And so in the end we reached the finish line of the Tour du Nord. 404 miles in 4 days with 31,386 feet of elevation gained, well past the summit of Everest. Maybe this could be renamed the "Everest Bicycle Challenge".
This has been a tough event ridden in excellent company and so very kindly supported by my lovely wife Lorena without whom none of this would be possible. A more loyal and unswerving partner in life's challenges I could not wish to have met, I have no real idea how she puts up with it all but I am so pleased that she does.
I have learned things on this journey particularly concerning personal hydration and nutrition but also about optimal pacing of multi-day endurance events. With hindsight we rode stages 1 and 2 too hard and paid a price for that on stage 3 but I've learned from this and will not make the same mistake again. On events like this when you can set your own pace it's very easy to treat each day like a sportive and to ride too hard instead of pacing more with future days, and weeks, in mind.
The ride has given me a lot of confidence for the "Leading The Tour" ride as if I am careful with my pacing, nutrition, and recovery strategy I can recover well enough to keep on riding. There is no doubt in my mind however that as the years go by recovery does become a greater challenge than the riding itself and there is no escaping this. I've been very pleased with my recovery arrangements, plenty of good food, lots of sleep, Skins compression clothing to sleep in and to ride in, and adequate hydration have all played important parts and will do so it the future.
Another very important thing I have learned is what a huge difference good company makes to one's enjoyment of events like this and with Lorena, Michelle, and Scott I have been fortunate indeed. These experiences are never forgotten and I'll never forget what I did this Bank Holiday weekend, great memories to look back on when I just can't do these things any more, which I hope will be a good while yet.
The plan now is to keep training and to enjoy my riding but to allow by TSB to recover from it's current extremely low level. My CTL will fall but I'm not worried about that as it will rise soon enough during the first week of the "Leading The Tour" ride. I believe that I now have the required fitness, what I now want is freshness ready for the big blast off.
It's been a terrific weekend, the sun even shone on us on the last day :-)
Photographs of today's ride:
Departure from Selkirk
Lanes in The Borders
England – Scotland border – Carter Bar
Invasion of The Gnomes
The finish – Scott & Michelle
The finish – Scott & Yours Truly
Ride Time: 06:18 hh:mm
Work Done: 3705kJ
Training Stress Score: 300.7
Intensity Factor: 0.691
Normalised Power: 211W
Variability Index: 1.29
Ride Distance: 97.7 miles
Cumulative Tour Distance: 404 miles
Elevation Gain: 6753 feet
Cumulative Tour Elevation Gain: 31,386 feet
Maximum Power: 776W
Average Power: 163W
Average Heart Rate: 125bpm
Average Speed: 15.5mph
Acute Training Load: 183.3
Chronic Training Load: 114.6
Training Stress Balance: -58.6