I've made a commitment to ride a 100km Sportif for charity.
This will be run on closed roads, some of which are a bit hilly, and to get a recognised time I need to keep up an average pace of about 15 mph.
Realising that this is a bit of a challenge for an occasional cycle tourist, who likes to keep to a leisurely 10 mph or so, I downloaded a 12 week training plan that will take me up to the right level of fitness. Unfortunately, I downloaded this eight weeks ago, and the Sportif is on April 24th, and the weather has been so bad that I only just got out on my bike this weekend.
Two sessions, 7.5 miles on Saturday, at an average speed of 10.5 mph, and 12 miles on Sunday, at 12 mph. So there's a way to go, I can see.
Road racing (which is what this is, really, despite there being no prizes) is a lot different from touring. My touring bike is a sturdy beast, with panniers, lights and mud guards, and I can comfortably trundle around on it for 6 or 8 hours a day. It has kevlar tyres, 24 gears, and, though the gears are not as generous as those on my mountain bike, I can cycle it up most things.
My racking bike weighs about half that, has 16 gears, and makes no concessions to little things like potholes, or corners, and it doesn't have Granny gears.
I enjoyed being out on it this weekend, but that was in dry if cold weather, with almost no wind. And the longest I was in the saddle for was just over an hour. Over the next few weeks I'll need to take that up to at least three hours, and rides of between 40 and 50 miles - I don't see any need to do the full distance in training. I'll need to do quite a bit of hill work, and think about what sort of food I eat before, and what I take with me.
It would also be a good idea to drop a few kilos. The scales this morning said I was 92 kilos, which is a good 15 kilos under my peak weight of a few years ago, but somewhere in the 80s is a much healthier place to be. And every kilo I lose is 1,000 grams less to drag around on the ride.
So hey, ho, and off I go.