The 10,000ft Challenge, a 10 mile TT PB, catching fish with my bare hands and riding with pros! April 2016

Well, April was a pretty busy month – I attempted to complete The 10,000ft Challenge, achieved a new 10 mile TT PB, nearly collided with some mountain goats and rode with pros!

Week 1

10 mile Time Trial – 21:49

April began with a 10 mile TT, which went relatively well. My second time trial of the year, I had never ridden this course (V718) before and so every bend, turn and climb was new. Weather conditions were not ideal, and reports were coming in of riders being 50 seconds to 1 minute down on their course PB. Nevertheless, the sun was out (which is rare) 🙂

Setting off late in the day, I blasted down the slip road and onto the A63. Averaging 30 mph for the first mile, I was feeling good. Very quickly, I was up to my FTHR (Functional Threshold Heart Rate), and ultimately I would surpass the usual rate I would time trial at. The second mile involved a rougher stretch of road and a slight drag, and my moving speed fell a little. My heart rate did not though, and I averaged 200bpm. Slightly downhill, I averaged 28.4mph for the third mile. I covered the fourth mile slightly faster, averaging 29mph, as I approached the turnaround point. Involving two roundabouts, I took the turnaround point with caution – I can definitely make a significant amount of time up here in the future. img_20160402_1629091352.jpg.jpgMy heart rate had increased slightly as I pushed on following the turn – I averaged 202bpm for the fifth mile. Fatigue began to set in during the sixth mile, involving a slight but noticeable drag. Averaging 27.3mph so far, I was determined to push this to 27.5mph and beyond. I initiated the afterburners in the final 3 miles, and my average speed was increasing. Averaging 203bpm and 28.2mph for the seventh mile, my legs and lungs were burning. The eighth mile was slightly slower, due to a change in gradient. Passing under the bridge, I only had 1 mile left, and it was relatively downhill.

All-out, I covered the final mile in under 2 minutes, averaging 30.5mph and 206bpm. I finished with a time of 21:49, a PB by 55 seconds. I reckon I can knock at least 1 minute from this time with better weather conditions and TT training. However, in comparison to other good time trialists, my performance was strong. Stuart Wells, a time trialist, was only 41 seconds faster than me. Patrick Lince, a good TT’er, usually completes a 10 mile TT 1 – 1.5 minutes faster than I do, yet he was only 32 seconds faster than me. In addition, I beat the second-placed Under-16 by by 1 minute and 21 seconds!

The 10,000ft Challenge!!!

I am raising money to help reconstruct Nepal for dZi Foundation UK, because their work changes lives and communities!

I first became aware of the dZi Foundation and their work, whilst racing on Zwift – The virtual-world application that enables riders, from all over the globe, to ride and race against each other. Team dZi, a cycling team that represents the Foundation increases awareness and has become a prominent feature in the virtual racing scene. I was noticed by a member of Team dZi through my strong performance in races, and I was invited to become a member of Team dZi.

I quickly became aware of the invaluable work the dZi Foundation carries out on a daily basis, and I instinctively felt the urge to do the same – To improve the lives of countless in poverty. And so, I decided to fundraise; I would climb 10,000ft and ride 100 miles!

What is the dZi Foundation?

The dZi Foundation works in partnership with some of the most remote communities in Nepal, to create lasting improvements in their quality of life. From education and sanitation to agriculture and transportation, the dZi Foundation improves the lives of many Nepalese; reducing poverty levels.

The dedicated, inspirational and professional characteristics of the dZi Foundation have led to even the most isolated mountainous pockets of Nepal receiving life-changing assistance. Currently serving over 30,000 Nepalese in an expanding network of remote villages,  the limit to the dZi Foundation’s influence is yet to be discovered.

The dZi Foundation accomplishes this through implementing community-driven programs that improve public facilities, public health, income levels and educational opportunities while preserving community unity, the natural environment, and indigenous culture. 

The communities that the dZi Foundation work with match every donation pound-to-pound or dollar-to-dollar, with their contribution in time and labour hours. This essentially doubles the impact of your donation! 

Feel free to donate to the dZi Foundation through my justgiving page: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Christopher-Durham

EVERY single donation WILL make a difference. You can improve the lives of those in a situation worse than yours.

I had never climbed 10,000ft in one ride before, and had only ridden 100+miles on two occasions. It was far from certain whether I would be able to complete this Challenge. It had been less than 24 hours since I raced.

MAJORCA! 

This was my first visit to Majorca. It won’t be my last 🙂

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The Pyrenees from above.

The final day of the week, I set off from Port Pollença on an epic spin to  Cap Formentor with my dad! The roads, landscape and weather were AMAZING. I didn’t realise how popular mountain goats were up in Cap Formentor to start with, so crawling uphill through scrubland in cleats, to get close to one, was kinda unnecessary 😀

We had hired some bikes (Macario) from a local bike shop – The bikes worked well throughout our stay, and were perfectly adequate for riding.

