Monday, 27 February 2012

Weekly Mileage - 372

          Missing a few days of quality training due to injury really got me motivated for the couple of weeks after. It seemed to be the kick I required. Week Starting 13th Feb I completed 200miles where the beginning of the week saw me recovering from my run over leg. Week starting 20th Feb saw the beginning of the week commuting, 41miles , 52.5miles, 42.5miles and 80miles Mon-Thurs. Thursday was extra special. I started the commute at 00.40 and the air felt super warm, dry, fast but a little windy which really picked up to 30-40km/hr around 2am. I was going so well, the Westerly wind was joined by a fighting Northerly and Southerly ish. I struggled up to Bury then flew back down again. Felt wierd.

I averaged 18.1mph for 40miles with 1350ft climbing. THAT'S NOT FAST I hear someone scream.

It is when my heart rate was barely above resting - slight exaggeration - 120 average Actually I thought it was lower as when I looked it was always around 114.. My cadence felt quite quick too. The hilly 41miles home, I thought due, to really good temps would be really fast so I hammered it. The wind proved to be really awkward and was very blustery. I was expecting more of a tail wind from setting off and I was a good few mph down in sections on a more summery day. Records I wanted to break were nowhere to be seen 19.2mph didn't feel like an acheivement.

Turbo miles dont count! I can't see why not.... within reason. If the resistance is high enough and the effort is there, there isn't much difference to road miles. Well my turbo miles aren't too different. Friday I did 2 sets of turbo session, one on TT bike and one on new Felt TT/Road/Hill climbing bike. 46miles in 2hrs 15.

Saturday 25th Feb I decided to test out those turbo miles on my TT bike and apply it to the road. It was cold! in the morning but warmed up nicely later on and that thick air was still about.Went quite hard but those pesky traffic lights and other stoppages slowed me down as did my seat post slipping down to the lowest setting. 26miles averaging 21.7mph makes my turbo miles look fairly realistic after all.

Sunday 26th February

Forecast for today was warm, dry, WINDLESS and with sunny spells. I decided an epic ride was the order of the day. I had been dying to try out my felt TT bike on my commutes but didn't want to get an ounce of dirt or water on her so begrudgingly waited for the perfect day which I thought could be today. Was it too much to expect still being in winter? Unfortunately so.

Even with an alledged tail wind ( it was about 10-12mph in the direction I was travelling) I found the going tough. When my cadence drops below 80 on the flat its due to either 1) feeling crap or 2) the air being crap. I don't think it was number 1. Once again the humidity was Uber high. Started off in the 90's and my breathing is different, I tend to take large gulps instead of short sharp efforts when my heart rate increases.

Climbing Holmfirth Rd and HolmeMoss saw the humidity hit 100%, visibility 0% the roads were wet which meant my bike got wet and dirty and water was instantly condensing in the air. The tail wind up Holmfirth Rd was supposed to be mega but in reality not a help at all. On the top I was going so slow I wondered if the wind had changed direction but it wasn't to be. Up HolmeMoss I would feel the wrath of a 20mph head wind.  My 'heavy' alloy bike again felt great and even with the wind my Strava times were exceptional. Once I hit the Woodhead Rd I turned around to climb Homle Moss again and Holmfirth Rd, legs still in good shape.

Admittedly there was a tail wind for the first half of the climb back up Holmemoss which turned into a cross killer later on. The climb and descent to Greenfield was harsh and punishing and I got drenched. Going back downhill was a nightmare as my body core got really cold and I found it hard to get going again. 11 degrees? It was bleeding 3!!! I needed to find more climbs and quick, just to warm up. I climbed up to Delph and hunted out Blackstone Edge for one final ascent. If the weather was nicer I would have carried on into Todmorden and completed 100+miles and 10,000ft climbing but I needed to go home ASAP, legs were good but my body wasn't. The thing is, once on lower ground and as the day went on the air dried up and the sun started to shine. The headwind actually felt better than the tailwind in the morning and I was strong again.

