Friday, 13 April 2012

My cycling weeks!

Thought I would write another update whilst I have the time, mainly to talk a little about the cycle which I did a week ago across Glen Affric. It was truly spectacular! Derek and I had been up in Inverness for the last part of the Easter week anyway, so our friends came up to join us on the Thursday and on the Friday morning we got the train to Beauly. From there we cycled on the road to the wee car park at the start of the glen. We were taking our time, the boys taking lots of photos with their new cameras. Luckily the weather held up and it actually got quite warm, despite there still being snow on the hills.

Once we got to the car park it was then off road for the next 15 or so miles. Started off ok, a little rocky but ended up getting quite rough. Had to stop and push the bike a few times. Luckily the sun was shining and we met another cyclist en route who ended up following our (not so wonderful) navigation skills to find the hostel.

The hostel is a wee shack basically, in the middle of nowhere.
Glen Affric Hostel Website

That night was their first night open since September of last year...and due to the snow they had no gas, so everything - hot water, cooking, heating - was to be done on gas stove. I alsmot didn't go because of this but it ended up being fine. Luckily the cyclists arrived first, about 6.30pm, followed by about 15 walkers. So I got the shower first ;D The lady in charge of the hostel couldn't have been nicer, and she sat playing board games with us as we had a few wee drams into the evening. It did get really cold during the night but overall I'd highly recommend the hostel. One day I'd like to run from Beauly to the hostel, stay over then continue to Kyle the next day. We'll see!

All in all Day 1 ended up being about 38 miles.

Day 2 my friend decided that we should do some real off road cycling, so we tramped across a bog for about 40minutes until we came across a really narrow muddy path which came and went. It seemed we climbed quite far, though slowly. We had a train to catch from Kyle of Lochalsh at 5pm so we were a bit worried about catching that too. Our worries were further provoked when the path winded down to very little, and headed up a huge mountain. We had climbed quite far up but getting to the top was really steep. A quick stop for lunch at the top and we headed down the other side. Views down into the valley were fantastic though. I am not great on a bike so didn't bike any of the narrow path with steep drops at the side (funnily enough!) so this section was basically about 10 miles and I pretty much hiked the whole way, hoisting the bike alongside. Once we got to the road at Invershiel we has about 1.5 hours to do the 15miles to Kyle. Sounds like a lot of time, I know, but it had started raining heavily and we had the mountain bikes, so not ideal for road cycling!

Needless to say we flew along as fast as we could and ended up making it to Kyle with plenty of time to spare. It's funny how the spin classes I've been going to really come into their own...I felt so strong at the end of this cycle, despite REALLY pushing that 15 miles on road to the station. My energy dipped so low at one point I had to stop, cram about 15 chewy sweets down my throat and continue....that really is physiology at its best...I was full of energy some 3/4 mins later!!

So day 2 was about 26 miles, 10 off road, 16 on road. Very hard too. I tried to plot this on mapmyrun but not a chance. I think there was about 500/600m of elevation which was tough.

Here are some pics from the trip...

The nicer off road part of day 1, just after the car park

Stopping for a snack!

Cycling uphill

Our hostel

The steep part of day 2...doesn't actually look that steep though, but it was!! I think I'm bossing the guys about ;)

On the descent

Overall a great trip which I would definitely do again. A good work out for my arms too - they were aching like crazy on Sunday!

Now, the plan is really to try and cool down before the Fling. I know my long runs haven't really been up to scratch, so I'm planning to just run the Fling to enjoy being at home on familiar ground. If I get under 12 hours, I'd be elated. If not, hey ho. Since 2/4/12, my workouts have been:

Wed 4/4: 6.8miles, 55mins - easy run to check my legs were ok after the 32miler.
Fri 6/4: 38mile on + off road cycle, Beauly-Glen Affric
Sat 7/4: 26mile on + off road cycle, Glen Affric-Kyle
Mon 9/4: 8.8miles, 1h25mins - easy run with my friend (who I cycled with)...both of us decided to cut the run short due to very heavy legs!!
Tues 10/4: Spin, 1 hour - tough resistance work
Thurs 12/4: Spin, 1hour - quite tough interval training

I was a wee bit shocked to see I've only done 3 runs in 12 days!! But a lot of cycling which I consider just as tough (if not tougher) cardiovascular exercise as running, without the impact. I'm planning on doing a long run tomorrow...easy 13-15miler on hills...then a few runs/spins next week including about 8 miles at the weekend. Luckily we are in Inverness for the weekend so can do a nice run out by Nairnside from Derek's parent's house.

I have been incredibly busy at Uni and working in the hospital these past few weeks and will be next I'm really looking at quality over quantity for the next 2 weeks. I want to start the Fling feeling as fresh as possible. That's the plan, anyway!!

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