Friday, 11 November 2011

Hill Climbing Season - Tenerife style

                 Garmin Stats

 The hill climbing season has been in full swing and is coming to an end. The nationals were the other week with a 4miler at 3%  up long hill which I have climbed before but not taken much notice of. I'm not keen on the short harp efforts just like sprint triathlons so I went in search of a climb worthy enough to actually call a hill climb. I suppose leaving the country was actually cheating but since I had the opportunity to climb a mountain I thought that it would be rude not to.

 Wednesday 2nd November saw my arrive at Tenerife South airport and immediately I went on a run to scout for a bike shop. Just over 5km around Playa de las Americas but I somehow missed the bike shop I was looking for. The next day on a family walk of about 10km we found it and had a nosey on what they had to offer. . They had Carbon Ridleys and Focus's which looked brand spanking new and barely ridden. The owner informed me that they had only been open a few weeks and were trying to get off the ground but the have an established shop in Medano. Harsh negotiations with the wifey and mother saw me able to ride the very next day!

Friday 4th November, barely able to sleep the night before I shot up out of bed when the alarm went off and readied everyone for breakfast. It was then a 1.3mile run to the bike shop and a run back if I was able to at the end but I took enough dosh for a taxi. My Garmin was pre-loaded with a 100km + route and I wore my Rochdale Tri gear. Temps were around 25 degrees and wind was very harsh, around 15-20mph with some big gusts. After quickly setting up my bike and purchasing some energy bars ( my bananas had pulped due to running with the bag on my shoulders) I was away in glorious sunshine.

UP and UP, the ascent started straight away. I overtook a german roadie who was pootling and going the same route, I deduced after a strange conversation but there weren't many others about. I started off feeling super strong but as I ascended, the temps dropped, the humidity increased, the oxygen decreased, the wind howled from the NNE and I gradually grew wearier and wearier. The climb was amazing, the roads superb, traffic so polite and light yet there was just no respite for 27 miles. All my drink had gone after 20miles  and dehydration could have been a performance limiting factor as it can't be a coincidence that after 50miles I stopped at a petrol station to refuel and my heart rate was workable again.

My turn off to TF-38 was approaching and I missed it carrying on along TF 21 for a bit longer which I would come to regret as I turned around, should have carried on. TF-38 is probably the worst of the worst of all cyclists nightmares. The road looked like it was made from old volcanic lava that had been cluster bombed then nuked for good measure leaving this obstacle course for a main road! If that wasn't bad enough I also had the full force of 30-40mph head winds to contend with. Arghghghg. Luckily there was hardly no other traffic and I was able to zig zag from one side of the road to the other, sometimes purposefully  to avoid the holes other times I was blown all the way across. Cobbles would have felt like silk compared to this and after 10mins my feet and hands were numb and my back was burning due to the torture although i was unsure if the bike position had anything to do with the latter.  I had to descend really slow in places or the vibration got so bad I just couldn't hold on or  because of the tight corners. Once off that road though the feeling was like going to the bog and relieving yourself of a massive dump.....ahhhhhh.

The mist had lifted and the air was getting warmer with every metre travelled. Once on the other side the mountainous craters separated and revealed open space, blue skies and miles and miles of banana plantations. I now had about 30miles of downhill riding and I figured that it would all be done at a considerable speed however I was terribly mistaken. I couldn't feel my legs at all for starters and those tight bends had returned along with some really steep sections in the middle of nowhere. I did go in totally blind and followed someone elses route but it all added to the fun. They had picked some really nice, totally quiet roads for the way back but on the odd occasion it looked like I was going the wrong way and they were building main roads on top of the old roads shown on my Garmin and were a few hundred feet out of position.  My heart rate had plummeted  to about 80 now and luckily a service station appeared on the busy coastal road of TF 47.

A couple of powerades later and I was back on track. If I was quick enough I would be able to make lunch which finishes at 3pm, I had set off about 9.45am. The drink must have done wonders as when I got back I was full of running so after saying my goodbyes and packing my bag I was straight into the run, that's another couple of kilometres under the belt.

 Managed to run over 20km whilst away but was unable to get back out on the bike. Unfortunately I must have put on a stone due to the joys of 'all-inclusive'. Never having been on one before I was a bit sceptical of the quality of food but was totally surprised and ended up stuffing my face every meal time and with christmas approaching at warp speed the next couple of months will be a difficult test of limiting the self indulgence but I know I wont be the only one!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

More Track time

       After a nightmare week of commutes, I just felt like I had no breath in me, I wasn't looking forward to the track SQT on Sun 30th Oct which I had booked in advance. The last couple of days commuting I took it easy so that I had a little bit of ooomph going round the velodrome but I wasn't hopeful or in the mood. Luckily the session is quite late on so I had all day to loosen up my tight muscles.

Once at the velodrome I found out, whilst signing on, I was in current World TT Champ company although he wasn't wearing his rainbow bands. After being a little awe struck I set about changing my gear ratio from a 49-16 to a 49-15 (88) as if I spin too quick I get out of breath so soon. The warmup I took it as that instead of  racing around like a headless chicken trying to prove a point.

Various skills and sets followed and I was going around with relative ease for a change. It was supposed to be an A/B Sqt but 80% were A'ers. One set I was doing pursuit changes with a tandem who was very quick but stayed on fine. For the really fast efforts like that I deffo need a bigger gear!

Sprints, half laps sprints, and more laps followed until we ended doing a strange version of the 6 day points race which is strange enough without complicating matters. We had a recovery line (18-20mph - most probably higher than that) then when the whistle blew the first two sprinted all out for a lap and rejoined the line - simple. So after an eigth of a lap rolling start the timer started. I was leading for both my efforts but not sure wether it is easier to win from front or behind.  I saw a couple of riders go up the banking to get a better start and out fox their opponent but I just went for it!  Out of the saddle I went but I feel Im held back by the fact it feels like my cleats are slipping out. Those Keo Easys are not built for sprint work as their is no tension adjustment. However I mauled my way around in my fastest time ever.

My previous PB for a 200m sprint was about 13.5s although it was a while ago with MIddleton Cycling Club.  This time I was wearing a track timing transponder and my first effort gave a 200m time of 12.921 and a 250m time of 16.273. Smashed my previous PB without a super run up or the best gear?  My fox gave up after half a lap.
The next one was just as quick  but I slowed the pace line right down to get an advantage as my strength is acceleration from standing. My fox was the same guy and I'm sure he must have thought I was dead after trouncing him and him having an extended rest.  But I just kept the same tactic and went as hard as I could, no messing about. He was closer this time but I still did a good time even after only having a few minutes rest. 200m time - 13.296,   250m time - 16.733. Hopefully the links work.

That fastest lap time was at a speed of 55.3km/h unassisted all on my own. The total distance showed was 49km but we stayed on the blue line ( higher up) instead of the black so total distance was probably more like 53km - 33miles in the 2hr session ( riding time 1hr 20ish), average 22.3mph. Very worthwhile training indeed.

Cross Training

Sat 22nd Oct - Running 3.86miles (6.21km) in 26mins 48 seconds which gives a 5km time of 21min 40seconds for a very hilly course.

Sun 23rd Oct - SQT @ Velodrome. Not been for about a year so was quite nervous but turned out I was one of the faster riders and for each set I was able to give my all and sufficiently recover to do it again. There was a scratch race at the end, 30laps which went faster and faster then it was every man for himself for the last 5laps. With 6 to go I found myself in the unfortunate position of lying 2nd, took my lap then dropped back but If I wanted to stand a chance I had to  keep near the front and not go to the back. I was constantly looking for a gap to rejoin the line and one opened up in 2nd place. I dropped into this gap and the leader went for a solo win with 5 to go. I used all my energy to get back on his wheel and dragged the whole of the line with me. D'oh! I should have held position on the outside and when the gap appeared big enough go with the leader side by side until there was a massive enough gap to drop behind so that the line would be distanced and it would be one on one instead of one against 30!

I recovered behind the leader for 3laps and the attacks kept coming and I tried to counter each one. But it was getting too much and someone launched a mega attack as he was able to get a lot of speed up from a few places back,I was too far forward, usually I am too far back lol. The guy who was leading faded, I dropped to 5th but held my speed and I managed to get 3rd with no energy for a full out sprint and a too low a gear to stand and sprint. That session absolutely wrecked me for the rest of the week.

Tuesday 25th Oct - More running, a spare of the moment thing, no HR or Speedo. 3.9miles in around 29mins. I then swam with the tri club in the evening just to re build up my strength for a few tris next year.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Keeping the weight off

I'm sure I have a bigger appetite now that when I was close to 18 stone. Those give'in moments that I seem to have constantly are a big reason why I try to commute as much as possible and push myself at the same time. Getting to work this week has been a test of my dedication to keeping the weight off and staying as slim as possible over winter as most of my summer riding was done 10kgs over what I would call my 'race weight' even though I don't really race. 4am starts combined with super cold temperatures and gusty winds with the occasional down pour and hail storm have come together to concoct  my worst nightmare. Monday I just couldn't bring myself to get out of bed never mind cycle to work. Tuesday and wednesday morning were similar yet I felt terrible. I have narrowed it down to eating bread in copious amounts (gluten-I have been avoiding it for a couple of months and seem to be benefitting), the cold or actually getting out of the saddle, hammering it ( on Tuesday) which might do more damage than good.

