Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Enjoying Training

Tues 23rd Nov-    

Went to gym before my membership runs out as I have just cancelled it, could be a mistake as really cold weather is due for setting in for a few weeks/months. Went on gym bike for a 10mile TT to see how much I am progressing or not. Usually I go on level 13 and have a cadence of about 106 but today for some strange reason I went on level 9 and cadence was about 121. Heart rate was 167 for 10 mins then 176 for the last 10 mins. Speed was averaging 29mph for first 10 mins and 31mph for last 10 mins.

10 miles in 19mins 48seconds.

Running machine next. 7.5mph for first 5mins and incrementally increased speed when I felt like it. Sprinted last 0.5km at 10mph.

 5km in 23mins 38 secs.

Its not just the fast times that I'm surprised at but how quickly I recovered to do a run afterwards, which is fairly swift for my standards. Only had 3 mins rest inbetween.

Swam with Tri club after. About 2km in 1hr.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

You gotta be kiddin'?


Very quickly, headwind for first 30 miles into Holmfirth. Turned around expecting  super tail wind which I got for 5 miles, uphill on Holmfirth Rd, slowest 14mph on the steepest bits up to 20mph on less steep and close to 30 just before the big drop into Greenfield. Fantastic. Nope, as soon as I hit the descent head/cross wind all the way home. Looked at wind direction on bbc weather. South/East Manc, Hudders, and North Manc all had WILDLY different directions and I know for a fact the speed was higher than 12mph (in places) as shown on website. Good training I suppose.

Toes were freezing all the way around and I did a little experiment by putting one latex glove on one of my hands then put glove on. No difference. Didn't even sweat or crinkle up as I expected. Both hands fairly cold.

Distance     ~65miles+
Ascent         4500ft
Average Sp  17.1mph

Friday, 19 November 2010

Children In Need

Lets start by giving an update on the 3-4 weeks since the last post. Super Super busy.

 Commutes have been regular, just the odd day I've not bothered. Averages have been between 18.8 and 20.2mph with a rogue 17.2mph due to a very strong South Easterly and my commute to work tends towards the SE. I changed the saddle height on one day so it was higher and I have now decided raising it absolutely screws up my muscles where it can take ages to recover. The saddle now is lower and much much more further back and my speeds are very consistent over 4 days commuting. Positioning is less relaxed but more comfy and can I pull on the bars/shifters for more power. Also riding much quicker on the 'all' uphill commute from Manchester to home than the 'all' downhill to work. 140-200 miles a week. One of my spokes came off one night which had corroded at the nipple and I was very lucky not to get thrown off the bike as it could easily have got caught in the derailleur! That night it happened the wheel was rubbing againt the brake block very badly for 15miles as I was unaware of the incident and I just though I could feel a very bad wind! - the air was still. I went as hard as poss and still managed 19.4mph.

Swimming at least once sometimes twice a week but nice and easy. Running just once, yesterday.

A couple of Sundays ago was the Middleton Cycling Club hill climb champs. I cycled to Blackstone edge for a warmup and went up it to get a feel for the gradient and the terrible head wind. Didn't feel great at the start but once my time had come I was doing 15 mph just like that and thought I had better slow down or my adrenalin would get the better of me. About half way up there is a sheltered section for a couple of hundred yards which I used to my advantage and went a bit harder. The last part was the steepest and the toughest due to the wind but I saw my minute man ahead and sprinted to try and overtake him on the line but just missed out by centimetres. New club record, something like 7mins 40 seconds or was it 6? I dunno.. Cant wait for a favourable wind next time. Last year I did it in nearly 10 mins! After the meal I carried on cycling to do 50miles and was looking forward to the tail wind on the return leg from Walsden. Can you believe it, the wind direction turned 180 degrees within minutes of me reaching it. How do I know? there is a Nissan garage with flags and whilst travelling to the start line was a head wind, on the way back it had switched to a head wind again. Didn't have average speed as I put my front wheel on 'the wrong way round' for the sensor and couldn't be arsed to change it.

Thanks to Lost Sheep and bro' for all the support.

Bargain of the century didn't turn out to be that and the order got cancelled :( Boo at ChainReaction! heh. Had a feeling it would though.

Tonight, just been at the Middleton Arena (gym) to do a sponsored gym bike race against the staff for Children in Need. Now Im not a charity kinda guy and despise all these expensive Sportives 'for Charity' aka lining own pockets ( disclaimer - not all Sportives are run this way) but I had another motive (booo hissss). The missus would let me do this ( not usually as its my day off work) and I could get an hour of pure threshold training in. The night before I booked my slot 5.30pm to 6.30pm and we just had to get as many miles as possible in that hour. Managed just over 27 miles and I was hurting. Heart rate was a constant 166bpm which is probably right on the edge of the zone and speed didn't fluctuate from 27mph too much. Last 5minutes, heartrate was 176 bpm and speed ~48km/hr ( top sp 53km/hr)  These are just stats that I cant compare to anything else other than gym bikes so wont translate to 'real world' performance. Apparently, I climbed the equivalent of 4000m too. My bike didn't have a bleedin' power meter on either grrrr. The previous record was 18 miles :P Thoroughly good workout. Here's to the relatively 'good' winter weather continuing but less wind please! ( i h8 the turbo!!!!!)

Friday, 29 October 2010

Loadsa Miles - Quick Weekly Roundup

Thursday 21st, Friday 22nd Sat 23rd.

After concentrating so hard this week, I can't remember what on earth I was up to last week. Did I cycle to work? No idea. There's no way I'd miss 3 days. Ahhhh Thursday wasn't a work day.

SQT 'B' session at the velodrome. What a super,exhilarating 2hr session for £9.80. There were 40- of us on the track and it was my first go. Sooo nervous as I didn't want to screw up or cause some massive pile up. Turns out the ability was mixed from regular super fast racers to sunday clubber's but I did notice they were all experienced and knew exactly what to do. Some of the tasks/skills/training looked quite advanced and I was shoved at the back to observe then copy and when it was my turn I generally knew what to do and when apart from one time ( always happens) and I got a little word down my ear. Would definitely do again as much as possible. 30-35 miles.

Went swimming with Tri club 30 mins after the SQT finish, just to get the arms used to pulling. Got cramp near the end but did go quite hard up til that time.

I must have cycled Fri and/or Sat. Ill have to ask the missus when she wakes up.

Sunday 24th

SQT 'A/B'. Not as many, maybe 25 but there were a lot more inexperienced riders and the coach just did some simple exercises. Didn't feel as fast as Thursday and was more of a chore, by the last exercise I just wanted to go home as my bum was killing me. I think the mileage was quite high with this one as the breaks were very short. In between sets, sprinters would come on and do their thing then we'd go back on. I'm sure one of them was Jason Queally, He had a superman sticker on his bike. 35miles.

This week's commutes

Monday 25th

(work)           Distance 30miles     Speed 19.3mph
(Intermidiate)  Distance 20miles     Speed 18.1mph
(home)           Distance 20miles     Speed 15.6mph

Sunday's SQT finished quite late and I was shattered from the interval work we did. Bike fit felt terrible as I have been fiddling with it recently. Post way too high and all the leg muscles were being overstretched. Couldn't get comfy on the drops or tops. The commute home wasn't fun. The first 5 uphill miles were done at 19mph then I bonked. As the rides went on I was fading fast into nothing. My position on the bike was quite far forward and I'm sure that combined with the height my muscles deteriorate super fast.

Tuesday 26th

(work)          Distance 20miles     Speed 19.2mph
(home)          Distance 20miles     Speed 20.0mph

Used mainly as a recovery day but felt quite snappy. Tempted to over do it and I might have done so. I put the saddle back and lowered it loads. Oh my! What a change. I felt I could keep going forever and that the wind didn't exist at all! Got a feeling that I'm going to be exhausted for the rest of the week? Quite windy today 10-15mph and its going to get worse through the week.

Wednesday 27th

(work)          Distance 20miles     Speed 20.0mph
(home)          Distance 20miles     Speed 19.8mph

Just to prove Tuesday wasn't a fluke I go and do some more fast commutes. This time though I was really feeling every pedal stroke and really feeling the wind too.It didn't feel like I had attained 20mph. I am not going to change my bike setup at all now. It is a dream to ride. Shame I have to give Pantani his Pro-Lite wheels back. Talking of wheels I might have ordered bargain of the century, thats if I dont get my money refunded and told that a mistake was made. No info until I get the wheels or a refund :) Wind speed was 15-18mph and was more blustery and continous than Tuesday where there were breaks of no wind. Can I carry on the speed into Thursday?

Thursday 28th

(work)     Distance 30miles     Speed 19.3mph
(inter)      Distance 20miles     Speed 19.8mph
(home)     Distance 20miles     Speeds 20.2mph

Looks like there's no stopping me. I'd have thought that I'd be a bit fatigued at the end of the week but seem to be getting stronger and stronger. Dehydration has been a major problem of mine and could be the reason behind some poor performances so from Tuesday I have been drinking loads. I have done so many changes Im not sure which has had the amazing effect on my cycling. Wind speed 21mph + ugh not nice at all. The intermediate cycle was kinda like a circular circuit so balanced out the wind and gives a better idea of true performance.  On the commute home I started off by thinking Ill only do a short cycle as the muscles were burning, tight and achey but they loosened up very very quickly so I carried on. With a couple of miles to go I couldn't stand up because I had totally worn my legs out but was able to put the power down whist in the saddle which I have never seemed to be able to do until this week. Nearly puked up at the end as I pushed my self hard due to having a couple of days off, or not? Might run fri/sat and possibly do the Rochdale Tri club Championships Triathlon on sun depending on weather and knees after running. Going to try and get bike fit on tri bike, similar to Jamis.

