My first brevet

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Training Area...and a bit of History

As my aim is to build up a base I am riding in the flats. I aim to :

a) Increase my base
b) Get comfortable on the bike

In addition as the February Brevet is flat and there are no major ascends so its good to practice in similar terrain. During the week (if I have the time) I do short intense efforts (sprints / hill climbs).

The best area that I have found near my home are the Marathon plains - also called the ‘Gardens of Attica” since it is where most of the vegetables we eat in Athens are grown. Marathon is also where one of the most famous battles in history took place, where the Athenians defeated the Persians in the 5th Century BC. It is said that a soldier run from Marathon to Athens to inform his fellow citizens of the good news and died of exhaustion - and as a result the Marathon Run was created. So Marathon in addition to being excellent training place, it is also very inspiring with all this history. And after a couple of hours on the bike, believe me that my mind does drift to those ancient days.

The course I take is a big loop beginning and ending from the stadium's car park and takes me to Nea Makri, back towards the beach of Marathon (where I pass the burial ground of the ancient warriors) , then towards Schinias (where the canoe / cayak events were held during the Olympic Games) and through the Schinias swamps and back to the car again. It is 33 kilometres long and absolutely flat.

The advantage with this course is that at any given time I am only about 15 to 20 minutes away from the car so I feel safe to press on even in the bad weather we are having during this past month. The other big advantage is that because of the recent Olympic Games all roads of the area have been completely rebuilt and they are fantastic !! There is a 10kilometre loop that goes towards the canoe/cayak venue which is a 4 lane road, with full lighting but because it is in the middle of nowhere it is empty !! Its like a private road. Yes the Olympics have cost us Greeks dearly, so I am trying to make full use of my tax money !!!


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