My first brevet

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Its a long long time...

Since I updated the blog. Perhaps its the anti-climax after two hectic months ? I do not know but I did not intend to stop writing.

The "brevet" in the broad sense continues and there are many more challanges up the road. I do not think that I will participate in any more brevets this year as I do not have the time I would like to prepare for them. The next 200km one invlolves a fair bit of climbing which is not my specialty. I think I can do it if I try but it will be a lonely brevet as I am as slow as a snail on the uphills and anyone riding along me will be tortured.

Next year I will try to do as many as I can !!!

Although I stopped writing, I have not stoped cycling. After the brevet its like a revelation !! Its like I am cashing in on an enormous aerobic system !! The difference in my recoveries and stamina are amazing !!! What I am lacking now is (if I can describe it technically) endurance at higher heart rates (i.e. at time trial mode, hill climbing etc) and that is beacause (perhaps) for the last three months I have been avoiding crossing into the red line zone like the plague.

This is what I am working at the moment and my large aerobic base makes it easier !!!

Ohhh and by the way I completed one of my New Years resolutions - the Pissia Climb

The main aim now is to lose weight and a lot of it.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

(The 200kilometres !!)

I am so happy that I cannot describe it. The brevet is over and I am alive and kicking! Something that was fixed in my mind from the day I got the road bike is finished and I achieved my aims.

Saturday morning then and I got to the start line nice and early. I made sure about 100 times that I had with me what I needed - in fact I carried in my car a lot more so that I can cover all eventualities (this is called inexperience). All kinds of jerseys, gloves, head warmers, shoe covers etc, food to last me 1000 kilometres.... you get the point.

As I got ready more and more people arrived creating a wonderful atmosphere. To be honest, and I was overwhelmed by the feeling of participating in a large cycling event. There were about 130 cyclists, which is a lot by Greek standards, of all ages, shapes and sizes. I got ready and soon the start was given. Off we went, a mass of colourful cyclists progressing slowly along the main town road. To my inexperienced mind it felt like a Tour De France start!!!

(The Start)

On those the first kilometres the different groups started to form. A very fast group comprising of athletes and hammerheads formed quickly and disappeared. Behind them smaller groups and somewhere in the back me and three of my friends that had agreed to stay together. I was anxious in the start as I never cycled with so many people around me but I soon settled into a rhythm and started the first conversations. Talking I thought would be a very good ‘rev limiter’ – as long as I can talk easily on the bike it means that I am in the aerobic zone!!!

The first ascends came soon. To be honest they were a lot easier than I initially thought but I played safe and put the granny gear in good use. I did not want to 'burn my legs' at all and spun my way to the top. In one of those ascend we met with a group of older riders. They were a group of older riders (mid 50s to mid 60s) but as I soon discovered they were the founding members of PEPA – a club comprising of retired athletes and bike enthusiasts and the organisers of the event. Most of the people in that group had countless brevets under their belt so I could not have wished for a better group to join.

So we got together and formed a bigger group and kept going towards Xylokastro. For me they were the perfect group for the occasion. Experienced - not too fast but not too slow. I was watching them and tried to do the same things - when to drink, when to eat, when to stand up from the saddle. Looking at them was a constant reminder to me of what to do.

We finished the first 55kilometres, crossed the Canal and after a short break to stretch properly and eat some food we headed toward the sea.

(Me at the first stop - am I smiling again ?)

Now the route was flat and we picked up speed but we were still going slower than I would like. I was tempted many times to increase the tempo but I had in my mind the advice "Go slower than you would like". As we approached the half way point we saw the faster groups that were on their way back. It was one of the happiest moments of this ride as I saw many familiar faces and greeted each other. Yes I was part of this brevet and this time I was not going to hear or read of other people’s experiences but I would be part of this ride myself.

We passed through the villages and we steadily reached the first control point. We were one of the last groups but nobody cared. So we sat down stretched some more and filled our water bottles and started to make our way back.

