Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Screwing About

More Time Trialling completed meant more messing around with the bike, positioning wise. I have been constantly adjusting the saddle height and bar length and almost anything that has a screw.

 12th May saw my arrival at my favourite course L101 at Garstang near Preston. Lowered my saddle as my theory was that I'd be able to recover quicker but also generate more torque by being further back in the saddle as Im not a fast peddler sp? so may not benefit from a forward position. Any how as usual the wind wasn't the best and I came away with a 22.51 and was highly disappointed, I just didn't feel right on the bike but I was bouyed by the fact I had another TT the week after at Levens - A Fast Course

19th May - Was perfect weather at 4pm and I was in Morecambe just down the road from the course start. Whilst the rest of the country suffered rain and strong winds there was bright sunshine and 18 degree temps. However by the time 7.30pm came the temperature plummeted and the wind  picked up again. This time I had lowered my saddle even more, even cutting down my seat post to allow the extra drop. This course looks such a 'CHEAT' course whoever made it up and I will never do it again. The start is down such a massive downhill gradient that you hit 40mph in no time and the finish 'bypasses' the hill you started from and goes down even more down a sliproad. The rest of the course is heavily undulating. It is also heavily exposed to the elements especially the wind.  The first 5 miles is westerly and the latter easterly. I averaged 28.5mph out and 24mph back due to the head wind and was actually surprised to get such a high speed on the way back. Final time was 22.57 I was inconsolable and to top it all off Pantani got a PB!!!! Without any bloody training all year!

20th May - Over the Edge bike ride run by the British Heart Foundation. The atmosphere was carnival like and when I arrived with minutes to go the whole place at Hollingworth lake Visitors centre was toatlly rammed. The strong wind and cold temps put a massive dampner on things and I wasn't in the best of moods and my legs didn't want to play out today. I struggled around the whole course but managed to keep up with my Tri Club team mates, getting dropped slightly just the once and even set  a good pace up the final climb - Cragg Vale. No where near my fastest time but I left everyone for dead. I completed around 90miles with an average of over 17mph but it was hard work and there just doesn't seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel. I FEEL SOOOO SLOW.

Chaingang on the Tuesday after 'Over the Edge' and again I felt terrible but more experimentation yielded so impressive results. To say I felt wrecked was an understatement however I was keeping up and even led all the way on one lap. I had raised my saddle height without any ill effect and my peddaling action felt fluid and smooth. At the end I had a race up Huddersfield Rd to Ogden reservoir I think it was and got wasted by one of the faster guys at the club when during previous years he had been on the back foot. It got me motivated to carry on and that I did.

So after 3 weeks off work my commuting restarted 23rd May and after a slow start I kept getting faster and faster as I raised my saddle and the conditions improved. Although very gusty winds have perservered the past two weeks my times are improving day by day, up to where I expect them to be. One of my commute I average 21mph for my 30mile uphill commute home.

ROSSENDALE TRIATHLON is on Sunday 3rd June and during a disastrous outing with my TT bike on a mountain Timetrial I figured I would have to tweek my position until it suited me, otherwise forfeit the TT bike and use my road bike for the hilly 23km. I raised the saddle very high and pointed the bars down a bit and rotated them 360 degrees. They are 's' bend bars.
The perfect test for Sunday would be the BIRCH 8MILE TIME TRIAL on Tuesday night run by ABC Centreville. There is a very big dig of a hill and lots of descending then repeat. The course is only a couple of miles away and when I arrived having doing 22.5mph with my eyes closed I knew I was in for a fantastic time. I practised the course and was going very well indeed, I felt fast for the first time in months! &pm came and went an no time keeper arrived. Another devastating blow to my morale. Five of us had turned up and we all decided to do the course anyway and time ourselves. I was absolutely flying!!! Barely dropping below 20mph on the steep section as a slight tail wind gave us a nice push. even the head wind didn't feel like it was afftecting my speed. I cruised up the hill in my 'Aero' position, overtaking the rest of the gang as if they were standing.
My previous best for the course was an official 20.02 in April '11 but I had just done it in  an unofficial 19.15!!!! with an average of just under 25mph. That was a terrific time. I decided to carry on and complete 25miles altogether and averaged 23.5mph for the 25miles. The bike felt amazing and my legs felt amazing. About TIME! Only 2-3 months late. I might have to try a 25mile TT next!

The past couple of months my swimming has been slowly improving and my running is coming on a dream but I can still only do short distances due to my arthritis. I am aiming for a TOP 10 finish at ROSSENDALE TRIATHLON and with the recent form I have been displaying over all 3 disciplines it is a very realistic target.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Absolute 'Mare!

What can I say? My cycling has hit a dead end and was totally unsure what to do to pick it back up.

