I can’t quite believe it’s been 6 weeks since The Lakesman. That boiling hot day in Keswick will be forever etched in my memory (mostly in a positive way), but moving on from something like that takes some doing.
There’s the physical recovery, which is quite something in itself. I spent two fairly busy weeks at work after the Lakesman, working all the shifts I’d had to swap to get the annual leave. That and prioritising sleep meant I didn’t do much exercise at all- exactly as I’d planned. I did exactly what I fancied when I fancied it, and the intensity was very easy- but it felt so good to move, albeit gently! I also had a lovely massage from the wonderful Dalia at Chapiteau Massage Therapy, and I honestly felt like a new woman afterwards.
However quickly I felt like I could go go go again, the past 6 weeks have been a time to be careful. I trained my little heart out since the end of November, and that kind of slog is hard mentally as well as physically- I’m proud I gave it my all and I learned an immense amount, but it takes recovery mentally too- there have been some days I simply cannot face swinging a leg over my bike or lacing up my running shoes, and that’s fine, it’s the ebb and flow of recovery.
There have been some highlights of the past few weeks though!
Spending time with my family
One of the things that fell by the wayside at times during the training was seeing my family, so I’ve enjoyed putting that to rights with some lovely visits home that didn’t feature me nipping out to squeeze in bike rides and runs around family time. I also got to see my favourite horde of hungry little monsters!
Getting my bike fitted properly
As part of my role as a Specialized ambassador, I was lucky enough to take a trip to the fit lab at the Concept Store in Harrogate for an incredibly detailed Retul bike fit. If you’ve ever wondered if a bike fit is for you, it’s so worth the investment- it will make your bike comfier for you, quicker and help with any injury problems you have. I really enjoyed the process too- and it’s turned my little bike into an absolute rocket ship!
Riding where I want, with cake if I want
A lot of Lakesman training was riding so many hours at a certain heart rate, and in Yorkshire, if my heart rate has to stay low, it rules out a LOT of my favourite roads. So the past few weeks have been lovely, spinning where I want, having a crack at some big hills I’ve not ridden for ages. Happy cyclist! The return of cafe stops has also been very welcome.
Getting women on their bikes
Themed around La Course at the Tour de France, I really enjoyed leading my first Specialized ride. 7 hardy souls joined me for a tough, undulating route from Harrogate, around some beautiful Yorkshire countryside. I think they enjoyed it, though I heard some cursing up the biggest climb of the day.
Commemorating the Lakesman forever
Ever since I entered it, I was planning to commemorate finishing the Lakesman with a new tattoo. Lots of ideas flitted around my mind in the months before the race, but I finally settled on an acorn, both because I wanted something nature-themed given the race was in the Lake District, and because I like the idea that mighty oak trees grow from little acorns, just like the seed of triathlon grew into me doing an iron distance. Here it is, freshly inked by Lucy at Red Tattoo and Piercing in Leeds.
Our now annual trip to the seaside
Last year, for my first 100 mile bike ride, James accompanied me to ride to the seaside, making the most of the westerly tailwind, and getting the train home. We had a great day last year, so thought we’d make it an annual thing. This year’s edition saw me conquer a bitch of a hill that defeated me last year, beat James in 8 of our sprints for 30mph village signs (#thisgirlcan) and finish the ride on average 2mph quicker than last year. Success! Just in time for scampi and chips on the beach, the train back to Leeds (sadly at the same time as York Races were on and some drunken bloke thought it was fine to move my bike out of the bike rack. RAGE.) and a ride home from Leeds station. 120 miles in the saddle done!
All in all, a pretty fun 6 weeks, and a nice lead in to some slightly more focused training for my next couple of races!