Total miles this week Thurs - Thurs = 280ish (not including fri/sat as Im not sure if I did cycle or not.)

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Track Accreditation

As posted previously, on Sunday I was booked in the Velodrome to hopefully pass the full track accreditation exercises. There was about 15 of us, many of whom I had seen before or knew due to  having to do all the tasters, taster improvers, skills and induction lessons. Thought I'd look a bit smarter than I had done by wearing the full Rochdale tri club kit instead of the cheapo Aldi stuff I like to wear. Emily from Rochdale Tri club was there and also 'Kingcutter' from cycle chat forums. Made me feel alot more comfortable and less nervous with a few friends about.

The 'test' was split into 3 parts which I can't remember but it was something like warmup, skills and speed/racing. Not sure if the warmup counted and if the speed/racing were seperate. Anyway, we had to get in a long line and hold on to the wheel infront without drifting too far behind or above/below and hold an even pace without 'kicking back' to slow down and do some changes every lap then every half lap.

The skills was also a fitness test as it lasted quite a long time. So we got up into our line again being paced by Chester, one of the velodrome staff. We'd do a lap on the bottom, blackline, red line, blue line and top of the backing followed by more changing after full laps then half laps and then 5 or so laps of lumps and bumps ( moving up and down the banking), 2-3 bike lengths apart making sure we moved at the same point Chester moved at and not at the same time. Pairs was next and changing in pairs, moving to the back. Lastly in this section was the 'box move' 2 lines one on the blue and one just above, side by side. The lower line sprinted through and joined the front of the higher line, the back of the higher line dropped down to the back of the  lower line, one by one and repeated.  It was great to do all the skills without any hiccups and it proceeded sooo smoothly.

The speed work was quite simple, 2 lines on the blue, half a lap apart and the front guy would drop to the black line and sprint to the back of the line infront. 3 sprints each.

Finally was the mock race. 12 laps 'warm up' and changing then 12 laps racing. I led and screwed up straight away by leading on the blue line and not the lower black one. A loud shout from coach corrected that and the first twelve laps were up. I was leading as we crossed the line and the 'elite' Surosa rider had just dropped back so I started the race straight away and upped the pace. After the first lap and half the line was strung out considerably by myself but Surosa guy was with us so I dropped back to let someone else lead and recover a little. We all took our turns at the front and with 8 laps to go we were whittled down to 4. A guy from Wakefield tri club took some very hard and long turns at the front, probably because he couldn't sprint but he did cause a little panic as we chased. I shouted to leave him but the others sprinted to follow his wheel so I had to go hard to get back.  Four laps to go and still 4 of us. Surosa guy was taking very short stints at the front, with 3 to go I led and went slowish for a lap hoping for someone to overtake. Tri guy sprinted off again and again we gave chase. He was caught and dropped and with one and half to go  the other rider led. One lap to go Surosa guy over took the leader and I was still behind but slowed myself on the corners so that I was still behind Surosa guy which might have been a mistake and should have just carried the speed on til the end. On the last straight I pulled out and was slowly inching forward but Surosa guy got it by a wheel. Loved every second of the 'race' but the main concern was that we were all safe whilst doing it, otherwise a big FAIL would be written by our names.

Play time ended the exam and the Derny was brought out. I had increased a tooth on my sprocket from last time so was glad when Coach said max would only be about 45-50km/h. I think I did 64km/h previously. Was also quite tired by this point but managed to hold on well.

We were all invited to the rider's D for our results and we had all passed. Deffo the correct result as the group assembled was to a very high standard compared to some of the taster's and skills sessions. The new way of accreditation works a treat I think instead of the one all day session where you could do it even though you've barely ridden before.  So what does that mean now?.... I can now participate in SQT's( structured quality training and some races, even though most racing doesn't require accreditation). First SQT is booked for tommorrow! its only £10 for the 2 hrs. Wish me  luck :)

About 30 miles ridden

MONDAY commute ( 4hrs after the above!)  

Work       Distance 20 miles         Speed     19.3mph
Home      Distance  15miles         Speed     17.2mph

WED running

                Distance   10km        Time    44mins 45 secs

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Flat batteries...or is it running on fumes?


Wed 13th October        (work)    20miles        19.9mph   Legs dead due to running but good speed.
                                     (home)    30miles        19.7mph   Feeling better, gettting cold at 9pm.

Thurs 14th October        (work)   20miles        18.3mph Drained, wind quite still.
                            (intermediate)   20miles        19.5mph Hammered it, going to pay later
                                      (home)   30miles        18.0mph Still, but feel like getting blasted backwards.

Fri 15th October             (work)   30miles        17.2mph If it wasn't for N wind I'd be much slower.
                                       (home)   30miles       18.5mph Started off easy but getting strong near end.

Quite cold at 2am-3am in morning and my body is struggling to get a reasonable heart rate up to keep myself warm. Also noticing I'm not getting out of breath, not that I don't want to but just incapable of pushing myself probably due to exhaustion/no glycogen so my body shuts down to fat burning mode? I'm only guessing.
Getting home on Friday night I was so tempted to stop off and get 2 pizzas but somehow managed to resist. I did intend to commute on Sat but just couldnt do it.

On Sunday I have my final accreditation assessment at the velodrome, woohoo, fingers crossed I do well. If I pass it I will be able to ride the SQT sessions, just in time for Winter.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

More running than cycling, HAH!

Hehehe, Didn't think I'd see the day where I have done more miles in a week running than on the bike but don't worry that will soon change when I'm back at work.

Another 10km over and done with and I am actually enjoying the runs. Problem this time is that I had a stitch ALL the way around the course and muscle a bit achey. Time was respectable 46minutes 30 seconds. No major hiccups with the knees either ( fingers crossed and wood touched etc.)

Went swimming at Middleton Arena, not too strenuous tonight. Used a pull bouy and paddles most of the set. 500m warmup, 4 x 100 easy 30s rest, 4 x 100 easy 20s rest, 4x 100 pull only 15s rest, 4 x100 IM 10s rest and 100m warmdown. 2.2km swam.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Running, jogging....crawling.

After the run on Friday I was going to do the Heaton Park run on Saturday as it was going to be another fab day. However I was aching like mad and reallly tired. Still haven't recovered from my week of very early starts. Same for Sunday. I didn't swim due to the above reasons. Monday arrives and the superb weather continues so I'm determined to go out for the full 10km run.

Instantly I could feel that my leg muscles were getting used to running again and I made it effortlessly down the street. I quickened the pace to try and beat Friday's time. After 10 mins I could feel a twinge in my right knee and after 16 mins I was in agony and had to stop. 'Turn around and walk home' someone kept telling me. I didn't listen and jogged very slowly. The 'Crawling' in my Blog title is very apt, have never been a good runner, even though I did cross country for the school team. After 5 mins of slow jogging the pain was disappearing so I carried on at the same rate until eventually the pain subsided. If I was to go a bit faster I would get' the twinge' so had to limit myself initially. The pain went totally after few more minutes and I was merrily trundling along at a decent speed. By the time I was able to run again I knew that I was no where near  a good time for the 10km. I think I could have done a lot further than 10km today, even after the dodgy knee episode, but I was nearly home so virtually sprinted the last 500m. There was no ache at all in the muscles and its just a matter of time before my confidence returns.

6.22miles in 51mins 30s but I arrived home in one piece, no niggles to report and feeling very fresh.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Super sleepy commutes

Sunday 3rd October             Dreadful weather followed by worse weather. There were quite a few hard core cyclists out today, me not being one of them. Swam at Rochdale baths with Tri club. 1km ( 40 lengths) warmup up then 6>5>4>3>2>1 lengths, one set normal, one set pull, one normal, one pull. 6 lengths warm down. 130 lengths in under an hour. Not bad since I'm a bit rusty. It's going to be difficult to get out of bed for the week's commutes as I start about 4am everyday bar one 3.25am!!! I will do it!!!

Monday 4th October              Not had much rest from all the action last week and I can see myself not getting much this week either so I can see myself skipping a day or two. Going was at a relaxed pace but the body was tense and tight. When that happens I just concentrate on nice smooth pedalling and getting as aero as possible. As normal I liven up in the afternoon.

(to work)      Distance        20miles                   Av Speed          17.6mph   (head/cross wind galore)
(to home)     Distance         20miles                   Av Speed          19.3mph

Tuesday 5th October              Going well so far. 2nd day 2nd commute. Have to get up at 2am to allow myself time to get in, in case of puncture ( x1 last week) or if I have to travel really slow. Today was really slow day, well the morning run was. Seemed to take forever to get anywhere but there was a huge bonus. Going so slow you don't feel the wind as much hah! Might have to try it more often. Afternoon cycle was greatly extended due to the superb weather and I did a deal with the missus. I had inside info it was going to be nice all week so If I was allowed ( fitness permitting) to extended cycles home I would not cycle any day on my long weekend off, coming up. She agreed but little did she know I was taking  a rest week anyway heheheeee. The first 15miles of the commute home were a cross/tail wind all uphill gently and I got lulled into a false sense of security as I thought I could keep the frantic pace I had initially set. As soon as I turned East it was a cross/head wind all the way home virtually for 35 miles! Average dropped like a bomb but still pleased with my effort as I must have stopped at 20 traffic lights plus.

