So that is it. I am actually now officially tapering. For those who don’t know, and I was one of them until about 20 minutes ago, tapering is where you reduce your activities prior to a big event in order to optimise performance. The idea is that heavy activity depletes glycogen and muscle stores, and so you should refrain from it for a ‘period in time’ depending upon your event. Those nice people at the GBBR have suggested a week, and as there are nine days to go, then that sounds about good enough for me. You don’t stop altogether of course, as that would be counterproductive, and so I will be out every couple of days to do just 25 miles or so to keep the legs and muscles ticking over.

But no more endurance rides – hurrah! They are not just very hard work, but do take up so much time. Take this weekend for example. Yesterday I cycled about 75 miles, starting at 10am and finishing around 3. By the time I had prepped, recovered (slowly I might add), showered etc, the day was mostly over. There are surely better things to do on a Saturday than to pound the hills of Berkshire, Wiltshire and Hampshire than that. And what do you mean ‘there aren’t any hills in Hampshire’ – oh yes there are, I have the sore legs to prove it! Today I did 65, and I had had enough by about 6.5, and so goodness knows what it is going to be like in just nine days time when we face the hills of Cornwall.

In fact a thought came to me this morning as I was cycling along in Gloucestershire somewhere, trying to keep myself amused/awake etc., and that is the difference between how cycling is now and when I started this little adventure. That is, when I rode my bike for the very first time, some 3 months ago, I was knackered after about two miles, and wanted to turn round and go home. Today, when I went out, I was also knackered after about two miles and wanted to go home. The big difference is, that three months ago I did just that and went home. Today I carried on for another 65 miles, and whilst I would be lying if I said that I was feeling great all the way, I have certainly come a long long way. I am tired though, very very tired. Last night was a Saturday night, and I was in bed asleep by 9.40pm. Now that for me is both unheard of, and very sad. I intend to make up for it rather a bit when all this malarkey is over, I can tell you. Did I mention I was going to the Oktoberfest?:D

I have completed 172 miles this last week, and will cycle now every other day until Lands End for just 20 miles or so, and just ‘spin the legs’ as I have been advised to do. Hopefully it works, this is all unchartered territory for me. I mustn’t also lose sight of the fact that I did badly overall in my training schedule. I don’t know how well you can see this below, but here is my somewhat childlike wall chart that I have been keeping going for the last fifteen weeks or whatever it is. I think it shows, amongst other things, that I achieved my weekly target just three times out of fifteen:

A child of three did not create this I am afraid:)

Still, I have done over 1,000 miles since I started, and I cannot be too disappointed with that.

I have a feeling though that in about two weeks time a “Steve Redgrave” moment will be approaching. Not in the success stakes I hasten to add, but in a twist of his now infamous quote after he won his last Olympic medal. In my case therefore it will be something like: “If anyone sees me on a bike ever again, they have my permission to shoot me”.

So anyway, for now, let the tapering begin!