After the fatigue, sunstroke and dehydration, our sportive blogger Chris Walker suffered after last month, it's a different kind of emptiness he's now experiencing following the conclusion of the Olympics.
Let me start by getting this off my chest - I miss the Olympics. I feel so empty this morning. The cycling, of course, apart from the road race, was stupendous, but did anybody see the men's mountain bike race? Fantastic battle between Kulhavy and Schurter for the gold and silver medal. Superb bike handling skills which would be completely beyond me. Absolutely a match for anything I've seen on the road or track.
Returning to my own cycling, as you may recall, I've recently started to train using a rented wheel with a PowerTap hub, so am using power zones as opposed to heart rate zones for my training (mainly on the turbo). The main focus is on upping my power (which is rubbish) and improving my ability to increase my intensity over longer periods.
It's early days yet, but things seem to be improving. I went out on Saturday morning with a group of "hard men" thinking "They'll skin me alive". But no. I wasn't the strongest, and winning the sprints for signs is beyond me (at present), but I was right up there with the leaders throughout a tough, but thoroughly rewarding 60 miles. Great weather and an absolutely brilliant ride.
As a complete contrast, my wife and I went out for a gentle pootle on our flat bar hybrid bikes - and I mean gentle. My wife, bless her, puts up with my cycling passion, but really doesn't "get" why I enjoy the challenge of climbing hills. She hates that aspect, but is very happy to roll along on the flat, stopping every now and then to view the scenery and just be out in the fresh air. I really enjoyed it and, to her immense credit, she battled up a local hill without walking up it. Yes, we do have hills in Bedfordshire......