(to work)       Distance          20miles                      AV speed          16.4mph   (head/cross wind galore)
(to home)      Distance           50miles                      Av Speed          18.6mph    ROUTE

Wednesday 6th October           This one would be the test of my commitment as I had to get up at 1am ish and unbelievably I awoke full o' beans. When the legs feel good the wind is less noticeable even though its unwanted prescence was definitely blowing against me, 'Lance calls it a chain free day' Didn't quite feel like that. I have been reading a book by Paul Kimmage 'Rough Ride', the first book I have read in ages since Robbie Fowlers Autobiography. Its about life as a pro cyclist in the late 80's and doping etc but he mentions multi vitamins and caffeine to aid recovery. I seem to be eating enough calories and sometimes it can take a weeks rest to get back to best so on Tuesday I took 2 vitamin tabs swilled with diet redbull. This week I might as well had no sleep, ok not as bad as that but it has been difficult which should mean very slow recovery if at day yet this week.

(to work)      Distance           20miles                         Av Speed        19.4mph (head/cross wind galore)
(to home)      Distance           30miles                         Av Speed        19.9mph (millions of stops grrrr)

Thursday 7th October               Two more vitamin tablets last night and a relatively good nights sleep meant good legs in the morning, but not ideal. I'm nowhere near my best fitness wise and all week for the past 3-4 weeks I am feeling muscle tightness. Have been doing lots of stretching recently but hard to tell if its doing any good. Nice fast ride to work, against the wind again, generally, and another big ride home to boost the weekly mileage. Had a Starbucks Blueberry cheesecake which was a mixture bewteen the Tesco new york and the  softer chocolately base of Harvester's. Tangy aftertaste but the melt in the mouth crumbly texture and just a hint of blueberry so it doesn't spoil the taste of the cheesey bit.

(to work)      Distance           20miles                          Av Speed        19.7mph ( blah blah windy)
(to home)     Distance            40miles                         Av Speed         17.7mph (ROUTE)

Much more difficult long commute home as the wind has changed to a Easterly from a Southerly so all the route is a cross/head wind with virtually no tail, loads of stops as coming home school time just like Tues. Wooohoo, did all 4 days and topped it off with a swim at Middleton Arena with Tri club where I went full out. Lungs are up to it but arm muscles still need some conditioning as they went very quickly. 32 lengths warmup with drills then 400m, 2x200m, 4x400m, 8x50m and finally 20 lengths warm down. 118 lengths :(

Friday 8th October                 FIVE DAYS REST, well off the bike anyway. I went for a run instead to see how quickly I had lost form. Very rarely do running out side but the nice weather prompted my change in attitude. Just over 6miles in 43 mins 30 seconds, thats nearly 10km. Left knee held up immensely but right knee gave up 20m from lucky. It felt I had a trapped nerve and the pain shot down the leg from my knee.

Obtained a chocolate cheese cake from the 'Slattery' which I knew would be a mistake and was. Sickly rich Chocolate moussey thing on top of the strangest crunchy biscuit base ever like it had very cheapo malteasers in it.. Also got a Strawberry tart. The pastry casing is utter tosh, dry, almost stale, tasteless even with a thin chocolate layer. Not a one off but to their recipe. Filled with plain whipped cream with strawberries on top. Boring, plain and boring. Chocolate and Orange Torte was last, looked amazing and actually did taste quite good, very 'jaffery' Sponge was too light and dry though.

Miles for the week             220miles

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Mmmmm Cheesecake

Tuesday Commute (to work)         Distance  25miles         Av Spd         18.2mph
                              (to home)        Distance  25miles         Av Spd          19.3mph

Took a bit of a beating Tuesday night, got drenched. Doesn't usually bother me but I set off unprepared ie. no waterproof, no overshoes etc so was very miserable.

Wednesday and Thursday were work rest days and cycling rest days. I was allowed out Thursday but declined the offer, went swimming instead with the Tri club. Starting to be a cheesecake connoisseur. Nutters restaurant had done the best white chocolate one but recently, absolutely love Harvester's. A chocolatey softish base lacking crunch but compliments the melt in the mouth, crumbliness perfect cheesy bit, not bitter and not too sweet, with just the right amount of raspberry coulis baked in the top. At £3.99 for a small slice it aint cheap! I hit the supermarkets to try and find a cheaper alternative. This week was Tesco's turn in the form of Extra special Newyork Vanilla Cheesecake for £4. I expected great things but was let down. Didn't feel cheesy but had a cheesy bitter aftertaste and the bicuit, a little digestivey. I still ate 1500calories worth to make sure my taste buds weren't lying. Next was the ES Millionaires Cheesecake on offer at £3.60. Comes with a gooey chocolate topping, small amounts of  liquid caramel, with a mild caramel cheesey taste but was disappointed at the lack of a 'short bread' base just the super sugary and buttery digestive tasting one. Again 1500 calories worth eaten! A lot nicer than the ES Newyork but still looking for the 'ONE' Might have to pop down to some independants. The Slattery has a good reputation in Whitefield,  the big cakes are nice and fancy but the  little desserts are supermarket standard so not sure I'll bother with theirs.

So in 2 days I must have consumed 6000 calories in sugar alone. Lots of energy for cycling?

Friday Commute (to work)     Distance    25miles        Av Sp           16.4mph
                           (to home)    Distance    30miles        Av Sp            19.9mph

Felt terrible Friday going to work which was worsened by the  Southerly wind as my commute zig zags to the south so a permanent head wind which died down come to the evening cycle which I extended so that I could get in over 200miles for the week.

Saturday Commute (to work) Distance   25miles         Av Sp             20.0mph
                              (to home) Distance   30miles         Av Sp             20.1mph

Impressed with the work cycle as there were lots of traffic light stops, actually all this week there have been loads of traffic light stops going to and from work as I have started late morning and finished early evening. Also had that nasty Southerly/SW wind again. On the way home I did what I try to do on my commutes and do a few intervals. Some sprinting from traffic lights, some long straight less intense but very hard and the sitting hill climb where I am totally zapped at the top. Recovery inbetween was quick so rest periods were as short as possible. Enjoyed my mini hill climb today as I concentrated on a super smooth and fast-ish pedal motion which worked and speeds were very good in the wind. Nice mild temperatures this week resulting in copious amounts of sweat as Im in my winter gear.

I have been tweeking my saddle positioing again. I have the nose pointing slightly upward ( not too uncomfy) to sit on the edge when doing hard efforts, raised the post which does hurt the  bum more and set the saddle back a bit more which helps when climbing. I seem to get most power to the peddles when Im on my tippy toes. Just realised that as when I did leg presses in the gym my toes would always be pointed as that's where I get the most power from but ideally Im sure the feet are supposed to be flat. Problems are my bum is really hurting due to it smashing down on the saddle and my calves dont like it too much.

Plan for next week is to have a relaxing Sunday ride followed by 4 very early commutes and then Ill take a big long rest for a week where I might do some running. Last winter I did a lot of core work and has benefitted me loads with the unusual bike positioning I have but recently, after neglecting my core I can feel the odd ache and twinge so will need to do more this winter.

Total mileage for the week just over 200miles.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Green Slip

Sunday morning was gorgeous and nippy but I was only going out to Rochdale baths to swim with the Tri club. Not been swimming for a month and body still felt wrecked from the week's cycling, heart rate just wouldn't go above 140ish. I just used the swim to concentrate on my arms by using a pull bouy as my legs are getting lots of exercise.

In the evening 8pm -10pm, I  was booked into a Skills and Induction 2 hr session at Manchester Velodrome which is the penultimate step to the final assessment for full accreditation. There was a full group and the atmosphere was extremely laid back and relaxing. Jeff and some old dood took us and were very good in explaining what they wanted and expected from us as well as pointing us in the right direction if going wrong.

So first of all we all set off on a/some warmup lap(s). I was 3rd in line and when we came to the 2nd corner the leader started to move up the banking, as did the 2nd guy. I knew we were going too slow and that you shouldn't pull up on a banking on lap 1 so I stayed  down whilst the 3 behind must have gone up and one guy took 2 others out with him, very very close to being taken out myself. What a start and we hadn't completed a lap yet. Everyone was fine but a couple of bikes were bruised and once restarted we were looking quite good. 20 mins warmup with changes every lap then every half lap. Next was lumps and bumps, follow the leader up and down the track style. Then changing in pairs, Then chaingang changing. Finally some half lap sprints to join the back of the line infront. Basically it was the same stuff done on a taster improver. I'm glad it wasn't too strenuous as I really was knackered and we all managed to pass, some by the skin of their teeth. Dunno how one guy passed.

It was treat day so for lunch I had KFC, dinner/tea chinese takeaway and for supper after the velodrome I had Macdonalds with a bag of Starburst inbetween. Night before I had a humongous buffet at a 21st party. Usually buffet food is shit as they use cheapo Iceland CRAP or equivalents. OMG how can people eat that shite. Anyway it was hosted at Rochdale AFC's Ratcliffe Suite and the organisation/management was as good as the food. Very  impressed and well recommended for a function.

