Thursday, 26 May 2011

Sneaking Out

Rest Week has been broken up by a Wednesday commmute to and from work. Dry dry dry so took TT bike out for a spin. The first 2 miles being wind assisted but many many stops negated the advantage. Saddle much too high all the way to work as I didn't want to stop and waste time but my legs kept getting annoying tingles and aches. All in the name of being more aero. Still didn't feel all that great though. Maybe I shouldn't have bothered.  Way too many stops this time as normal ruins a good run out as I didn't feel up to sprinting 20 times in one commute.
So saddle lowered, pointy upwards so that I sit back in the seat with arms spread outwards so more aero? A little unconventional but comfy and no tingles. As I was getting changed it started raining hard! and it was still blowing a gale, none of which were supposed to happen. Not happy. Set off not in the best of moods but seemed to fly with little effort. Changed direction, still flying, and again, still flying. Against the wind? Flying. I heard thunderstorms were best conditions for TT, maybe its true or my legs suddenly came back to life after a long layoff. Only problem this time is that the bars were so close to the front wheel that I couldn't grip the tri bars, just rest on top or my knuckles would get rapped/ fingers get chopped off in the spokes. Good ride.

To Work     Distance 20 miles     Av Sp 20.6mph

To Home     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 21.5mph

Saturday, 21 May 2011


Thursday 19th May - Swimming with Tri club. 2.5km in 1hr 10x50m, 10x100m, 10 x 100m with a warmup  and warm down. Thought I was fully swim fit going to three sessions within 2 weeks or five in 5 months. Went really hard until the last 100m of the first set of 10 when I got cramp and had to take the rest easy.

Fri 20th May - Been feeling crap all week, well not crap but energyless. Dont think I'm ill. Barely got any power in the legs so had to speed up the legs and what a speed! Average cadence to work 106!! AV speed was good to0 but it missed out a mile of downhill as I pressed the wrong button so would have been better. Totally breathless for the whole journey. Another roadie joined me at the bottom of Victoria Av, I was infront for the climb and span my way up. He held on about a quarter of the way and when I turned around about a mile down the road he was nowhere to be seen except when I waited for ages at the next set of lights. After the lights he held on the flat and looked like he was gonna have a heart attack at the next set. He said that I was putting a lot of effort in and what was I training for. Hmmm Do I have a major goal this year? Beat my first ever 10mile TT time?  Do a triathlon? It's a bit mished mashed training. That gave me a bit of extra motivation to push myself even though I was hurting.
Going home. Av Cadence 108! Nice Av spd again. Can't keep this up any longer. Its as if Ive just done 150miles and then I need to do a 20mile TT.

To Work     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 20.8mph     Av Cadence 106

To Home     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 19.5mph     Av Cadence 108

Sat 21st May - The forecast for today changed so much. One minute its gonna rain all day next minute its gonna stay dry. I waited 'til I got out of bed and re checked the forecast which was going to be dry so I got out TT bike. I adjusted the position from a near perfect ride last time. Big mistake. Very awkward and the fact that my muscles were tight didn't help even though I've been doing loads of stretching. My legs couldn't peddle for more than 30secs then I needed a rest, over and over again. Nothing to do with positioning. Just glad there wasn't too much stopping today. Didn't think I'd make it to work. Cadence was about 60. Nothing in the tank at all.

Couldn't face doing 20miles home so cut it well short. Before I set off I sorted my positioning out again but this time much more comfortable. Again though, after every burst of peddling, I needed to rest. The wind was super gusty, all over the place however the bike was sooo much easier to control than previous days when the wind didn't feel as bad.  That's it. I've had enough. Can't carry on like this. Lots of rest coming up. Told my missus to chop my balls off if I go anywhere near my bikes for the next week. The thing is I planned to up the riding hours for the next 2 weeks before I go on holiday. 'Over the Edge' sportive/charity ride was on Sunday which I will be spending in bed then doing some gardening. Grrrrrr.

