Monday, 31 January 2011

Back to it

The viral Lurgy hung around a little longer than I had hoped, so with the symptoms steadily disappearing, and the weather being a little dark I decided to just do a simulated steep hill-climbing session on the Turbo.

So big gears and resistance set so that sitting down wasn't an option.

30 minutes of that was enough - and showed that you don't need heating in the house when you exercise!!!

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Day Off

Well it has to happen occasionally.

Riding yesterday, although very pleasant, was ill-advised.  So I'm not riding today.  Viral thing IS improving rapidly, so a rest day can only help that on its way I think.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The importance of riding position

I spent some time firtling with my riding position last night.
I felt on the long ride the other day that I'd probably worked my quads relatively harder than I should have, suggesting that my seat height was a little low - so I set the bike up on the turbo trainer and grabbed my camera so that I could video myself in the 4 hand positions that I use.
The camera is great, it has a normal frame rate of 30 fps, but if you want loads of detail, it can record at up to 1000fps!!
I did want more detail, but 210fps was plenty!!

I reviewed the clips in Kinovea - a fantastic bit of software that you can do all sorts of whizzy stuff with - including drawing lines and measure angles.

To start with I had a knee angle of 38° at bottom dead centre.
Too much!!
That'll explain why I have been slightly over-working my quads!
So some fiddling with seat height and fore/aft position and I'd got it to 26-27°, and I was happy with how it generally felt.  I also raised the bars slightly

So today's ride was all about trying it out.
It was not going to be a speedy ride - because I was hit by a head-splitting sinusitis last night.

But the really easy effort churned out a very decent ride.
17mph average over the 24 miles. And considering that I had half a head full of cotton wool, I was pretty pleased with that!!!!

And my legs hardly felt like they'd been used.
I'll see how it goes with it set up this way for a few rides.

Monday, 24 January 2011

A Longer ride and waking the legs up!

Monday? Long ride day?
Well, in truth it was more to do with the fact that Lorna and I will climb tomorrow, so there just isn't time for a long ride in the morning, and when we have finished climbing, it's almost dark!

So I proposed to get up and out early to give me enough time for a decent Long Ride.
I like to plan these things, and it is quite convenient living in times when GPS and Mapping Software are so readily available!  So I looked through the various routes that I'd 'created' and saw one that seemed to fit the bill - and downloaded onto the GPS.

It is incredibly convenient to be able to 'follow the Blue Line' and not have to worry too much about navigation and map-reading when you are riding a longer route that you don't know.
But you DO need some idea of where it is headed and how to get back in case of catastrophic technology breakdown.

That didn't happen today - it all went very smoothly!

The route I chose was 70 miles.  It's been a while since I rode that far but I thought it would be a good plan to see where I'm at in terms of endurance at the moment! The first 20 miles and the last 10 I know really well, and the bit in the middle I've ridden as parts of other rides, with one section having only been done once, and in the other direction.  So I pretty much knew where I was going!

It was a ride that broke down into 3 distinct sections.  Up to 40 miles - stuff I've ridden before and is very gently undulating (almost flat in fact!)  40-55 miles - the bit with a decent amount of updulation and downdulation.
And the last bit - a gradual climb, into the prevailing wind!

My legs got a bit bored in the first section, to be honest.  I was purposely keeping the effort level down, reflected in the average pace at the point at around 10 miles (most of my rides start off the same) where I first note these things. 
It was 15.4mph!

I'd also decided to be disciplined about eating and drinking on this ride.  So calorie dense food things every 20 miles, and aim to finish a water bottle by 40 miles.  I took an electrolyte mix in one bottle, and water in the other.  There is method in this!  I'm contemplating having 2 bottles with electrolyte in them on the Fred Whitton, and a Camelbak bladder for the water.  That way I can easily alternate between the two, as I find that electrolyte drinks ALL get too salty if you drink them exclusively.

So, as I was saying - my legs were getting bored in the first section. And they actually felt quite tired!
I was looking forward to having some gradients to climb and descend, though.  Although in the back of my mind I was hoping that it wouldn't work me to the point that I ground to a halt.

In the event, quite the opposite happened.  They suddenly woke up

"HILLS," they exclaimed. "Awesome!"

And they experienced a whole new lease of life!!

Now I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.  As a runner I far prefer running on significantly undulating terrain.  So why would it be any different on the bike?  That 15 miles absolutely flew by!

The last 15 was a bit of a grind!  The wind had increased and was straight in my face on fairly flat ground that basically climbed gently for almost all of the ride in.
At 60 miles I found myself in a village, and it being Snack-time, I decided to have a 5 minute stop just to relax, stretch out a bit, and eat and drink without having to dodge vehicles.
That worked well!

Suitably refreshed, somehow the head-wind seemed less strong, and the gradual climb, flatter.

So I finished the route pretty strongly.

OK I have to admit to doing some numbers geekery as well!  Cycle computer and Garmin both concurred that as I reached the house, I was 0.12 miles short of 70 miles!