I felt great - 100 kilometres had passed and I was not tired at all, no pain anywhere, just my feet and toes were starting to tickle me but nothing major. I took off my shoes and massaged my toes a bit, in order to get blood flowing into them properly. I stretched a bit, ate and drank, filled my bottles and all the group started its journey back. Half of the PEPA group stayed behind as they had completed their objective of doing just the 100kilometres.

We set off and now the pace got faster. We were averaging 28 to 30kph and made very good progress. I really enjoyed it as we rotated in the mini peloton and took turns to pull. I felt good – I do not want to exaggerate but the first 100 kilometres looked like a very good warming up and now I felt as strong as ever. The moderately fast pace did not bother me at all and I was smiling like the village idiot!!!

We reached the Canal again in good time. The Canal, being such a scenic spot has become a mandatory stop for all buses passing through on their way to or from the Peloponnese. Therefore, many coffee shops have opened around the canal which sell food and refreshments to the tired traveller. We sat in one of those shops and ordered ……. kebabs and beer. Oh my …oh my… after 150 kilometres of riding these were very tasty kebabs!! We ate, drank and joked … we listed to the bike stories of the older gentlemen who really inspired me. They rode very strong despite their age and showed me that I can ride

We decided to start again and we obviously were a bit stiff after such a long break. Thank God, the first kilometres after the Canal were downhill so we warmed up by the time we reached the dreaded ascends. I asked everybody to go in their own pace as I hit the ascends. A bit tired by now but I knew the trick – granny gear and spin like crazy. So I did and although I was dead last on the ascend I felt ok – on the descend and the flat I would catch up and on the ascend I would fall behind. The first group of ascends were over now and I decided to become a bit more adventurous. I increased the pace and made a couple of short ‘time-trial’ runs. I felt very good and joked with keoman and ttoppouzokypraios. I reached the second and last set of ascends and this time I decided to ‘attack’ them. I now felt some pain in my legs and it felt so good. I pedalled harder and and harder and

The ascends were over, the descends were over and we were approaching the city of Elefsina. The odometer showed about 197 kilometres as we entered the city and made our way toward the finish line. I called my wife to tell her I was OK and enjoyed the last few kilometres of the experience. The finish was near and

We crossed the finish line were we were greeted by some other friend- CKessinis was there to take pictures of these moments. Thank you very much Costa for the excellent photos.

(Me finishing - yes I am smiling !!)

I dismounted and made my way to Mr Plegas the organiser who stamped my card. He offered all of us a piece of cake and again it tasted like heaven. I could not believe that the 200 kilometres were over. What a fantastic experience I just went through. I was so happy to have completed it - a dream goal come true !! Now I started to feel the pain – my back was hurting and my legs that were ok to cycle could not really walk very good. But who cares ? I made it to the finish with a lot of strength to spare and that is what mattered to me.

(The Team - ttoppouzokypraios, me, boardman, Mr. Spiros, keoman, inferno, Aria, Mr. Costas)

(Cyprus Armada - ttoppouzokypraios, me , keoman, enjoying our cake after the finsih. Thank you guys, I would not attempt it without you)

Its over then…until the next one I guess !!

Here are some vital stats

Distance : 201.2km
Total Ascend : 895metres
Average HR : 147bpm
Average speed : 24kph
Average Cadence : 78rpm
Total Ride Time : 8hrs 24min

(Polar data)

First post brevet report

Μόλις ξύπνησα και όλα μια χαρά, στην θέση τους και σε λειτουργική κατάσταση !! Το Βρεβέ τελείωσε...κάτι που είχε καρφωθεί στο μυαλό μου από την μέρα που πήρα την Σπανιόλα (μην πω ο λόγος που την πήρα ήταν το Μπρεβέ Wink) και μου είχε γίνει σκοπός από τις αρχές Δεκεμβρίου.

Εγώ σαν στόχο είχα να τερματίσω, να νιώσω άνετα, να το χαρώ σαν γιορτή και να μην υποφέρω !!! Αποστολή εξετελέσθη !!!