 A few Sundays ago I did the 'Spring into the Dales' Audax from Hebden bridge. Started off in mighty fine spirits, once again starting from the back and triumphantly making my way to the leading group with little effort. One of the guys commented about a spoke rubbing against a derailleur but I didn't realise he was talking to be but anyway I went on. Then BAM! Must have been about 30miles into the 80 miles ride when I got cramp. I left the lead group as they had stopped due to an RTA with one of the riders. We were on a narrow lane and I dropped back to let some cars to overtake and thought it would be eaiser to draft a car so I was about 5 metres back on my own. The group of 10 ish eventually got overtaken by a car and then a juntion appeared where the car waited for traffic to clear. Meanwhile the 10 cyclist poured forward to the left of the car, the right of the car and infront of the car where I would have waited behind, which I did. The car driver got a bit mad and started revving his engine and skidding. A couple of the cyclist didn't take too kindly to this and once across the juntion proceeded to block the whole road including the right hand side ( can't remeber if it was a one way street)  Inexcusibly, the car driver rammed into the back of one of the cyclists and all hell broke loose. I stood back as I didn't know anyone and didn't want to get involved but the car driver said that eveyone should cycle like me :) I already knew that.
I carried on alone, going at my own pace, joining some club ride and getting lost, relinquishing my lead and getting lost again. I didn't realise that I stopped the garmin when the accident happened and I forgot to restart with a huge tailwind. On returning and still getting cramp all the time I just got the train home when I found out one of my spokes had broken and my wheel was heavily buckled and rubbing against the brakes very badly. GRRRRR

A few Saturdays ago I entered a 10mile TimeTrial on the D10/19 course close to Chester which is a fair distance for me to travel but thought it was help with my training. The weather was terrible, raining heavily and gale force winds on an absolute stinker of a course. How on earth anyone could get 21mins on it I will never know as I was doing 21mph down hill! Anyway at the turnaround where 2 roundabouts had to be negotiated I punctured on my tubs after 5 miles and had to crawl home. I forgot to take my mobile! My missus sent a search party for my by which time I was nearly at base having crossed the finish line in 33 mins hah! At least I didn't cramp up!

More cycling misery followed but I did my first ever chain gang ride with Rochdale tri club and they were quite impressed with my riding but once again I was cramping up not long into the ride.  and so I went on holiday to Benidorm hoping to recouperate and start afresh. However I booked a triathlon for the Sunday after coming home so I had to do a little running to make sure I woulnd't totally cripple myself on the 9km run. In Benidorm I was getting strange cramps in my finger, the palm of my hand, twitches in my right shoulder that felt like it was leading to cramp and cramp under my chin. Strange. I had also booked a timetrial for the Saturday on a J2/1 course near Jodrell Back.

I changed my wheels for the ABC Centreville TT to my 90mm Prolite clinchers so if I did puncture I could mend it and get home quicker. I reconn'd the course and saw a big pot hole and hit it but luckily I didn't puncture. The wind was picking up and was all over the show but it was dry and cold with a Northerly wind.  I set off and more or less instantly I was getting cramp. What is wrong with me?  I had to ease off.  After 5 mins I was ok to go again but the air felt so difficult to navigate through just like the whole year. I reached the turning going well averaging 26.5mph but with a slight cross head wind to contend with on the way back. That pot hole appeared again after 6 miles and BAM! I hit it but this time I punture. ARGHGHGH. I mended it, conscious of other riders passing me. I set off again and nearly had heart attack getting back up to speed. What was the point in me carrying on? Anyway I crossed the line with a massive head wind and figured it would have been good training.
My eventual time was 28.18 and I wasn't last. Fantastic. Looking at my Garmin data my HR was at 184 for the whole course and I have never gone that high or for so long before. My PB of 22.38 was done averaging 156 BPM. I think I was on for a very low 23 or possibly a high 22.

Day after the TT, Sunday just gone, was HORWICH TRIATHLON. I haven't done a triathlon for 2years ish I think and the most I have run recently is about 4km. I had to do a 500m swim, 40km bike and 9km run up a humongous hill and back down again. My swimming recently has been abysmal and is possibly down to lack of training or a weird weak feeling in my right shoulder or something related to the constant cramping.
I decided to take the swim really easy and did 9mins for the 500m and the run across the road into transition which was actually a top10-20 out of 300 time. Guess what? I was cramping up already. Hit the bike and it began with a  climb to Belmont Rd. I felt like shit. There wasn't supposed to be much wind but I felt like I was being blown back by a gale forced monster. I was trying so hard as much was expected of me but again I was cramping up. The incline didn't look bad, not worse than cragg yet I was barely doing 12mph, I was close to 17 up Cragg Vale. My saddle slipped backwards and I felt uncomfy up front but my leg cramping eased a little. I was wearing a light wind/waterproof that had unzipped to the bottom but not fully and was acting like a parachute, I tried to zip it up but couldn't. Anything else that could go wrong? Oh yeah I rigged up a system of tubing from my water bottle to the tri bars so I wouldn't have to leave position to drink however my mouth couldn't reach it as I put it too far away so no drink but the cramp eased as the bike went on.
As soon as I got off the bike both my legs seized and I had to crawl to transition to rack my bike. I started the run in good spirits, taking it easy but with a good pace. I suffered major cramp about 1km in and had to walk for a long time. About 4km in there was a big climb up to Rivington Pike which I tackled with aplomb and managed to run the rest of the way without cramping or my arthritis in my left knee affecting me. I crossed the finish line feeling like I hadn't done anything, maybe just got out of bed.

I had previously done research on the net about cramp and you get the usual dehydration, salt balance etc which shouldn't have been a problem. However I started to read about CAFFEINE. I am an extremely heavy COFFEE drinker and also drink copious amounts of COKE ZERO. I have also got very tight muscles constantly even with all the stretching I was doing which I thought was mkaing it worse which caffeine could have caused.   As of NOW I  have stopped so hopefully the cramping stops but then again it might be because Im trying too hard ( but not getting anywhere)