Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Quite a fast 'un

Distance 53miles     Av Sp 21.5mph     Ascent ~4000ft ( Im sure thats not right, i used ele corr)

Two days worth of headaches, diarrhoa and tingling joints kept me off the bike even though the legs were itching to turn some cranks, until today. Another puncture!! Jeez man have pity on me. Just ordered 20 tubes to keep me rolling. Ribble stuff finally arrived after some stuff came from China! ( seatpost) I was 5mins from a bike shop in Hebden Bridge when it happened so purchased another 2 to get me home. Head wind all the way to Halifax as it was a NE wind and when I hit the top averaging 21mph I figured I could be on for a 23mph total average but no! The flags turned on me as usual when I visit West Yorkshire and swirly head wind for most of the way home. I was sooo gutted that my effort decreased as the HR shows and just wanted to get home ASAP. The amount of stops didn't help on the way home. To compound my bad luck my custom made Garmin mount fell off. Firstly one of the cable ties snapped on the utterly disgraceful roads from Hebden. I rescued the Gamin then the whole thing disintegrated. I forgot I had the quarter turn mount on as well and left it in the middle on a pot hole somewhere. Fast ride but not enjoyable.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Pendle Witches Vintage Velo '11 Edition

Starting off my quickly giving details on Sats commute. Only 10miles into work as I was soooo tired from having to get up soooo early. Soooo tempted not to bother but knew how nice it would be later on for the home leg. The 187 heart rate spike is an anomaly...I think I theres no way I could get up to that the way I was. Hr Av of 145 sounds about right as I couldn't put much effort in but still averaged 22.3mph on TT Bike. Got to my bike for the home leg and PUNCTURE!! Fully investigated this time and the rim tape was out of line so hopefully no more! Again fairly easy ride home as I had a big ride planned for Sunday. Av HR of only 149 this time and only really spiked when I stopped and had to sprint off to get the speed up. Lots of stops but ace Av Sp of 20.8mph.

To Work     Distance 10miles     Av Sp 22.3mph

To Home     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 20.8mph


Distance 100miles     Av Sp 18.1mph     Ascent ~7500ft

A few days before I was unsure whether I would be riding alone or with the Tri Club possy. I txt our event and website organiser who said he'd see what he could do as no one had mentioned it at the practice sessions. This event has been going for a few years, a bit earlier last year, beginning of April.  Although weather was a bit rubbish it was enjoyed by around 100 peeps.

This years edition was located at an ideal place on the calender, not too early in year and not interfering with any other local events but was unsure whether being an Easter Sunday what effect this would have on numbers. Forecast was cloudy but warm so Scottie was prep'd for what should be a challenging ride with lots of climbs! My plan was to emulate last year and get in my century which nearly killed me last time as I had cramp for 50miles. Only having one spare innertube I searched high and low for patches or anything that could get me home just in case. There was a discarded latex tube behind my cupboard, wooo result.  Normally all the spare gear is stuffed into my commuting backpack but shoved it into a saddle pack as knew a photographer was on scene so needed to look my best...sunglasses a must! Couldn't find my long sleeved tri top and wasn't risking a short sleeved one so opted for my old faithful Decathlon jersey with bib shorts.

On setting off second thoughts of continuing clouded my mind as it was bleedin' raining. That effin' fine rain. Plugged on just see how the day would unfold. It was so cloudy that my Garmin couldn't lock satellites for 10 mins. Nice and easy as there was a long way to go. After 5 mins you can just tell how good or bad the legs are going to be for the ride. Actually just a quick trip to the toilet up the stairs can be a good indicator and I knew it would be a productive day.
Climb 1 was Edenfield Rd, traffic lights still there, still raining and still getting warmed up. On hitting the other side the rain dispersed and was suddenly non existant on this side. This lifted my spirits and spotting another roadie further up lifted my speed. I quizzed on his ride intentions then told him of the Sportive. He was tanned like a pro and told of his recent cycling holidays and ones coming up too. He used to road race at Birch as well where I did my last TT. The Craven Heifer pub was upon us and we said our good byes.

The place was crawling with carbon. Just a handful of vintage steel glimmered through the eager crowds. Was I late? No. An hour early! The registration area was well sign posted which bode well for the whole journey. I was merrily greeted by the race organiser in typical 70's retro get up with matching and compulsory beard....all his own. Impressed how he took time out to direct everyone and still mingle with aplomb. Whilst signing on I met Jenny from Rochdale Tri club who now lives in London and did the ride with her last year. Did the obligatory 'catching up' then informed me that Jamie, Jacko and Martin would be turning up. Woohoo nice fast group. Complimentary coffee was downed cup by cup whilst the others turned up. The number 157 was cable tied to the front of Scottie. The eventual numbers exceeding 200. The oldies were called up to the line first then the rest of us were set off in groups of 25.

