeit it very different in climate!) At the moment I am pining for any holiday, South America is the pipe dream, and Aberdeen a slightly more realistic one, surely this year I will get there??
Following the theme of listening to what my body and mind needed this week, I had been taking some tips from a two part conversation that I released with resilience coach Cath Kane on Challenges Change and Curveballs: Strategies to stay grounded despite the pandemic. Even though she was in Washington DC during the whole of 2020, she definitely kept me sane with our regular coaching calls and 'Enterprising Women' group chats. I am delighted that she is now back in London and we are hosting a webinar on Tools and Techniques for Radical Self Care later this month. Have a look at my webpage for more details and how to sign up for this FREE event!
Denise Yeats is an events director, communications consultant, endurance athlete and avid adventurer.