Hills, hills and oh another hill

What a difference a week makes huh? Saturday last week I was following my mate up an incredibly steep hill as part of training for Tour o’ the Borders. This weekend I was sitting in my flat looking at the rain chucking it down outside and trying to motivate myself to start tidying the flat (it is a mess, there is so much mess that it now feels like a full day thing to deal with alongside trips to the charity shops and recycle bins). Part of me is toying with a wee bike ride but hmmm, I think I will be able to block that thought!

I thought I would do a wee update on how “training” for the sportive is going, not really using a structured training plan and I am relying quite heavily on the experience of my mate who I am doing the race with. Oh and also just chanting ‘Think of Chrissy Wellington’ ‘Think of Marianne Vos’ when I struggle šŸ™‚

Last weekend we decided to do back-to-back cycles. Originally we had planned to do a long run on the Saturday then a shorter one on Sunday but with weather forecasts for heavy rain on Saturday we decided to try and do some hill training on the Saturday then a longer push out on the Sunday. It was after a quick lunch following my riding lesson that I met my mate and we headed out to find some hills to work on, we had decided to stick closer to home so that if the rain came we could get back quickly. In Edinburgh there are quite a few hills (that’s an understatement) but we actually found it a little tricky to find a long enough hill to practise on. The famous hill in the centre (Arthur’s Seat) has one road around it and on Sundays is closed to traffic but on Saturdays cars are going round it and quite frankly it isn’t a wide road, we do it before work at least once a week when it is quiet but I didn’t fancy having a car at the back of me while doing hills reps šŸ™‚

In the end we ended up on a hill about ten miles away, we did it twice and it was really good, especially the huge, sweeping downhill afterwards (although my mate nearly wiped me out at one point!).

handlebars and road of the hill we were practising on
Cadfael the CdF looking back down the hill
my mate and the view from the top of the hill
My mate checking our times for climbing that hill šŸ™‚

On the Sunday we ended up doing around 60 miles and hills to see how we fared after doing 30 miles and hills the day before. Our route was lovely and varied with plenty of hills varying in steepness and length! It helped that the sun was shining and as we wound our way through the East Lothian countryside it frequently felt like it was just us on the roads. I’m not sure that anyone is particularly interested in the specific route we took but the scenery on the way was lovely and considering I grew up around this area even I thought East Lothian was showing us its best side.

Some true highlights of the ride for me:

  • I didn’t need to get off the bike once, not even on the incredibly steep hill just after Danskine which I had entirely forgotten about and hence didn’t warn my mate. That was a tough slog in entirely the wrong gear.
  • Coming over the hill from Haddington to Aberlady, a gorgeous view of fields and farms stretching down to the villages and towns at the Firth of Forth’s edge
  • The fact I got up that hill!
  • Even better was the downhill, we pretty much screamed ‘wheeeee’ the whole way down – in fact my mate has a video of that
  • The cup of tea and malt loaf provided by the pit-stop cafe that is my parents’ house

I have been really enjoying this cycle training. I haven’t been out and about this weekend just past, a happy horse-y post is coming I promise, but planning some hill training early in the morning this week. Really looking forward to the tour of the borders now, I feel more prepared.


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