Climb 2 was upon us from the off, up to Burnley and the speed was bordering on slow to steady as the hour wait had cooled us down. Padiham was the location of Climb 3 to Sabden then ascending to the Nick o'Pendle where the Photographer was lying in wait for his prey.  The flashes of his 6-shooter confirmed copious amounts of kills and the expended gigabytes scattered for collation later. 'He climbs like Pantani' I overheard in the distant rear as I carried on with the overtakes, I just smiled to myself.
Climb 4 otherwise known as Waddington fell is where I had most fun. I peeled away from our group and had
Jacko on my wheel. Jacko is no slouch. He competed last year in the ITU Triathlon World Championship Age-groupers in Budapest. I dragged him up the climb and dropped him near the end for a few seconds which I was unaware of as I thought he was shouting at my terrible gear change so eased off a little on a flatter section just before the final steep bit which allowed him to get back on. We waited a little while for the others and then whizzed down towards the feed station. The descents could be taken very fast as there's a good view of the road ahead and the bends are relatively gentle with little traffic. Our group were holding together very well and got many an overtake. There was one guy, out of many, who decided to hog the whole road so after a quick deliberation  I darted on the outside of a right hander, giving lots of room as he was virtually on the other side of the road, not saying anything that could upset or startle his nervous flow. I thought nothing more of it.

Jacko felt he should have a turn at the front and led us out for a couple of  flat,fast miles to the food stop at Dunsop Bridge where we had goodies awaiting. Sweeties, flapjacks, bananas, high 5 gels and drinks and as much water as we needed were on offer but the star of the show were humongous piles of homemade banana cake supplied courtesy of Rileys Butchers in Burnley. Jamie had at least 4 slices that I know of, myself 3. Just in case were were being too greedy I enquired to what the supply situation was. She piped up that they had a super special cake for reserves. I didn't have any more but took 2 gels for the journey. The best thing about the food stop was that it was always well stocked and riders only took what they thought they needed nothing more. Out of the blue I got a tap on the shoulder. 'That wasn't the best piece of riding you've ever done was it?'  Knew instantly what he was referring to and he explained how I shit him up, once I had passed him. He concluded to say he was about to move to where I was coming from. Being the sincere person that I am I apologised and  told him to enjoy the rest of the ride ( not being sarcastic or patronising). I nearly said that before he moved he should really have looked but decided against it as I admit my move was a little dodgy.

Before setting off again the others made a unanimous decision to relegate me to the back for the rest of the ride, no idea why. I was then 'volunteered' to chase down groups of riders. We approached, caught and flew by many groups, some of them tagged along at the back. Looking around I could see a peloton, all strung out, of about 30riders behind me being drawn. What a feeling. Up some of the inclines a couple of our group were slowing so I waited then brought them back to the front again. My Garmin 500 breadcrumb trail function was working admirably until one right turn where I was advised to go straight on then 'beeped' at me that I was off course. About 15 followed me and the rest stopped before the turn and followed the correct route. A quick U-turn later and we were back on track and at the front. At this point last year my body was giving up but I sallied forth with all the confidence and energy in the world.

Climb 5 - Whalley Old Rd. Another nice climb surrounded by trees and vegetation which cooled the steaming air around us. There was quite a big head wind so once again the others grabbed their ropes and latched on. I was going quite easy, HR about 153 then one guy decided to sprint past. Fair enough I thought and let him go. I queried with the lads whether they thought that was an attack, of sorts, on us, unsure I carried on at the same pace and caught up within minutes.  This guy upped his game possibly to save face and it was my turn, at last!, to get a free ride. There's a fantastic picture which I will buy from the official photgrapher which shows this. Everyone had dispersed by now with minutes seperating individuals. We regrouped at the top.

Homeward bound and only 13miles to go, just one more big climb til the end of 'The Trial' as the organisers had named the route. This caresses the outskirts of Blackburn before heading East towards Haslingdon, aptly named Haslingdon old Rd. Martin decided that he'd saved enough energy to have a go and zoomed off at the start. He gained about 10metres then eased off, waited for Jacko and I then led at a more steady pace. We got a massive helping hand from a tractor just about going above our pace and once on its shit laden wheel we flew up to Haslingdon. Jacko got dropped as Martin and I powered on  but kindly waited on a more sedate gradient. Martin wanted for me to 'push on' and leave Jacko but I came out not to ride on my own. Last couple of miles were a gentle pootle downhill back to base. A job well done. about 69miles completed with an average of 17.4mph.

