14 July 2015

Below is an update message written by Steve Abraham for all his supporters and also for all the people following his world record attempt.

Steve is now aiming to commence a second (concurrent) record attempt, as he continues to chase down Tommy Godwin's one year mileage total this year. This will mean Steve will be running two record attempts - at the same time (a provision allowed in the UMCA rules for the Highest Annual Mileage Record).

Steve was forced into this situation by a road traffic accident earlier this year which had resulted in a broken leg, which interrupted his progress for a number of weeks and lost him thousands of miles off his schedule.

Here is the message from Steve, which he would like to share with his supporters and followers: -

Can I still do it?

I'm not going as well as I hoped yet. I want to be doing 250 miles per day now. However, I have had days where I have averaged 18mph, so I know that I can go faster than I do on a lot of my rides (where I seem to average 16mph). Last week I decided to not use an alarm clock and just get up when I wake up naturally, so that I get as much sleep as I need. It has done some good, but the speed still isn't there, so now I am trying to ride gently to get some recovery into my legs.

We will know within a week whether it is working. I think it will take a good few days because I expect that I need a lot of recovery and that isn't easy when trying to ride over 200 miles per day. Currently, riding over 200 miles feels a lot harder than it ought to be. With a bit of recovery, it should get easier and I should get faster. Once I get faster, I will use that to gain more rest time before I bump up the miles so that I am as well recovered as I can be - which should make me faster.

I understand that people are doubting whether I can still do it.
I honestly can't say that I definitely will.

But looking at the numbers and going from my past experience riding Audax - when I got the Audax points record in 2007, I did half of my total in the first 7 months - and the other half in the last 5. I never suffered any huge losses that year. So if we take my total mileage at the end of July, then add on at least 6000 miles which I must have lost from the broken ankle (probably more) that may give an idea of what I should be aiming at.

This does mean that my biggest mileages will be in the autumn (just as it was when I was riding 1000km a week while working full-time in 2007 all through September and October). Doing the big miles in Autumn may not be ideal, but I have done it before. November and December are never as bad as January and February either. Because I have always worked in places that shut down for Christmas, it's not that unusual for December's to be in the top 3 months of my monthly mileage for that year.
Currently I get very sleepy at the end of each day. I think that is down to physical tiredness and not mental tiredness. I think that if I can get my legs recovered and get a bit faster, I should also be able to manage with less sleep. When muscles are damaged from exercise, sleep-inducing hormones are released and I think that is what is making me sleepy at the end of each day. Once I am up to speed my legs should be strong enough to do a day without being damaged and I wouldn't have the sleep-inducing hormones making me so sleepy.

The situation with my ankle is that it still hurts a little bit, sometimes. The physio told me on 25th June that at best it will take 3 months for it to be at full strength, but with the way my recovery has been going it would probably be more like 6-8 weeks.

A restart in August makes sense to me for several reasons.
1. My ankle should almost be up to full strength by then.
2. I can use the latter part of the current attempt, where I should be doing my best mileages. I can crash and burn in December, recover in Jan-Feb when the weather is at its worst. I shouldn't lose much strength in Jan-Feb, so will probably go better than I did this year and should get up to speed faster too.
3. Then I build myself up again and go flat out in summer next year.

Starting later is more of a financial strain but I think that we are probably financially secure for a restart in August. I'd also like to finish this at some point - and I don't see the need to drag it out for more than 20 months. I expect most of you feel the same way too!

Got to go, time is miles.