Adventures of the Cotic - A Quick Release holidays mountain bike race team

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Kirsty's 3 Peaks Pedal - Where to Begin?

How do you turn a cross-country racing touch rugby player with fast-twitch muscles into a lean, mean endurance rider capable of riding 100 miles a day, and the next day, and the next?

That was the exam question I set A Quality Ride coach, Kate Potter, earlier this year.

The reason for the question - a little challenge I have set myself.  With husband Matt and team-mate Ant off to do the TransPyrenees (an 8-day stage across Spain) later in the year, I decided that I would like to do something memorable.  At around the same time, I heard that Phil Morris ( was looking to raise money for a life-changing operation to help his little boy - Ryley - to walk.

So what does training for this challenge entail?  Miles and miles of road riding with the odd hike?  Well yes, but Kate and I like to mix things up a bit to make life more interesting.  So I thought I would share with you a recent 'week in the life'...

Monday:  easy 30 minute run - feeling rather slow and lethargic.

Tuesday:  45 minutes run, followed by a 'fun' outdoor circuit with Matt - including 100m and 200m 'run throughs' which helped me get some zip in my legs, narrow and wide pushups, and 20 minutes of the plank!!  Thankfully not all in one go...

Wednesday:  rest day - a gentle stroll.

Thursday:  2 hour tempo/base ride - 9 mins Z1-2, 5 mins Z3-4 and 1 min Z5 - 8 times through.  Now this is where mental training comes in.  Having got back from work late, I didn't get started til after 9pm, and was debating whether to just do an hour then call it a day.  But mind over matter... once I got started, I felt more energised than I had all day.  My legs felt good, I was motivated, and I felt that I was getting stronger as the session progressed.  No way was I stopping after 1 hour.  Dinner was rather late that night!!

Friday:  1.5 hours hill efforts - 10 times 4 minute hills, alternating 1 minute sitting and 1 minute standing.  Lovely early evening at Ashton Court (carefully avoiding the hundreds of dog-walkers on the descents).  Followed by a 20 minute run.  Feeling good!  

Saturday:  6.5 hours road ride - Bristol to Southampton - with Matt.  Lovely ride through rolling English countryside.  This was a great opportunity to make sure I had my nutrition strategy dialled, as well as some drafting practice for Matt.  We focussed on working as a team, watching for signs of fatigue and thinking of ways to perk each other up when we started to tire - particularly necessary on a long stretch across open moorland into a massive headwind!  Not sure how much Ant will appreciate Matt's singing during the Trans Pyr though...

Sunday:  Somerset Gran Sportive - 180k sportive with 2500m climbing... what a way to finish the week!  It was tough at times, and I didn't quite get my nutrition right, but the scenery was awesome - Somerset's finest.  Mendips, Quantocks and Exmoor, with a stretch of coastline thrown in for good measure.  After a hard week's training this was a great confidence boost before my big challenge - and proof that I can hack it when things aren't quite perfect.  Boy did we eat well that night.

Thanks goodness for bank holidays - Monday comprised a big family lunch, followed by a recovery walk in our local woods.  After what was probably my heaviest week training to date, my legs felt surprisingly good!  Maybe those fast twitch muscles can go the distance!!

Coming next... Preparation, Preparation, Preparation...

In the meantime, if you would like to sponsor me and help raise money for Ryley, please go to my fundraising page...

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