A sea of cyclists  covered the melting tarmac the beer garden was sat on, all stuffing their hungry faces with yellow, green and brown stuff otherwise known as pie ,peas, chips and gravy. I think we set off with close to the last group and with all the overtakes was surprised to see so many people back. It goes to show the numbers that actually took part. Downing a pint of coke and scoffing meat and potato pie gave me the conviction to finish off the 100miles. Martins rear wheel had 4 possibly 5 broken spokes, no idea how he made it round the course in one piece. Some crappy Omega wheel he said he just bought from Surosa.  After signing out, collecting certificate of completion and obtaining free raleigh t-shirt we all set off together towards Whitworth.

Sittting on Jamies wheel we accidentally dropped the other three, he then turned off for Whitworth and I carried on for the Bacup Rd Ascent. My aim was now to hit over 18mph average, which seemed a tall order but was going to give it as much as I could without killing myself. 10-11mph going up which I barely do on a good day. I had bonked this time last year and ascended at 5mph. So far so good and was still strong all the way back home. Just about hit my goal of 18mph for 100miles.

Thought I would learn from last year and not try too much on the Nick o'Pendle and Waddington fell climbs as they finished me off way before the end of the ride. Today I was 1 year stronger and the all the climbing was a piece of cake. Cramp was non existant and my fuelling strategy more comprehensive. Heart rate only hitting 180 at the final sprint at the peaks. The elation from the day, overall, was tremendous. A legal high. So perfect. A little held back but needed the camaraderie and competition which inspired my confidence and more than made up for that. Also I thrive in the hot sunny weather just as long as I have enough to drink. Absolutely love the heat.

The bike. What can I say? Near perfection. The ride was completed being in the drops for around 90-95% of the time. No punctures either. Comfortable.

Big thankyous for the organisers, volunteers, the Tri Club gang and my missus for letting me out. Initially I was a bit dubious about Sportives, their chosen beneficiaries and how much actually goes to them ( ALL proceeds donated in this case, not true in most) and the escalating costs to enter. However for pure entertainment it beats paying a fortune going to the footie. Possibly my next one will be Polocini's Kegs and Legs at the end of May. £25 for hot food, chip timing, KOM time and for a 70mile hilly route. Was tempted to do Manc-B'Pool again just to get a faster time than 2009 and also the Manc100 which is flat ( so Ive been told) and easy to break 20mph?

Friday, 22 April 2011


PUNCTURE!!!!! On the way home. Rear yesterday ( pinch flat) Front today. This one went with an almighty BANG! Good job I wasn't flying downhill. I'm having a lot of problems with innertubes on the alloy rim/carbon  prolite wheels which need special brake pads to stop over heating. THe innertubes Im using are super super cheapo ones which cannot be obtained super super cheap anymore. This series of flats has coincidentally occurred in time with this hot weather. Hmmm. Took the tube out and it was hot and very strectchy like Mr Armstrong ( not the cyclist :) ). Good job I had my spares and a little old woman in the allotments next to me, separated by razor wire, kept me company for a while, thanks deary for the concern.

Supposed to be 13 degrees this morning, just before the sun decided to peep above the horizon. During sunlight that would feel warm. At night time it feels very cold. Yesterday afternoon I did nearly 30mph coming up to the motorway roundabout, this morning I could only manage 19mph. Yes I was trying. The wind was painful as it was in the evening. 12mph winds? no way. Back on the TT bike again and made some slight adjustments. Didn't feel right this morning even though it was amazing yesterday without tweaking. Possibly as I was a little stiff and only had 4 hrs sleep if that.

I ordered some new tyres and tubes from Ribble on Sunday. They eventually despatched today and will not get 'til Monday. I desperately need tubes! Just 2 spares left and none in the house. I wouldn't have had this problem with CRC!

To Work     Distance 20 miles     Av Sp 21.3mph

To Home     Distance 20 miles     Av Sp 21.8mph

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Not a Rest day

HAHA, Something out there doesn't want me to have a rest. I didn't cycle to work! expecting a nice relaxing day. I finished work a little early and the missus suggested I go out whilst she did some girlie stuff. How could I refuse? TT bike was re adjusted and felt smashing today. I was rushing and rushing to get out as soon as possible to enjoy the sunshine. A 20mile TT on good legs! Here we go. Wow I felt fast without over doing it. Where was the aching? the lethargic energy? the tiredness? Totally disappointed with the usual easter traffic and stops and slowdowns but I was expecting that anyway. My new TT'ing technique seems to be coming along and should be 'perfected' with a few more TT's under the belt. I was just coming up to a bit a hill then the fastest bit of the course I had planned.

Suddenly I had to take evasive measures as the back wheel had punctured. The tell take snake bike marks confirmed a pinch flat. No problem, Ive done this a thousand times, just change tube and away we go. In fact I've had about 5 punctures in 3 weeks so Im an expert. So i've taken the 'broken' tube out and getting ready to put a new one in when I realised I hadn't brought any with me. Bollox. I always take 2 with me. Not today. A lovely cyclist on an even nicer Bob Jackson bike passed and I flagged him down and stopped but was unable to assist so I thanked him for his time. I was only about a mile and half from home which was a stroke of luck but it was up a huge hill so I put the tyre back on and trundled home.

