A key session in my weekly training is an early morning ride on thursdays spent circling a traffic free Regents Park. By starting (relatively) early I can get a 3 hr bike ride followed by a full english breakfast and be in for work by 9.30. The motivating factor is that there is usually company with Steve often there from 4 or earlier and Kevin who does odd shiftwork often there even earlier. It works a bit like a drop in cycling social club with others joining as the morning progresses so that by 6.30 there can be as many as 8-10 cyclists flying round the park. Various sessions are undertaken though it sometimes descends into an ever faster group ride.
Last year at this time I arrived to find Steve and Jo there good and early and decidedly tired looking. Then they dissappeared which is unusual as they normally do breakfast. It transpired they had decided to skip sleep the night before and had gone pretty much straight from an evening swimming session to go round and round the park with the aim of doing 100 miles to celebrate the summer solstice or to build for IM Switzerland, hence they were very tired looking.
Wind forward six months and we thought a winter solstice bike ride would be a good idea. 100 miles done on the coldest night of last winter in London (Temp as low as -7 C) was a true challenge. Water bottles were frozen after 45 minutes and the cold just made any speed impossible. It was done though in around 7.5hrs and chalked as a mental toughening exercise.
Now back to last week, I wanted a crack at 100 miles in 5 hrs and Steve was a willing partner in spite of a massive week of training at epic camp the week before. We started at 1 and were going well after a gentle start and at 65 miles were on target for the 5 hrs. Then the wheels came off with steve imploding as his previous weeks training took its not to suprising toll. I pushed on but by this stage with the speed around 19.8 and not able to find any more diesel I was happy to just complete aided by Kevin who's rear wheel I sucked for a good 45 minutes.
So is this crazy behaviour or is it just different behaviour. Personally I really enjoy the challenge of doing these sessions which stand out of their own right and enable me to challenge myself. To most the idea of getting up to cycle round a closed park 38 times in the name of fun is a fairly straightforward definition of crazy. So this week I wont get up til 04:00 hrs and will only do 70 miles cause that is normal!