Following a Plan

There are many reasons why I’m a cyclist, the foremost being, it feels great to ride a bicycle fast – another reason is it appeals to my obsessive side, you can analyse almost every angle of being a cyclist – something Team Sky and Team GB have called “marginal gains”. That term isn’t too romantic but if you want results in cycling, you can achieve by simply following everything very closely. I’ve got quite an extensive record of my rides, from pretty much day one (3 years ago); I’ve not always kept a perfect record but it does allow for some nice looking back.

The first major attempt at record keeping was with a “training diary” – a book. Books are great, it feels like a form of therapy writing things down but as the picture shows, books tend to fall apart and get mouldy – not only that, they aren’t the best for analysis – the computer helps here.

Mould is indicative of an un-used training diary!

Despite the fungus that has grown on it, it still gives me something to go back to:

Wednesday 4.8.2010 – Turbo – 60 mins – 16.09 mi – 119 avg HR
Thursday 12.8.2010 – Hill Repeats – 65 mins – 16.17 mi – 150 avg HR
Saturday 14.8.2010 – Endurance – 130 mins – 37.48 mi – 147 avg HR

I’ve only picked a few rides, it all seems so slow, and the heart rate quite high – the terrain I was cycling on was pretty easy. So just from keeping a record I’ve given myself a boost, 2 years of hard work pays off! Back then I was averaging about 6 hours a week, this included squash playing, I wasn’t too serious yet and couldn’t sustain many big rides in a row.

Following on from this diary I decided to make an Excel database of my cycling, training, races, TTs, odometers – it’s more extensive and much more helpful. I’ve noticed a lot of the comments (I keep notes in the database) I have written here are pretty negative, brutally honest:

“Stressful week. Too many clothes worn on Saturday.” – I get warm if I wear too much, I’m a heater!
“Got dropped at Newburn, had too much to eat before, pace was high (25.6mph).” – it was tough getting used to chaingangs!
“Confidence low after yet another race with no points.” – racing a bicycle can be mentally tough.

It’s a great record though, and plots the highs as well:

“Punctured at TLI but flew at Newburn, huge efforts – great climbing on Sunday.” – it’s great when you fly!
“Tempo on Tuesday (21mph), fast 65 on Friday (19mph) and then 3rd in a RR – great week!” – my best week this year!

Besides from these comments, which are really nice to see, I’ve also got the mileage, hours and sessions I’ve done every week for the last two years – so I can compare, and see how my fitness has changed. You can’t look at fitness over a short period, but after a year you can clearly see the positive improvements. This time last year I was averaging 9 hours a week, recently I’ve been doing 12 hours a week – over the last 6 weeks I’ve done 37% more training than a year ago! I can only do this because I’m able to recover quicker, and back rides up – obviously my speed has also increased.

This blog is primarily about racing – again I’ve kept a nice record of this years races – it makes for good and bad viewing!


General issue seems to be my confidence (lack of) and hiding a bit much – not too much of a worry, I’m new to being a competitive athlete. It also makes me proud, I’ve come a long way, remained dedicated…and even taken a win. Many a cyclist would be happy with that. We don’t want to look back too much, so I can’t wait to post about the winter training and my attempt to get to 2nd category (and beyond) next year!!


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