Έφτασα εκεί από τους πρώτους μαζί με την Κυπριακή Αρμάδα και τον Βορδμαν. Χτυπήσαμε καρτούλες και άρχισα να ετοιμάζομαι. Σε λίγο γέμισε ο τόπος με ποδήλατα και ποδηλάτες. Μια φοβερή πολυχρωμία ..σαν καλειδοσκόπιο ήταν. Βρήκα φίλους που είχα πολύ καιρό να δω .... όλοι έτοιμοι για το βρεβε.

Ξεκινήσαμε λοιπόν. Μέρος του μπουλουκιού και ο ΚΔΚ ο οποίος άρχισε να παραμιλά από την χαρά του. Θυμόμουνα τις εκκινήσεις του TdF και τρελαινόμουν. Μόνο ο κόσμος έλειπε να χτυπά ρυθμικά. Τα γκρουπάκια άρχισαν να σχηματίζονται. Εμείς πηγαίναμε με ένα τουριστικό ρυθμό - περίπου 25 με 28 αλλά οδηγός ήταν η καρδιακή μου συχνότητα. Να μείνω κάτω από τους 155. Ένιωθα πολύ δυνατός αλλά ακολουθώντας τις συμβουλές από έμπειρους randonairs πίεσα τον εαυτό μου να μην παρασυρθεί. Άρχισε και η ΚΕΟ-κουβέντα (όσοι έχετε ποδηλατίσει μαζί του ξέρετε !!) και ο χρόνος πέρναγε όμορφα.

Στις πρώτες ανηφόρες έβαλα σε δράση το σχέδιο Α - Granny Gear por favor και στροφάρισμα - σκοπός ήταν να μην επιβαρύνω τους μυς των ποδιών αλλά το αεροβικό μου σύστημα (που είναι πολύ καλύτερα γυμνασμένο). Εκεί συναντήσαμε τον Ινφέρνο και την Άρια, ή οποία είχε ξεκινήσει για να πάει μέχρι το Μεγάλο Πεύκο και έφτασε Ξυλόκαστρο χωρίς να το καταλάβει !!!! Εκεί μας βρήκαν και οι κύριοι από την ΠΕΠΑ Praise2 Praise2 Praise2 Praise2

Ένα γκρουπάκι από μεγάλους σε ηλικία ποδηλάτες αλλά με απίστευτη εμπειρία και δύναμη. Με αμέτρητες Σπαρτακιάδες στα πόδια τους, με βρεβέ απο Γενεύη Αθήνα !! Τι να πεις τώρα. Για εμένα προσωπικά ούτε παραγγελία να είχα τέτοιο γκρουπ. Βλέποντας τι κάνανε οι πιο έμπειροι έμαθα πάρα πολλά – τους έβλεπα πότε πίνανε, πότε σηκωνόντουσαν από την σέλλα και έτσι είχα μια μόνιμη υπενθύμιση να κάνω και εγώ τα ίδια. Πηγαίναμε σχετικά αργά αλλά πολύ στρωτά και σε μια στάση για να αγοράσουμε νερό καμιά 15αριά χιλιόμετρα έξω από το Ξυλόκαστρο είδα από μακριά ένα τσούρμο από ποδηλάτες να πλησιάζει – έρχονται παιδιά φώναξα και καθίσαμε στην άκρη να τους ζητωκραυγάσουμε. Πρώτο-πρώτος ο Λίμας (νο ΜΤΒ) οδηγούσε το γρήγορο γκρουπ σαν λυσσασμένος. Και πάνω στην λύσσα του με είδε και με χαιρέτισε. Κάτι σαν «…..Κώστα» φώναξε και πέρασαν από μπροστά μας με τρελή ταχύτητα.

