My London to Brighton experience

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
TheNissanMan
Posts: 57
Joined: 28 Apr 2018, 10:49am

London to Brighton concerns..

Postby TheNissanMan » 28 Apr 2018, 10:56am

Good morning, I’m hoping you don’t mind my first post being in this section but some health concerns regarding the London to Brighton which I’m hoping you guys may be able to help/offer some reassurance...

Last year I signed up to do the London to Brighton after a colleague completed it as I’ve wanted to get my fitness up for some time and well assumed it was like riding a bike, unfortunately I didn’t own a bike at that point. I’m 43, extremely unfit at the time 18.8 stone. Throughout last year I cycled numerous times throughout the week, got my weight down to 14.6 and distance upto just over 24m on a single trip by September, then the weather turned, Christmas came around and I’ve just realised its only 8 weeks ish until the ride!!!

This week I’ve been out three times but after 3-4.5m I’m shot, legs are shattered, gasping for breath (I smoke as well) and now a tad concerned about taking on the L2B.

I’ll be out on the bike whenever I can but worried that in 8 weeks I won’t see a massive difference to my capabilities. Any tips on how best to increase endurance or fitness over a short period of time? I’m back on the diet which should help knock the pounds off, am confident in the bike I’ll be using (Carrera Crossfire 3) but worried about my current lack of health and the little time I can get our working 6 days a week... Any help greatly appreciated.

mercalia
Posts: 8503
Joined: 22 Sep 2013, 10:03pm
Location: london South

Re: London to Brighton concerns..

Postby mercalia » 28 Apr 2018, 3:24pm

You dont have to do it if you dont want to. No point in stressing your self over it. its a 50 mile ride and it seems so far you havent ridden that far yet. I I have ever only done it once, when I was younger. Thats good enough for me. No loss of face in canceling. Being a cautious person I would consider canceling if I had any doubts that I could do it - very dispiriting to see people keep on overtaking you as you gasp and pant. That ride is supposed to be fun

Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 15410
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

Re: London to Brighton concerns..

Postby Vorpal » 28 Apr 2018, 3:48pm

I think 8 weeks is enough time, but you really need to ride your bike every chance you get. Take the bike to the shops, commute by bike or build your way up to commuting if you can.

Ride your bike at least 5 days per week, with a longer ride on on one or two days each week. If you can do 3 miles now, plan for 5 miles next weekend. Go after work, when the kids are in bed, early in the morning, or whenever you can fit it in.

You also need to give yourself some recovery time, so every other day, don't ride hard or far, just take a gentle ride that you know is easy; around a nearby park or something. Or go for a walk instead of a bike ride.

It will come quicker than it seems right now, but you won't get there riding your bike once a week.

Don't give up yet! 8)
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

thirdcrank
Posts: 26707
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: London to Brighton concerns..

Postby thirdcrank » 28 Apr 2018, 4:05pm

TheNissanMan wrote: ... This week I’ve been out three times but after 3-4.5m I’m shot, legs are shattered, gasping for breath (I smoke as well) and now a tad concerned about taking on the L2B. ....


You achieved a certain level of fitness last year so you must have some idea of what's needed to do it again. If you do as Vorpal suggests that's your best chance: I can't really see any other way of having any chance. Your two choices seem to be either to forget it now or give it your best shot over the intervening weeks. Then, if there's not been sufficient improvement, don't start.

I'd suggest a bit of longer-term thinking. Are you really concerned about your future fitness? If you are, getting into some sort of shape gets harder as you get older so don't let it slide now.

I've never smoked so I don't preach to others who do, but it's a good way of wasting money and it does nothing for your health.

TheNissanMan
Posts: 57
Joined: 28 Apr 2018, 10:49am

Re: London to Brighton concerns..

Postby TheNissanMan » 28 Apr 2018, 7:01pm

Thanks for the responses and not giving up, I’ve got sponsors already and a stubborn sod so have to get through it some way, I’ll enjoy it once I am at the finish if that makes sense!

Was really look for tips to make it happen. I’ve got broad enough shoulders (13 years in the car trade) so have no issues with people overtaking me left right and centre...

Will keep going and see how it goes.

mercalia
Posts: 8503
Joined: 22 Sep 2013, 10:03pm
Location: london South

Re: London to Brighton concerns..

Postby mercalia » 28 Apr 2018, 8:20pm

I just hope you dont hurt your self

Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 15410
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

Re: London to Brighton concerns..

Postby Vorpal » 28 Apr 2018, 10:02pm

TheNissanMan wrote:Was really look for tips to make it happen.
Ride your bike every chance you get. That's the best thing you can do.

Honestly, I've known people to do rides like that very unfit & completely without training. IMO, the main reason to train for it, is to make it comfortable and enjoyable.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

TheNissanMan
Posts: 57
Joined: 28 Apr 2018, 10:49am

Re: London to Brighton concerns..

Postby TheNissanMan » 29 Apr 2018, 10:46am

Vorpal wrote:
TheNissanMan wrote:Was really look for tips to make it happen.
Ride your bike every chance you get. That's the best thing you can do.

Honestly, I've known people to do rides like that very unfit & completely without training. IMO, the main reason to train for it, is to make it comfortable and enjoyable.


Thank you, work and the weather are making trading challenging but am trying... am trying to figure out whether the different diet this year to last is affecting my build up...

chris_suffolk
Posts: 389
Joined: 18 Oct 2012, 10:01pm

Re: London to Brighton concerns..

