Tough ‘training’ rides

On consecutive weekends we rode the ‘Beast’ up in Yorkshire – out from JD Tandems in Gargrave, then the Isle of Wight Randonee. Both were hard days, though Gargrave was a lot easier. We started off with a bunch of other tandems into a very strong headwind and I made the mistake of trying to keep up. That was fine till the first little steep climb – I think my heart rate must have topped out well above where it normally does. We caught the others as they regrouped after a few miles and we took our leave, saying we’d ride the rest at our own ‘more leisurely’ pace. It was still hard into the strong head wind and we had to pedal downhill at times. Normally the Hase Pino flies downhill.

We stopped for tea and carried on. Turning for home made riding much easier for now the wind was on our backs. It wasn’t a long ride, covering about 23 miles and apart from the initial exertions, I didn’t find the rest overly strenuous, but back in Gargrave, I felt a little light headed a couple of times. Later still, back at our B&B, which was conveniently an Inn, my heart was missing beats and I still felt odd. It wore off after an hour or so but I visited the doc’s once home again and had blood tests and an ECG – all fine. We put it down to excess caffeine. I usually drink decaf so my tolerance must be low.

The Isle of Wight ride was far more physical, though we rode at a moderate pace, over the 66 miles there’s 3,267 feet of climbing (good practice for Cornwall and Devon on Lejog). At 30 miles we were both fine, if a little damp and stopped for lunch. At 40 we’d both had enough but still had another 25 to do.

Shortly after, we both started to cramp a little and eventually I had to stop a couple of times as mine got the better of me. After that I was able to ride through it. But this time Karon was worse for despite tea stops, lunch and a Gel before the last big climb, her blood sugar dived to 1. something. Not good if it drops below 3.5 really. We waited until she was able to get back on the bike and I told her not to pedal unless she really wanted to. The rest of the way was either downhill of fairly flat. Once back and waiting for the ferry, it took her a while to warm up and get back to feeling ok.

We’ve ridden 50 in the easy terrain of the New Forest but it looks like 40 is our limit in tough terrain. Good job I planned on an average of 30 for Lejog.