Tuesday 18th Oct

To Work     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 19.8mph     Hr 142     Cad 70
To Home     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 19.8mph     Hr 158     Cad 71

Wednesday 19th Oct

To Work     Distance 15miles     Av Sp 20.4mph     Hr 138     Cad 69
To Home     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 20.8mph     Hr 148     Cad 76

Thursday 20th Oct

To Work     Distance 15 miles     Av Sp 19.7mph     Hr 138     Cad 72
To Home     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 21.4mph     Hr 159     Cad 78

Thurs morn was 1 degree and my legs were jelly like and couldn't get going until the last 5miles. The cycle home I gave it some welly for which I nearly puked up  once at home. Good feeling though. So for cold wintery weather the stats seem quite impressive.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Polocini - Winter Sprinter 2

Garmin Stats     Distance 60miles     Av Sp 20.7mph     Ascent 2800ft ( garmin wrong) Hr 157     Cad 80

                   The weather forecast was supposed to be decent for this ride on Sunday. However the sun took a lot longer to materialise and the rain clouds had spread all across the North West instead of being localised. That happens everytime I plan on using 'Scottie' and her funky wheels. I took her out anyway with the prospect of knowing I would have to spend ages cleaning her afterwards and I didn't want to back out as my weeks training was planned with this ride as a part of it.

'Entry on the line' (Where have I heard that before?) Yet again I hadn't pre-booked my place and but when I strutted up to the desk waving £10 notes furiously infront of the organisers faces I was turned away, saying they had no provision for 'EOL' and not enough food to go around but I was welcome to join everyone anyway but I wouldn't be insured. I have my own insurance. Hmmmm maybe because of everything on offer they only 'catered' for a certain number. They did say I could wait until everyone had set off and see how many hadn't turned up.  Not a problem as they didn't have any official timing systems in place so I just readied my bike and joined the rear of the the pack awaiting 9am off time. Before that though I was approached by Chris Byrne, although I recognise the name the face eluded me. I'm sure I saw his name on another sportive recently. Had a nice chat which relaxed my mood as I wasn't very happy that I wasn't officially in and made me setting up my bike a pleasure.  So after triple checking that I hadn't forget anything (there's always somethin!) I set off near the back of the pack.

           There's a voice at the side of me that's at every event I do that says get to the front....NOW and I duly oblige, to the best of my abilities. I seemed to hit the front in no time using my new grinding away training method and this time my heart was out to play hitting 170 in a couple of minutes. I sat at the back, observing the other riders, making sure there were no numpties and to see how much work each was doing if any. That's when I thought I'd try my luck and lead for a bit. There was an old guy in full Cofidis get up and we exchanged places now and again whilst the others sat in. Eventually I ended up taking huge turns on the front,  until about 35miles in when I took a breather for the hills. In our little group we had 3 bio-racer riders, the cofidis guy, some foreign sounding guy who looked an absolute monster on the bike a la Fabian and the obligatory doctor in full sky uniform with matching bike. There were a few more initially but were dwindled down. It was a fantastic group, very safe, everyone knew what to do and when, willing to help each other out.
Bit of a contrast to the West Yorkshire based club I rode with on Sunday.

The hills started to come thick and fast but I kept wondering where the cobbles and steepness of swiss hill were. I found out later due to the rain and the exceptional conditions we were diverted a long way round but with just as much ascent. That's why my Garmin was going mental at me even though we were following the signs. When a hill appeared longer than 20m I turned up the heat and was at a very hard but comfortable pace, really I wasn't expecting to be anyone behind me but a ginormous shadow emerged from the rear just to say he was still there. Still I was leading and we had a little chat. Turns out he's big into triathlons and came 15th in the Liverpool Olympic distance age groupers out of 600 I think and had the 5th fastest bike. Roberto ( told you he sounded foreign) said he used the Sportive as a training ride, I said I hadn't officially entered so would lead him out to glory. Turns out this guy was in Big Brother 5 or 6 ( I love the new series) heh funny. Carrying on, the hills kinda disappeared as quickly as they came with not much trouble although I did drop Rob a couple of times and waited a little while for him to join me. My heart rate was hovering around the 165 ish mark, I was killing myself for this guy, pretending to be his loyal domestique/rouleur and for what? The best training ride I've had for a while.  The only problem near the end was traffic and lights slowing us down. I gave him the last mile to the finish then he crossed the line , first of the longer distance riders. We were both covered in road grime and were shocked to see how dirty the bikes were. That's gonna take a few hours I thought to myself :(

The organisers were awaiting our arrival with CNP recovery shakes and other bits and bobs. I was asked for my number then I reminded him that I hadn't entered. He offered me a shake and 'a place at his table'  which I initially rejected as I felt awkward taking the freebies. He then said it was ok as there were a few that didn't turn up. I downed the strawberry shake in one. It was gorgeous! Recently I have purchased CNP stuff, gels flapjacks and the hydration drink and all have been beyond my expectations taste wise. The cola gels I could eat as snacks and even my missus loves the marzipan-esque flapjack.

Since I turned up at the Woodford community Centre I was made to feel welcome every step of the way, a credit to the way the Sportive was run and all the staff behind it. My initial reaction was a knee-jerk one, me being the jerk as the website clearly stated no entry on the line. I put the organiser and myself in a difficult position for which I apologise.  The food on offer smelt gorgeous, lancs hot pot and pie and peas were the faves which I left for the other riders. Just a coffee for me, unfortunately not ground. There was a free massage being touted too. I had a great day and a worthwhile training session to boot with a big fat KFC being the icing on the cake.

Another great shot from Rick at

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Training to be 'invincible'.....

....and I will become 'invincible'. The past few months,during my commutes, I have been concentrating on keeping a high a cadence as possible as I was led to believe it was the best way to cycle or I may have interpreted it wrong. Whilst doing so I've noticed the power in my legs decrease to the point where on every hill I had to stand to get me to the top with any kind of speed. 'Chain free' days hadn't happened for a long time :( A light bulb moment happened during the 'Season of Mists' Audax.

 The young kid I was riding with from 'Penine Cycles' seemed to have the power in the legs I used to possess not all that long ago. Every incline he seemed to be purposefully grinding up, the effort looking immense and he was flying but I got the impression it was a training specific ride. On the other hand there was myself, out of the saddle, doing remarkably well as I couldn't generate the power in the saddle. 'BANG' it hit me from somewhere. Why was I doing so well out of the saddle? Because that's all I had been training to do! If I wanted a chain free day I would have to train for a chain free day.

Week Commencing 2nd October, after the Audax I decided to put my plan into place starting from the Wednesday. Reading on forums that a good way to train is to whack it into a big a gear as possible and go up hills, that's what I did but also tried it on the flats. This method hurts.....alot. Sometimes your body goes through the pain barrier and it subsides, other days you fight it 'til the end. Its not a'' bad pain but a 'good' pain that doesn't injure as Cancellara described in a DVD I watched a few nights ago.  Not the best week to try it as the wind was very bad this and the next week. The first day was hard and was used as a recovery ride, the wind was that bad. Felt totally crap from the Audax but things picked up pace from there. Cadence dropped big time into the 70's and it even felt slower than that most times. I was able to pace myself ( I am very good at that) and keep the effort going for the full 40+ miles each day - strictly no out of the saddle stuff allowed.

To be honest I wasn't expecting to see any results so soon but from the 2nd day I could feel the power returning as the sessions went by, speeds being nice and high, and this culminated in a 'chain free' day on Tuesday 11th October! What a feeling. You feel like you can push any high gear  really hard without much ill effect, the only limiting factor was my breathing/Hr. When I started the Garmin failed to start as I was in pitch black as I thought I pressed the button. 2 miles later I had to started her up. Flying along I knew I had to make the most of it so instead of the 20miles I did 25miles and instead of the usual 'flattish', mostly up hill route I chose one with some 'long' steep climbs! ( for a commute and compared to what I usually do) - yes not just the one steep climb. So in reverse order, here are the commuting stats.

Tuesday 11th October
To Home     Distance 25miles     Av Sp 21.6mph     Asc 1000ft     Hr 158     Cad 75 - ChainFreeDay
To Work     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 21.3mph     Asc 587ft       Hr 160     Cad 76 - Really Hurt

To get the right effect of the climbing involved press the + magnification on the elevation chart as it doesn't look so impressive as it is. The big downhill near the end had a few traffic light slowdowns too.

