‘Never stand up when you can sit down, and never sit down when you can lie down.’ -Winston Churchill.
One of the interesting things about completing an event like this is the preparation that has to go into it. After a hard week at work the thought of a 6-15 alarm call to cycle 100 miles around North Wales in single figure temperatures may not thrill everyone. Despite the views.
Perhaps that is why this weekend I just forgot to set it.
You may expect the rest of this blog to be about the mad dash that then ensues. Picture something akin to the scene at the start of Four Weddings and a Funeral as Hugh Grant and Charlotte Coleman try desperately to be on time for the wedding except instead of morning suits, bridesmaid dress and a dash in a mini it is lycra, crash helmet straps being clipped in on the go and pedalling with only one shoe on. However, here is the odd thing; I woke bright as a button at 6-10. Training is hard for anything but as you have seen in the earlier blogs it is also enjoyable to be out in a team riding and improving together so I was looking forward to it so much I woke up unassisted. Which really brings me to the topic of this blog.
If you think of any cycling event from the team pursuit at the Olympics where the four cyclists swap position every lap by flying up the track to join the back in perfect synchronisation or the 198 strong Tour de France peleton sweeping through the breathtaking French countryside you rarely see a cyclist by themselves.
The reason for this at elite level is that the group will go faster by taking turns to be at the front and recovering in the small vacuum created when they ride behind others. In the team pursuit where they are travelling at over 60kph for four kilometres the fourth person is using around half of the energy of the first person. At a very different scale this is also true for our group.
As I have been away for a few weeks and due to other commitments I have not managed to ride in the group as much as I should. This has however given me the perspective on just how much everyone is improving not only in their own fitness but on riding in a group.
In partcular on one part of this ride, the seven of us rode along the north wales coast in a line similar to the Olympic Team pursuiters. Our three extra people and couple of hundred more kilos in power obviously resulting in an increase in speed of an amazing minus 30kph. We were not trying win an Olympic gold but to keep going for another 50ish Miles at roughly the same speed. We held both this form and speed until we hit traffic lights. Not literally this week I am pleased to report.
The quote by Winston Churchill in the title of this blog could be a cyclist mantra. When we are all due to expend so much energy in the coming weeks ironically we will all be focussed on saving every calorie we can.
Wrexham to Gibraltar Charity Cycle Ride