It's been a busy few weeks since I last penned electronic ink to virtual paper and it's no coincidence that I'm writing another instalment on a Monday (rest day) bank holiday.
The week of 5th May - 11th May went well. I've been suffering from pain in my right arm (maybe biceps tendon / devoid insertion point) possibly from all the swimming I've been doing recently so I avoided my usual Friday after work swim. I sneaked in an additional rest day on Saturday 10th in preparation for the Caledonian Etape on the Sunday.
The conditions this year (our 3rd in a row) were great and for once, I managed to correctly guess how many layers to wear. I usually end up freezing or like a boil in the bag chicken. Lorna and I set off at 6:42 a.m. and we waved each other goodbye after a few hundred metres! I linked on to a couple of 'road trains' and was amazed at how much easier it was to sustain a high pace in a group. I took several long stints at the front and after one particularly long uphill section the following group promptly dropped me like a hot potato... thanks guys! As one of them passed as he flew up the hill he at least thanked me for putting in a 'good shift'. Cheers!
I'd just fitted a Stages power meter to the bike so it was interesting to analyse my power both during and after the race. I think the general conclusion was - push those pedals harder!!!
I practiced my nutrition strategy (despite one less gel pack!) and felt pretty good crossing the line in 4 hours 9 min, about 9 mins faster than last year. The legs felt good, just as well as I had a 50 minute run of the bike to do, so once Lorna crossed the line we donned our trainers and headed off to the hotel gym. Surprisingly enough, the run felt pretty easy - I remember being in agony doing a 20 minute run after last year's Etape, so I'm treating this as good progress.
Kudos to Alan (3:48), Graeme (4:06) and John (4:58) from ATHelite who all completed the Etape in great style and to my pal Darren who despite crashing 3 miles from the finish posted 4:28 for his first ever Etape - kudos!!!