Ξεκινήσαμε και εμείς λοιπόν προς Ξυλόκαστρο και εκεί σε αυτό το κομμάτι τις διαδρομής με πιάσανε τα ζουμιά. Βλέποντας τους ποδηλάτες να έρχονται συνειδητοποίησα που ήμουνα και μόνο η συμμετοχή και ο (το ήξερα πια) σίγουρος τερματισμός με συγκίνησαν. Για ορισμένους ίσως φαίνεται απλό η δεδομένο, αλλά για εμένα που μέχρι τα 34 μου η σχέση μου με τον αθλητισμό σε οποιαδήποτε μορφή ήταν η ίδια σχέση που έχει το νερό με το λάδι, αυτό με έκανε να δακρύσω. Τέλος πάντων, τα ζουμιά περάσανε, και άρχισα να διακρίνω του φίλους που γυρνάγανε – Να ο Κίμωνας,........ ο Τάκης.........ο Ηλίας...............ο Δόκτορας ...............να και ο Κύνουρος και ο Κανάκης............ Φωνές και ζητωκραυγές κάθε φορά που διασταυρωνόμασταν με τα παιδιά.

Φτάσαμε στο Ξυλόκαστρο ...σφραγίσαμε καρτούλες και κάναμε μια ολιγόλεπτη στάση για να φάμε και να τεντωθούμε. Εκεί μας άφησαν οι μισοί κύριοι τις ΠΕΠΑ οι οποίοι είχαν σκοπό μόνο τα 100 και μείναμε οι Ινφερνο, ΚΕΟ, ττοππ, Βορδμαν, ΚΔΚ και ο κύριος Κώστας, ο κύριος Σπύρος και ένας άλλος κύριος από την ΠΕΠΑ.

Ο ρυθμός μας πια αυξήθηκε. Μπροστά μπήκανε οι ΠΕΠΑτζήδες και με ρυθμό 30kph αρχίσαμε τον γυρισμό. Κάναμε αλλαγούλες και φτάσαμε πολύ γρήγορα στον Ισμθό για τα πολυπόθητα σουβλάκια και μπύρες. Καθίσαμε απολαύσαμε την παρέα, φάγαμε, ήπιαμε και ξεκινήσαμε για το τελευταίο κομμάτι. Ξανά με γοργό ρυθμό και ακούγοντας την συμβουλή του κ. Κώστα δεν έβλεπα τον χιλιομετρητή. Μου είπε – «μην βλέπεις χιλιόμετρα γιατί δεν θα τελειώσουν ποτέ. Απλά απόλαυσε την διαδρομή και λέγε ότι σε λίγο θα φτάσουμε στο τάδε μέρος κλπ και η διαδρομή θα βγεί νεράκι». Πόσο δίκαιο είχε !!! (αλίμονο με τόσες χιλιάδες χιλιόμετρα να μην έχει δίκαιο).

Όπως τα περίμενα στις ευθείες πήγαινα κούκλα, στις ανηφόρες θα τα πούμε Έτσι στην Κακιά Σκάλα έσπασε το γκρούπ (ο κ. Σπύρος είναι απλά ΑΠΙΣΤΕΥΤΟΣ) και έμεινα πιο πίσω με τους άλλους friends. Kυπριακή παροικία μαζί, Βορδμαν κάπου πιο μπροστά, Ινφέρο πιο πίσω για μια .....ανάγκη και πηγαίναμε. Όποτε ίσιωνε ο δρόμος όμως και αφού ένιωθα δυνατός άρχισα τα σπριντάκια και φτάναμε τον Βόρδμαν ...... ο ΚΕΟ ακολουθούσε παρόλο τον πόνο στον γόνατο (τι xefo ρε Κύνουρε ...... 2 heineken κάνανε καλύτερη δουλειά), ο ττόππυς στον κόσμο του με ένα τεράστιο γέλιο πάντα δίπλα μου.

Στο Μεγάλο Πεύκο,νομίζω, βρήκαμε και τους ΠΕΠΑτζίδες που είχαν σταματήσει για νερό και βγάλαμε τα τελευταία χιλιόμετρα όλοι μαζί. Μπήκαμε στην Ελευσίνα και (πως τα κατάφερε) μας οδήγησε ο ττοππυς από πλατείες, πεζοδρόμια και χωματόδρομους στο λιμανάκι όπου μας περίμενε ο Χάρης Πλέγας να σφραγίσει τις κάρτες μας. Η βασιλόπιττα που μας έδωσε ήταν η πιο νόστιμη που έφαγα ποτέ !!!!