To Work     Distance 21miles     Av Sp 19.1mph

TO Home    Distance 12miles     Av Sp 19.9mph

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Bit of a toughie

Distance 40 miles     Av Sp 18.5mph     Av Cadence 99

Hoping for a relatively longer ride today to make up for the lack of miles recently. Just needed to wait for some decking to arrive which took longer than expected but was worth the wait as my back garden has needed doing for years. Anyway by lunch time it was still wet and damp so took out Jamis for a spin.  The trees in the fields opposite were swaying violently and put me off a little but I was desperate. Todays aim of the day was to spin as fast as possible and try to get it feeling as natural as possible which will take a bit of time. I never thought Id ever get used to my TT position but its second nature now.

Straight away I wondered why my legs weren't up to much today. I'd just had 3 days off from all exercise and ate myself silly so I should be motoring? There wasn't much choice but to pedal fast as there wasn't much power so had to compensate. Barely got out of the saddle which is highly unusual.  Pedalling so fast constantly makes me breathless and thought my heart rate would be higher. Kept getting tingling in my legs with the new technique but I was winning the fight with the wind.  Always in the little ring except for the big descent down Bacup Road. How I made it up there in the first place  is beyond my comprehension and at a reasonable rate, well, baffles.

The sun came out on the final drive for home and the leg speed was dropping or so I thought, the graph says otherwise. THe only other major problem I find with the improved cadence is that the saddle feels uncomfortable, I may have moved it too far forward so I can use the drops more easily. In the end I was happy with todays progress and average speed. Could easily have been a lot worse.

Just got confirmation that my 'winter' wheels have been built up and ready for shipping which are going to replace the bontager race lites where the spokes kept snapping so I ordered a wheelset with easy to source and replace fancy spokes.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Rest days

Since Saturday I've not done anything due to wind and rain and generally feeling down, possibly ill as the missus and baby have been. Today I really really wanted to do the Birch 8mile TT on TT bike  but rain pulled the plug on that one. At least my enthusiasm has returned. Food wise I have tried to eat sensibly during rest days but all I can eat are bags and bags of sweets. Some bigger Asdas do some 600g of Jelly filled  foamy sweets and they are delicious! 2000 calories of  yumminess. Bollox. Cycling most days help keeps my weight in check and have started to eat anything and everything I want. Hope I don't put too much on in 3days. I hate to think whats going to happen in June when I go to America for 2 weeks :(

Wednesday 11th May Commute

To Work     Distance 20 miles     Av Sp 21.2mph
To Home     Distance 20miles      Av Sp 21.2mph

Thursday 12th May Commute (Fri home)

To Work     Distance 15miles     Av Sp 20.0mph
To Home     Distance 20 miles     AV Sp 20.8mph

Weather report for both days suggested thunder storms. Nothing when I set off so I risked it and it paid off as no water fell on me. Wind was horrendous during the day and about 10mph during the night time journey home. Most of my leftover energy was used on the first commute, cadence lovely and high and with 11 mins worth of stoppages! Bloody traffic. Thats a lot of sprinting. That nights journey home I absolutely gave it my all.  No time to recover, no time for a breather. Cadence still high ish touching the 100 mark but when I stand it drops quite dramatically.

The last trip to work was murder.  No energy and battling through gales. really low cadence due to me not thinking straight and just hammering it out. Friday mornings trip home I was wrecked especially after 10miles. Needed to change tactic and pedal quicker than I usually do and things felt easier, just doesn't feel natural....yet, still putting in the strategic out of the saddle efforts.