Monday commute saw a nice leisurely stroll, on the bike, into work averaging 15mph until a tail wind for the last 7 miles bumped it up to 18.2mph, still going very easy.
Going home I didn't think I'd have the legs but they suddenly recovered and the Easterly breeze wasn't bothering me. I was disappointed in only doing 20.3mph average as I did feel strong.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

More muther F&*(£$% Weather

Just when you think its cant get any worse..... Four full commuting days this week. Wednesday was wet,windy and rainy but I was all prepared before I left the house so it didn't bother me too much, sunny and windy on way home. Thursday was comical. Wet in morning. Gorgeous sun shining when I set off from work and 5mins later a little drizzle followed by a tropical storm, high winds, thunder and lightening and more rain than my ride at the beginning of the week. Needless to say I wasn't prepared for this one and fell straight into mother nature's trap. Friday was just super windy with North/North Easterly gusts up to 30mph. Head wind in all  directions (every direction I turned the leaves were blowing back at me) except the last 2 miles home and cross winds all the way into work. Once a gust went past sometimes there would be one in the opposite direction to give a little help so i'd gain a little speed for a split second then the head wind would return negating the little progress just made. Then there were the sideways winds blowing left then right where leaves would magically dance in mid air before finally blowing past my face. Saturday's commute was the same as Friday's just a little calmer but not much, except that it was freezing!!! I have been setting off for work around 3am all week and has been very mild but not Saturday. Bib longs, shorts, 2 jerseys including a windproof, super thick gloves, over shoes, just no scarf. Nice and toasty? NOOOO. So not only had the super wind to contend with but the cold too. On the way home I just gave up, took it easy and trundled in after a crap day at work and I dont have many of them.


Wed  (work)    20miles   20.3mph
        (home)    20 miles   20.1mph

Thurs (work)    20miles   19.3mph
          (home)   20miles    19.1mph

Fri     (work)    20miles   19.0mph
          (home)   20miles   18.1mph

Sat     (work)    20miles   19.8mph
          (home)    20miles   17.2mph

235 miles this week.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Muther F&*(£$% Weather.

After yesterdays effort at the gym I kinda knew the legs weren't up to much but looking at the weather report on In-ACCuWeather there would be lots of dark cloud, very windy with sunny spells but NO rain. Nice recovery ride weather ish. So when the sun came shining out from the darkest depths I was all prepared and set off on my merry way.

 After 10 mins, on my way to Edenfield Rd, I was glad to be wearing my wind proof/'water resistant' Aldi jacket and bibs. Drizzle was being repelled admirably by my cheapo stuff but someone somewhere wanted to test my gear to the max and after the wind picked up even more entire oceans were emptied on top of my head in the space of 2hrs+. After an hour and half at the bottom of Tod Road I was starting to get a little cold ( the Aldi jacket acts like a wet suit and kept me warm but there's only so much water it can take) so had to put my rain mac on which does wonders to keep in warmth. NO point in going home yet as I couldn't get any wetter, literally, so I went to climb Cragg and what a mistake that was. Howling head/cross wind on the tops meant the rain was 'sand' blasting my face whilst speeding along at 9mph - surprised I could go that fast. Descent down  Blackstone edge was worse as you might as well have stuck a blind fold on me, double figure speeds just about attainable. Believe it or not I was enjoying the ride until the last half hour as I was aching, my feet were cold and I had no energy left. At every set of lights home I wrung out my gloves which became saturated after a couple of minutes. It stopped raining 10 mins from home. 'nuff said.

On a positive note 'Super Jamis' was great. She wore her new Crud Racer MkII mud guards and the drive train remained shite free generally. Only the crap from my brake blocks spoilt the carnauba waxed frame. I had the 'mis' fortune of testing the Cat eye micro computer's water resistance in the washing machine 2 days ago and today it was working fault free. Looks like 'Scottie' is going into hibernation for a few months.

Distance     50miles
Average     16mph
Ascent         ~4000ft

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Donuts, Doughnuts, D'oh-nuts, SALAD ugh.

Two weeks, two rides, less than 100 miles. Not the best of showings for someone used to a few hundred miles. The cold, wind and heavy rain has been putting me off. However on my last ride I haven't felt that good since Rochdale's Triathlon.

Weight loss is no easy feat especially when you're already down to 11.3 stone and even though some weeks I have been doing close to 300 miles at a relatively high pace, the amount of crap eaten  has exceeded the calories burned. Without that food I probably wouldn't have been able to do those distances at those speeds. Marks and Spencer came to the rescue as at most big train stations there is one or very close by where I have a break. They have been doing 2 for £3 and 3 for £5 on salads and deli items so I have tried to eat sensibly for a change. After a small bowl of porridge for breakfast I try to have a bowl of one of the salads every 2-3 hours. 3 bean, edameme and soy, sprouted pea are the main ones which are under 200 calories per serving.

Even when I get home I tried to limit my self to a large tub of soup or beans on toast and if I got the 'rumbles' I'd have a slice of roasted seed toast. It has been a nightmare, as most of you who diet or tried to diet are aware. Constantly craving my favourite items DOUGHNUTS and that's all I can think about as well as not being able to ride as my 'commuter/allrounder' Jamis is undergoing a makeover during the poor weather. Its not cheap this healthy eating so I have had to put bike parts on hold for a couple of weeks. I can see why most of the country eats crap, myself included. Prepared healthy meals cost as much as some bike parts :) and to do it cheaply costs way too much time. So basically I have cut out most if not all of the fat, eaten little meat and kept carbs down too. Energy levels have been surprisingly high but I haven't been exercising. Another of my excesses is super strong coffee which I have found really difficult to stop but I have managed it. Results later.

Ride one was on the Sunday after the last post. Actually the footie game the week before crippled  me for 6 days! Never been that bad before. I decided to get out early whilst the sun was shining and follow the route of the Tour of Britain up to the K.O.M at Crown Point which they had ridden the day before in awful conditions.  Five minutes after setting off, those conditions were replicated and I was feeling their pain. Its hard work going nowhere fast and eventually made it to Rochdale swimming baths to see what the numbers turning up to the TRI club sessions were like and for a quick chat. I was back home for 11am after doing 50miles at an average of 18.9mph, 3000ft ascent. I was aiming for my golden 20mph average and going on work rate felt I had done enough but the wind and rain killed me, as usual.

Ride two was the commute to and from work on 'Super Jamis' This was on the Thursday just gone with winds reaching 20mph!!!!! as it had done all week. 20 miles there and 30 miles back averaging 19.9mph. It is the climbs where I felt the most benefit. Start of Victoria Av is a fairly long drag which gets steeper and steeper and there is another hill just before it too and I was a good  mile or 2 mph on my previous best. Climbs in the opposite direction were just as fruitful just incase the wind was heavily assisting me. Flats were very difficult and laborious due to the wind that's why I was no where near my best times for the whole route.

Sunday 19th September ( where did summer go?) Absolutely lashing it down so cycling was a no go. Gym time:(  A quick 10mile tt on the bike yielded my best effort to date. Completed in 20mins 16 seconds, average power about 290 watts. Back to the old me. 25min spin down at 200 watts average. Rowing machine next, 30 mins, 2min 5s/500m average. Not a great time but I gave it my all on the tt. I finished with a 5km run in 25 mins which is slow and it was difficult. 10mins walk down. I then weighed myself and got the shock of my life. 64.7kgs totally dehydrated with empty stomach. I was close to 71kgs a month or so ago. The best thing is I don't feel drained like I did the last time I hit that weight. Another plus due to the lack of caffeine saturated in my system I have been able to sleep within 20mins of going to bed instead of a few hours. Could be coinciding with the change in outdoor temperature though.

So I have managed to lose the weight and increase my power slightly which is the perfect combo for the hill climb season, not that Ill end up doing many.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Wed,Thurs, Fri, Sat Commuting

Wooohoo, weather has been holding out and the sun has been strutting its stuff so I have managed to cycle to work and back for all my shifts this week. Wind was fairly kind, but has been Westerly/S.Westerly which Im not used to. Wednesday I managed to go quite hard but averages suffered badly due to traffic lights, Thursday saw a decline in power to work but romped home at night. Fri was strange. I was shattered but didn't get the energyless feeling I usually got just had no power and whilst the air was still it felt like it was blowing a gale like a coastal wind but no flags, trees or leaves were moving ( Ghost wind :) ) so used as a proper recovery ride. Also I nearly froze my bollox off at 2am. Went straight to computer to check temps and it stated 14C with a 3mph wind. I've not had winter rides that felt as bad as Fri night. Sat saw my fitness returning in the evening but needed to hold back for footie on Sunday.


Wednesday        Work    20miles     20.4mph
                          Home    20miles     19.4mph

Thursday             Work    20miles     20.1mph
                           Home    20miles     20.5mph

Friday                  Work    20miles     18.2mph
                            Home    20miles     18.0mph

Saturday               Work    30miles     17.2mph
                             Home   20miles     19.7mph

Total mileage for the week, if the track on Sun was counted at 10miles, is about 270miles.

Sunday I was involved in a footie game. Managed to do a fair bit of running but got cramp in both calves after an hour without getting too much out of breath. Was hoping to last the whole game.

Long TT bike ride

Rochdale Triathlon - Cown Clash


Planned ride with Pete the Pirate using my TT bike to get used to the position. I have found that using anything other than cheapo Lidl shorts, which have a very good pad, make the ride fairly uncomfy. The pad isn't too excessive and in exactly the right places unlike the Cannondale shorts I used. Muscle fatigue plays a part in the tt bike positioning and it felt awkward in places, due to tightness, unlike last time I rode.