Έφτασα σπίτι όχι πολύ κουρασμένος (όχι όσο θα περίμενα). Έκανα το μπανάκι και με βάλανε κάτω οι γυναίκες μου και με έτριψαν- Ένα χέρι η μικρή, ένα πόδι η μεγάλη, την πλάτη η σύζυγος. Ευτυχία στο ΑΠΟΛΥΤΟ !!!

Πάπαλα λοιπόν !!!! Καταρχήν ένα μεγάλο ευχαριστώ στην σύζυγο που με ανέχτηκε τόσο καιρό. Μετά στους ΤΤΟΠΠ και ΚΕΟ που με σπρώξανε πρίν 3-4 μήνες να πάρω την μεγάλη απόφαση με τα λόγια τους "Αν πάς δεν θα είσαι μόνος σου σε καμία στιγμή". Αυτά ήταν καθοριστικά για να το κάνω. Για εχθές να ευχαριστήσω και τον Βόρδμαν που έμεινε μαζί μας και ελπίζω να μην βαρέθηκε. Έχασε το ραντεβού που είχε κανονίσει στις 2 λέει Laughing αλλά χαλάλι Very Happy Μπράβο στην Άρια πού ήρθε για μια βόλτα και τις βγήκε 100άρα !!!! Τον Ινφέρνο τον βρετο-καφρο που κάθε φορά που περνάγαμε απο κατοικημένη περιοχή ζωντάνευε και ένιωθε στο στοιχείο του !!! Τους κύριους τις ΠΕΠΑ για τις συμβουλές τους αλλά και πιο πολύ για το ότι είναι ολοζώντανο παράδειγμα ότι μπορούμε να κάνουμε τα απίστευτα με το ποδήλατό μας ανεξάρτητα ηλικίας. Επίσης μπράβο στον Χάρη τον Πλέγα. Και για την οργάνωση, και για το ενδιαφέρον του.

Τώρα για το επόμενο 200άρι δεν με βλέπω.. ούτε για το 400άρι το οποίο πρέπει να είναι πανέμορφο αλλά πολύ δύσκολο για εμένα. Του χρόνου ίσως. Το σίγουρο είναι ότι δεν τελείωσα με τον δρόμο. Μάλλον τώρα αρχίζω. Έχουμε μπροστά ακόμα πολλούς Βαρβάρους να κατατροπώσουμε – Σπαρτακιάδα, 400άρια και άλλα τρελά.

Άντε τώρα που τελειώσαμε με το βρεβέ να ασχοληθώ και λίγο με τα βουνά.

The above is a post in the Greek language (obviously) which I made in the Cyclist Friends forum. A translation and photos will follow.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Veni vedi vinci

Done !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Completed, finished and I am still as strong as a bull !! What a fantastic experience!

I am going to eat now, sleep and hopefully tomorrow I will come back with the story and some photos.

B day

Its five o'clock in the morning and everything is nicely packed in the car. We need to stamp our cards by 7:30 as the start is due by 8:00.

I will try to write again later today.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

No comment !!!

B day minus 2 ....

Everything is set - equipment ready, medical check complete ... tonight I am going to collect the card.

I am very excited and really look forward to Saturday. I am not 100% happy with what I have done over the last two months. I really should have a 140 to 150km ride under my belt but.... I will not cry over spilt milk.

The route is mainly flat. The first section, from Elefsina to the Corinth Canal has some ascends but from what other friends have told me they are reasonable. This first part runs along the Saronic Gulf and although the area has been heavily mutilated by 'industrialisation' it is nevertheless quite beautiful and full of history.

We start from Elefsina, a holy place of the Ancient Greeks and especially the Athenians. It is the place of the Elefsinian Mysteries, a celebration to the goddess Demetra (Ceres). Now it is one of the ugliest parts of Attica as it is infested with Oil Refineries, Shipyards and other heavy industry factories.

