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)

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