Met at the round about o' DOOM without a  route in mind so headed up the usual Edenfield Rd which is going to be used for the Tour of Britain on Sept 11th. That is the day it actually kicks off, in my home town of Rochdale, and I will be working so will miss it all. Thank god for the V+ button.

Belmont Rd had a swirly wind and we both ground up and across it until we tried a different route via Tockholes and Darwen moors where we stopped for a quick photo and to admire the scenery. Into busy Blackburn we looked for Grane Rd ( A Road we have failed to find before) We thought we were on it until Haslingdon Old Rd signs were dotted about. Nevermind, the climbing was still a tough test and just the final 'big' climb of Edenfield Rd in reverse was left. Half way up, whilst Pantani and I were pootling, we got overtaken and he was soon leaving us for dust. Pete set a challenge to skin this guy, whilst I was knackered, and  then wait for him at the top. I actually caught up very quickly then sat on his wheel for a minute to recover. I attacked without looking back and I was at the top on my own. This other guy cycled past as I said my goodbyes and he replied ' ah, its Simon Byeeeeee' I shouted to find out who on earth it was but I couldn't hear, probably someone from the tri club? Waited ages for Pantani, and @ 9stone you'd think he'd be quicker up the hills?

Arrived home aching a little but just glad of the miles.

Distance     66miles
Ascent        4500ft
Av Spd       17mph.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Hard recovery ride

It was dry enough to use 'Scottie' today for the first time in ages although the clouds that were forming spelled out 'R' 'A' 'I' 'N'. Only a short ride allowed as I was meeting Pantani for some carvery goodness so absolute max I was allowed out was 2hrs. Didn't want to push it just in case I had a puncture or incident.

 UP Edenfield Rd where the wind was blowing steadily. I have really missed the ride of 'Scottie' it's so unique. for such a stiff frame, comfort is 2nd to none compared to my other bikes even using the ultra thin and light Selle Italia SLR saddle. The Dura Ace c24 wheels are amazing and the acceleration up hills leaves me beaming. On top of Edenfield road, the cross winds could be felt in the rear wheel in the form of drag, but not as much as felt in my other wheels. It was hard work descending with the wind across the bike, pedalling all the way into Rawtenstall. Front Brakes jammed on just before the main roundabout as my stem loosened and fell a little. ( its adjustable)The front brakes are the Planet x ultra lite single pivot things and are super sensitive to brake cable movement. Miraculously I had brought along an allen key that fitted the stem and I was off in a couple of minutes.

Next part is a long, gentle climb to the top of Whitworth where I tried to average about 20 mph but the wind was constant and I dropped a little bit. Tempo was high and fast, keeping on the limit, but not breaking it. Descending to Shawfirth was 'slow' but its downhill all the way into Rochdale. Eventually the head wind turned into a cross and was able to maintain a higher speed on Whitwirth Rd. The legs were going well and still could apply the pressure all the way home with a few sprints along the journey. Weather permitting I should be out on TT bike Tuesday.


Distance       35miles
Ascent         2200ft
Av Speed    20.4mph (Blackburn Comp)

Middleton cycling Club Track Champs - ROUND 2

After Round 1 in April I was in pole position to regain my title of MCC track champion. Two more rounds to go and Round 2 was held on Sunday 2pm-4pm at Manchester Velodrome. I brought quite a large support today so the pressure was on to do well.

The warmup didn't go well at all and my knee started playing up after 2 laps probably due to too much running and pedalling in a high gear on the track. After 15 mins I came in to rest my knee and got a telling off for having 2 sprockets on my bike. After getting back on the track, taking it a little easier, my knee settled down and we were called to do the flying 200m. For some reason we only got a 1 lap run up instead of 2 so had to hit it hard from the start to build up speed. Managed to stand up and pump the pedals for a few revolutions on the final banking before sitting into a fast sprint for the start line. I could feel myself slowing down but tried to keep the power down. 13.53 ( previous time 13.90) seconds was my time, my target was under 13, maybe the extra lap run up would have seen that happen. Very nervous.

Straight into the 1km timetrial. My target time for this was 1 min 20s. I think I set off way too fast and after one lap I was dying. Very hard work to keep the speed as high as possible and by the last it felt that all my energy had gone. 1min 23.25 seconds ( previous 1min 24.62seconds)

I requested  a 10 min spin around the track so that I could compose myself for the 2km pursuit. Wasn't expecting to do too well after the 1km effort and all my targets so far were way off the mark. 2km time I was aiming for was 2mins 50seconds which was a bit hopeful after my first two runs. My bunny rabbit was Paul Jibson who had placed 2nd in Round 1 and was placing second in Round two ( +0.5sec 200m, +1sec 1km). Last time we were neck and neck all the way around and only just pipped him on the line. We set off neck and neck for 2 laps then I edged ahead about 10-15 yards for the next 2. Feeling strong I was able to keep up the pace and found myself closing on Paul very quickly. With two to go I upped the pace again but saving some for the last lap and he was within 100metres. On the final lap I gave it all to try and overtake him but the wasn't enough track left and I had won convincingly. 2min 45seconds! ( previous 2min 53.89)

Couldn't get on top of the gear today so might try a sprocket with 1 tooth more and spin a bit faster. Lots of fun had and legs crying due to the burn. Suppose its good training doing some full on efforts. So I broke all my PB's but thought I had improved enough to challenge my targets.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Gym, swim and much more.

Friday 27th August

OMG it's sunny again without too much cloud. Another quick blast on the tt bike was on the cards. Set the saddle back 1cm and was much more comfortable, arms not aching at all either, no problems breathing, what a contrast. Set off at 3.30pm and 10 mins later I was getting drenched. ARGHGH my sparkly new bike was getting wet and dirty. How could the weather turn so quick? The gentle breeze instantly morphing into a mild tornado seemed a good explanation. Suddenly the bike didn't feel as good as it did on Tuesday. Soldiered on but had to be back soon as I was at the velodrome for 6pm. As soon as I got home the rain ceased and the clouds dissipated into thin air. Missus was in bed with baba at the time and was shocked to see a drowned rat at the foot of the bed as the sun pierced the blinds. 'My washing!!' was the only reply to my static, damp figure.Hmmm

Distance 27.2miles
Ascent 1600ft
Average 20.2mph

Arrived home at 5pm so had to quickly take the pedals from TT bike and put them on trackie. Stuffed some paper towel into my Sidi's as they were soaked. My nike's are also soaked after being on the washing line for a week so they were out of the equation. Changed gear and slammed bike in car with pram, baby and wifey. This was a taster improver session and I was hopeful of gaining my PINK slip. Previous encounters were met with disappointment as I was told to keep doing more sessions. Not done an improver session for a while but have got the hours in recently to feel extremely confident and safe. I don't cringe or wince at the thought of crawling around the top of the banking anymore. Emily from Rochdale Tri club was there, she had gained her pink slip the week previous and although a lot less experienced than I was she did look like she's done it a few years.
Things weren't looking good as there were some very inexperienced riders, some very young riders, some who thought they were good ( come to that later) and others who genuinely wanted to learn and gain something from the coach's expertise. Some riders couldn't maintain a steady cadence, therefore speed was erratic. Not listening to the coaches was a downfall of more than a couple and just looking and feeling nervous was spotted on many an occasion.

I left the track at the end wondering at how a crap session like that anyone could be considered for the next stage so didn't expect the end result I wanted. The coach said he'd be waiting in the 'D' for chats etc and everyone crowded round, anxious, awaiting the approval to go onto the skills courses. One by one he told each rider they'd need more time. He then told one guy to come back in 5 mins. He then refused another guy who didn't take too kindly to this and went on a rampage. The 'Surosa' clad big head stated 'I'm an elite road rider' to which the reply sounded like 'not on the track you ain't boyo' More words were exchanged and the coach took him to one side to further explain his reasoning. Well handled in the end. I have to say I wouldn't have passed him out on that either. He couldn't even get leaving the track safely correct which is nursery school stuff. There was a youngish lad, who I told to keep his helmet on whilst on the track, he should be thanking me as he was given a pink slip. There was hope after all, only 2 of us left out of 15. 'I'm going to give it you' Wooooo he said to me and also that he would liked to have seen more of me as it was his 'spotter' who said I was competent enough. Job done. Skills course duly booked for September 26th.

Thursday 26th August

A very quick gym trip around 2pm where I just warmed up on cross trainer and blasted a 5km run. This time I maintained 8.5mph instead of building up and going faster and faster. Only managed a top speed of 8.9mph as my abdominals were going to explode. 21mins 45 seconds!!! PB YAY! That was hard work that one. Knee is holding well, I daren't go any longer but when resting I do sense an odd twinge now and again.

Then followed swimming with the Tri club. Only my second time in a long time. 32 lengths mixed warmup of drills and sprints. I told everyone how great I was feeling but once in the water I was a good 5 seconds down on each 100m to what Im used to. 5x100m ( 20s,15s,10s,5s rest in between) which is like hard work just before a season begins and we are nearly at the end! That was repeated 4 times and 12 lengths warm down using fists. Arms really do need to swim more but find it boring...need motivation.