Saturday 8th  October
To Work     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 21.0mph     Hr 146     Cad 69
To Home     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 21.2mph     Hr 158     Cad 74

Friday 7th October
To Work     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 21.1mph     Hr 147     Cad 69
To Home     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 21.3mph     Hr 156     Cad 76

Thursday 6th October
To Home     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 18.6mph     Hr 133     Cad 68
To Work     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 20.0mph     Hr 149     Cad 76

Wednesday 5th October
To Work     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 17.8mph     Hr 130     Cad 72
To Home     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 19.3mph     Hr 145     Cad 76

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Season of Mists Audax - 2nd October

Cycle to Audax - Av Sp 18.1mph   Distance 24.0miles  Asc 1560ft   Hr 135 Cad 80

Audax               - Av Sp 15.8mph   Distance 64.0miles  Asc 7650ft   Hr 138 Cad 78

Cycle to Home  - Av Sp 18.0mph   Distance 14.0miles   Asc 600ft    Hr 132 Cad 82 

The five days before this event the UK saw the best weather of the whole year albeit very little windy so confidently I pre-purchased my entry for the princely sum of £4.50 a whole week in advance even though I could have entered on the line.

Start line was the Salem community centre in Hebden Bridge and I had a brand new Garmin 800 to get me there and navigate me around the course just in case I went solo as I usually do. I met a couple of members of Rochdale Tri club in Whitworth and proceeded to the start point via Bacup and Tod Rd.  There's enough climbing in the audax without anymore! From the off it was overcast and raining which gradually got worse and worse. My choice of bike was becoming an extremely bad decision.  Scottie with 60mm carbon rims, even with yellow swiss-stop pads the stopping power is far from ideal for the conditions presented to me.

I virtually drafted the tri club duo all the way to Hebden as I wasn't feeling great at all and was struggling big time. I tried to take it easy on my commutes all week but just couldn't.  On arrival there were already loads of cyclists already there all expecting glorious weather however we were in for a shock. For a change I decided to drink absolutely loads as I would be doing close to 100miles and my 1litre bottle needed filling up again.

We set off last as we waited for another member of the triclub which suited me as there was overtakes galore to be had.  The first 5miles was an uphill slog to Burnley via Heptonstall which included a section of pave and in the damp made the effort quite difficult. I really buried myself for those 5miles to get past everyone and get up to the leaders who set off a good 5 minutes before me. Unbelievably I hit the front group after about half an hour and sat in for a long long time! The group was being led by a racing team CS cycles from Brighouse, a guy in sky uniform with a powertap and a young kid from VC Bradford/Penine cycles. We got a little lost in the back streets of Burnley but found our way back on track in no time. I found myself in the lead as the others must have been saving themselves for the climb at Sabden which I never knew was coming up and I went off the front.

I thought I was alone but was soon joined by the Penine cycles kid. We built up a good lead but lost a lot at the bottom of the Nick O' Pendle climb as the road was closed and we walked on the pavement as there was a pedestrian in the way. He zoomed off whilst I struggled. I couldn't get any power down whilst seated which is quite unusual for myself when climbing and has to limit my losses standing up. Infact I was doing quite a good job in the end and my cadence was nice and high. Totally the opposite seated though.

At Clitheroe I was following the sat nav's directions and even though I was following the correct route I got a 'beep' saying I was off course. Turned around and the Brighouse group rejoined us as we had messed up for a while. Next climb was Waddington Fell and I was struggling again sitting down. Just no power. I had to close any gaps by standing up but there was always the thought of 'how long will my legs last' if I kept it up.
There was an Irish guy in the group who looked 'uneasy' in the group. Always changing speed and being a nuisance. A club mate of his clipped his wheel, stayed up miraculously,  and the Irish guy blamed his m8 of 'half wheeling'. Technically he was correct but the one in front I thought was to blame due to his inconsistant pacing. He'd be a menace on the track. I found myself behind this guy on the Newton climb and noticed even more his erratic style. I should have dropped back and left his wheel totally. Someone shouted at the back that he had punctured and this tosser looked back and broke hard. Cue me hitting his wheel and skidding to a halt on the tar mac.  The guys behind me only missed me because I skidded forward at some speed. I shouted my discontent , some smart arse shouted back that I was going too fast. I might not be the most experienced group cyclist but you do not slow down heavily suddenly at the front of a peloton! In fact the tit did the same at a cattle grid and stopped causing another pile up as he walked across although no-one was felled this time. Luckily I was alot further back. Anyway I was bleeding from my right knee but injuries were minor and the bike seemed fine. The guy who punctured, myself and Penine Cycles bloke chased the Brighouse lot and overtook as they stopped in Slaidburn for coffee.

Thats when I stopped Garmin and forgot to restart as we tried to find out what was going on and to see who would carry on without stopping. Onward and upward, the three of us were pretty evenly matched although the PC guy deffo had the edge. The tall lanky fella that joined us had the most amazing leg speed . There were some really dangerous descents with tight bends and I came a cropper twice as my wheels locked whilst braking going in a straight line! as I tried to reduce speed before taking the bend. How I stayed upright I will never know and I wished the guy behind had a camera as it must have been something to watch.

Not far after Coldwell Activity Centre (control) was a massive climb, steepness wise. I saw guys who were on the shorter route walking it. The end was close and was looking forward to tHe food laid on. Rice pud, pizza, fruit, sarnies and a massive choice of cake downed with filter coffee made the thought of riding home into a big headwind more bearable. No cramp this time, loads drunk and a massive amount of climbing  just under 10,000ft in 100miles. Low heart rate and cadence suggest I was f^&5ed before I started.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

The rest of Sept


Wed 14th Sept
To Work     Distance 20miles     Av sp 19.7mph     Hr 152
To Home     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 19.2mph     Hr 144

Thurs 15th Sept
To Work     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 21.3mph     Hr 161
To Home     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 19.8mph     Hr 148

Fri 16th Sept
To Work     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 21.2mph     Hr 158     Cad 89
To Home     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 20.1mph     Hr 149     Cad89

Sun 17th Sept - 5km Run/Bike intervals/weights

Mon 19th Sept
To Work     Distance 20miles     AV Sp 20.7mph     Hr 142     Cad89
To Home     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 20.5mph     Hr 152     Cad87

Tues 20th Sept
To Work     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 19.0mph     Hr 136     Cad83
To Home     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 21.2mph     Hr 153     Cad88

Wednesday 21th Sept - Rest Day
Thursday 22nd Sept - 5km Run/Bike intervals/weights

Fri 23rd Sept
To Work      Distance 10miles     Av Sp 19.8mph     Hr 129      Cad 81
To Home      Distance 20miles     Av Sp 20.3mph     Hr 149     Cad 83

Sat 24th Sept
To Work     Distance 35miles     Av Sp 20.4mph     Hr 144     Cad 89
To Home     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 20.9mph     Hr 157     Cad 90

Sunday 25th Sept
Run     Distance3.4miles      AV Sp 8.5mph    Garmin plotted distance wrong somewhow
Hr 156

That was my first timed run in a while and I felt very comfortable and the course was quite hilly. Unfortunately Garmin had the distance as 2.8miles and a slow av sp which annoyed me as I thought I did my fastest run yet so I inputted the course into a couple of mapping sites and all agreed on 3.4miles. Excellent - for me.

Monday 26th Sept
To Home     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 22mph     Hr 155bpm     Cad92
To Work     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 19.7mph   Hr 144bpm    Cad87

Tuesday 27th Sept
To Home     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 21.5mph     Hr 146     Cad 86
To Work     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 19.4mph     Hr 137     Cad 84

Wednesday 28th Sept
To Work     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 20.8mph     Hr 152     Cad89
To Home     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 19.4mph     Hr 138     Cad85

Thursday & Fr 29th/30th Sept
To Work      Distance 20miles     Av Sp 21.3mph     Hr 153     Cad 87
To Home     Distance 20miles      Av Sp 20,3mph     Hr 143     Cad 83

Sat 31st Sept
Garmin800 and Scottie test ride     Distance 13miles     Av sp 21.4mph     Cad 89

Strangely that last week was when we had the 'Indian Summer' with lovely temps but blustery Southerly with an Eastern kick winds which should have meant my Work speeds slower and to Home times faster but it didn't work out like that? There was't much wind at night time, the humidity was close to 90% ( less air pressure therefore less drag they keep alleging and I keep disbelieving) and temps high yet the air felt cold and very very draggy which shouldn't have happened!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Rest, recouperation and recovery.

July and August saw the largest distances I have travelled ever with over 2000 miles clocked up. September could be the shortest. The TT bike ride and the Manc 100 took more out of me than I imagined ( maybe the HR was right after all) and also the weather played a part in not cycling to work.

Remarkabky though I have ran to the gym a few times and have never felt better, running wise. Once at the gym my performance on the gym bikes has been below par and the weight machine, terrible. 10mile TT on the gym bike I just about managed 20.45 (PB about 19.45) and weights wise I struggled with 50kg (PB 205kg) So whilst my aerobic functions are present I have no power in the muscles at all.

I even went swimming with the Tri club, Thursday just gone and barely lasted 30mins.

Today, the run was great but I couldn't raise my heart rate on the bike. I set about some intervals 10x2mins ( 2mins rest) 10x 1min ( 1min rest) Initially I was going to do 2x20 at threshold but I was screwed after 5 mins. This way though I was able to hold the sprint and get my heart rate to 176 every time. The resistance level was very very low but my cadence was high averaging 126. A very lazy run home awaited.