Saturday Open Water Swim

Five Hours sleep later and I had to have a fight with yards of neoprene. Stupidly I thought I could emulate last weeks effort, however, then I was fresh, it was warm, and there were no waves. Spent the first lap straddling Jamie's wake. The outward leg was fine, just a gentle cross/head current but by the other side of the reservoir that had built up to 6inch waves. After lap one I ended about 10m behind Jamie but he was getting out and I was braving a second lap. I didn't want to do it at all but I had 35 mins to do it as we started a little early so ahead I went...alone. The conditions were getting a lot worse. Super windy. The return leg of the 2nd lap was like swimming in an ocean. Waves were close to 1ft+ high coming from the side. Breathing was getting difficult which Im usually strong at and I was swallowing a fair bit of water. The canoeists commented on how bad the conditions were and were struggling themselves to get anywhere and contol themselves. They called me mad for going out for another lap! Needless to say I was the only one.

Next bike ride is hopefully wednesday.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Birch 8 mile Time Trial No.2

Distance 8miles     Av Speed 22.4mph     Time 21.26

It's a really great way of building up your high end speed and the competitive nature takes your heart rate places the sunday ride just can't touch. That's the idea anyway so Im trying to do as many as possible after a really crap 2010.  So even though it was blowing a gale I ventured out for my warm up on my Time Trial bike and went back home after getting to the end of the street. Swapped the bike for Jamis and TT bars which I had already prep'd for the inevitable and set off again. Getting fed up of the winds and not being able to use my TT bike, thats 2+ weeks now. A couple of quick trips round the course should be alright but I punctured at the end of the first lap. I am getting so bloody fed up wit punctures too!. About 15 in the last month on different wheels/tyres/tubes. There's no constant, just bad luck. This time there was a slash in the tube about an inch long but nothing in the tyre. There was only one spare in my bag but luckiily I took 2 C02 carts as after the first inflation the innertube popped out over the rim. 12miles done and 10mins 'til the start. Only 2 of us there. At least it was sunny.

I was off first, a guy from ABC Centreville next and another guy from West Pennine came just after 7pm. By the first corner, 300yrds up the road the wind picked up ( as if it wasn't bad enough already) and it suddenly started to lash it down. Could it get any worse?  It didn't thank god except it stopped raining as soon as I finished. The corners had to be taken with extreme caution. Today I was mainly concentrating on pacing myself and limiting the losses of speed on the climbs as it reaches 7% ish in two seperate places. After lap one I got a split time shouted at me of 10mins 48secs. Second lap felt harder as I tired but managed to keep on the aero bars despite being flung side to side. 21.26 was the final time so second lap just a little quicker. My previous best was 20.58. The other two came in and were really disappointed with their times. Over a minute down on what they are used to. One guy got 22.04 and the other 22.30ish.  I kept the speed up due to having aero bars this week unlike last time and I felt stronger on the climbs and also got held up by two cars behind a slow cyclist. Very happy with my time on a very technical and slippy course.

Total distance cycled 25miles

Monday, 9 May 2011

Just a Quickie

Distance 34 miles     Av SP 19.6mph

After the all out hard ride yesterday ( you'd never have guessed looking at average) I wanted to keep loose and the best way to do that is to go out and ride. Wind just as strong and unpredictable today and I reckon I got a big long gust close to 40mph on the way home. I had to more or less stop which I've never done before. Going North up Queens park Rd  I should have flown ( according to bbc weather and accu) but got cross/head winds. The hill has a big gradient and I only hit 25mph. Same story all the way around. Definitely worse heading South not just because of the Southerly wind but a N.Easterly too! Even sheltered areas didn't escape the wrath. Forgot my heart rate monitor but I was close to threshold all the way around witht he odd recovery bits. Could probably have made it to 50 before blowing up.
Cadence only dropped when I was out of the saddle which was every positive gradient I came across.
Putting tri bars on Jamis must have helped :) Another crap riding day. Oh, Traffic lights on Birch TT course have been removed so fingers crossed for Tues.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

75miles of Crap

Distance 75miles     Av Sp 15.2mph     Ascent 6000ft

Cross wind out, full on head wind and cross wind back. The day started off overcast but lovely and warm. As soon as Jamie and I hit W.Yorkshire the wind picked up and felt cold and glad that I wore long sleeves and bib longs. Hebden Bridge road to Oxenhope and Haworth and most of the trip to Keighley  is above 1000ft and highly exposed to super winds. The only thing I'll say about the return trip is 'hell', no the whole ride was 'hell'.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Open Water Swimming - 1st of year!

