I reckoned the way to tackle this exam in 10 days time was to take myself away from distractions and allocate blocks of time to pure revision where I couldn't find myself attempting to clean the house or whiling away time on the internet. I needed wifi free space.
So off I went to Slaidburn. Or thereabouts. Found myself a campsite which sounded just the thing - it had a tap. Actually, when I got there it was a pleasant surprise to find it also had one outside toilet too. Perfect for a field with just me and a female couple in their teeny van.
The revision bit started well when I made contact with an old friend who lives up that way, and diverted I was to a local pub for a catch up beer. He left my workplace maybe 4 years ago, and has really focused himself on what it is he wants to do, enjoying pushing his brain, connections and really pushing some boundaries in what he does. I didn't realise he does the occasional bit of DS work for Rapha. Sometimes I just look in disbelief at the kind of folk I socialise with. It just seems a life so removed from any kind of reality sometimes, and yet it is my life, and it's kind of funny. A more obsessive follower of cycling would be in seventh heaven with the rubbing shoulders thing, but I'm actually just in seventh heaven to be in the company of people I enjoy, and who enjoy being with me. It really is that simple. And it was a fab evening where I could have grinned endlessly just looking at how great his life is for him, how happy and changed he is, how lovely his girlfriend is, just so good to see everything going right for him. Brilliant.
Saturday I had a bloody fabulous road ride. Got myself up the Cross of Greet and over to the Bowland Knotts. The Cross of Greet definitely goes down in my top three climbs ever list (for now). It was just lovely. Started with a gentle moorland meander on a quiet lane, where you could see some gently bending twists ahead, then as you gradually got into it, in the little ring, came round a corner where you could suddenly see the whole line of the climb on the hill. It looked intimidating and it looked beautiful. The climb was a great one, variation of gradient, just enough rest for heart rate to come down a little, and enough time to get some breath. And push. And a niggly little steep bit I saw another cyclist walking. And then the top was there, with just hills and air and the coming of the spring. Superb. Pootle round to the next climb, do that, get lost, only realise I was lost five miles after the junction, recalibrate, get to Slaidburn after four hours, knowing there's only 1.5 miles to go to the campsite and come up against a sign saying 16% incline. Horror and pedal.
Oh, and out of curiosity I attempted to see if I could hit lactate threshold. Which meant I was trying bloody hard. I didn't hit it. My legs do not fry or sear or burn or any of that. To be scientific I think I need a heart rate monitor. The thing is, I climb sometimes with cycling coaches and sports scientist, and we were talking about arm pump. For me, this happens at some point every indoor session, my arms become engorged, stiff and however much will there is, there isn't the physical possibility of exerting the same effort as earlier in the evening. The thing is, with me, it doesn't hurt. There isn't a build up to the pump, there's no muscle burn lactate issues prior to the pump. I have never come close to feeling this in my legs. I thought I'd try, but no matter how I tried, I come nowhere near. Post ride and cool down I struggled a little with walking but only in the way of feeling I'd done something. Interesting.
And this one has been zooming round my head as I pedal because the cadence is cool.