Distance 9 miles     Av Sp 23.8mph

Needed Rest

This time last year the weather painted a similar story. We had many a BBQ in the early spring months then BAM! Hopefully the pattern will change this year and we'll continue to have the glorious weather but Im not holding my breath. The past couple of weeks  my cycling has been super enjoyable but there comes a time when , after going hard for so long, the body needs to recover and get ready for the next bout. For me this is one of those times. Close to 2 weeks of solid commutes, the odd  leisure/training ride and 2 timetrials hasn't quite finished me off but I want to be on good form for Sunday's Pendle Witches Ride when it is due to rain :( Just looking at the forcast I was going to take a few days off but I think one will be enough to get the last sunshine of the year in. My stomach needs a rest too. I can eat normally instead of gorging for a couple of days to keep energy levels up.

Wednesdays commute was fast both ways even though I've felt really exhausted, well the muscles took  a while to respond. It was cold in the morning :( .Pedalling whilst seated yielded minute amounts of power so standing up was the way to go. My legs must be used to this as I was sprinting here there and everywhere on the way home and wasn't getting tired one little bit but as soon as I sat down....nothing from the legs. I reckon I could have had the fastest Average speed that I have ever done on the way home 22-23mph - uphill but its amazing how stops ( lots coming out of Manchester) and slowing due to traffic can impact on this. For this reason I will struggle to get over a 21mph average. I tried to stop Garmin on extended periods of slowness but always forgot to restart so didn't bother again. Thats why sometimes it registers that Ive done uner 20 miles and theres a funny altitude spike. I must have been 2-3mph quicker in most places on my ride too!

I commuted on Scottie today, good job I can leave my bike inside :) Absolutely perfect set up.

To Work     Distance 20 miles     Av Sp 20.5mph

To Home     Distance 20 miles     Av Sp 20.8mph

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Birch 8 mile Time Trial

WoW, I'm really getting into this TT malarkey. Whilst at the LBS having my tubulars properly glued I was made aware of the above TT taking place every Tues 7pm at the Gardeners Arms for 2 laps of a 4mile heavily undulating course. Also I was advised not to use my best bike just in case I beat him, I mean because of all the pot holes on one section so I used Scottie. This was a sensible choice as I would need quick access to gear changes and Im not 100% on my TT bike positioning.

The start is minutes down the road from my house and was warming up on the course in no time. Pantani met me there and who else did I see?  Mr Foley! from Rochdale Triclub and Middleton CC. We roped him and his mate into doing the TT and paid our quids to sign on. I was 13th on or so I thought and Pete 12th. The first guy set off and Pete was getting ready to go, OOooops Im 3rd off. The start was on an incline but was up to 20mph  straight away. I think I need a different technique for TT'ing and found it on my 2nd lap. Less cadence, more power, lots of push and pull on pedals. My cadence was quite high which got me out of breath quick. THe 2nd lap I was losing it until the change in technique and I manage to super sprint uphill to the finish.

8 Mile TT Birch Course       20mins.59secs      Av Sp 22.88mph

Monday, 18 April 2011

Still going strong (ish)

Distance 40miles     Av Speed 19.0mph

Another day, another ride. Not quite in the league of the guys cycling 30 days of April as I missed a few days at the beginning but now wish I went out for them. Nearly didn't go out today as my body was telling me to rest and the sun had disappeared and it looked like the wind was picking up. After walking around the house for an hour it had brightened up, my legs loosened but the wind still getting worse. Out I went.

Todays mission was to sit in the drops as long as possible! Two sets of temporary traffic lights are still situated in the most inconvenient positions on Edenfield Rd climb. Building those stupid retaining walls. Excuse my ignorance but is this a massive waste or what? My journey came across many more sets of temporary lights but my focus was being concentrated on the Easterly (main), Northerly and Southerly winds gusting around 17mph. The wind helped me put more power down and I was thinking alot more about technique. All the climbs were done 'Pantani' style , not my mate Pete but the real Pantani where he ascends in the drops. Infact around 95% of the trip was done 'aero style' and it  was so comfy on Scottie.

 Had a puncture at Rawtenstall where I found a massive gash in the Michelin Pro Race 3 tyre. Don't think Ill buy these again. Ive had them for a while but not used them too much. They are supposed to be 23's but are more like 25's, disintegrate quickly as the rubber showed loads of cracking and wear and the red colour looked grey after a couple of rides. I guess they are for racing only with a short shelf life, a seasons/half a seasons worth. The contis on the other hand have lasted me close to a year and half, a Gp4000s which gashed last week and a Conti Attack which is going strong after thousands and thousands of miles of commuting and sunday riding. Actually it was a Bontrager tyre that gashed last week after a few days usage ,the Gp4000s had a gash for a little while longer but never puctured with them. The contis are still in use on my pro lite 88mm clinchers which I have TT'd to work on.