The Cycling track at Manchester Velodrome could very well be my second home over the coming months as winter sets in and I haven't been to an SQT ( structured quality training) session for about 9months so needed to gain a bit of confidence back before going on one. It so happened 'Colly' from the Cycle Chat forums was organising a track day on 11th Sept Sun.

I arrived at 2pm (session 3-5) as I needed to change a few things on my track bike like stem, saddle height and wheels. Coach didn't like my new stem lol, but then again who does. He said I should be more level and higher up and more compact. Actually, looking at the piccies I don't seem too bad at all and I was comfy.  Another disbeliever of my methods. Usual warmup, some sprints, changing in a line and 'Hunters'  finished us off. I had been unable to get up to speed and 'show off' hehe but the confidence gained, I'm sure, would be invaluable for my next SQT.

The Velodrome is looking very 'space age' since the new BMX bit has been added on and they have bought in new shoes and helmets which means they have leftover gear to sell. The old shoes were Addidas Race SL and I loved them, even better that they are 'pre-broken'. Mavic have now taken over the addidas range so you wont find addidas shoes, just expensive Mavic ones. Telephone Bob at the velodrome if interested £30.  Hopefully I should have a pair 2moz.  Size up like Sidis.

Found a massive bargain at Tescos on Friday, Garmin 500's at £50 a pop. Unfortunatly I already had one but for those that didn't I put them up for sale at a very respectable £90 inc p and p after I had cleared Tescos out! Think they retail for £130 Damn!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Manchester 100

Theres that phrase again ' Entry on the Line.'  Only an extra 50p on this Sportive just to see what the weather is going to be like before committing myself. Luckily, during the week and as it went on the forecast seemed to get better and better until it would nearly be perfect.

A couple of days before I readied my TT bike in anticipation of running a 'good time' for the Manchester 100. Brakes were perfect, wheels sparkling, new cables for derailleurs * ( hmm bad idea, more on that later)  as I needed to extend the tri bar arms and the cables were too short. On the Saturday I actually went to see where the start line was as it was supposed to be quite close. I live junction 18 M60 and the start line just off Junction 5 at Wythenshawe Park. 20 min job.

On the day I just couldn't be bothered to get out of bed and before I knew it I was kinda running late. I wanted to be out of the house for 6am but I eneded up leaving about 6.30am. The start was at 7am and I thought that there wouldn't be many going at that time. As I exitted the motorway there was a huge queue around the park, this was about 6.45am. Oh dear, I promised the missus I should be back by lunch time :P There are a couple of side streets along the way and was tempted the park up them like a few did but decided to respect the resident's area and wait. Actually the wait wasn't so bad and after paying my £2 (£1.50 if paid in advance) I had to follow other cars across the grass to the other end of the park, along way from the start.

TT bike out of the car, fancy wheels on and off I trundled through the wet, freshly cut grass that stuck to the tyres, brakes and blocks and anything else that might have significance. Approaching the start line I could hear the announcer counting down the first wave, off at 7am whilst beyond looked like massive queues. Getting closer I realised I needn't have worried as the girls on registration were getting through everyone at break neck speed. Couldn't be bothered to pin my number on so went to the start and into the next available wave.

GO! 7.17 the clock showed as I past the electronic board. Gently pushed past the others and into the muther of all traffic jams. Didn't even bother to start Garmin off at this point as there was a couple of miles of waiting. Took a while but soon I was flying on my TT bike. Barely any wind which I don't think is ideal as you end up having to break through it and in a gentle breeze its already 'broken?' Again I thought I was taking it easy and saving myself for later but the heart rate monitor rocketed to 180 within the first 5 mins, breathing was normal. I tried to get the HR down but I couldn't so carried on vowing not to look at it again and go off 'feel'. I was passing group by group, no one deciding to latch on. I was hoping to string a few together and then have a rest at some point but it just wasn't happening.

There were a couple of steep hills near the beginning-ish and Garmin showed 11%, had to drop to the little ring  a couple of times but then I couldn't shift up again. Those cheapo gear cables on ebay 10 for £5 or whatever it was do not come pre-stretched and I don't have any barrel adjusters. I thought I had totally stretched the cable when I first prepped the new cable but obviously I hadn't. Big ring all the way, luckily it was relatively flat.

Eventually a small group latched on at about 25miles and as we past other groups they tried but failed to hang on. I dropped them all on a climb which is saying something as I hadn't brought my climbing legs today, they felt crap up inclines. There was then a big descent where I reached 33mph and got stopped suddenly at lights.....Bastard. The others caught back up but didn't want to carry on drafting me. Shortly I had come across the 2nd group of about 30 riders after 40miles ish. Determined to get to the front I passed them all with ease and then was upon the lead group within minutes. Starting to get twinges of cramp appearing so downed my bottle of water as quickly as possible as I hadn't had much and ate a 'natural cereal bar'. I forgot to buy any gels for this trip which turned out to be a mistake and my bike only has one bottle holder so not enough water really.

They turned off for a feed station at 45-50miles and me and another guy carried on but he didn't last long with me. I now wish I had stopped and refuelled here but it may have been too late anyway. I was now cramping at every opportunity so had to ease off the pedals or pedal at a faster cadence. So far all my  miles had been 99% in the aero position, no ill effects although sitting up help alleviate the cramp so maybe the position played a part too? Passing Nantwich I could see there was a triathlon going on and there were bikers coming in the opposite direction. Had to keep a good look out for the signs as there were 3 sets now! THe Manchester 100 was excellently marshalled by volunteeres and my chances of getting lost this time were whittled down to non existant.

Some where now the 100km crew joined onto the main route and there was a feed station at 63miles and was surprised to see it jam packed. It was nice and close to the road, I bought a banana and an energy drink. Wish I bought more now as the drink was gone within a minute. I was away again as soon as possible and the water stop lasted me about 10-15miles of gentle pedalling and you can see the little spike in the HR graph. My world then came tumbling down.

I couldn't contain/control the cramp anymore and I had one massive seizure and only just managed to clip out and get to the side of the road. A marshall came running over ( what a fantastic guy) but by the time he got to me I was away again. I thanked him for his trouble as he had run along way! Heart rate plummeted to 130 now and had to be kept low as excessive pressure on the pedals caused me to cramp again and again and again. Any incline and I was a gonna. Overtakes were now few and far between. A guy past me who was in the lead group with 10miles to go and I hung on as long as possible. He set off at 7.10am. There was noone else in the main 100miler lot to overtake thank god but my chance at a great time had gone at 45miles.

It's not that I didn't have the energy, the muscles possibly hadn't recovered from friday ( hard workout that didn't feel hard)  but my aerobic capacity seemed fine as I wasn't getting out of breath, even at the start of the ride with 180 heart rate. Adrenalin kicked in with 5miles to go and I was able to go fast for quite a while but were were getting near built up areas which meant traffic lights so after an effort I had to stop then another effort required. That hurt! Just before that I was pushed up the last hill of the day which I will be eternally grateful for. Only had a quick chat with the guy then as the road flattened out I zoomed off as if I didn't care but I DID! REALLY! Thanks. THe last few miles took forever to pass by but the park was now in sight and there were peaople clapping and cheering. I held my head down as I didn't feel like I deserved the adulation, just coasting over the finishing line.

I was given a bottle of water and taken to one side to be 'interviewed' by some old woman who picked up on my Rochdale Tri club gear and started to ask loads of questions which just flew over my head. I could smell BBQ chicken and just wanted to get over to it ASAP! The announcer said that I had a 'great looking bike' heh thats all I needed more eyes on me. I did feel like a failure so slipped behind one of the tents and departed very quickly.

The first 40miles miles were amazing and I was having the time of my life but being in my aero position , something didn't want to disturb that so I didn't take sips of my drink as often as I should have and I didn't start drinking until over an hr after starting. The Geoff Thomas Sportive when I felt great all the way around I drank constantly and about 4litres with lots of gels.The feed stations were perfectly set up on that ride though, 25miles 45 miles 65 miles all with energy drink on tap, quick stop and away in seconds. I will get it right one day.

Total ride time was 5hrs 7 mins, I let the Garmin overtime as I was being 'interviewed'.

Garmin DATA    Distance 96miles     Av Sp 20.7mph     Moving time 4hrs 36mins
                            Ascent 2300ft           Av Hr 160!

Thinking about the ride, it was really flat but I was constantly pedalling 'hard?' Was it more difficult than a much hillier ride where there are big respites on the downhill sections? It wouldn't have been faster but I'm sure the effort required is more or am I talking out of my arse?

TT Test Ride - Fri 2nd Sept

First sign of dryness and semi decent weather I needed to get my TT bike ready for Sundays Manchester 100 mile ride. I have yet again tweaked the position for the better. Can I ride 100miles in the aero position?

 I was taking it fairly easy if you go by my breathing rate yet looking at my heart rate ( max 182, av 162 with a couple of stops)  and its very close to  anaerobic threshold and V02 max effort. So can that be possible? Is the position having an effect on the heart rate?  Is the heart rate monitor wrong? Why wasn't my breathing affected?