Wednesday 25th August

Spinning in the morning followed by an hour in gym and spinning again in the evening. Did another 5km run and was on form today. Hit a top speed of 10mph and really thought I could have started quicker without losing too much. Good time too another PB of 21mins 57 seconds that's a minute off last times. Head is better, not much though.

Tuesday 24th August

Currently I am three quarters way through 27 days off from work but the 19th day they couldn't cover my shift so I had to go into work at 4.30am ughgh. Barely had 2 hrs sleep and my head, throat and ears were as ruff as my wife's arse, no it really was bad. When I got home I was determined not to go to bed and stay up. Glad I did because suddenly I had an urge to ride my TT bike FAST. I just knew it would be a good fast ride but how after such a bad morning? I hadn't even ridden her before so was unsure of the fit. The start couldn't have got much worse really. I had difficulty breathing in a cramped position and couldn't hold 'aero' for longer than a minute or two. Chest was hurting and arms too. I learnt to keep making slight adjustments and not to go too hard, if I did I would need to sit up a little to breath better.

Before I knew it I was climbing Blackstone edge on a TT bike and even though there was a slight cross wind I could feel the acceleration in the wheels which I haven't done in ages. This is due to the relatively calm 6mph wind and instead of a constant stream, was broken with short periods of stillness. Barely dropped under 10mph, last time I just about maintained 7-8mph. I had put my Bontrager Race XXX lites on after replacing the shot bearings in the rear freehub and the difference is unbelievable. Was really proud of myself doing that too :P Got battered by cross winds down Cragg as it is very exposed. Through traffic jam of Hebden and Tod and onto Walsden and Littleborough. I kept being gazed at from lycra wearing admirers. Might have to use this bike more often. Never looked at my computer once and was shocked to see what I had at the end. Its a new one from ALDI which didn't work at first as one of the batteries had died before I had even opened the box! I had to check my wheel settings and even measured the circumference of my wheel with a piece of string 2112mm. Computer was at 2100mm so shouldn't make a big difference. Just plotted the map and the two distances are identical. Just hope I can get used to the position as it is really 'AERO' and I really want to love this bike. Lots of sneezing, dribbling and blocked nose and headaches why did I go out in the first place? I read somewhere if the symptoms occur above the neck you should be fine..... and I was!

Distance 45miles
Ascent 3000ft
Average 20.8mph (loads of traffic light stops and traffic too!)

Monday 23rd August

In the gym for a cross trainer warmup, row machine waste of time effort then another of my 5km runs which I seem to be getting faster and faster at. This time I PB'd again with 22mins 50 seconds. Next was a spinning sesh straight after which hurt big time.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Thpring into Thummer on the Thnake


Another ride planned by some CycleChat boys was kicking off at 8.30am from Roe Cross pub carpark and into Sheffield. The early start time meant I had to get up earlier than I would have liked but tend to only go on group rides if they start like that. So I rose at 7am with not much time to get stuff ready and breakfast duly went out of the window, just time for some super strength coffee. A nicely paced long ride should help with my recovery after a crap week.

Took Jamis as was unsure how the weather would turn out, Scottie hasn't had a ride out for ages and is currently being used to hang up helmets, shoes, gloves and jerseys. I didn't realise how far away the meeting place was so I took a long way round and suddenly it was 8.25am and I wasn't at the meeting point. I followed a cyclist up Mottram rd and soon caught up but he turned off and I still followed. Turned out he was lost, wasn't from the area and wasn't going to Sheffield :( I turned back and followed signs for A57.

It had only just turned 8.30am and Glossop was upon me. Nearly stopped and waited but I carried on and just as the Snake Pass started to climb I caught sight of a small group and at the rear a familiar style of was Dan_Bo! They set off quite early as I hadn't said I was turning up as I was unsure myself. Foz and Longers started to up the pace on the climb as I tried to keep up using a high a cadence as possible. Can you believe it, the sun must have been shining on us all day and I just took in the atmosphere along with the scenery... I was enjoying myself! There's a big reservoir near/at Derwent and Foz told me about some plug holes. I thought some tiny little things like I have in my bath but felt stupid when he pointed them out as being bigger than my house. About 45-47 miles theres a nice 2 mile gentle ish climb that I just had to stand up and attack. I can only do this in perfect conditions ie gradient not too steep, tail wind, good road. In the big ring I started to move up the gears as I got faster and faster until a steep bit so dropped back a little. I've done it on Cragg Vale to Halifax rd Junction only a couple of times for the last 2-3+ miles where I can average close to 20mph. Recently though the wind has been a head/cross from Cragg.

The cafe was soon upon us hidden in a lovely kinda park. I think I have the right place on the map, useless with directions. Longers and I had baked beans and toasts, Dan, some gorgeous looking cake and flapjack and Foz egg on toast x2. That was all I had to eat all day apart from 2 cereal bars on the way. Lots of climbing to prepare for on the way back. I could have eaten the same again and stayed there all day watching the cyclists, runners, doggies whilst sipping coffee, reading a paper, relaxing, ahhhh. Like being in NewYork again.

Travelled at a more sedate pace on the way back, suited me fine as the energy levels were dwindling fast. Managed to stretch the legs on the last part of the Snake's ascent which would be my final attack of the day. Waited for Dan at the top whilst I froze in the very strong breeze. Needed to stretch alot too as muscles very tight. Have to say Dan had done remarkably well considering the climbing we had done. The last 20miles was just an energy conservation exercise as I was failing fast but tried not to show it. The short, sharp climb of Mottram Moor nearly had me but I knew it was an easy downhill ride from there onwards. Left Foz, then Longers and finally escorted Dan through the climb of Daisy Nook and Failsworth. The sun still out and I was left alone, finding the last few miles, chuckling to myself. That's what cycling is about, having fun whilst getting fit. Can't remember the last time I enjoyed such a long ride. The weather certainly helped but Ive done an Audax in the pouring rain averaging 13mph and loved it.

Distance 100miles
Ascent 7500ft +
Average 15.9mph


Thursday 19th Aug

Took me a while to find it but managed to find it at the bottom of my kit gym pass!
Warmed up on the cross trainer and heart rate went sky high very quickly on a low setting
which isn't a good sign. The gym bikes gave me more misery as I barely hit 200 watts, terrible.
After a quick pull on the rower I gave in and finally thought I better do a bit of running if I am
to compete in more triathlons. 8mph felt quite easy after halfway through my 5km and ended
up finishing in 24 mins 30 secs. My fastest yet on the treadmill.

Went swimming with the tri club, in the fast lane, but was needing to put in too much effort to
keep up with the slower lanes. My body gave up 10mins before the end and cramped up with
5 minutes to go. At least my arms got a work out.

Friday 20th Aug

Time was 5pm and it had been dry all day, supposed to be like this for the rest of it too. Took
my TT bike out for a spin to see how the fit was as it was the first time I had ever ridden it.
Wind was about 20mph and after 10 mins it started to lash it down. I hid under some trees
for 10 mins then went home :(

Velodrome time at 7pm again. Ughh wasn't looking forward to it. At least there would be
NO WIND yay! Quick warmup then some 100m sprints which is a little pointless as you
end up going fast enough to complete 200m with little more effort. It was great practice
for Middleton Cycling Club's track championships though. A few skills later and we did 40 laps
progressive, getting faster and faster. That was the idea anyway. More like fast,slow,fast slow
then a sprint to the end. I got caught up on the inside behind a slower line as the 2 on the
outside fought valiantly for the win. D'oh. Next time I shall get into position BEFORE the last
lap and maybe start my sprint early too as I thought he others would tire but didn't. Track
bike is ace and setup 100% perfect. I always feel my best on this bike, even though my body
was telling me to stop, I could squeeze that extra energy from somewhere.

Saturday 21st August

That gym pass of mine will get worn out soon if I keep on using it. Wanted to get out on the
bike but stiff legs said 'no way' Cross trainer warmup again and heart rate was a much more
comfortable 120bpm at level 15, 9mph. Hmmm Lets see how a quick 10mile TT on gym bike
could go, not any worse than Thursday? So I was aiming for my PB of about 21.45 and after
10 seconds knew I would be way off. To get that 21.45 I need to average about 270-280 watts
but 203 watts is what I got this time and crawled over the line close to 25 mins.
What is wrong with me? Idid 5000m on rower in 20mins 50 secs which isn't bad, pb is 19mins 27 ish
Figured my running can't be too bad as it has always been bad so I should be able to get close to pb's.
Started of briefly at 7.5mph and soon worked my way up to 8.5mph and 9.5mph for the final leg.
Woooo 22mins 58 secs for 5km and thats after having to reset back to zero after 0.5miles as my shoe
laces came undone. Happy at last. Session over.

Thursday, 19 August 2010



Yesterday's ride put a strain on the muscles and all I had to eat for tea was beans on toast until today when I had soup for breakfast but I was determined to ride. Pantani and I were supposed to be going to a bike shop in Chorley as I had a few bits to buy so possibly could have gone Blackpool. As it happened there was no reply from his phone...he'd switched it off! So I cycled to his house to get the lazy feck out of bed. Eventually got an answer that he was still asleep so I left on my own.