As we will ride towards the Canal, on our left we will have the Salamis Straights, where one of the most important battles in the history of western civilisation took place in those waters. The Salamis Battle, where the Athenian Navy defeated the Persians. After their defeat (and a subsequent land defeat) the Persians withdrew for ever from Greece.

Further down the road is Kakia Skala ("Evil Ladder"). This used to be a very narrow and extremely dangerous passage on the way to Athens. The mountains dip into the sea and in the ancient times a traveller going to Athens from the Peloponnese had to cross this cliff-side passage or circumvent the mountains. Here is the place mentioned in the ancient myth of Thiseas, where a thief would throw unsuspecting travellers down the cliff where they would be eaten by a sea monster. Thiseas of course killed both of them and made the passage safe for everyone. On his way to Athens to claim his throne he killed a couple of other nasty characters making the route safer for all. We will not need Thiseas' services as the road is fine these days, but this will be the place of the steepest ascends of the whole route.

After Kakia Skala we will approach the Corinth Canal where another ascend will be waiting for us and cross over to the Peloponnese. We will go outside modern day Corinth, with the awesome ancient fortress visible in the distance. After Corinth the route is absolutely flat. We will ride along the Corinthian Gulf this time, and pass through many villages before we reach the city of Xylocastron, where we will turn around and follow the same route back to Elefsina

(Corinth Canal - Image from

I plan to take the fist 50kms easy and will discipline myself to maintain an aerobic heart rate throughout. I will follow the advice of other experienced randonneurs and will not be tempted by faster riders no matter how strong I feel. I do not want to tax my muscles on the ascends so my triple crankset will become very handy. I hope my friends will not be bored to death with that pace……

After Corinth, hopefully I will be well warmed up and as the next 100kms are flat I will increase the pace. I believe that a average speed of 23 to 25kph is feasible without killing my legs. This will be the fun part of the ride!!!

So at the 150km mark we will be back to the Canal. In the best non-roadie tradition we will have a stop grab something to eat (a couple of smallish kebabs). The last 50kms (the historical ones!!) is what I am afraid the most as the ‘easy’ ascends and descends will now look daunting after 150kms. On the other hand I am looking forward to that part of the ride in order to give myself a good challenge.

That is the ‘battle-plan’. I will try to remember to eat and drink frequently on the bike and also move around on the saddle and do some stretching while on the bike in order to delay the onset of numbness and pain.

I now see that brevet as a ‘party-ride’ and I am really looking forward to participate. I cannot wait.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

B day minus 3.....

Ok three more days to go. I had my medical test today - a full check up. I need a doctor's certificate in order to participate and I took the opportunity to have a complete medical - blood and urine test / chest x-ray / eye test / other test and of course a ...heart test.

It was quite funny - as I have previously mentioned, my physique does not cry out "He is an athlete!!!" So I get ready for the heart tests and the doctor plugs me into his ECG machine. I am resting on his examination bench and I see a surprise in his face - I do not think that he expected that my resting hear rate was so low (in the high 50s) for a person in my shape. So he puts me on the treadmill and we start the stress test. As I was walking I could see my heart rate on the monitor - it rose to 100 and as the test progressed it started to fall and stabilised in the 90s. The next level it stabilised again and I was enjoying that the doctor's face was happy. He took my blood pressure at every stage and noted it down. The machine increased the pace every couple of minutes and it also increased the incline. I was now starting to feel the pain - not in my heart thank god but in my butt muscles that were trying to stabilise me on the now steep and fast treadmill - and then disaster. The treadmill (probably an old one) could not keep up with my weight and started making funny noises. It was starting and stopping and I could not carry on the test as it became dangerous. So he stopped it and put me on the bed to rest.

After I got dressed I asked him the question :

KDK -"I need a paper from you doc, which states that I am fit to participate in an athletic event" (how the hell do you explain what a brevet is!)

Doc - "Running?"

KDK -"No cycling!!"

Doc - "Cycling ? How many kilometres?" he said full of surprise.

Hmmm I thought - if that guy hears 200kms he will either refuse or call the psychiatrist next door to examine me.