Three times? Maybe Four? That's the number of times I have been bothered to swim this year so far. Every time Ive gone there has been no motivation and once there I've ended up at the back or in a slow lane when I usually lead. When It was announced that Rochdale Tri Club had secured a new venue at Elton Sailing Club in Bury, Sat 9-10am,  there wasn't much hope of my good self bothering and am thinking of packing in triathlons for good. The last time I swam in a pool was only 2 weeks ago and that sparked a little renewed interest as I went fresh and despite my arms aching my general fitness/lungs were in top condition and I managed to do much better than anticipated.

The last time I donned my wet suit was August last year and remember the first session of 2010 in May. The water was 7-8 degrees and people were coming out of the water disorientated and blue. The air was warm and the wind was too today. There were around 30 of us, a good mixture of male and female. £5 for registration and first swim then £3 each week after. Open to non-members too. Got there early to allow for wet suit fitting time. The organisation was top class. Everyone needed to register, sign in/sign out and wear a numbered fluorescent wrist band. There were 4 canoeist  to keep an eye on everyone and we were all briefed on the course and what to do if we needed assistance. Water temperature was announced as 14-15 degrees.

Before setting off we were kinda grouped and I thought I would draft Jamie as he has been very strong in training. Setting off, over taking a few, I found myself in the lead and I expected people to come past. I aimed for the bouys. White one then orange one then white one etc....By the forth where we were going to regoup I stopped briefly and saw myself 'miles' ahead so carried on. The reservoir was quite shallow due to lack of rain and you could quite easily stand up where ever you were. Doing one lap which someone measured using a GPS watch was 2km. We set off at 9am and when I reached the finish I shouted what time was it? 9.30! Hmmm that was quick. I felt very quick, the wetsuit fitted as if it was a second skin. Compared to Cowm Res in Whitworth the water at Bury was lovely and calm and flat. Perfect open water conditions. My missus shouted at me to carry on and do another lap so off I went. Arms hurting a little but the legs propelling me forward with ease. The arm issue ill disappear with practice. The second lap was a little faster. I messed about a bit after the first lap deciding/arguing whether to go again and the time I got back was 9.58. There were quite a few dog walkers and Im sure I was swimming faster than they walked. Thats 4km (verification required) in an hour ish taking away the time I needed to remove seaweed, get organised and 2nd lap deliberation.

Everyone else had got out after one lap. There was a guy who I over took on my 2nd lap, doing breast stroke. It was his first time and the canoeists were there to make sure he was safely home which I was pleased with. Cuppa and Bacon butty finished off the morning. My' love' of swimming has been reingnited. Ever since I was 5 I have swam, which helps. Just wish I started that early with my cycling.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Demoralising = less effort? 40 miler.

Distance 40 miles     Av Sp 19.0mph

Is it just me who notices the strange behavior of the wind and its killer effects? Trawling through a few forums revealed I'm not. I wonder if it occurs all over the country or just isloated areas.
The idea of todays ride was to get a tail wind for 70% of the journey by riding the opposite route to my last ride. Hmmmm.
 Heading North for the first 15miles should have been really fast with the BBC showing a Southerly wind. It was fast but hard work fast, I could feel a cross wind and then a head/cross wind at Walsden, still heading North, the flags changing direction.

Heading up the severe climb of Bacup Rd 'in reverse'  saw a head wind and the occasional tail wind for seconds at a time which would indicate a Westerly and Easterly wind. I carried on heading west and had a big head wind for the first half about 4 miles and a big tail wind with cross winds for the second half. Head wind heading South  East up Edenfield Rd but unusually felt some thing pushing me forward against the head wind, must be that Westerly which shouldn't theoretically exist? Guess Ill have to grin and bear it.

