Sunday, 31 January 2010

Week of Turbo

Not really the right weather to take the bike out on the road so it's back on the turbo for this weeks biking adventures. The Cheshire cat is just a few weeks away so it's time to start my training regime, it's time for me to listen to my coach Chris Carmichael who wrote a book just for me called 'the time crunched cyclist', so with all my figures worked out (working in watts) as of last Tuesday I am now on week 1 day 1's workout which consisted of 60-90 min of Endurance miles with 3 x 8 minute Steady State intervals thrown in somewhere within the 90 minutes.

EM miles are 45-73% (watts) of the CTS field test so not so bad but the SS intervals are 86-90% of the field test and are easyish for the first 5 minutes or so then you have to start concentrating to keep the power up as you start to tire. My figures are all worked out from the field test I completed sometime before the end of the year and it seems that I have lost a fair bit of power over the new year with it's hiccups so I struggled with this workout and could barely reach the required power output for the full 24 minutes of the Steady state intervals.

Thursdays workout was exactly the same and I found it very much just as hard. After Tuesdays workout I was fairly leg tired so eased off time-wise on the Thursday workout. Come Saturday my legs felt great for the weekend rides so on Saturday the workout consisted of EM miles but cut short with Sundays 50 mile ride in mind.

Sundays club ride looked a really good ride but because of the flippin snow that fell on Saturday evening the ride was off so again I had to resort to the turbo. Today's workout called for up to 2 hours of EM miles and that's exactly what I did, 2 hours cycling in front of a TV watching Star Trek and a zoo program that was very interesting watching 2 cast off lion cubs struggling for survival, all good stuff and helped the time pass by.

My Stats
Tuesday 1.30hrs, 20.65 miles
Thursday 1.10hrs, 16.04 miles
Saturday 1.0 hr, 13.08 miles
Sunday 2.0 hrs, 28.07 miles

Total for the week
77.84 miles
5 hrs 40 minutes
22.16 miles short of my target of 100 miles

Sunday, 24 January 2010

North Cheshire Clarion club run 24 Jan 2010

What a Toughie

First ride on the road since Jan 31 and I was apprehensively looking forward to it as I made mention in my last posting. I was nearly but not quite clear of the cough I had but I wanted to do this hilly ride as I need to get back into training seeing as the Cheshire Cat is just 9 Sundays away.

So on a cool damp morning with virtually no wind worth mentioning six members of the North Cheshire Clarion headed out into North Cheshire on a route that was to travel some of the harder hills in the area but if deemed necessary there were slightly less steep alternatives around the two bigger climbs of The Yeld and Chapel Lane. Heading out at a fast pace Giles took off like he was on a personal race leaving us all behind but we soon reigned him in when he stopped to wait for us to catch up.

I knew within the first few miles that the fitness I had before the new year had deserted me somewhat - my heart rate was raised 10 beats over what is my norm for that level of exertion and I had real trouble on the minor hills approaching Delamere Forrest - the signs were not good for the bigger hills... We are now at the end of the top Delamere road at the crossroads where decisions had to made regarding which routes we were to take, the hilly hilly or the less hilly route, one member of the NCC who hasn't been riding long opted for the less hilly route but was unsure of the route so I took this as my very welcome cue to join him, I was clearly not fit enough for the tough stuff so it was a welcome relief not to have to attempt it and two of us became three as we were joined by another rider. All six of us climbed the two small hills from the crossroads and at the top by the armaco barrier three guys turned left to tackle the Yeld and the other three of us carried on heading into Kelsall to eventually join up with everyone else at the Summertrees Cafe atop Chapel Lane.

After the cafe stop we completed a small loop of the Willingtons then rode the reverse of the Yeld. Either way southwards or northwards there is a hill to be climbed, we traveled northwards and the hill is fairly steep but not that long so a slow steady pace got me up it on the wheel of another rider who has really improved over the last few weeks, this was to prove the story for the rest of the ride as we headed home-wards back through Frodsham. At one point heading back through Delamere we hit a 12% hill but for some reason I was stuck on my big chain ring as I couldn't change down so hoofed it out of the saddle all the way up - I thought I would be dead at the top but I wasn't so bad. I don't know why I couldn't change down but I thought it a strange coincidence that I had hit a pothole not long before with a loud bang. I did check my bike over but couldn't find anything, these RS20 wheels are really strong and can take a lot of punishment - great lightish training wheels. After the hill and back on the flat I was able to change down and had no further trouble so I was either doing something wrong which I doubt or there was a bit of road crap in my front dérailleur which I think more likely.

So to sum up Sundays ride was tough for me coming back from illness and I really felt the hills. It was a ride I needed to do to get me back on the road to fitness. Today, Monday as I finish writing this my legs are nicely toasted, I know from the times I have ridden these hills including Chapel Lane that I am not normally so tender the day after so it all points to my lack of fitness which I intend to remedy starting Tuesday when I start day 1 of Chris Carmichaels 'Time crunched cyclist' plan...