Ended the ride on 85miles with 8500ft acsent 16.7mph average

There is a lot more to come from the bike and it is only a matter of time until I get the right day. Maybe I was expecting too much to0 soon. Also Im about 5 kilos heavier than where I want to be.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

The End Is Near

Post track 'accident' activities were more common than expected. Although it was difficult to walk, pedalling in circles proved to be more fruitful. A quick turbo session on Tuesday felt ok so I decided to go to the Velodrome on Wednesday for the Paul Taylor Memorial SQT. ( PT was a leading coach for Manchester Velodrome and Rochdale Tri club who sadly passed away not long ago after losing his battle with cancer). Initially I wasn't going to ride as in the morning I was very stiff, painful to walk and had no motivation.
Limping up to the riders 'D' I stalked a coach to pick up my track bike from Sunday so I could assess how rideable and what, if any damage.  Luckily there was a tiny scratch on the downtube, barends came off and the front wheel was a little out of true.  Unbelieveable. There was a bigger than I expected turnout and thought I'd give it a go to assess the damge to myself and the bike. Now was a good a time as any. No pressure, nice and easy riding, worthwhile.
Thursday 16th Feb went out for a ride which I dont remember and had to look at records to see what I did.Just an easy pootle by the looks of it then back to commuting on the Fri and Sat. Since Sunday looked like it could be nice I took the commutes easy but were long, amassing 115miles in 2 days.

Sunday 19th February

Not participated in a Sunday ride for a while and looking at the forecast it would be 'windless', dry (humidity wise) sunny and warm. It turned out to be totally false!!! It was blowing a gale, freezing, very humid with sunny spells. Luckily the roads were bone dry and it gave me the opportunity to try out my new bike. This is bike number 5  and is a second hand frame from a forum. A Focus Culebro Tria 2009. The frame is tiny, super low headtube, aero profiling, the white looks amazing and it is alloy so not especially light. What better way to test it out than on some lovely hills. I have fitted SRAM Apex rear mech with a 12-32 cassette as my sportive/audax super hilly climbing bike, bit strange for an ex TT frame.
As soon as I pedalled the first few strokes I thought this is going to be slow. The humidity artificially increases my heartrate, restricts my breathing and Im sure for some unexplainable scientific fact makes the air like sludge. The wind was swirly and  brisk from the North North West which meant it was also feeling bitterly cold.  I really couldn't be bothered and wanted to turn around but looking at the speeds I was doing in my super dooper aero psoition  without too much effort made me smirk....a little. Lets see what  this baby can do in less than favourable conditions.

I approached Blackstone Edge cautiously, saving my energy for an expected head/cross wind. About a quarter way up I opened up the taps and began to set a reasonable pace from where the gradient rapidly increases. The head/cross wind died down as I negotiated  a couple of twisty bends about 3/4 up, this is due to the hill shielding the road so there was a nice moment of zero wind which blew again as the hill became more exposed closer to the top. Miraculously the bike climbs like a dream. Totally unexpected and I didn't even use the little ring of my double chainset. I also noticed as the day went on my breathing got easier as the humidity decreased. The bike feels so stiff, like my Scott Addict. I feel like all my power being transferrred to the wheels and the road, I love the feeling of the road, non of this comfort nonsense. This is in stark contrast to Jamis and the Cannondale Super Six which is way too 'comfortable' for my liking. The Cannondale I rode in Gran Canaria  just isn't a race bike although it is touted as that just because it was 'race geometry' and all the marketing spiel which I have to disagree with anyway. Although I didn't weigh it, it felt very heavy which shocked me.  I've not read the review but how it got bike of the year I will never know, well actually  I do but I don't want to be controversial. £3000 bike or  this one for a few hundred, I know which one I miles.
The Cragg Vale descent was a total nightmare of  freezing my arse off and being caught up in swirly cross winds slowing me down loads. I was tempted to go up Cragg to possibly get a fast time but I would have knocked 10miles off my ride. Due to the nature and direction of the ride I must have had a tail wind for about 15-17mins of the total 2hrs riding from Walsden to Littleboro' and I was held up in traffic and temporary lights most of the way from Mytholmroyd which makes my 19.2mph average quite remarkable. Looking  at Strava my Blackstone edge times are very good indeed. Should easily top the table on a good day. The longer segment includes the flat bit at the bottom which I took easy and I still got 3rd I think.  Garmin Data 

The title was meant to mean the end of Winter as my commutes on Wed 23rd Feb felt warmer and less restricted by the air even though my heart rate was super low ~120 average I was going quite fast.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Not Good timing.