Wind was nightmarish but Huddersfield Rd from Newhey is well sheltered so didn't affect me much there. I then proceeded to Holmfirth Rd going about 7-8mph which is crap especially in a 'tail wind' I then bonked halfway up but managed to spin my way out of trouble. I was hoping Compo's was open as everytime Ive passed it has been closed. Got there and was glad to see the big queues coming out of the door.' Jumbo cod and chips with scraps please' NOW!! Had to wait for my freshly done fish, deffo worth it, guzzled down with a 1.5l bottle of Coke. Whilst in Torquay I went to the 10th best chippy in the country and although impressed I thought Compo's was marginally better.

Legs feeling much better after 30 mins I set of back the way I came in a howling, swirly head wind. Just took my time and paced it. I was getting stronger and stronger and tempted to use up all my reserves at once but had to hold back as most of the power would be fighting the windanyway. Since I was revitalised I took a long way back home to get as many miles in as possible. Weather up to now was cloudy with sunny spells but when in Stalybridge the heavens suddenly opened and absolutely lashed it down for 5-10mins. Great :( I already had my water proof on because I was freezing with all the wind and generally cold temps outside, also had my bib longs on, hows that for preparation! Cramp in my left leg was setting in and had to stand to stretch it out. As I typed that sentence, in bed, I'm writhing in agony due to cramp. Getting twinges. Ouch. Clocked up a painful 75miles.

Missus had an hour spin session booked in for 8.30pm which I joined in. Wasn't too bad and did better and lasted longer than I expected. Bike is full of sand and dirt, she needs a good hose down. Ride tomorrow?? Didn't think just over a week off the bike could be so counter-productive.

Distance 75miles
Ascent 5000ft
Av Speed 16mph

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Good to be back


After a cold,wet but fab time in Torquay where all I could think about was getting on the bike I finally got home to my beauties and gave them all a once over. Tuesday's forecast wasn't too good but even though I hate riding in the rain I prepared myself for the worst, I really needed this ride and a drenching wouldn't deter me. Met up with Pantani for a quick ride which turned out to be a longer ride than planned as the weather turned nice eventually after we did get wet. Also got 'lost' a few times like on the way back from Blackburn where we looked for Haslingdon/Grane rd but found quite a nice alternative in the form of Roman rd so ended up doing a loop at Edgeworth.

My Blackburn computer flew off a couple of times from a new stem mount and one of the buttons sticks a little. It went in my back pocket after the 2nd time so I lost count of the milegae. Pete reckoned we did 75 miles but the map plot says 60 miles unless I have gone wrong somewhere, sure I haven't. Legs felt tight and achey afterwards, must be getting old.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Death by Derny

Sunday 8th August

Velodrome time again!!! Didn't realise how much I missed the place until I got there and saw all the taster session guys going round and round with big grins. Organised by dan_bo from cyclechat forums. Before I arrived I was rushing and dashing about to get baba to my mums and to get my track bike 'road' worthy as it was in pieces. Quickly stole the adjustable stem from 'Jamis' and affixed handlebars to steerer. Put 14t and 15t cog on wheel and since I had the right equipment this time made sure it was on properly so I didn't need to worry about it falling to pieces. Rear wheel bolted on and this time chain was tight enough. It span like a dream. Lastly saddle was put all the way forward and lowered to the same height as my commute bike. Oh yeah nearly forgot the peddles which were taken from tt bike.

Arrived early as usual as was itching to get going but had to wait til 2pm. First hour was a very long warmup, forming a train and changing every lap. Nice and easy pace. When they signalled us in with 5 laps to go I was poised to attack any sprints from in front or behind me but nothing materialised and just left me with lots of pent up energy.

I managed to waste some of that aggression during the next part which was the skills section. Half lap sprints, lumps and bumps and moving in pairs just like a taster advance session.

The final hour is what everyone was looking forward to and had turned up in the first place for.... the derny. Following/Drafting a motorbike for 25 laps. We were shown how to drop out if need be and every 2 laps the front cyclist had to pull forward to the out side of the derny, the rear guys would follow but then the rear guys dropped behind the derny and the guy who was at the front tried to rejoin the rear. It sounded a little complicated, to me anyway, but went smoothly. A faster group of 10 went first, I was at the back and had to rejoin the group when the train was travelling at its fastest but managed it well. The trick seems to be staying as close to the wheel infront as possible. Didn't seem to waste too much energy even though we were travelling in excess of 50km/h. A slower group went then the faster group again but me and another rider were halfway round the track when the derny set off behind us with its followers and us two were told to leave the track. That taught us. It was great watching the faster lot from the sides and you can see the gaps appearing where people cant keep up or lose the wheel slightly of the guy infront. There was quite an impressive move where a gap appeared and around 5 at the back losing pace with the bike and 3 others. The cyclist at the front who is supposed to drop off and rejoin the back filled that gap nicely and enabled those slacking to keep up.

I had to go with the slower group which actually was a blessing in disguise. I forced my way to the front just behind the bike so when everyone had done their turn I was 'leading' and wouldn't get dropped if someone left a big gap. So after everyone had been to the front, not necessarily being successful in rejoining, another 10 or so laps were completed where we just tried to go as fast as possible. I was last man standing after 5 and the derny rider kept asking if I wanted to go faster. I just kept telling him 'yeah yeah yeah'. Round the bends I can feel the bike being sucked in towards the derny and its scary being so close to its wheel, millimetres. Last lap came and I was still holding on but lost my confidence a little when the derny started to move across the racing line more than previously ( as sometimes I overlapped, didn't want his rear hitting my front) so I backed off with half a lap to go. I was left wondering how much faster I could have gone. Doesn't seem to use up much energy but your legs have to go round very quickly. Motorbike guy said I was at 63km/h, which is great and now I have something the go back for, to beat that, which shouldn't be a problem.

Last 15 mins were used to warm down but I had too much energy left and sprinted round. My Planet X track bike felt silky smooth and with the 'hurried setup' seemed to get it spot on first time. I have lowered the saddle on all my bikes as I can spin my legs much quicker and to reduce overstretching muscles. Also regarding the gearing, it was easier to be 'on top of it' and spin faster with less effort, and easier to build up speed and hold it. 48/14 I think I used. I thought I wouldn't be fully recovered for this track day but I had never felt better. All that training in the wind must be helping bucket loads.

In previous posts I had said I felt 'drag' from my Bontrager xxx lite rear wheel especially when climbing so I took the hub to pieces as much as I could and one of the bearings had completely seized in the freehub ( cause of my slowness/extra effort used?) and I couldn't move it with my finger. Replacement duly ordered for pennies and hopefully I can fix it myself and be as good as new. Looks simple enough to do. Just started my bike free holiday in Torquay and all I can think about is riding again :(

Friday, 6 August 2010

Back with a B....Whimper

Hey hey kids, Long time no post again. Getting a bit of a habit. Start off by saying the 2 weeks after the last post 19th July - 1st August have been a nightmare. Those 2 weeks were used as a weight loss exercise which backfired. Commuting was a painful and slow experience and my eating wasn't up to scratch for the amount of cycling I wanted to do. These events also coincided with me raising my saddle post very high which seemed to stretch and strain my legs muscles and could have been a massive contribution to the overall deterioration of my fitness. I ended up in a situation where because I wasn't eating enough I was becoming very tired, but due to the over training I couldn't sleep even though I was shattered. Did about 300miles in the 2 weeks.

Fast forward to the week just about to disappear, 1st - 5th August. The saddle height was changed to roughly what I had it when I kept breaking my commuting records. I changed the Bontrager xxx rear wheel as I thought I had a problem with the rear hub so I changed to the standard Bontrager race lite and kept getting the same 'draggy' feeling which I now think is due to the immense cross winds that have been sweeping my paths. There wasn't any noticeable difference in speeds between the two rear wheels as the conditions being tested where virtually identical. Lowering the saddle meant I could keep a higher cadence, bum not as sore, and muscles not feeling like I've just come off a medieval rack. Also started to do a lot more stretching of my calves, hamstrings, thigh and back as they have been feeling extremely tight. I've never been a believer of doing stretches so it's just another one of my experiments.

Food wise, I have been stuffing my face senseless, very good at that. Krispy Kreme doughnuts are my fav source of energy. I dont usually work Sundays but decided to as it was a 6pm to 2.30am shift so could get done whatever I needed to during day. I set off early to catch a glimpse of the Sky Ride but all the marshalls were going home and I missed it. All my shifts this week were finishing at 2am and I was determined to ride as much and as hard as possible before my weeks break in Torquay next week.

Sunday - 50miles
Monday - 40 miles
Tuesday - 60 miles
Wednesday - 40 miles
Thursday - 45 miles
Friday - 20miles
Sat - ????

Strong Westerly winds made hard work of all my rides, although for some strange reason changed to a light Easterly on Thursday night. Averages were all around the 19mph mark, struggling to get over 20mph but managed 20.5mph overall for Thursday. In comparison, the previous 2 weeks saw my averages go down to high 17's and 18's which I thought was pretty bad. Thursday night was close to freezing! well maybe not that bad but I could see my breath in the chill. Commutes to work were generally harder, probably due to just getting out of bed even though its a downhill trek but coming home I felt great and managed to put 'power to the wheels' I'm still doing all my climbing sitting down, hopefully it wont ruin my very good standing climbing prowess.

Bit of bad news regarding my first 10mile TT of the just aint happening. Supposed to be on 8th August at Levens, TOMORROW! but my and Pantani's application got rejected as it was oversubscribed and I needed a time if around 22 mins. I only have one time to my name and it isn't even an official one...27mins 12secs from last year! Searching frantically to enter a fast one ASAP! Talking of Pantani, he's been out and about, here, there and everywhere getting in lots of miles. I think he really wants to kick my arse at a time trial, lol. His rides have been longer more sedate affairs, hardly tt preparation!!!

