100 miles on a bike? That’s what I call a relaxing time

SOME people choose to spend their Saturdays shopping, gardening or relaxing with the family. Today I’ll mostly be spending my Saturday on a bike.

Yes, that’s right – most of the day on two wheels.

In a moment of madness at Christmas I signed up for a 100-mile bike race here in Los Angeles and now, like most things, it’s just got real.

From the comfort of my sister’s sofa in Swindon in late December it seemed like a great idea.

Now the reality of riding 100 miles, with 11,000ft of climbing, no less, is fast approaching.

I’m not complaining, really. In fact, I absolutely love riding my bike in this part of the world. I often have to pinch myself that this is “work”.

My office does not suck, as the Americans would say. It’s a far cry from the Swindon Advertiser newsroom, I can tell you!

When I first came to LA for a training camp in summer 2012 the prospect of cycling in LA did not appeal.

I guess when people think of LA they think of a sprawling urban jungle that is not at all bike friendly. And, of course, downtown is just like that.

But escape from the city and you are rewarded with some of the most stunning scenery you could ever imagine.

Cycling along the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) with the ocean stretched out before you, the sun shining and palms trees framing the scene is a treat to behold.

From PCH, we tend to venture into the canyons where you can climb and climb until your legs drop off and your lungs heave. It is in these canyons that Saturday’s race will take place.

Last weekend I rode for about 80 miles in the canyons, clocking up about 8,000ft of climbing, so I’m well practised for this weekend’s efforts.

Of course, all of this is laying the foundations for the season of triathlon racing I have ahead of me. My first race is now three weeks away – Ironman 70.3 Texas in Galveston – and I’m excited to report that I’ll have family from Purton flying out to spectate.

The benefits of this are two-fold: I get to see my family (all of whom I miss very much) and I’ll get to stock up on supplies from Blighty. Oh yes! Did someone say Percy Pigs?

Enjoy your weekend, more from me in a fortnight.

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