To Work 14miles ( lots of stops  and starts so garmin on/off)     Av Sp 24.1mph

To Home 16miles ( lots of stops less on/off of garmin)              Av Sp 22.2mph Hr 161 809ft
( Actually says 21mph but whilst at 22.4 I rode at 3-5mph for a couple of minutes in heavy traffic which was recorded) Hr less due to those stoppages.Cycling time 45 mins stoppages 25mins! Grrrr

Position feels very very comfy indeed since I swapped the 60 degree adjustable stem and replaced it with a 16cm 35 degree one. The drop measures the same but there is about 6cm extra stretch.

Commutes WE 28/08/11

Wed 23rd August

To Work     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 19.8mph
To Home     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 20.1mph

Thurs 24th August

To Work     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 19.5mph     Hr 131bpm
To Home     Distance 20miles     Av sp 21.2mph     Hr 150bpm

Fri 26th Aug 

To Work     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 19.5mph     Hr 127bpm
To Home     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 18.5mph     Hr 120bpm

Sat 27th Aug

To Work/Home     Distance 40miles     Av Sp 19.6mph     Hr 137bpm

Getting really fatigied so having rest for Sunday when I will be doing the MANCHESTER 100 MILES

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Sportive Recovery - Monday 22nd Aug

Only 60miles with 4000ft of climbing with no food/water. Felt quite good today so extended my run out. The first 20 or so miles were probably the slowest I have ever done this ride due to the bad Northerly wind which changed direction to an Easterly cross wind when I faced South so a very hard effort all round. I stopped the Garmin in Rawtenstall due to excessive road re-tarmaccing and seemed to go on for miles. The traffic did anyway. Oh and don't ride your bike on freshly laid tarmac...EVER! - was that me being dumb? Quite a low heart rate but not quite recovery rate.

Distance 60 miles     Av Sp 18.6mph     Ascent ~4000ft.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Geoff Thomas Sportive

Entry on the line - I love it. It gives me chance to assess the weather and to pull out if anything unexpected turns up. After Saturdays ride where the PX brakes on Scottie failed again catastrophically with the same problem previously experienced ( plastic spring holder came off and lost, wheel jammed on hill and luckily came off without falling.) I had to hastily ready Jamis for an 86mile ride with 'only 5500ft' of climbing. Swapped chain with Scotties as it had stretched too much and gave her a good clean. If I had entered online it would have cost me £20 or an extra fiver on the day which is money well spent to guarentee an okish day.

Usual pre-sportive day ritual of packing my stuff (gels, drink with CNP and H5Zero and sweeties) and last minute' finding out where the bloody hell I'm driving to' routine. Gave myself plenty of time to get to Congleton High School but not too much so that I wasn't all alone.

Arrived massively early again! The organisers were just about setting up but I was able to sign up straight away and grab a few extra, complimentary gels. I had no idea of the route or what the terrain would be like. The disclaimer on the website said I should familiarise myself but I trusted the signposts which has been my downfall in the past leading to getting hopelessly lost. I didn't care too much, all part of the fun and intrigue. Jamis was then carefully taken out of the boot and my Soul S2.0 custom wheels attached. A quick once over gave the 'all clear'. There are quite a few non believers that I ride my bike how I do ( saddle pointy up and stem so far down) but it doesn't bother me.

Time passed really quickly and by the time I got to the start a small group were setting off already. Quickly clipping in I chased. My plan was to hang fire, wait for a few groups to form and go with the fastest. D'oh. Deja Vu? This time though I had my nutrition all planned out, water bottles on board and a pair of legs with all the confidence in the world. No more Deja Vu.

I had forgotton to set my GArmin off and I didn't input the course in this time just in case it fucked up again. Atfer 4-5 downhill miles travelling at an average of 22mph ish,  satellite reception was intercepted and all systems go. Five of us took it in turns to lead then a couple just sat at the back whilst the three of us paced them. The first 20 or so miles were flat and someone shouted the 'MOW COP' was upon us however the sign posts avoided that road. We weren't going particulary fast and when someone shouted for me to slow down whilst not overly exerting myself  I figured I would leave this group soon but see what would happen on the climbs. There were a few steep but short bits which I took easy but some other guy flew up as he'd leave my wheel at the last second and carry his momentum, but it was  all part of my plan.

There was a hill between 25 and 35miles (on my Garmin), just after the first feed station which I left them but waited at the top for a couple of minutes. 'Lance Armstrong' was muttered a few times and a congratulatory pat on the back but it wasn't much really. We stocked up on 'Accelerade'  and carried on after 3 minutes. I took a wrong turning but was put right quickly enough, thats why I wanted to stay with this group but although I was thoroughly enjoying their company but one by one they were being dropped.

Finally I left and that's when the hills started to appear in their droves. Smithy Lane to join on to Buxton Rd, down Wincle then up again somewhere more up and down.  Before and After  Thorncliffe was a long toughie which had me wincing. A lot of the descents were on thin, windy roads with a couple of switchbacks,  where speed was at a premium and cautiousness the order of the day, unfortunately. Telegraph Hill was another climb but no idea where that one was. Once past Macclesfield forrest it was a 15mile slow descent back to base. I say slow as the wind was in my face yet I was really going for it as I had loads of energy left over. My  ride feeding plan had worked a treat.

Got back to base, first to cross the line after 86miles, at 12.50, greeted my a lone elderly chap clapping furiously. That would put my ride time at about 4hrs 54 mins for 86miles. as I set off around 7.57 with a ride average of 17.5mph or a moving average of 17.9mph. There were a couple of junctions at major roads where I felt like I was waiting forever. I was a bit disappointed with my time but the air conditions weren't very good at all and I tried to ignore the wind and was a bit conservative up some of the climbs as I was unsure how my legs were going to cope.

I signed out and someone made me a nice cuppa and I picked up a drinks bottle. A guy came over to see what a strange position I had on my bike and heard that a few had to be picked up due to mechanicals but as I left an ambulance pulled in so hopefully as was well.

Garmin Data     Distance 81miles     Av Sp 17.8mph    Ascent 5600ft  Time 4hrs 32 moving (4hrs 42)

Big shout to the guy at for another set of great piccys.

Thursday, 18 August 2011


Winds speed = 1-2mph so why are the flags blowing like f^&*?    Direction? Northerly or Easterly so why can I see flags blowing from the South and West. Useless weather shite.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Getting tired

Two rest days since July 1st is just about starting to take its toll I think. Had a fairly easy week last week cycling wise but did a fair amount of running and lots of heavy and repetative weights. The session on Sunday really took it out on me and so I started this week going to take it easy.

Then came the shitty wind. My god its bad. Every morning it has started as a Southerly/Westerly turned to a Westerly then ended up NorthWesterly which basically means a full on head/cross on the way to work and back home. I thought it was really dense air that had caused the draggy feel, it still possibly is, but the gusts are really high and from North and South West/ West. Yesterday the flags didn't have a clue where they were going, left , right, forward, backwards and with some force. I think the air is super dense and the force of the wind is exaggerated. EVen a relatvietly nice day like today didn't stop the wind. Only 14km/h winds but gusts of 50km/h. Wind speed only low as it takes into consideration the direction of other winds.

Just couldn't take it easy as 1) Didn't do the time trial due to raining and the shit wind would have made times embarassing. 2) Didn't feel like I was moving.

I've really gone for it, somethimes ignorning the pain but the low heart rates compared to my perceived effort suggest I'm fatigu -ed/-ing. Fairly good speeds Wed as I was on Scottie with her nice aero position and drafted a bit. Wanted to do a Sportive on Sunday but I'm not sure if its worth the aggro from the weather.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Commutes WE 14/08/11

Mon 8th August
To Work     Distance 21.5miles     Av Sp 17.7mph     Hr 121
To Home     Distance 20.5miles     Av Sp 18.2mph     Hr 138

Friday 12th August
To Work     Distance 21miles     Av Sp 18.7mph
To Home     Distance 20 miles     Av Sp 20.3mph

Saturday 13th August
To Work     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 18.4mph     Hr 132
To Home     Distance 25 miles     Av Sp 18.8mph     Hr 144 -Hilly

                  I am trying to save myself for a big ride on Sunday 21st August the Geoff Thomas Sportive but it is all going to be weather dependant. I was going to do the Tour of the Peak Sunday just gone and aim for the Gold time of 6hrs but with that wind I stood little chance so didn't bother.

Monday had the 70km/hr gusts and I was trying to keep the heart rate quite low which I achieved. Quite difficult when you have a constant force against you.

Tuesdays ride I have already written about and got a bit carried away and thought it wouldn't hamper my preparation.

 On Wednesday I ran to the gym and did my, now regular, weights session. Leg presses of 10x195kgs, 30x75, 25x85, 20x95kgs and various upper body and core as well as my normal stretching.

Thursday wasn't quite a rest day but a gentle amble in the water for 50mins to loosen up stiff muscles which worked wonders.