All in all a good ride without going too hard, just glad of the lack of climbing compared to Sunday. Tuesday, tomorrow will only be a around 20 miles but 8miles of them will be a Time Trial. Its lumpier than L101 and it will hurt....alot.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

An early one

Sunday 17th April

Distance 55miles     Av Sp 17.3mph    Ascent ~4500ft

'Spring into the Dales' was an Audax starting in Hebden Bridge today that I had a slight glimmer of hope of attending as a few Rochdale Tri club guys were attending but the missus scuppered my plans and I had to renegotiate my cycling time. Instead I will be doing the 'Pendle Witches Vintage Velo' on Easter Sunday, weather permitting.

Part of the mediation process enabled an early morning ride just as long as I returned before baby woke up. Alarm set for 5.30am and thankfully everyone stayed asleep. Took me a while to set up my gear as it was scattered everywhere due to my TT yesterday. The sun was barely out and it was still quite cold outside. I tried to ram the left overs of last nights takeaway down my throat, succeeded but the stomach turning and a little worse for wear.

Set off and I could barely move. My heart rate took a while to raise above 100 but once in my stride there was no stopping me. Ok there were two huge mountains in the way, one know as Holmfirth Rd and the other Holme Moss summit. Wind was negligible when I set off but my general speed wasn't there and had to make do with what reserves I had. The first mountain was upon me and I was doing ok. Going easy and not going too slow. A roadie ahead made me put a little more effort in and I overtook by halfway. Not had an overtake for months. Stood up the rest of the way and increased the speed. The descent gave me a nice rest, but it didn't as I saw 2 roadies at a junction before the top and thought they were going the same direction so pedalled all the way downhill. Never looked back and didn't see them but I think they took the other route.

The second climb killed me. 4.5mph near the top was pitiful. No matter how hard I tried I just couldn't muster up any more to put down. My previous worst here was about 5.5mph with servere winds. Just needed to hit the top and I was virtually home and dry. I kinda chickened out when the big descent came. There are a couple of big bends but I'd say you could take them at 40mph. Im not keen at going downhill and kept hitting the brakes but I did stay above 30mph. The rest of the ride home was simple enough and didn't take too much out of me.

I used to do those big hills every Sunday last year and I am either out of practice or fatigued. Most likely the latter as my average heart rate was only 139 and getting over 145 was difficult.

Looking back at the Garmin Calendar I have ridden 10 consecutive days at a total of close to 400miles. Woahhhh.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

First Ever Official 10mile Time Trial

I phoned Pantani up around 11am to find out what kind of time I should be setting off at so that I have enough time for a warmup up and to view the course, which I considered to be very important. He sounded very rough indeed and my suspicions were confirmed when he announced he was pulling out after a ride in the morning. He still went up to meet me which made me much more comfortable.

The meeting place was Catterall Village Hall, near Garstang, which is about 10mins cycle from the start point, about an hours drive down the motorway. Some big bloke approached me and introduced himself as the organiser and said that I must be Simon. How on earth he knew I dont know but he then explained that the conversations with my wife painted a spectacular picture hah. Met Nick from the tri club who is a seasoned veteran and has done numerous TT's, quick chat later and Pantani arrived and showed me to a 'secret' meeting point.

Pantani had his bike in the car and rode some of the course with me, which I am so grateful for as it put my mind at ease. Heard so many horror stories of newbies going off course and ruining a good day. The sun was out but the wind was annoying, a swirly left and right cross wind. After doing the course we went back to his car where other TT'ers had parked up and were on their turbos/rollers or on the country lanes warming up. After my warmup I just about managed to get to the start line in time. I was off at 15.14 and arrived at 15.12 after waiting at lights for ages.

One minute to go..... bike held and clipped in, in position, 30 seconds called...all ready and waiting for the off.  10 seconds, 5 4 3 2 1 GO! I was in the right gear but totally forgot to turn the cycling computer on so had no idea what speed I was travelling at. All the sweeties I had before hand must have contributed to a stitch for most of the course but due to positioning it wasn't as bad as it could be. The course was lumpy as hell, I was expecting it to be pan flat as I've heard some good times can be achieved. Went off a little quick but settled nicely. Had to stand up a couple of times to keep up the speed, now where was that roundabout? Negotiated it at around halfway with no problems and still in the aero position, only another 5 miles to go.
Pantani had said that the home leg is harder than the out stretch but I thought it was the other way around. I managed to hold my position quite easily on the ascents but the extra effort required was killing me and had to hold back to get my breath back on the descents. Every breath was painful due to the stitch and tried to ignore it and just pedalled. Hours were passing me by that were actually minutes. Towards the end the man behind me had just about caught me but I hadn't caught anyone. He passed the tractor easily but when it was my turn I had a car infront, a bleeding traffic island and traffic coming in the opposite direction. Took ages to get past but the finish line was only 200metres ahead and sprinted to the end.

