I’m not doing very well at these week notes but I do have a reason for this month-long lapse. Last week was La Marmotte in France – a cycling event I’d targeted last year – and for the past month I’ve been preparing the best I could. That meant moving into a period of overloading in my training – lots of hours of intense work in an effort to increase my lactate threshold and prepare my mind and body for a tough day cycling in the French Alps.

La Marmotte was a brutal ride. Three ‘Hors catégorie’ climbs: Col Du Glandon, Col Du Galibier, and Alpe D’Huez. The the Col Du Télégraphe thrown in for good measure. 178km. 5500m of climbing. Thankfully, on the day, the weather was on our side. A relatively mild day out on the bike for France in summer at just 28C. The week before was in 40’s.

But, I did it. In just over 10 hours and finishing right in the middle of the 8000 riders. I didn’t really enjoy it to be honest. That’s the wrong word for this kind of thing. The climbs were very long and very hard. Thousands of riders ascending in painful silence. There wasn’t even a sense of ‘we’re in it together’ camaraderie. This kind of measured effort – to ride up 35km of 8 degrees gradient – requires quite a bit of concentration it turns out. Thinking about your breathing, that you’re eating and drinking enough, and mentally knocking off the kilometres as you go. It was a strange feeling being in a mountainous valley surrounded by thousands of cyclists in complete silence but for the odd grunt of effort.

No, I didn’t enjoy it but now I’m starting to feel proud of myself. This time last year, I was diagnosed with a common heart condition for endurance athletes, Atrial Fibrillation (although it was never confirmed and measured and I haven’t had a recurrence). This has made the training over the last twelve months, and the completion of this event, even more special. Despite these setbacks, and with the help of my coach, I stuck to my training and it paid off. Now to think about next year…

A couple of things caught my eye over the last few weeks, and they were both from Basecamp:

They are hiring a Head of Marketing and this post outlining the role, expectations and place within the organisation is about as good as it gets.

Today, Ryan released a book on their site called Shape Up outlining modern product delivery. It’s good, but I will say – like Basecamp’s other books – it’s written from a place of their own experience. Which is absolutely fine given they run some very successful, sustainable products. I’d say this type of delivery is only possible with the right environment. With the right chemistry of the team, and exactly the right leadership supporting it. It’d be interesting to earn if the advice in the book works in other places. But, read it anyway. It’s jammed full of common sense.