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

Thursday, 7 July 2011

I Don't Wanna Quit ( Cause of problem found?)

Last week made me feel really disheartened and dejected. People have written how they have taken time off training and come back feeling like Superman. On the otherhand I might as well be Mr.Muscle ( the old one not the new one :) )  If I remember correctly I was on the verge of collapsing again during my commutes last week, ok not that bad but not far off.

The alarm woke me up Monday morning to another dispiriting day.  The last of the sun for the week was upon us and usually I'd be looking forward to it and encouraging myself. Taking the TT bike out to work was a touch of genius, I am at one with this bike. Never lets me down. Only for good weather though, so I set off 3.5hrs early to get a few miles in. The position was changed from Landis position back to my comfortable position with hands scraping the front wheel. Just a nice easy pootle to get me used to her again, nothing too strenuous.  That's how it started anyway until the first 5mins had elapsed. Actually it felt like I was taking it easy but the heart rate says Im lying. I was going quite fast up the hills, able to stand for long periods and on the flat no pain, no tingles  just power. High cadence was low priority and don't think it suits my style.  Garmin says I only did 41.5miles but I barely stopped. I restarted her up when I realised it had stopped on me and I lost about 7 downhill miles. The first mile was missed out due to 'acquiring' too. Great ride out but must be a blip, fluke or some super tail wind right? The commute home was very very quick however my Garmin just wouldn't lock satellites  for half the journey, so I didn't bother in the end, wish Id waited until it got the signal. My legs were as good as the morning.

Tuesday mornings commute I took a bit easy but a slightly hillier route back on Jamis now. Still don't have the fatigued feeling and am able to push the pedals with some force. Going home that night was the same great feeling I've had all week. Being able to push on the pedals on demand, not been able to do that for 2 months! Never mind 2 days in a row.

Would Wednesday be my downfall. No, but my speed was very much affected by wind today especially the commute home as there was a constant 20mph cross/head wind. When I was heading South I felt I had more of a tail wind even though it should have been a full on head. Weather has deteriorated but I have a smile on my face but how long will it last? What was/is my elixir? I'll let you know after I have experimented for the next few weeks just in case its not what I think it is.

Monday 4th July

To Work      Distance 50miles ( garmin says 41.5)     Av Sp     20.1mph
To Home     Distance 20miles ( garmin says 0)          Av Sp    >20.0mph

Tuesday 5th July

To Work     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 18.9mph
To Home     Distance 20 miles     Av Sp 20.6mph

Wednesday 6th July

To Work     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 19.5mph
To Home     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 19.7mph

Saturday, 2 July 2011

I wanna Quit!

Back to work and back to the commuting. Just the Friday and Saturday. Very similar days climate wise. Little wind but so cold at 4.30 in the morning, about 6-7 degrees. Felt close to freezing. I've been out in winter in those temps and its felt warmer, alot warmer. In the afternoon it didn't feel to get warm until 3pm yet the sun had been out all day and the air felt really dense.

First morning I started full'o beans or so I thought and capitulated after 10mins if that. Heart rate plummeted to an average of close to 100!! if you ingnore the beginning. There was nothing, couldn't get out of breath but somehow I plodded on the complete the 20miles. That was the first sign that I wanted to stop cycling for a month or two even though Ive just had 3 weeks off.  Going home the sun was blazing and I actually had a little smile on my face. Still nothing from the legs but heart rate was able to get quite high. When I was doing my gym session on holiday there was a Greg Le mond Trainer bike thingy with power meter and compared to the gym ones down the road I must have been about 70-80 watts out but there was no explaination why! Couldn't face doing 20 so cut it down to 15.

Second commute was a little better but not much. Started to fade badly towards the end. My ride home was probably the most fun. Managed to keep a fairly good pace and heart rate constant at 160. About 10 miles in I could see myself catching another roadie ahead. I just had to have a go to prove to myself that I hadn't totally lost it. About 10m before catching I rested then let loose and eased past. This guy had sky bib shorts on and a Great Britain top with Fire Service or somet written on. I hit some lights and he caught up, I then sprinted off, whoa didn't think I could do that. I heard him breathing down my neck so chatted a little bit.  The pace was quite high and just  thought if I blow I dont care, just go for it. Then another set of lights and another which I sprinted off from both. I got the gap after the sprint but had to ease off dramatically as the legs just wouldn't push. It was my turn off and we said our goodbyes. That showed me there was a little spark there and so Im gonna give it another 2 weeks before going to the doctors and then a long layoff.  So Im going to take Sunday off then start again Monday, fingers crossed.


To Home     Distance 20miles     Av Sp 16.2mph

To Work     Distance 15miles     Av Sp 17.5mph


To Home     Distance 16miles     Av Sp 17.4mph

To Work     Distance 21miles     Av Sp 18.6mph

Friday, 1 July 2011

Pantani helps with my comeback.

I'm Back! After a superb time in Florida in which my 16month old surprisingly thoroughly enjoyed herself, I think I have got over my 'depression'  and possible overtraining.

Distance 50miles     Av Sp 17.8mph

Desperate to get on the bike again I recruited the services of  Pete 'Pantani' to give me an easy ride to get back into form with the goal of getting another 10mile TT under my belt. He suggested a long ride to Southport but sensibly ( unlike me) declined and opted for the halfway point of Haigh Hall nr Wigan. 25miles either way. We set off with a blustery Westerly head wind and I instantly knew it was going to be hard going when trying to draft Pantani I can't even keep up!  He was flying, very unusual. What was also difficult was clipping into my pedals, must just be outta practise but it lost me 15 secs at every set of lights and made a hard job impossible. Pete's wheel was getting a bit boring as I sucked and barely held on up to the half way point. We averaged 17mph, uphill into a bad head wind. What happened to slow bastard? or is that me.

At Haigh Hall I bought the brews then listened to Peter Andre doing his sounds checks in the distance. Wasn't looking forward to the trip home. Saddle height was raised and I decreased cadence and somehow I managed to increase my heart rate. It was my turn to open up the gaps however Pantani  doesn't really try unless he is leading. We expected an almighty tailwind but was greeted with a cross wind from the North which was building up speed as the sun appeared between clouds. So many stops along the way constantly disrupted our rhythm and the average would have been well into the 18's. My lack of fitness was starting to show and cramp was setting in. Really, I dont feel any better than before my rest,possibly worse and the fact Im writing this at 3am without sleep suggests recovery is going to be slow.