I'm getting to the point where Im finding very little time to do the little bits and pieces I like to do. This includes watching tv, cooking, bike cleaning and blogging. Either I don't find the time or I can't be bothered.

Gran Canaria turned out to be a bit of a damp squib. I got some good riding in but my Garmin screwed up and by the time I found out the problem ( no memory left) I was unable to do my long hilly route without fear of getting lost and stranded. Got a good 9 hrs in but the legs weren't too good ( over 300miles the week before) and it was super super windy. I hired a Cannondale Super Six ulegra DI2 with electronic shifters. Wasn't majorly impressed with the new technology and will not be getting it anytime soon. I really need to take my own bike.

Commuting was regular as ever until last week when the snow and ice hit however the incredible air pressure of 1042mb  and mega cold temperatures limited my averages to around the 17 mark. Also got side swiped but no major injuries or damage luckily. I even got a ride out on the TT bike and did the local 8 mile TT course and averaged 23mph, my best was 24mph in favourable conditions.

So yesterday saw my return to the Velodrome and the A/B SQT. After a weeks rest I wanted to see how much I had improved. Midweek , however I was training on my TT bike via the turbo and went so hard I got really bad cramp and took a few days to die down. My heart rate hit over 180 which is very difficult for me to achieve.

There was a huge mixture of abilities and was quite surprised to see the warmup lap at 24mph fairly easily. My heart rate was showing 120-140 for nearly an hour showing how easy the session was but the speeds were a lot higher than previously experienced - over 24mph.
 After a 25min warmup we did pursuiting in fours changing every half lap however I always had a slow guy in my group and to keep it together and make it fair for him we were unable to get a really high pace going. One of the guys got fed up and charged on alone which was a bit out of order.

Next was a 45 lap scratch race and I was really up for this. The first 10-20 laps done at an easy 25mph then ramped up to 28mph for the next 10. THe last 10 even higher. With 8 to go I was at the front and wanted to up the pace and I hit 35.2mph. There was no one behind me and I had opened up a gap of 50metres. Where was everyone? Even only one would have been a massive help! I didn't have a clue what to do so  I carried on wasting my energy for another lap to see if the gap was getting bigger but it wasn't so I eased off. Thinking about it I should just have gone and took the chance but when I saw the 7 lap to go sign I got a bit demoralised. I rejoined the back which had dwindled to only 8 riders and knew my chance of a sprint win had totally gone. I recovered for most of the rest of the time and just made sure I kept out of trouble and wasn't far off the winner, maybe 2 -3 bike lengths.
Hunters followed and then one lap intervals.

We finished off with the 6day points race thingy but instead of 5laps we were doing 4 laps. I was at the back and everyone else had gone and my group of 4 was the3 last to go. I shouted to the coach how many were to go as there was a tandem who had gone off about 5 bike lengths infront.  I eased off a little on the corner ( as thats when they are supposed to put more power down) as I took my eye off the wheel infront but everyone else had the same idea, sticking their effing noses in to what I was saying to the coach. I clipped the wheel in front and fell down hard. The guy behind me ran over me and fell. Strangley, I grabbed him so that I cushioned his fall....intentionally. He got up straight away with no injury. I was glad. Another guy infront fell but I don't think it was the one who's wheel I clipped.  Eventually we came to a standstill and all the coaches came running over. I felt ok but didn't get up straight away. I was told there was no damage to my bike which put my mind at ease but then someone pointed at my calf which looked like there was a huge golfball under the skin. Ice and Ambulance were requested immediately. I had cuts and burns all over and my hip was really badly bruised. I managed to hobble back to the riders 'D' where I tried to clean myself and apply cold compression simultaneously.
I'd only just had a week off cycling and didn't want another. Could have been worse I suppose. The big lump was just a burst blood vessel which went down but my bruised hip/thigh was excruciating the next day. Grrrr. Garmin Data The 3 spikes at the end are my one lap individual interval sprints when I hit 35.2mph again. The start of the 6days points race didn't record.