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)