As I have been trying very hard this week I'm starting to get tired again but I have one more session to complete before I go to Torquay and that's a 3hr session at the Velodrome on Sunday with a derny bike thingy for an hour of it. Not been track cycling for ages and my bike is in bits so hopefully wont take too long to put right.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Not enough rest.

As per title, story of my week. I think I am facing burnout and need a long rest but there's always something there saying ' you will put lots of weight on the amount of shit you eat' or/and 'it'll take at least 2weeks to get to the same level as you were at if you have even one rest day!' The last 3 Sundays I have taken as rest days as well as wed/sun of the week just gone.

Monday and Tuesday I cycled to work, can't remember averages but I do remember Tuesday being ultra difficult and not hitting 20mph average for my 20 mile commutes in either direction. Swam Tuesday too. Swam on Thursday, footie on friday and went to Cowm res to swim on Sat. Footie really hurts my muscles, all of them not just my leg ones. I figured as I was having a rest it wouldn't matter playing again and I enjoyed it sooo much this time. Sunday came and went, desperately wanted to get out and ride, that's all I could think about ALL day. Sad fecker I know. Could I go a whole week without cycling....NO! So it was Monday's turn.

Alarm set for 8am but didn't get up til 10.30am. Forcast was for showers at midday but outside there were sunny spells and it looked like it could be like that for a while so I chanced it. Just in case it did rain I took Jamis out for a training ride which is unusual for me. There was a nagging feeling that I won't be able to go as fast as I'd like or as far, it was coming from my thighs that were still aching from Friday. Once out I was pacing my self, getting warmed up and faster as the day went on and it still didn't look like it would rain.

I took a long way round to Edenfield rd, not direct, and caught up to a MTB'er. This was no ordinary MTB'er but a fast one! Forget pacing the climb this git was late for work and in a rush and I don't like being re overtaken! Thats how quick he was going,we had time to chat a little. hehe. After exchanging the customary pleasantries I pulled away gradually and saw him shoot straight to the back of my wheel. I was at 13mph up Edenfield rd which I don't think I have ever done before. It was a bit much for him in the end, good job too because I was starting to get into the red.

I did have a route planned in my head before I set off but changed it at the last second as I headed into Bacup. Normally I'd go up Bacup/Tod road but changed my mind to go up Burnley road, I enjoyed it a hell of a lot more. Still got me to the same place in the end and headed towards Cragg. After 41miles at the bottom of Cragg I had averaged 20.5mph. I prayed for the wind to be kind but it wasn't answered. Most of my energy was being used to get up this monster with a double figured headwind. Slog slog slog, Using my old technique of standing for 8-10 pedal stokes and sitting for as long as possible until the speed dropped. It was working until the exposed bits at the top where in the past I had done 17-20mph but struggled to do 11mph today. The descent was pretty bad too, getting blown left and right.

At Littleborough I was at 19.3mph average thats about 50miles in but that wasn't good enough for me. I wanted to climb Bacup road as once at the top there was a 20mile 'downhill' section home which was sure to put me over 20mph average. I had got myself to 19.5mph average at the start of the climb but once on it my legs had gone. No power to push and the thighs were sore/burning not recovered from the footie which I knew would affect me in the end. All I could do was put Jamis in the lowest gear and sit back and actually try to enjoy the ride home. It was painful but I eventually found my way home, not losing as much time as I thought.

When I got off the bike I wanted to get back on it and pedal as the weight on my legs was unbearable. It felt like they were being torn to pieces just like my average speed. I hadn't done a long ride for a while so I wondered if that contributed to my poor effort or if I really do need a long rest, which I think is more likely. Thirdly it could be the fact that I had nothing to eat and half a bottle of drink ( to minimise weight due to not being on Scottie, LOL) for the 4 hrs+ I was out. D'oh. Due to the weather holding out I doubled my expected distance.

Distance ~80miles
Average SP 18.6mph
Ascent 6000ft

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Who needs cars?

Didn't think I'd say this but I've barely used the car the last few weeks. My shifts have been relatively kind but I'm on super earlies next week which could signal the start of a much needed rest. I'd love to keep my time trialling to work up well into next week but I will burn out anytime soon.

Friday's commute saw the first glimmer of my imminent collapse. The night before I had little sleep which is nothing new but no breakfast so was low on energy. I just felt I had bonked for the 20miles but amazingly I still managed 20mph average. Recently I have changed saddle position again! so that I can pull up more on the pedals using my large hamstring and gluteal muscles which is unusual for a cyclist as its normally the quads that is the main muscle. So when my quads die like today I have a reserve supply.

Commute home was easier, lots more power in the legs and managed 20.5mph.

Saturday's commute, not much to say really just a crappy windy,hot, humid day. 20.5mph.

The uphill battle home has been a good tester for my sitting down power, no standing allowed! and Im gettting stronger day by day but I think its more to do with technique. Bontrager xxx race lite wheels which im not happy with the rear one as I feel a lot of drag, not sure if its a hub problem or if they are really bad aerodynamically, or the wind direction but I can usually feel the wind pushing the body, this was in the legs and behind me. Still did a great 21.3mph for 20 miles. Wanted to save something for my Sunday ride but I went hard.

Just realised my Sat ride home was a record average for me. I have just gone to double check the readings as I don't believe it at is correct. Hmmmm some secret weapon I had last week. 210miles weekly total.

Friday, 9 July 2010



50+ hilly miles with an average of 20mph has been my aim the past couple of months but my extended, fast commutes have always tired me out for my target ride on my days off work. I thought Id give it another go even if I am no where near my best and have resorted to eating all sorts to keep the energy up. Carbs, sweets, good stuff ( salmon, tuna veggies), bad stuff ( pies burgers chips) and lots of it all.

Same ol' wind present which has been blighting this country recently and changes direction every few hours. I noticed on the weather maps on tv that the pattern it follows is usually a circular one as in swirly so you're constantly fighting it.

Going quite strong up the climbs even though I've barred myself from standing up. Sometimes I just can't resist and need to give myself a big slap. Edenfield road is a deceptive climb as I always think I should be going faster than I actually am, struggle maintain 10mph all the way up. Bacup/Tod road which climbs to 1300ft seems alot easier in comparison but it doesn't look like it on the maps. Can usually maintain 12mph and deffo try not to go under 10. Performance was fine, 20.5mph average at the half way point but traffic was bad in Todmoreden and Hebden bridge which slowed me down considerably. Difficult to overtake as the village roads are tiny especially with heavy traffic on the other side too.

Next climb was Cragg Vale and I did it all sitting down. Im doing a lot of sitting down pedalling as Im concentrating on my time trialling technique which at the moment isn't yielding as much power as I would like but it is getting better. Wind was blasting in my face all the way back home but my averages up Cragg were quite good. Just the exposed couple of km's near the top let me down. My average was dropping all the way home even though its generally downhill and I was pushing very hard. I wasn't going to reach my target today but I gave it a good shot, the state of my legs can tell you that.

Average 19.5mph
Ascent 4000ft
Distance 52miles

Thursday, 8 July 2010


I seem to be lacking in something anyway. Its been nearly 3 weeks since I posted last, not because I haven't done anything but due to not being arsed and time is being hard to come by recently. THe worst aspect I have been lacking in is SLEEP. I haven't had a good nights worth of the stuff for over a month and I suppose my anxiety arising from that isn't helping.

After the triathlon I had a bit of a break and only managed about 3hrs worth of exercise, not on the bike, that week which was leading up to the rail sport games on Sat 26th/27th June at Blackpool. I played in all 3 qualifying games winning 2-0, 8-0 and losing 2-1. We progresssed to the finals on Sun only to get knocked out 1st game by last years winners 4-1, a game I didn't play as I gave the others a chance as I was the only one who hadn't been substituted. Usually I don't find it hard to get fired up for footie but my head was down and I wasn't interested in the games at all. Getting to bed at 4am after a nights drinking ( something I haven't done in ages) was a welcome distraction and enjoyed to the max.

The following days were spent recovering from about 5 mins of running I did at the footie matches, the legs sore and heavy. I ran 10km at the tri and legs were fine but kick a ball about and they fall to pieces. The commutes hampered recovery as I tend to hammer it all the time. So last week I probably did about 180miles of cycling, 140 being extended commutes. This week is seeing more of the same, 20miles each way to work and back. Rain on wednesday pissed me off as I stuffed my face Tuesday so I could do a big ride. hopefully Thursday is fine.

I have a secret weapon I have been using on my commutes that seem be be helping the last couple of times but I wont use it/them again commuting. I have broken my fastest averages record because of it/them getting 22mph on a 22mile commute to work and 21.2 mph on a 21 mile commute home. The latter being exceptional as the swirly wind was terrible and its uphill. Also haven't gone under the 20mph mark average the last 2 weeks commuting which is a sign of improvement considering my state of mind.

Pantani and I have decided to enter our first time trials of the year. Beginning of August when the season is bloody ending! Anyhow it's up at Levens, which on a good windless day is very fast. We will both have our secret weapons out for this one!!! One word..... 'Dedacciai'

P.S. Well done to all those who did great times in the Manchester to Blackpool, I've read most of the blogs just can't be bothered to type a reply.