My Stats

43 miles, 3hrs16min, Av Speed 13.1, 1993 ft climbing

Friday, 22 January 2010

I'm going into the weekend just a little concerned but not as concerned as I was a few days ago when I was getting over a cold and the resultant cough on my chest. The reason for the concern? it's all because the club has a hilly ride in mind for this coming Sunday (as I mentioned in my last blog entry), normally I would relish the opportunity but so soon after my enforced lay-off, it's a concern, not as much as it was a few days a go but still a concern...

Today I had another session on my turbo so that makes three sessions this week - two easy rides to ease this body of mine back into action and a harder ride today. I thought that I need at least one harder session before the ride to gauge my fitness and the choice of training DVD today was Cycling Fitness Results Climbing Acceleration. The meat of the workout is two sets of intervals using Joe Friel's heart rate zones, he has you warm up in Zone 1 for 8 minutes then two sets of 15 minute intervals in zone 2 with a few 30 second bursts of 5A-5C thrown in which plenty hurty...

After I finished the workout I was surprised at just how fast the workout went and I was also pleasantly surprised to discover that I am nearly back to full fitness - legs and lungs felt pretty good, not there yet but nearly..... lets just see how Sunday pans out for my first outdoor ride of the year and what a ride it will be :)

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

It's been that long???

I've just realised that I've not made any blog entries for nearly 20 days!!! and the reason why? Snow and I've had a man cold...

January started off fairly well with plenty of turbo sessions all going to some sort of random plan - I've yet to decide what training plan I intend to follow in the run up to the Cheshire Cat but I'm pretty certain it will be the Chris Carmichael one. It's only 10 weeks away so I will have to start the plan next week or the week after...

So where was I? ah yes the man cold... Wasn't that bad a cold but I know from past experience that when I get any sort of illness it takes a lot to get rid of and it's easy to make matters worse if I don't take care. What that means for me is NO bike - not even a mild turbo session, so no bike activities from Friday 8th Jan. That weekend the snow slush and black ice was still around in heaps from the week before and that meant no club run so I didn't feel so bad about being ill and staying in. During the next week there was a thaw and that allowed the club to thankfully plan for a ride for the following Sunday. I wanted to go I really did but even though my cold was mostly gone, I had a cough I couldn't get rid of and my pulse was 20 to 30 bpm up on normal which is a dead give-away that I wasn't right so reluctantly on the night before the ride I decided it cancel my ride with the clubs first ride of 2010 - write up by fellow Clarionista Phil here.

The cough had gotten a little better after the weekend so on Monday 10 days after the last time I parked my bum on a bike I finally felt well enough to have a go on my turbo. I rode for an hour with the idea of an easy ride keeping my speed at around 15 -16 mph and with a HR of less that 150 which is my norm for an easy ride. Learning from previous occasions I know that on my first ride back after illness my HR would be up and it certainly was - my HR was 160 bpm @ 15mph, 10 to 20 bpm up from normal at that speed on that turbo trainer. Today (Wed) I've still got a slight cough but today's ride with the same aim had my HR back in the normal range so I'm getting better at last and just in time, on the clubs forums there's talk of a hilly ride that includes a personal favourite climb of mine in Willington called Chapel Lane which is a particularly steep (in places) but pleasurable climb. My record for my quickest time up Chapel Ln is 6 min 41 seconds but I think this coming Sunday I will be aiming just to get to the top without collapsing in a heap. Any other time and I would be raring to go but so early after my 'recovery' I envision a thoroughly nasty time, still going to give it a good go though......

Friday, 1 January 2010

Xmas 2009 and beyond...

Ok 2009 is now well and truly over so I thought I would have a quick look at what I've accomplished during the year and what I'd like to accomplish during 2010. During 2009 the biggest achievement that comes to mind is in the participation of a sportive or two. As I have written somewhere in a past blog, sportives were something far from my mind but early 2009 saw me bite the bullet and enter not one but three of them, 1. The Cheshire Cat in March, 2. Liverpool Chester Liverpool in July and 3. Manchester 100 in September. I realise to some people this is all small stuff and hopefully in a few short years I will look back and think yup small stuff indeed, but in the meantime every goal reached however small is a major accomplishment and I've enjoyed the trip getting there.

The next step in my cycling journey through 2009 was to join a club and enjoy the challenge of learning and riding in a group in the company of like minded individuals. This happened late in 2009 with a new branch of the National Clarion being formed in Warrington Cheshire.

One of the important lessons I've learnt over the years is that goal making is an important incentive to progress. So for 2010 I've set myself just a few goals.

1. Train more intelligently. I've gone some way in this already, I've just got to decide upon which training regime to follow, will it be Chris Carmichaels 'The time crunched cyclist' or will I follow the 8 week training Realrides FORCE DVD I've just bought,  hmm decisions decisions but I will need to decide one way or the other real soon.

2. Ride a few of the harder sportives. Signing up for the 100 mile Cheshire Cat is the start and there are others in the pipeline.

3. Get my weight down to 11 stone by the end of March. That could be hard as I will have to eat properly get myself a diet and stick to it. I'm around 11 stone 5 now but I always find it hard to go below 11 stone without feeling ill.

4. Ride a few 10 mile TT's. My club the North Cheshire Clarion is to get involved in TT's and other cycling activities and as they get involved so will I.

So that's it, not huge but I think realistic achievable goals - hopefully...