Got lost, as I usually do when travelling back to base so had to phone my 'team' who appeared very quickly. Treated myself to a brew and muffins whilst I was awaiting my time to come in.Numbers 1-10 were in and times were around the 21-22-23 mark, was told it wasn't a fast day so my expectations suddenly dropped. The missus came out whilst I was putting the bike away and said I got 27.04. OMG I thought...CRAP and my heart sank but at least I beat my previous time.  She then said she was joking.

10 mile Time Trial L101.........23.46              Av Sp    25.25mph

I said before this that I would have been ecstatic with anything under 24mins and anything between 24-25 would have been a good day at the office but although happy something at  the back of my mind wanted a 22.   I know if I keep doing them with specific training I should improve alot so hopefully I get the time to do some more. Theres a club TT just down the road thats just recommenced, a timed 8 miler every Tuesday night.

More TT practise

Distance 36.6 miles     Av Sp 16.7mph

Not ridden with Pantani for months so called him for an easy ride to get used to our TT bikes, the big day TOmorrow! He was zooming off every where especially Edenfield Rd where I went super easy at 6mph. Any sort of gradient and I just span up it. Thought I would feel terrible but seem to recover fine and was really trying my best to hold myself back towards the end. Quite a fast speed since I barely tried and spent most of the ride drafting Pantani. He was going quite well too considering he was still recovering from illness that I had weeks ago.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Sensory Overload

When I purchased the Garmin 500 I had every intention of using all the bits and pieces in the box to monitor my performances however I just haven't been bothered to install them on the bike or take with me. Not anymore. Stats galore here we come. Okay so I've now got cadence, proper speed ( not gps speed) and heartrate up and running and used my last commute of the week to test them out.

To Work     Distance 20 miles     Av Sp 19.3mph

The winds psychological effect on me is quite big and I tend not to overdo it as I think that any excess power used is wasted so try to maintain the same tempo/workrate. The wind had changed to a Southerly with blasts from the West so Head/cross all the way in. Heartrate is quite linear just to prove the above and only increased on steep sections sor decreased when stopped. Cadence is around 90-100 when pedalling normally but to be honest I felt I was pedalling slow into the wind and you can tell all the points when Im out of the saddle.  I think the first 3.5miles took 20-25mins because of traffic and temporary lights. Average started at 21 for a few miles and went down to 18 in no time.

The climb at the start of Victoria Av is a nice section to analyse. This is at about mile 11 on the graphs. I had thought previously I was only going about 11-12mph but today I was going 14-15mph without feeling I was going faster than any other time this month so the speed sensor must be working better than the GPS. Cadence for the climb is at 80+rpm which surprised me and quite good/high, again it felt slow. Heat rate only topped out at 166 so not exerting myself too much but still putting the effort in.

To Home     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 19.3mph

Woahhh, I don't think I stopped once all the way but had to slow down a few times.  Wind was gentle from the South and East tonight but the cold air 5 degress with real feel of 3 made it difficult or was it the air? Im sure it played a part but looking at heart rate it is quite low throughout the journey, heavily decreasing towards the end. I'm sure thats showing how fatigued I was ( or was it the temperatures effect on my body?) getting as the week wore on. The thing is I thought I was working very very hard, one last big effort before the restdays, before TT day. Average cadence similar to earlier on, at 85, as wind was less but its 'all uphill' so expected it to be like that.

Thursday - Just a quick 25 miles without the computer so that I would go slow.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Countdown 'til TT Saturday

Rest. A few weeks ago when I planned to ride Saturdays TT event I had envisaged this week to be a nice, easy, calming and relaxing affair with a couple of 'recovery/maintenance' rides just to keep loose and to keep my legs reminded of how to pedal. Stretching has helped my muscles immensly and try to do 20-30 mins a day, a session at work and one when I get home. My muscles used to get really tight after a hard ride and could take 3-4 days to recover. It's taken about 2 months of stretching to feel the benefits as I was extremely sceptical but stuck with it as a trial.

This week my legs have been aching ( due to numerous sprints up hills on Sun) as I previously said but movement has been unrestricted. Once a quick 5min warmup has been accomplished Im firing on all cyclinders and the aches disappear.

What else I think has helped is the height of seatpost. Theres normally alot of discussion on forums over pictures people send in where other peeps have said saddle too low when I think its about right. The pros seem to have their saddles at an extreme height which us mortals try to emmulate. Having it too high can overstretch the muscles which causes them to do more unnecessary work when you come to contract them and from experience took me longer to recover.  I beleive I have read that some pros do extended stretch sessions of 30mins to 1hr just holding one position for that time which is why they are able to have such a high position in comparison to the leg extension. I could be totally wrong though.