KDK -"Well doc, its not a race, it’s like a long stroll, nothing demanding, but you see the organisers need a medical note - its beuracracy really " I said in my most inoccent manner.

Doc - "Well, ok" he said and wrote something.

DONE!!!! Tomorrow I am going to enrol.

By the way I am looking forward to the blood/urine results on Monday in order to compare them to the ones I had 2 years ago (same weight but still a smoker with no training) AND the ones of four years ago (+30kilos, smoker and absolutely no training).

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

B day minus 4.....

Equipment check :

A) The Bike - The Spanish Lady (Carmen) is fine. I washed and polished her yesterday and she’s ready to go. The chain is oiled, the tyres are fine with not signs of wear and the derailleurs work smoothly. The brake pads are in good shape and the wheels are almost (!!) straight. I did not get a new pair as I have not lost the weight I planned and so I do not 'deserve' them. But at the first opportunity I will change the wheelset. The saddle works perfectly - I had also bought some 'gel equipped' cork tape but have not bothered to change it...

B) Clothes - The Assos bibs are fantastic. They fit perfectly (very suprised as I am a large guy and I am not shaped like your classic cyclist). The padding worked fine for a 80km ride ... but I am not hopeful for 200kms. The MTB shoe/pedal combo works like a charm and up to now I did not have any problems. Helmet is ok, my glasses are fine .... now what I am not sure about is what to wear on top. It will depend on the weather of course and the forecasts for the day - I have a couple of alternative jerseys in the car and will chose before the start. I will layer as much as I can so I can have the flexibility to remove layers as the brevet progresses

c) Food - With me I plan to carry a couple of Alpen Bars, some dried fruit (figs, sultanas) and dried nuts. I will also have a couple of gels (just in case) but will plan to have food stops. There are plenty of kiosks on the way to grab a croissant or an energy drink so I do not plan to stuff my pockets with food and drink

d) Spares - I will have two spare tubes, a multi - tool, some spare chain links and a chain tool, a pump and a tube repair kit and of course some money !! I will stuff everything in a saddle bag.

I plan to have everything packed and the bike on the car rack by Friday afternoon. I do not want to look for stuff at the last moment.

Monday, February 13, 2006

B(revet) day minus 5 ....

Its 5 days till the Brevet and I feel fine. I have prepared as best as I could (I could do better) and I am looking forward for the day. On Wednesday I have a arranged for a full medical check up amd I will go to enroll and collect my card on Thursday from the organisers .

I feel good in the sense that I feel that the completion of the Brevet is a feasible target now, and that by itself is a major achievement for me. I did not prepare as well as I originally planned - did few midweek rides and did not do more that a 100km ride. I really wanted to have a 130-150km ride under my belt by now but family commitments did not allow it.

I am confident though as after the two metric centuries I did, I felt great. I suspect that in the Brevet it will feel great at the 100km mark, and I will start to hurt after thw 150km point. I have a feeling that the last 50 kilometres will be tough. This week I will get on the trainer no matter what just to get the legs spinning lightly. I may go out for a short 30 kilometre ride on Friday to 'open up' my systems.

This Sunday I did a 85kiometre ride which involved some climbing for the first time after about two months. During my last similar ride I hurt a lot - this time absolutely no back pain. That is very encouraging. The new saddle and the time on the bike have helped. In addition during that previous ride I felt very tired and now I feel ok - just some muslcle soreness but by tomorrow it will be gone. I think to myself 'what if' I had stuck to the original plan and also rode during the midweek days but again I am happy just the way things are.

I have started to hydrate myself. I plan to drink lots and lots of water in order to be properly hydrated for the ride. I do not plan to eat enourmous amounts of food this week though - I have enough stored under my skin and do not want to be the only person to gain weight after the brevet. I will eat a normal sized plate of pasta every night with some high protein / low fat food - either cottage cheese or tuna meat or chicken.

I have started to "revise" all the related articles I have found in the Internet regarding long distance rides and will try to memorise their advise. This week will be a 'mental preparation' week.

Week ending 12/2/06

Weight :
Resting HR :
Waist :
Odometre : 1,152kms