Winter road bike training for the Hell of the Ashdown 2011

After suffering from a broken foot in a mountain bike accident at Brechfa South Wales on the Raven Trail I had to start getting back to fitness having been off the bike for three months. trouble was it was January, it was wet, cold and dark and I needed some motivation.

The Doc said I could not ride a mountain bike until my foot was back to full strength as I would risk breaking it again and it would be worse, much worse, so what to do?

Road Bike?

I know, some of you call it the dark side and think that roadies can be a miserable bunch and look funny in that skin tight lycra, but hey, I thought I would give it a go.

Now in my book there is no point in just riding for the sake of it so I needed a goal, I was overweight from being off the bike for three months and unfit so what could I do?

Why not enter one of the toughest Sportives in the area against 1200 other riders at the end of February. A sportive that I had failed to finish in the past, it was only 8 weeks away, how hard could it be?

You can read how we got on on the Hell of the Ashdown 2011 elsewhere on the blog, this is a tale of two months winter road bike training in deepest darkest Kent with a bunch of 40 something guys, (well one is 39) and a bloke gimping around with semi healed foot.

The first thing was to get together a group of guys to ride with, that bit was simple I had ridden with the same guys for years on mountain bikes so Gordon, Dave, Rob, Bazza and occasionally Woodsie were press ganged into giving up their Saturday mornings under the premise of winter training, here are some of them

Some of the guys

Lots of standing around

Here is a short video of some errr riding

We started off just on short rides with a few hills and gradually built up the distance from there. At first it was very hard and some of those hills were killers but gradually it got easier and we became quicker pulling 25mph along the road to Sandwich golf course at one point on the flat in a sort of road train peleton thing that looked stupid to other people but in our minds we were Pantani, Chippo, Lemond and Oncana at the foot of the Massif Central building up to an attack on the breakaway.

Some of us even started dieting on a high protein low-carb diet losing half a stone each, we were fast and lean(ish) although we would undo much of the good work with café and chocolate stops

And on one memorable occasion THIS!!!!

You may hide your face but we know who you are…

Oh and don’t forget the road road rage and people turning purple with rage at our temerity of actually enjoying ourselves, plus getting banned from cafés across the district. Where does all that anger come from? Can’t be good.

As the distance got greater, so did the time away from our very understanding families, we were out for four, five or six hour rides in sub zero temperatures, one memorable occasion was chaining our bikes up for a café stop down in Hythe only to break the lock and have to ask the café owner for a set of bolt croppers, Bazza’s bike still bears the scars.

Still we did not quit and rode the 30 miles home despite about twenty punctures between us and rolling into Canterbury in semi darkness despite having left home at 9am.

But for me the icing on the cake has to be the café we rolled into outside Chilham Kent, when the owner said “you can sit in the greenhouse” if you like, nothing could have prepared us for this;

There were Buddhas and wind chimes everywhere not to mention Emus and Donkeys in the garden.

It has been a great couple of months training, we have had some great laughs despite getting freezing cold and soaking wet and managed to get back some fitness into the bargain. So if you see a bunch of grim face roadies in the middle of winter they look that way because it is tough and cold, but you can still have some fun.

Thanks guys.

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