I started off by adjusting saddle using the heel to pedal method, which does feel low but has worked for me. Got less tired and recovered quicker with a negligible loss in speed ( Could possibly be due to the excess of food Ive been consuming). I have been able to gradually up the height week by week, milllimetres at a time, without ill effect possibly due to the stretching  so that I get more aero. Used to get all sorts of odd tingling sensations as if the circualtion is bad which have gone.

Tuesdays commute saw winds of 25km/h and 'in'accuweather had gusts of 65km/h. Westerly with less fierce Northerly too. Down Victoria Av with the 'tail wind' I reached 24mph, not for long. Pantani said he managed 31mph which, theorectically, should have been easy for me too. Average slightly lower due to a climb I put in at the beginning and the Garmin kept on counting for extended periods once stopped. All the riding had to be done sat down  because standing instantly lost a few mph.

Going home at 2am there was a Southerly 7 km/h.  A section where I head North I can do 21mph  with a head wind with this 'tail wind' I managed 19mph. The air felt like it was gusting at me as fast as earlier on, in reality there was only a slight breeze.... the dreaded cold dense air. My fingers and toes were numb after 10miles ugh. Average only good because the legs were in good condition and was able to get speed up using energy zapping standing efforts, or did that slow me down.

To Work     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 18.3mph

To Home     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 19.3mph

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Effin' Wind

Woke up feeling mega achey, thighs, glutes, hamstring. I do remember doing a super all out sprint near the end of my ride yesterday, up an incline against the wind. Nightmare commutes today. Super super windy. To work I had to stop at mother in laws so I did do more climbing than usual. Legs loosened up very quickly and reached a rhythm within minutes, that was a quick recovery. Massive Westerly wind 18mph with big gusts. Im sure there was a counter wind of a Northerly and maybe a slight Southerly too. Victoria Avenue is a good stretch  heading East so the tail wind should be just as humongous. I started climbing at 18mph for a good distance then suddenly a big gust dropped me more or less instantly to 12mph. On the flats I'd get a good speed but could also feel being pushed back or rather getting pushed into something stopping me? gettit?.  School had just finished everywhere and I was being obstructed by traffic so just had to be patient.

Back home and due to the direction of wind was extremely hard work. Again Westerly but with large Northerly gusts 25km/h and 42km/h. I probably went normal speed up Oldham Rd, no tail wind felt, then I just hammered the pedals constantly and as fast as I could. No respite, even turning South at the top of my journey didn't reveal a tail wind. Head/Cross all the way.  I'd put so much effort into it that my stomach was retching and my head pounding to my heartbeat. 4 degrees with real feel of -2!!!! Oh yes!! Where was my reward for the effort? In the form of a luxury Bakewell tart I saved earlier on and a nice brew.

Ummmm Im supposed to be resting for TT on Sat! Arghghghghg.

To Work     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 18.6mph   ( more climbing)

To Home     Distance 20 miles     Av Sp 18.2mph

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Sat/Sun Sun

Saturday 9th April

So determined to do well at my second ever 10mile TT that im commuting on TT bike again. My arm position looks mega strange but aero, nonetheless. Infact the aero bars are millimetres from touching the front wheel and Ive rapped my knuckles against spinning rubber a few times. That should tell you how short my legs are. Little bit warmer at 3am, about 6 degrees. Little bit weak this morning so thought Id save myself for an all out attack for the way home.

  I left work and stop, sprint, stop,, sprint stop, sprint, stop,sprint, stop, sprint, stop and thats the first 2 miles over and done with. Lights grrrrrr! I'd love to know what I could average without all these stops. Again I could feel myself being blown sideways but went hard all the way. Every downhill section my speed was cut short by lights or buses or traffic. Wasn't expecting a good time but was pleasantly surprised.

To Work     Distance 20 miles     Av Sp 20.4mph

To Home     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 20.7mph

Sunday 10th April

Was going to use this as a rest day but as soon as I saw the forecast for the rest of the week I just knew I had to go out. I went with Rochdale Tri club and the first 5miles were painfully slow, we were doing about 11mph for flat sections. It took Blackstone Edge to get some power to the pedals and were going the same speed as we were previously....bit of an exaggeration, not far off though. Went through some gorgeous twisty lanes with superb tarmac'd roads, always on the look out for oncoming cars coming in the opposite direction. From mile 15 to 25 average was fast only because there was an almighty tail wind which we pootled through. They stopped at a cafe in Hebden when our average was about 14.9mph and I soloed home, in a head wind. I enjoyed the climb to Crown Point, although in a headwind I barely went under 10mph then the descent to Rawtenstall zapped my strength as I powered through the strong wind. Same story for the rest of the journey. That head wind was hard work but managed to up the average from 14.9 ( 30miles) ish to 16.7( 30miles)mph
More climbing involved than I anticipated too.