Fridays times look fast but still kept  Hr low aided by a Southerly wind but Saturday's wind was crap. I thought it would be a Southerly again but was WSW/SW which made my ride home hell. I planned the route to make the most of the wind and an easy ride home but got totally the opposite. Head/cross for the WHOLE journey. I now know what turbulance feels like if I was to pedal on the nose of an aeroplane and this was felt for the entire ride home. F$%^ing awful wind for 'only' 10mph. My heart rate reached 160 way too many times although the constant climbing for 17.5miles contributed to that. Managed to get my cadence quite high again without trying too hard as I let it drop the past few weeks.

Sunday 14th August -  I ran to the gym again and 1hr on the weights. Leg presses this times were:
20x195kg, 30x95kgs, 30x105kgs, 30x115kgs, 30x125kgs, 30x 135kgs. Needsless to say I was wrecked after the first 20mins and struggled on the uphill run home in a bleedin' head wind just like Saturday's.

Possibly do Birch TT again on Tuesday depending on how I feel after an easy commute, the wind and the rain then super easy til Sunday.

I was going to do an SQT at the track on Sunday just gone but a new stem I ordered hadn't arrived so didn't bother. New stem for TT bike too as I 'need' to get lower.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

One of my milestones reached!

After the rest day on Sunday and taking the monday commute very very easy, I needed a good day to let off some steam in my sufficiently rested legs. They were itching to be let loose even with only 2 rest days in one and half months. Tuesday would be the day as sunny spells were predicted but also so was 40km/h gusts. Not as bad as Monday.

Scottie was the weapon of choice. Super light, super areo position, super wheels, super comfy and super looks ( debatable)  make this bike an absolute bargain. The idea was to go quite hard at the beginning then adjust accordingly depending on how badly the wind was affecting my speeds.

I began by following the 2010 Tour of Britain route ( Rochdale to Blackpool) so up Edenfield Rd where there were traffic lights waiting for me so I circled a little layby waiting for the lights to change then realised I never paused my Garmin so  my average could have been higher. From Edenfield Rd the route took me up to Deerplay Moor but instead of turning left towards Padiham and Forrest of Bowland I went right to Todmorden. Very cross windy but was semi sheltered by the  hills unlike on Edenfield Rd which was relentless. Starting to love climbing again after I lost all the Christmas and holiday weight which seemed to take ages. No discipline. So now most of the climbing was out of the way and I could see my average getting higher and higher at an alarming rate. You can see where I started to take it a little easy as my heart rate dropped from av 150 to av 136 in anticipation of a hard final slog into the wind for the last 10miles or so and a cross from mile 30-40.

For two years now since I averaged 18.5mph on a fairly hilly 50miler up Blackstone edge and down Cragg I have tried to break that 20 barrier for the 'hilly' 50. I even took my TT bike out one day to do it but only got 19.2mph after getting 22mph at the half way point. Today was looking like that day  and on the fast bits I was always keeping some in reserve ready for the gusty head wind and to give my all on the final stretch.

When that wind did come there weren't big gusts, probably hit 40km/h once all journey and since I felt really strong it wasn't bothering me and my legs were able to rip up the last 10 miles. Even the last 2 climbs, the penultimate with a bad head, last with a  cross I had the power and endurance to get speeds close to if it was a calm day. I felt cold all the way around and was only in shorts and short sleeves.

Arrived home with lots in the legs and an 'unofficial goal' achieved. Had to do a couple of laps of the estate as I was only at 48miles. Towards the end of my journey when it was looking that I'd break 20mph quite easily I held back so that I could make the most of a run/ weights session the day after as the weather was going to be atrocious on Wednesday.

DISTANCE 50miles     AVERAGE Sp 20.3mph     ASCENT ~4000ft

Monday, 8 August 2011

70km/h GUSTS B%&^%&

Monday Commute, I'll save for the end of week roundup.

Commutes Week Ending 7/08/2011

Wednesday 3rd August
To Work     Distance 10miles     Av Sp 17.4mph
To Home     Distance 21miles     Av Sp 18.4mph

Thursday 4th August
To Work     Distance 10miles     Av Sp 18.1mph
To Home     Distance 21miles     Av Sp 19.9mph

Friday 5th August
To Work     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 20.8mph
To Home     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 20.4mph

Saturday 6th August
To Work     Distance 16miles     Av Sp 18.7mph
To Home     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 19.0mph

Wednesday commutes was after my Time Trial on Tuesday and my legs were like jelly. Also not much rest between that and my next ride. Getting stronger as the week wore on. Tuesday and Wed were really humid like 90% and allegedly the air density is at its lowest as water molecules are lighter than the o2 and n2 it 'replaces' but I reckon it does't replace them but co-exisit in the same confined area so density is high. It felt thick.
Finally had a rest day on Sunday 7th August as I was getting mentally tired and just couldn't be bothered.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

BIRCH 8 mile Tuesday Time Trial No.3

Monday 1st August -  Still feeling mighty fine!! After an epic July which I still haven't rounded up August seems to be continuing in the same vein. Nothing too strenuous today however any sort of running I do basically kills me. I ran 2.6km to Middleton Leisure Centre, did a 50mins weight session and ran uphill 2.6km back. Progressing very well with the resistance work and I do believe it is this that is helping my cycling the most although it could have something to do with the fact im under 11 stone again. Managed to leg press 195kg x 10 ( not the best of form)  then just did some smaller 60kg x30 reps with  perfect form. Did a little upper body work to try and get my arms used to swimming without actually swimming. Tried to go on the abdominal machine but I'm still aching there from 3 weeks ago. Couldn't press 15kg :( Have done 60 in the past.

Tuesday 2nd August - Woohoo TT time. Birch 8mile TT from The Gardeners Arms run by ABC Centreville. Haven't done one in a couple of months! It was warm, very humid and the wind was swirly, 8-9mph. The air actually felt quite bad but the course has been re tarmac'd since the last time I did it and the course organiser, who is very experienced at 67 said it should give us a couple of free seconds. Pantani was there already after I had done my warmup of 8miles. I signed on 4th, he was 2nd, there were 5 altogether.  Remember it is a very undulating double circuit with a very steep bit ( for a TT course of about 5- 6 % for a couple of hundred yards). I brought the TT bike down using the new 60mm clinchers instead of the 88mm prolites due to the wind and the hilly nature as the prolites weigh 2.5kgs! compared to 1.6kgs for the 60mm.

GO GO GO I zoomed off and into the tuck position within seconds. The first turning put us into a bad cross wind then the fastest part was a head wind then a slight cross/ tail on the hardest uphill part. My heart rate was close to max within the minute but knew I could hold it for the entire course. I had the split time shouted at me....10.02, very good going that! Could I keep it up? It did feel like I was slowing but kept my composure, slowed the cadence down without losing too much speed and got my breath back, repeat a few times. After all the mad training this past month I should have been shattered? but actually felt very good indeed. I really was at my limit most of the course. My heart rate never touches 170 in training. yet I averaged 174 max 179.

Crossed the finish line thinking I had done 19.22 but that was the time of day LOL.  Official time was....................20.02!!!!!!! Thats 24 MPH

Split for 2nd lap was 10mins dead. Great pacing.

I beat my previous personal best by nearly 1 minute! ( PB 20.59   22.88mph) Wow what a ride. Garmin had the time at 19.59 and I stopped the clock a few seconds after the finishing line! I think i'd been done! Not to worry. I did an official 10 miler a few days before my PB time which was 23.40ish so hopefully that bodes well for my next official 10miler, whenever that will be.  There was a racer guy, quite young in full kit ( Base2Race? somet like that, I wonder if that was the same kit that guy on Blackstone Edge was wearing on Sunday?) hmmm) with a very expensive Felt TT bike and zipp 808's Tubs he splitted 9.33 then blew up lol and retired.

20 miles completed today. Back to the commute tomorrow but the weather isn't looking too promising for the rest of the week.

Monday, 1 August 2011

The JULY MEGA roundup.

Never done one of these before but as it's been a special month here's the first.


100 Miler, 2nd of year.

Distance 100miles     Av Sp 19.1mph     Ascent 6600ft

A few days ago I tried Slattery's Ultimate choccy challenge that Trio had previously attempted.  It's a bit of a 'posh' place yet I didn't feel out of place with my baseball cap and jeans and t-shirt amongst the wannabes. Did I do it? NO! but I was close. It wasn't that I was full as I drunk 4 glasses of water afterwards just so sickly. I craved salt afterwards which could be a secret weapon to finish the lot off. Anyway I couldn't bare to put another bit of chocolate in  my mouth. I devoured the whole of the American fudge cake , 3 scoops of choccy ice cream, a portion of whipped cream, my fav the melted white choccy and half the melted milk choccy. THe containers were made out of choccy and left them as well as a bit of the hot choccy. I needed to work all those calories off!!!!

Struggling to get out of bed at 6am I hit the snooze button a few times before finally arising. My 6.30 out time had passed. No milk in fridge so no cereal, just a banana and black coffee. The 100miles wasn't planned at all. None of my rides are planned really just go out and see where they take me, usually the same old routes as I can get lost very easily and normally on my own as no one wants to ride at 6-7am. I grabbed two lucozade gels and a handful of sweets for the journey along with a litre of ribena light.