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Following our afternoon spin, we just chilled out down at the beach and watched the sunset 🇪🇸wp-1471618530987.jpg

Mileage: 151.5 miles

Elevation gain: 12,886 ft

Time ridden: 09 hrs 06 mins

Cumulative mileage (since 1st January): 2,664.9 miles (London to Aleppo, Syria)

Cumulative elevation gain (since 1st January): 107,926 ft (3.6 x height of commercial flight)

Cumulative time ridden (since 1st January): 126 hrs 57 mins

Week 2

Friday

It rained on and off throughout Friday morning and afternoon, so we decided to take a drive around the island; nevertheless, the sun came out in the late afternoon. We had dinner at a restaurant called ‘Simbad’, which was fantastic. The service was great, but the food was even better. We had ordered ‘some grilled seafood’, and paella. The amount of seafood that arrived would have LITERALLY fed 10+ people. I couldn’t believe it. I probably ate as much fish that night as I would do in a month 😀

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From a range of fishes to prawns, clams, mussels and razor shells, everything was ace. They even provided some complimentary freshly-baked profiteroles when the bill arrived! We also bought some ice-cream, to give us some energy to walk back to our hotel 😀

Saturday

Making the most of the fantastic weather, we headed out to Cap Formentor. There’s a viewpoint at the top of the climb, which does offer some pretty spectacular views:img_20160409_123425897.jpgimg_20160409_123343350.jpgimg_20160411_234207.jpg

We drove on, and trekked down to Cala Figuera, a small cove located midway along Cap Formentor…

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Some parts were so steep, they required breakdancing! img_20160409_110327459_hdr.jpgfb_img_1471624714393.jpgimg_20160409_111040105.jpgimg_20160409_115002720_hdr.jpgimg_20160409_114736651_hdr.jpgimg_20160409_120254125.jpg

I tried to sneak up on some mountain goats, to get some good photos:

Michael and my dad, pretending its the African Serengeti 🙂

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The sightseeing didn’t stop here though. We headed off to the beach of Alcúdia, roughly 20 minutes drive from Port Pollenca. We spotted a large group of BMC riders, including Richie Porte, heading out to Cap Formentor!!! That wasn’t the end of spotting BMC though – we even stumbled across some BMC vans and their accommodation in Alcúdia!13006587_10154069790839898_150938721014282974_n

We were taken by surprise, once we saw the beach. You could mistake this beach for a Caribbean or Maldivian kind, but nope, this was still Majorcan!

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The clarity of the water was like looking through glass – It was incredible.

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There were some kitesurfers to the left, some of which pulled off some pretty impressive moves…

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Feeding fish in the sea was pretty cool, but catching a fish with my bare hands was cooler – I guess I could survive out in the wild. The tricky part was trying to keep hold of the fish, which was trying to ‘jump’ its way out my grip. Who needs a fishing rod when you have your hands? 😉

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Ray Mears and Bear Grylls would be proud!

The fish was not harmed – I put it back straight in the water 🙂

The evening consisted of what is probably one of the best bike rides I’ve ever had so far – A cheeky evening spin out to Alcúdia and S’Illot with the bigger version of me (aka Dad). The road winding along the coastline to a military base was INSANE – Virtually no traffic, smooth, and right beside the sea – You couldn’t ask for more. The plan was a steady ride, but was it? Nah 😀

With a backwind on our way out, we were just cruising along at a relatively steady(ish) pace. Then two other cyclists caught us up, but just sat on our wheel, which was kinda rude and annoying. I wasn’t having any of it, and so I decided to ramp the pace up a little. Sitting up (instead of being on the drops to be more aerodynamic), to give my dad more shelter, we were soon flying along the coast at 26-28mph (42-45kph)… We dropped the two guys 🙂

I decided to throw in a cheeky effort up the first climb towards Cap Formentor, whilst my dad went back to our room at our hotel. I descended pretty radically as well, nearing speeds of 70kph on the twisty descent 🙂

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Sunday

Our last day in Majorca, I was determined to make the most of it. I rode out to Cap Formentor, before breakfast, to find miles of awesomeness. Setting off pretty early, we watched the sunrise from the top of the first climb. Low-level clouds capped hilltops, and made for some stunning views.img_20160410_080340372_hdr.jpg

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We visited the ‘wonder’ beach of Alcúdia again, before driving across the island to Palma de Mallorca Airport. Michael just couldn’t let go of the strong sunshine, and so decided to bask in the rays for as long as possible, even at the airport!img_20160410_175244338_hdr.jpg

We really enjoyed our stay in Majorca, and I’m certain we will be going back again 🙂

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Monday – I missed Zwift! 10 x 1 minute blocks (10 seconds @ 455 watts, then 50 seconds @ 250 watts), and a 30 second effort. I was missing Majorca already 🙂