Postby chris_suffolk » 29 Apr 2018, 3:10pm

TheNissanMan wrote:
.... work and the weather are making trading challenging but am trying...


I know what you mean about the weather. I'm off to the Alps in 3 months, and to-date the weather is playing havoc with any ideas of building up the miles.

Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 15410
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

Re: London to Brighton concerns..

Postby Vorpal » 29 Apr 2018, 4:52pm

Get some rain gear, and ignore the weather :)

Obviously if it's not safe, like high winds, you shouldn't go out, but otherwise, just dress for it. And enjoy a hot cuppa when you get in :)
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

chris_suffolk
Posts: 389
Joined: 18 Oct 2012, 10:01pm

Re: London to Brighton concerns..

Postby chris_suffolk » 29 Apr 2018, 6:56pm

True, I could, but then the bike gets covered in grit etc off the road, and wears everything out too fast. Can train on the winter bike but I want to use the road bike, and it's almost May for heavens sake, it should be warm at least even if not dry!

Alan O
Posts: 130
Joined: 23 Sep 2016, 4:51pm
Location: Liverpool

Re: London to Brighton concerns..

Postby Alan O » 30 Apr 2018, 11:23am

It's easy for folks to say "Yeah, you can do it, just ride almost every day..." etc. But that ability varies enormously from person to person, it's easy for regular fit cyclists to underestimate how hard it is for someone who isn't fit, and you really don't want to kill yourself in the attempt. Also, be aware that someone with poorer fitness will need more rest days to recover, and if you're breathless after just a few miles at the moment, you really shouldn't push too hard in the short term.

Having said that, psychology makes a big difference. I've done the L2B a couple of times, and got a real buzz from being with so many others - and it made the physical effort seem that much easier.

With eight weeks to go, you may well have a good chance of making it - but only you can know how you feel and how you're progressing, not a bunch of people on the internet.

thirdcrank
Posts: 26707
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: London to Brighton concerns..

Postby thirdcrank » 30 Apr 2018, 2:54pm

Unless I'm missing something, I don't think anybody on this thread has suggested that riding every day for a few weeks assures success. Quite the contrary. That's not to say that the general advice has been "You've no hope." Nobody has come up with a magic formula of how to improve without trying.

User avatar
mjr
Posts: 10152
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: London to Brighton concerns..

Postby mjr » 30 Apr 2018, 4:29pm

TheNissanMan wrote:This week I’ve been out three times but after 3-4.5m I’m shot, legs are shattered, gasping for breath (I smoke as well) and now a tad concerned about taking on the L2B.

I’ll be out on the bike whenever I can but worried that in 8 weeks I won’t see a massive difference to my capabilities. Any tips on how best to increase endurance or fitness over a short period of time? I’m back on the diet which should help knock the pounds off, am confident in the bike I’ll be using (Carrera Crossfire 3) but worried about my current lack of health and the little time I can get our working 6 days a week... Any help greatly appreciated.

Are you adjusting the diet based on the cycling you're doing? If not, I'd try one of the combined diet and exercise trackers (MyFitnessPal is often praised on here) because your energy deficit may well be varying between cycling and non-cycling days enough to lead to you feeling wiped out quickly. I could be wrong but I think heavier people use more energy cycling the same distance which could exaggerate the effect.

Are you trying to go out at some target speed? Unless you're under a tight time limit, don't worry about speed too much yet - enough speed should come as a side-effect of the distance to do it in a day.

Other than that, I'd try to ride every day. I'd aim to ride 3 miles until it's just comfortable twice in a row and then increase to 5, then 7 (=10km plus a bit), 10, 12½(=20km more or less), 16 (=25km), 20, 25, 31 (=50km) and then I suspect you're probably near enough to take a shot at L-B if you're OK with pacing yourself, taking a lunch stop and maybe walking up the last bit of the final hill.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

TheNissanMan
Posts: 57
Joined: 28 Apr 2018, 10:49am

Re: London to Brighton concerns..

Postby TheNissanMan » 8 May 2018, 7:42pm

Sorry for not responding earlier and thank you for taking the time to respond. With a manic work schedule out on the bike the internet has taken a back seat so will try to respond to all comments in one hit.

Feeling a tad better about the l2b after my longest ride yet earlier today, a 13mile stint around Virginia water followed by a further 5mile stint around my local area. I feel I could have done more but with a six day stint in the office ahead and my back side feeling (or completely lack of feeling) extremely numb I thought I would see how I feel tomorrow and try improve the mileage on the evenings after work. Speaking with numerous people I have also ordered some bib shorts and cream to see if that helps!

Diet is something I hadn’t really considered for the last month I have been eating mainly salads to loose weight but am guessing this doesn’t help feed the muscles as very little protein bar the occasional boiled egg so will have a look at that one.

Things are getting better as when I first got out in the bike this year I dreaded it but knew it needed to be done if I wanted a chance of completing the l2b, now I can’t wait to get out of the office and on the bike, if the office had a shower I would be riding to work. I can’t see many people sitting in front of a very sweaty me or having me in a car on a test drive and buying a car from me lol.

So far all my cycling has been solo, I would imagine with so many people around it should be a tad easier, I’m not aiming for a time, I’ll be happy to finish although have warned the wife I will be throwing the bike at her and collapsing in the sea!

For the last couple of days I’ve been doing 7 to 8 miles a day and hope that will go up quickly and when the temps drop as finding zap me pretty quickly although guess it’s good training...
So I guess nutrition and seat time are going to be the essentials here on in....