I headed East towards Holmfirth Rd  and HolmeMoss for a bit of sustained climbing. The flags were blowing against me ( Easterly and Southerly) and my speeds started off quite slow. The Easterly faded but still present and the wind was fairly gentle. Before the bottom of the first climb I suffered a 'mechanical failure' on 'Grotton' Hill. My rear wheel came off, How I dunno? Good job I was only going slow and I stayed upright. I thought it was the new lightweight titanium skewer I had used as Ive heard things about them but I found that my planet x brakes, the metal spring bar, had popped out causing the brakes to apply and jam the wheel awkwardly. Took a little while to sort and I was off again.

The sun was out in brief spells which lifted my mood. The intention of this ride was really to see how my new 60mm carbon clinchers would climb and how good the yellow swiss stop brake pads really are. Because the brake blocks were new they were very close to the rim and I would have to undue the cabling which I wasn't prepared to mess with at this moment.  The wind was getting stronger by the hour. Climbing Holmefirth Rd felt like the good old days of last year. Full of energy but staying under my limit and staying seated to conserve energy I was up in no time. The wheels climb brilliantly, accelerated quickly, nice and stiff, the hubs (same as PX light) are terrific and with my tyres pumped up to 130 psi  fairly comfy.

Turning to face the climb of Holme Moss was a bit of a killer as I had a big head wind that was getting bigger.  The Southerly was picking up pace. I had the legs but there didn't feel much point in fighting the wind too much so speed was very respectable for a 9-12% grad. Descending is my worst nightmare especially when Im being thrown from side to side. The Easterly was back.  The brake blocks on the carbon track felt very reassuring, not quite as good as alloy but not far off. Heading West now towards Denton and Manchester, cross wind was hard work but slightly assisted by that Easterly. Came to loads of traffic light stops Denton ish. Going very well averaging about 18mph at this moment for 50miles. I knew to save the legs I had to head North which is the direction of home.

Same mechanical problem happened again. I think its because Im using a 16cm 45 degree stem which is over stretching my rear brake cable slightly or may be just  the bumps. After that time it didn't happen again. It did eat quite a big chunk into my journey time though as its a very fiddley job. Not come across many cyclists yet until later on but as I neared home I still felt strong so decided to carry on and get another good climb in, this time Blackstone Edge.  My gels, sweets and drink had long gone by now.

Theres a set of lights at the bottom which I had to wait at. Just cutting off at a slight tangent whilst I remember. I got caught red light jumping by a copper at 4.30am on Thursday HAH. Bastard pulled me over and gave me a stern warning. Normally I'd look around but for some odd reason I didn't this time. So boys and girls its very naughty to red light jump, just dont get caught :) only joking.
I got joined my some guy on a very nice bike in sponsored racing kit and some old guy. I was in the zone so didn't notice what bike and who the club was but I let him lead for 10 pedal strokes until I realised he was going too slow for me. He kept up with me chatting/gasping about my wheels and my bike then said he was dropping back as I was going too fast for his weary legs.  I motored up the climb but still keeping some back as I had 40miles to go. At the bottom of Cragg it would be a ferocious head wind all the way home.

Hit the bottom averaging just over 19mph and I was using all my energy keeping it at that all the way home. Dehydration was setting in so stopped at the garden centre in Walsden for a lucozade and a coke, not enough money more a sausage butty :( The wind was all over the show and gusty yet I fought on. I had a couple of miles reprieve as I got joined by a guy on LOOK bike with Assos clothing. He drafted me and I politely asked him to lead as I was coming to the end of 100miles. He did a stirling job for about 2.5miles until his phone went off and stopped whilst I carried on.

Cannot believe that I made it, the whole 100 hilly miles at a very good pace. Didn't think I had it in me as most of the time Ive done 40-50miles, coming to the end Ive not had much left and done much slower. Loving the new position on Scottie as I can pull on the bars and stay very aero. I think there are some very fast rides to come from this bike in better conditions.

The Weekly Commutes W/E 30/07/11

Monday 25th July
To Work     Distance 21miles     Av Sp 19.4mph
To Home     Distance 20 miles    Av Sp 20.4mph

Tuesday 26th July
To Work     Distance 21miles     Av Sp 20.4mph
To Home     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 19.6mph

Wednesday 27th July
To Work     Distance 21miles     Av Sp 19.6mph
To Home     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 21.6mph

Thursday 28th July
To Work     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 19.3mph
To Home     Distance 21miles     Av Sp 19.0(ish)
Swimming with Tri Club - 2.4km Worst ever session. I dont know how I kept going and wanted to give up so many times. Just didn't have the energy.

Nice consistent week. Wind has been a bit of a night mare as usual. A cold wind from the North. Wednesday was noticeably different, a much warmer, kinder wind. Thursday was awful. Head/cross in all directions. Weather stations had the net speed at 2-4mph yet a 60mph in one direction and a 64mph in the other gives the same result. Used TT bike on Monday. Didn't feel good on it. Just a small tweak makes a big difference. Scott was used on the flyer on Wednesday.

Friday 29th July

Just used to get the legs going and to put another notch on July's post. The wind was the same as Thursday and very swirly nasty. Feeling a bit drained as the wind removes all momentum and you have to put a constant effort in which ever direction.

Distance 45miles     Av Sp 17.3mph

Saturday 30th July

Just a token 10miles to help complete my July with only 1 rest day ( 3rd July I think it was)

Friday, 29 July 2011

More Wheels hehe!!!

What can I add that the pictures don't say :P Yes they are even more sexier up close than on the photos. The wait has deffo been worth it. Now do I leave the carbon weave on the rims as it is? Or add Bontrager Aeolus 6.5 stickers? 

Sunday, 24 July 2011

3 1/2 weeks, one rest day.

Since returning from my hols I have been in such a determined mood to regain  my fitness, lose lots of weight and          
 improve. It has also, coincidentally ,  been the same month the TdeF commenced. With my new supplement the effects are astounding. 'Chronic' tiredness has disappeared, don't get that heavy feeling in the legs, no tingles or niggles in muscles, less tightening, can pedal standing on demand even when tired they are the major effects. It's not a miracle drug as I still get fatigued, heart rate can plummet, need recovery rides but I can keep plodding on regardless.

Just started at the gym again to strengthen my leg muscles as 2 years ago Im sure it helped alot,not been for ages. Pressed some heavy weights 170kg 10 rep (used to do 220 in reps of 30 2 years ago so need to keep it up) and DOMS has been negligible for the first few days and still able to cycle with va va voom.

Mon 18th July - Nice 50miler into work, hard work though as it was pissing it down just like the Sunday before. Still recovering from run 2 days ago. Cold night easy ride and air resistance felt negligible!

To Work     Distance 50miles     Av Sp 17.7mph
To Home     Distance 21miles     Av Sp 19.1mph

Tuesday 19th July - Strange night at 2am. Difficult to raise HR yet air resistance felt high and wind nowt too, cold. Relatively fast ride home considering. Lots of standing = low cadence. I fought tooth and nail to raise my HR and tried to hammer it. At the end I gave it my all in a final Sprint and HR hit 140 ???? I dunno its like my body had put a ceiling on it.

To Work     Distance 20 miles     Av Sp 20.2mph
To Home     Distance 21miles     Av Sp 18.7mph

Wednesday 20th July - Since my commute was 2am I counted that as my Wednesday cycle.

Thursday 21st July - 15min warmup on gym bikes then big session of weights on legs and medium/light on upper body. Abdominals are aching 5 days after, legs fine. Swimming with Tri Club was very hard but got stronger towards the end until I thought I could take everyone on and died :(

Friday 22nd July - Another long cycle but BEFORE my commute to work with 2000ft climbing and a head/cross wind throughout although the wind has been coming from multiple directions again negating the full on head wind effect. Easy ride going to work Av HR 135 good speed. Going home I had that annoying 'still air' wall effect. Totally different to Tuesday night. Unable to raise HR to a satisfactory level and Av 125 very easy ride but still able to get out of the saddle.

Morning Ride     Distance 33.5 miles     Av Sp 17.2mph
To Work     Distance 21.3miles     Av Sp 18.8mph
To Home     Distance 20.0miles     Av Sp 17.1mph

Sat 23rd July - First sign of a decent day so took Scottie for a spin and to set her up again as i broke the seatpost and had to replace without taking down measurements. Very bad swirly wind coming from the West and slight;y hillier than normal so how on earth I acheived a good speed I will never know. Coming home I just caned it.

To Work     Distance 20 miles     Av Sp 21.3mph
To Home     Distance 20 miles     Av 19.9mph grrrr

Sunday 24th July - Again Sat night commute counts as Suns cycle but I did go to gym again. Row for warmup and more Leg presses and upper body work. Only just managed to press 145kg which  is pitiful so went down to 50 and repped it 30 times.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Burn off that Pizza.


Saturday night I really fancied a Pizza as I haven't had one for ages. Ended up having a starter, main and dessert. Ugh. I thoroughly recommend a Smoked salmon, buffalo mozzarella and cherry tommy pizza on thin base - not available at your local Dominoes and un'believably' cheaper.