Now that was just untidy, so I did a little loop to make it up to just over 70. ;o)
And the average pace for the ride?  15.4mph!  Now where have I heard that before??


Sunday, 23 January 2011

Some tweaking

I noticed yesterday when I was adjusting my front brake that the wheel wasn't running quite true.  Considering the fact that it has had no attention since it was first purchased, that was pretty decent.

Now, I don't own a truing stand, so I decided to just have a go the slightly agricultural way.

Hang the front of the bike up so that the wheel could spin freely - it's amazing how versatile a bench and bar can be - the tighten the brake until it started to catch.  Have a firtle until it wasn't catching any more, tighten the brake a little more - and repeat.

A couple of times!

It's not perfect, but it's good enough for now 

The Scotty Dog Route - 42

Scotty Dog 42
So called because that's the shape it is on the map!!  It is pretty much my bread and butter ride now.  There are only a few sections on busy roads, and most of it is gently undulating and on quiet minor roads.  And it's just a pleasant ride!

Great for simply getting in the miles - which is going to be something of a theme until May.
And double sessions are on the near horizon too!

The plan this morning has been a little different.  Lorna had suggested that we have a ride together, long enough that she'd be able to get back to do Mum-Taxi duty - but we woke up too late, so I was hoofed out of the door on my own.

So a quick change of plan - a slightly pacier ride and slightly longer became the option, and I thought I probably had enough time for the Scotty Dog.

It was much milder today, so reasonable to wear less clothing!  I'm still somewhat defensively keep my slightly dodgy knee warm with longs, but I dispensed with the windproofs today!

It was a fantastic ride.  Very pleased with the pace/effort.  I'm not quick - but the build-up to the 10 FW's is so much more about endurance and strength endurance.  So I'm concentrating in time in the saddle, and letting the body decide what pace results.

The plan for the moment is miles, and more miles, and more miles.  And some specific hill climbing reps - although I have to travel a little to find suitable gradients to play with.

Good ride that - enjoyed it.

I'll be heading off for a few hours climbing this afternoon, after which I need to finish off the information that I'm sending to Macmillan Cancer Support.
And I may also speak to the chap that provided us with some electrolyte drinks to test about doing some testing for him during the event.  I used it today, and was quite pleased with its palatability.  Water can get a bit tedious on the bike!  More details later if anything comes of that.

It's all starting to some together :-)
And HUGE thanks to those of you who have donated to my JustGiving site and given that a fantastic kickstart.  

Friday, 21 January 2011

Hill session abandoned

I should have known better really!
The hill I wanted to play with - The Burway at Church Stretton - is a fantastic little gradient.  20% at its steepest, so perfect for multiple reps.
But it gets abandoned in the winter - there's even a sign at the bottom telling you that!

So I drove up it as I'd planned to the car park at the top.  And it was pretty lairy on 4 wheels.

2 wheels would have been just silly.

I'll be back though - it's perfect for what I want :o)

Thursday, 20 January 2011

All that Glitters is not......


This mornings ride was always going to be a 'time-in-saddle' ride, and I KNEW it was cold and dressed accordingly.
I hadn't quite realised just how icy it was though.  The glittery road surface was mesmerizingly pretty, but a part of my brain still though I was skiing!!

A very small two-wheel slide as I pulled up at a traffic light junction soon disabused me of THAT notion though!

As most of this ride is on minor roads, many of which were still in the shade in the early morning, a degree of circumspection was needed so that I remained upright.  It WAS lovely though.  Cold and crisp and almost completely traffic-free for the vast majority of the ride.
It was slow, but that's OK too - this was all about spending time on the bike - Base Training if you will
So I did 2:44 for the 42 miles.

Depending on the weather tomorrow, I'm planning to do some hill work at Church Stretton on my way to Wales.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

The Challenge is ON

To ride the Fred Whitton Four Seasons course 10 times in 10 days starting on May 13th.

After a few shenanigans the accommodation logistics have been sorted in principle.  The details have still to be sorted, but there is plenty of time for that. When they are I'll post a link to the lovely place and people that we'll be staying with.

The Fred Whitton Challenge organisation have 
Macmillan Cancer Support as their chosen charity, so for that reason, and because I have experienced the quality of the service they provide in End of Life care, I have made contact with the local organisers to find out what support they can give me to raise the profile of the challenge, and I'm hoping to meet up with a Fund-raising Manager in the next week or so.
I'll put up a donation link once I have one

Any ideas that folk have that I could use to further raise that profile will be gratefully received :-)

OK - any cyclists out there that fancy coming along to heckle and generally take the pi$$ - please let yourselves be known - the more the merrier.
And if you have ever contemplated doing the FW - do come along. The company will be much appreciated :-)

The plan will be to set out from Coniston each day at about 6am

I'll detail the ups and downs of my training here and any training rides that I'll be doing on the course as well.

Right, need to do some work on the Blog.  It's looking a bit bare