Tuesday – I went for a steady 5k ‘run’, because why not? I like a bit of variety 😀

Wednesday – Nah 😀

Thursday comprised of some pretty intense efforts to end the calendar week: 1 x 5 minutes @ 5.54 w/kg, 1 x 4 minutes @ 5.59 w/kg, 1 x 3 minutes @ 5.74 w/kg and 1 x 2 minutes @ 5.84 w/kg 🙂

Mileage: 85.5 miles

Elevation gain: 8,005 ft

Time ridden: 05 hrs 11 mins

Cumulative mileage (since 1st January): 2,750.4 miles (London to Yerevan, capital of Armenia)

Cumulative elevation gain (since 1st January): 115,931 ft (6 x height of Mount Kilimanjaro)

Cumulative time ridden (since 1st January): 132 hrs 08 mins

Week 3

Forget ‘Netflix and chill’ – That was so last year. It’s ‘Zwift and chill’ – I ‘chilled’ whilst watching the Fleche Richmonne, a virtual race on the circuit of the Richmond 2015 UCI Road World Championships, Virginia. Screen Shot 2016-08-20 at 21.01.58.pngSun and Saturday is always a good mix – A steady one with my Dad and Paul around Laughton Forest. Although it was sunny, it was COLD: 4°C if you wanted to know.

Super Sunday – A sunny spin with Dad and Mike + some solo stuff, and a Zwift spin in the evening! 78.4 miles in total, I rounded the week off with the USS (U.S. Sunday Spin), and won the sprint at the end! Screen Shot 2016-08-20 at 21.13.32

I’m nearly there… Just 12, 975ft to go…

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Tuesday involved a quick sunny solo blast around the Wolds, averaging 3.75 w/kg for 1.5 hours.

Wednesday evening was even better – As well was being just as sunny, it was noticeably warmer! Averaging 22.6mph in windy conditions on my own, I had a solid blast around Laughton Forest 🙂img_20160420_194559.jpg

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Mileage: 226.5 miles

Elevation gain: 6,837 ft

Time ridden: 10 hrs 45 mins

Cumulative mileage (since 1st January): 2,976.9 miles (San Francisco to New York)

Cumulative elevation gain (since 1st January): 122,768 ft (6.04 x height of Mt. Denali, highest mountain in North America)

Cumulative time ridden (since 1st January): 142 hrs 53 mins

Week 4

Multi-Regional Youth Track Omnium Round 1 – 9th overall, 2nd in my region

I took it easy from Wednesday, in preparation for this event – I’d never done a Track Omnium before, so I learned a lot. For example, don’t try to get to your weekly mileage goal during a racing day – I did, and well, I was tired. I rode 83 miles in total on Saturday, probably a good 40 miles more than my competitors 😀

It was COLD when we arrived, but fortunately the sun broke through the light cloud and quickly warmed up the venue. Some African-bongo-drumming session or ‘something like that’ was going on in some hall just a few metres away from where I was warming up, which was unusual to say the least! Trying to harness the tribal vibe, I began my first race of the day. The PA-system at the velodrome was very poor; riders could not clearly hear any messages from outside. This proved to be a huge problem during races such as the Elimination race, where they actually brought riders to a halt during the race, and called out the names of those who had been eliminated. I was one of those who had been eliminated, even though I was not one of the last two riders across the line at any point of elimination. The problem here, is that these last two riders were already eliminated, and so those who think were safe, actually aren’t, as they were the last ones in the bunch yet to be eliminated. This WAS annoying – B&DCC NEED TO IMPROVE THEIR PA-SYSTEM, or HOLD SOME VISUAL SIGNS, such as number boards at least.

Despite being unfairly eliminated, I managed to finish 9th overall, and 2nd in my region, which I was fairly pleased with. If it wasn’t for the poor PA-system and organisation of the hosts, I would have likely finished 7th overall or better, as the difference in points at the end between myself and those that did better was small.

Sunday – A small but fun session on Zwift with the USS crew – I managed to win the last lap race at the end 🙂

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Wednesday – Solid WWR (Wednesday Watopia Ride) spin tonight: I co-led the WWR and won the sprint at the end! Pretty grim weather outside here in the UK, but not in the Solomon Islands 😀

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Friday – 17,380 heartbeats – 42 miles at a relatively steady pace 😉

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Saturday – An ace ride with some pros!

How to finish a month off on a high – Ride with some pros!!! I rode with Edvald Boasson Hagen and Jody Cundy, and saw André Greipel!

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Mileage: 260.3 miles

Elevation gain: 6,546 ft

Time ridden: 10 hrs 45 mins

Cumulative mileage (since 1st January): 3,237.2 miles (Kashgar to Shanghai – Pretty much the width of China)

Cumulative elevation gain (since 1st January): 129,314 ft (Height of Felix Baumgartner’s space jump)

Cumulative time ridden (since 1st January): 153 hrs 38 mins

Thanks for reading! 🙂

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