Due to the nice weather I have been using a lot of Scottie and TT bike but used Jamis today as there was a potential rain problem. I did a few small adjustments before settting off which enabled me to ride in the drops all the way more or less which I found impossible up to now.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Possibly......The Hardest 50miles I've ever done

Distance 50miles     Av Sp 18.1mph

Not done much the last week and a half due to the bad winds and being on a recovery cycle. The news today said the strong winds would die down so I stuck my 88mm Prolites on Scottie to see what difference wheels actually make. Didn't set the Garmin off to work as I was in a rush and managed only 10miles but arrived really early. I reckon it was under 30mins total journey time. It was freezing too!!! 40f.

It was about noon when I set off home, very sunny but deceptively cold. Wind chill? Headed North towards Bury and Rawtenstall and the flags were blowing across me suggesting and Easterly.Dried leaves swirling in little pools suggested what I was up against from the start but legs were strong today. It is all uphill for 25miles with little respites inbetween. I absolutely hammered it from the off. Speeds not as fast as I hoped due to the wind but still going at a nice pace. Drafting a little, unintentionally,   helped with averages but the effort was still there.

At the top I headed East and copped a big head wind from Rawtenstall.  Normal speeds of 20mph+ were reduced to 16mph and could have been a lot less f I hadn't been trying so hard. Up Bacup/Tod Road I realised the rest of the journey was downhill/flat so went close to all out. Although quite sheltered  near the bottom the leaves were being blown towards me.  Near the top was hell. I just wanted to get over the edge for the 'easy descent'. Once over the hill the conditions were worse. Head wind picked up and there were side gusts  attempting to swipe me off my bike. Usually 40mph quite attainable but just about 20mph. It looks really sheltered too with high 'cliff faces' either side.

Next up was a turn to face South. Guess what? Head wind again! Leaves blowing towards me as well as flgas. Not as bad as when facing East, able to maintain some speed but at a big cost. My legs were hurting. I was so tempted to turn around and get the benefit of a tail wind back to Rawtenstall but couldn't face going up Bacup Rd which reaches 16 % near the top.

Going West still managed to get gusts of a head wind! Flags going with me for a change but was being blown backwards too. I'd see the flags quickly turn in the opposite direction then back again. My mood was close to depressed with everything sucked out of my soul. Shaw Rd is quite possible the worst pot holed ridden rd ever and when I saw traffic built up I nearly cried. However I realised they are taking up the whole road and properly re-laying it all and that made me grin.

North, up Heywood Old Road saw more cross winds and had very little left only a couple more miles to home.

When I set off initially I was aiming for a 20mph average. I was actually quite happy 'only' doing 18.1mph. I have done the route in reverse, albeit more hilly and averaged 19mph easily. I didn't get a choice of starting point today though. Actually the 100miler a couple of weeks ago was soooo much easier than today. Double the distance, more than double the climbing and the same speed. Cramp is something I haven't suffered from for ages and only occurs when I go very hard for sustained periods and I was fighting it today.

I have used Schwalbe Ultremos R.1 with new cheapo innertubes and I haven't had a pucture in 4 days of riding! The ride quality has to be ridden to be believed. Sticking my neck out I'm going even as far to say they could be better than tubulars. The softness of the tyre flattens out rough surfaces but the life of the tyre could be very short indeed.

Since my last post I have done about 4 commutes but cant be bothered to post them now.

Tuesday was BIRCH 8 MILE TT day. TT bike time! I did a 10mile warmup then went home to change the bike as there was no way I could ride in aero position safely.  Wind picked up as the evening wore on.  Got to registration and the event  was cancelled due to some shitty traffic lights protecting a 1m by 1m hole  near the pavement.  Went home after another 10miles.