Distance 60miles  Av Sp 16.8mph

Friday, 8 April 2011

TT Tweaky

As the weatherman said it wouldn't be raining today so  I hopped on TT bike to get some practise in for next weeks 10mileTT. I Have done one previous Time Trial in May 2009 on the PETTS course and scored a reasonable 27.08s or close to which is 22.1mph This was on a road bike with clip ons and the worst possible position ever! My commutes to work at the time were a quick 7 miles and averaging 16mph. How on earth does that work out I do not know. Pantani averages 16mph for his rides yet scored a great 25min 50s which equates to 23.3mph! There is no way he can get over 20mph!??? Why do I struggle getting fast times for a 20miles commute on a TT bike going down hill ( 2am and 4celcius).

I needed to mess with position a few more time as going to work didn't feel right, coming home the position felt miles better just kept sliding forward a bit which can be sorted. Also coming home there was only supposed to be a 6mph wind so why were the flags blowing like mental and why was I getting blown from one side of the road to the other ( not that bad but I couldn't go faster than 26mph down a massive hill where I hit 30mph easily on roadie) Seem to go faster uphill than down too :P I couldn't count the number of stops on way home on fingers and toes there were that many!

Stats for Monday

To Work     Distance 20 miles     Av Sp 21.4mph (ignore last 0.78 at 45mph)

To Home     Distance 20 miles     Av Sp 20.5mph

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Playing Catchup

Bit behind this and last week, didn't do too much last week as still recovering from illness and the weather wasn't too fab.

Wed TT ride - Distance 45 miles    Av Sp 19.2mph (hilly)

Just been out ( Wednesday) to try out my TT bike as the weather looked nice. I seemed to think the sun reduced the effect of the wind and boy was I mistaken. 20mph winds with gusts of 30+mph and I climbed up to  2.5 open moors! On a TT bike....daft head?. The start was horrific! The first major climb of the day, the start of Edenfield Rd and it instantly kicks up to 12 % with a set of temp traffic lights half way up. Baasstarrdddss! Stopped, unclipped and managed to get going again with 2 pedals of the right leg, instantly clipping in and flying off again, could have been nasty.  Half a mile up the Rd another set of temp traffic lights! This time on a less steep gradient and then to top it all off another set at the end. HOW ANNOYING.

Once at Rawtenstall I should have been flying along with a tail wind?  Speeds were slight head wind speeds of 18-19mph when I should have been at 22 -23mph. Must have been another cross wind blowing. My favourite climb up Bacup Rd was next and did feel a tail wind, briefly. The descent into Tod was an absolute nightmare. I was struggling to control the bike all day as it was but this cross wind was extreme. The brand new cork style brake pads looked well worn at the bottom. There wasn't much point of bringing TT bike because there was no way I was able to get in the aero position as I felt soo unstable due to the wind.  The last leg was definately a fight against traffic, more lights and more wind. I got so mad I kept starting and stopping the Garmin when stopped as my average was  counting down very quickly from 20mph so I have ridden 45miles not 41 as I forgot to start a couple of times.

Positioning wise I think Im nearly there. Maybe the odd tweak here and there and might even try the much touted 'Landis' position.  Legs are good today, able to stand up and climb effectively and the odd sprint was possible too.

Monday Commute

To Work     Distance 20 miles     Av Spd 19.2mph
To Home     Distance 20miles     Av Spd 19.1mph

Total contrast today. Freezing icy cold in morning, nice in afternnon. Going to work was probably the best I have felt in over a month but limited myself to spread the effort out across the week so that was a very very  easy 19.2mph and hardly got out of breath once. On the way home, bleedin' heck I had nothing! What was wrong? I'd eaten quite a lot that day but my stomach felt empty. This is the worst I had felt on over a month. Very strange. I seemed to get better and better as the ride wore on though and in the end it was a fast ride considering the number of stops and the state of my legs. The wind didn't feel like it was helping but it must have done.



To Work     Distance 15 miles     Av Sp 17.8mph                                                                        
To Home     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 19.9mph

Strange! on on the way to work had 2 punctures due to massive gash in tyre I was unable to spot. Luckily I was near LBS at time but had to make up time to get to work and still get some miles in. I had to pedal against the very strong wind virtually all the way to work instead of zig zagging across it. Stops all over the show didn't help. So its a bit of a rogue figure that 17.8mph


To Work     Distance 20 miles     Av Sp 18.6mph
To Home     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 19.9mph ( slightly hillier than normal- very good ride)


To Work      Distance 20 miles     Av Sp 18.7mph
To Home     Distance 20miles      Av Sp  19.1mph