Knowing the weather is going to be atrocious all Sunday, for some odd reason, I still set my alarm for 6.15am for a ride. Missus got me out of bed and said 'get out there or you'll be a miserable sod all day'! Fair enough. SUN! wow it was sunny but by the time I was ready, about 30 mins, it had already started drizzling.

After the run the day before, usually I'm hurting bad, tight muscles etc but after a couple of minutes of easy stretching I was away. Just going to take it relatively easy with a few big hills thrown in depending on how my legs were. Turned out I was relatively fresh but as no Garmin I was determined to keep the heart rate low. I read recently that the best way to train is to keep your easy rides easy and hard rides, well just kill yourself or you'll end up like a diesel engine, strong but not fast. Good description of me.

No idea where the wind was coming from all day as it was swirly again and the only tail wind was half way up Blackstone edge, the bottom half was blustery the middle section was calm and the top was 'gale force'. Heavy rained absolutely drenched every inch of clothing and I must have been carrying an extra 2 kilos. I was enjoying it apart from the wet gloves. Ended up doing 50miles in 3 hrs with 4000ft climbing so average was about 16.7mph. Not too bad for a hilly ride, taking it easy in bad conditions. Pizza duly burnt.

Just been informed that another custom wheelset should be with me by the end of this week and I am sooo excited. If all the promises made come true then the wait will be worth it and I will be the happiest cyclist that week at least until it starts raining again.


Entering the final week of the ToF there is still everything to play for. Most impressive rider so far? Hushovd? I really disliked this guy, not really a team player and his style is annoying. He does have a motivation for riding like he has done recently though.....his contract expires this season and he lives in Monaco need I say more? I detest him even more :P The way the GC is going Cadel has his best chance yet if the stalemate continues. I think Contador could be saving everything for stage 18, Portes, injury up played and will play a big part. Navarro also resting as much as possible.  Stage 19 too short and a humongous decent after the big climb to catch up lost time easily. Maybe Contador will attack again on the Alpe d'Huez if he hasn't got much time back. He might also put all his eggs in one basket and do it all on the TT but can't see it. The race in on!

Saturday, 16 July 2011

The TT that wasn't.

Tuesday 12th July - TT bike all ready and the wind is howling like a little girl who's lost her teddy. After 5 mins getting to the start of course I hit a big pot hole and punctured. That wasn't the end. Nope. The rubber bung from my valve extender which screws into the presta valve of the inner tube got lost in the deep rimmed Pro-lites. After mucho fiddling I managed to half fill the tube and carried on towards the course making sure I missed every bump. It was going to be an UBER slow day as the wind swirled and picked up. Pantani and I with 3 others turned up but no marshalls or time keepers. NO TT!   20miles done no Garmin data.

Wednesday 13th July -  Tampering with my seatpost height again on Jamis. I know the problem is that actual saddle and that I need another Fizik Arione CX ( tried a planet x style arione and it was terrible) but when I bought a brand new one for £45 a couple of months ago and the cheapest now are 90 quid I just cant justify it. I know I spend a lot on shit but its good value shit. Can only use one position with this saddle now, its like an Aliante :(  2am commutes are nice but cold. My supplementation is working a dream and although I still get tired my legs feel miles less pain/niggles.

Going home I took a hilly, long route home but was forced to suffer a head/cross wind for all the joke. Infact the best times were when I was heading North from Manchester to Bury which should have been a full on Northerly wind and therefore my slowest time.  Possibly because I was still fresh but by the time I finished I was wrecked. Understandably slow average.

Thursday 14th July - More early morning madness but much more colder. 6 EFFING DEGREES in the middle of SUMMER. Theres a massive low pressure area sitting over us with a close high pressure above and below us which is creating havoc.  TT bike today and again I adjusted slightly and I think I have found 'THE ONE' as in  the one position that is most aero, most fastest and most comfortable all in ONE.  Going to work was fast , wind just brisk.  Going home I was flying into a massive head wind/cross again but although I didn't record my fastest time I know it was my best commute ever, power wise! I had to stop more times than an Ice Cream van/bus on a housing estate but that didn't prevent me from sprinting off and being able to go flat out for all the course. Not sure what the position looks like but it feels fantastic and I notice the difference in wind resistance/lack of it instantly. Saddle is a bit back, tilted up to stop me from slipping forward with the bars angled upwards which supposedly flattens the stomach. Also widened the bars a little. It allows me to pull on the bars which I have never been able to do before except on Pantani's setup but its not aero enough for me. Throwing my cards on the table, I reckon I could do a 22.?? 10mile TT right now.  Hah.

Friday 15th July - No Garmin data today as I needed to take it easy and just can't do it knowing what speed I am going at. Quite tired in body and in mind. Still made good progress either way but the wind is getting worse and more swirly by the day. Just the straight 40miles.

Saturday 16th July - Woke up at 2am but due to the rain stayed in bed til 4.15am thats when the rain stopped but needed the car to get to work on time. Came home and went on a run. Thought  I followed the same course as before but screwed up somewhere and didn't. Thought I'd beaten my last time by 3 mins but in reality it was only just over one. previously I ran at 7.56min/mile today was 7.36min/mile. Im positive running helps with my cycling as I can get my heart rate higher when rested.

Monday, 11 July 2011

TT prep.

Saturday - just a quick 15 miles to correct some positioning issues on my TT bike.

Sunday - 35miles TT bike ( 25miles on Garmin), a couple were warmup and a couple warm down and some miles lost were downhill miles at 35mph  as I stopped Garmin at traffic lights and forgot to restart ( GPS-only takes ages to reach zero once stopped). Felt quite fast ( good air) but still waiting for those perfect conditions to appear.

Distance 26 miles     Av Sp 21.9mph

Monday - 32 miles TT bike. Bit hillier than yesterday and the wind felt awful. 3mph? Bollox. Set off quite early and it was fairly cold. Wish I held off til later on when it was warm and sunny. Came back home to see gusts of 30km/h but it was blowing in 3 directions. Head wind up the first hill nearly killed me and had to ease off a bit instead of power through. Opposite direction saw a head/cross wind too which really annoyed me. Get a bit of a tail then a gust would negate any gains I just made but mainly was a cross.

Distance 32 miles     Av Sp 19.9mph

8 mile Club TT on Tuesday. I was going to say its looking like it could be nice but there's a bleedin' thunder storm predicted for 5pm. FFS!!!! Just as most of the course had just been relayed as well. Must be the nicest TT course in the country :P Now I will be F*&$$'d off if I can't ride my TT bike on it.

Don't you think this years edition of the ToF has been super exciting for a change? Giro a bit boring, but the new points and sprints and KoM has got more people competing and more often. TTT so close, Contador miles down ( is he bluffing the injury?) Sky winning a stage, Thor actually doing some work, some big names keeping anonymous, hidden alliances, millions of crashes, doped riders, Cav 2 Griepel 0, Voeckler doing a trademark, Gilbert doing his trademark,  not even halfway yet and more stuff I could say. I'm sure the excitement will die down once in the mountains. Cadel possibly too old to keep up with the big climbers? Kloden looks in a good position and no Lance to work for although possibly too old too? Could Voeckler go on another rampage, catch the other guys out and get more time? Andy Schlek seems to have it in the bag and the bookies agree, I hope he doesn't win it. Have I really written off Contador? Basso was my favourite until his crash before the Tour......very very anonymous.hmmmm

Friday, 8 July 2011

So far so good.

It's been a week and a half ish since I came back from Florida and Hamburger Heaven. The weight I put on was immense and could tell the difference on my body after only 2 days. On arrival back in England I have been eating very healthily, limiting calories and trying not to miss a day's exercise. Gradually getting there as the hills are getting slighly easier. What is a bit startling is my rate of recovery. Its quite quick. From the first cycle to now is 9 days with one rest day and I have gone from knackered  to wrecked to nearing full fitness. I'm basing this not by average speed but on the feeling in my legs. Could a single, very cheap food supplement be the key? Can you geuess what it could be? I'm building this up and could turn out to be totally rubbish but it cant be a coincidence?

Thursday commute was a bit rushed as I usually set off a couple of hrs early just in case I puncture and to get the 20mile in. A lot of faffing around later and 15miles is all that I could manage. Took it relatively easy and a hillier than normal route, still managed a good speed and was able to get out of the saddle too.

I much prefer the route home than the downhill 'trek' to work for some odd reason. It just doesn't feel like Im going downhill. So even with more than double the climbing I average similar if not better if going home. Like all week I was able to pedal with considerable force and sprint up the slight inclines, without going over my limit so little recovery needed before I could go hard again. The air was very 'draggy' tonight and any extra force used to try and go faster resulted in a blast of air saying 'don't do that again'! 

To Home     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 19.2mph

To Work     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 20.3mph

Friday morning - Been dismal all day witht he threat of heavy rain looming so I went out for a quick run with Garmin as I've never ran with it before. Stats below. Heart rate was constant as was my breathlessness and don't think I could have put much more effort in. Also thats probably going to be the maximum distance I can run regularly without any ill effects to my left knee. Much happier in myself after the run knowing that I've not left today as a complete rest day.

Distance 4.05miles     Av Sp 7.6mph    Av  Pace 7.56min/mile Time 32.09mins