Sunday, 28 February 2010

North Cheshire Clarion club run 28 Feb 2010

This is week -4 in the countdown to the Cheshire Cat and it’s now as a group that we need to get some real miles in. There’s nothing that can replace actual miles on the bike, time spent on the turbo can only do so much. The turbo is great for building some strength or when you can’t get out because of the weather but because of the sheer boredom on the turbo unless you are some sort of masochist, an hour maybe hour and a half is about the maximum that can be endured.

So it’s great to actually get out on real roads with real hills. For Sunday Metcheck had forecast sleet but a peek out of the window revealed a nice calm cool morning and that meant the ride was on. A quick breakfast with beans on toast and a cuppa and out to the start point. Eight of us today met up at Stretton and off we set, firstly through the village of Frodsham and up The Ridgeway. For those that don’t know this particular lane, The Ridgeway is 1 mile long and averages 5% peaking at around 8%, it’s not particularly steep but it’s a great quiet scenic hill for working on technique and gauging your progress on. This time around I was a little faster up the hill so all this training must be doing me some good. After The Ridgeway we progressed through Delamere with it’s two short steepish hills and on to the Ice Cream Farm nr Beeston.

After the cafĂ© stop we skirted the base of Beeston Castle and wound our way through Tarporley, Oulton Park, Weaverham and then back to Stretton. The pace was higher than normal and this was a real workout of a ride, just what was needed. On the hills there was no letup, no pussyfooting around, some went off like a bullet out of a gun, some of us plodded. Either way every one of us got a good workout on the few hills we encountered, the hills were either short and steep(ish) or long not so steep drags and everyone had a different way of getting to the top. Aside from the hills, when on the flat the pace did not really relent, we rode as a group a FULL one mph faster on average over the complete ride, doesn’t sound a great deal but it was really hard work…

I do still need to work on my nutrition and drinking, today I went through 1.5 ltr’s of fluids (2 full bottles) for just 50 miles and I was slightly thirsty at the end of the ride. Looks like come the Cat I might be lugging 2 bottles around which I don’t really want to do, however there are 3 feed stops along the way so hmmm something to think about….

Tonight after the ride I am quite shattered, my legs don’t feel too bad, no stiffness or anything but my body feels like it’s been really punished, feels like I’ve ran a marathon and now I need to sleep, so I’m off to bed early at 9:45pm….

My Stats
50.7 miles, 3hrs 19min, Av Speed 15.3, 2086 ft climbing

Stats For the week
101.5 miles, mileage achieved for my 100 mile target for the week

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Turbo Week 5

60-90min of Endurance miles with intervals consisting of 2 sets of 3 x 3min Power Intervals, What that means in practice is a 3min PI followed by 3 min rest and then repeat the interval and rest a further 2 times and that's set number one. Rest for six minutes then repeat the first set.

Rest doesn't mean getting on the sofa for a legs up and a cuppa, no it means lowering the wattage down from the PI of 206+ Watts to around 140-150W for the duration of the rest interval. Not easy...

Normally Carmichael plans his workouts on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays but this week he's upped the ante a bit by having consecutive workouts on following days. Today's workout is almost the same as yesterdays but he allows 8 minutes rest between sets, the rest is exactly the same. Yesterdays workout was hard but doable, today's was harder with no rest day in between workouts. The legs are tired as is to be expected
but I hope the added stress of two workouts on the trot will only do me good, the good thing is that I now get two days rest :)

With Sundays ride in the back of my mind I decided to complete the minimum workout of 90 minutes rather than the full monty of 2 hrs. The workout on paper looked easier than the 2 midweek intervals and in reality they were - slightly... Total time of the intervals was 30 min, 3 x 10 minutes of over/under with the rest consisting of Endurance miles.

A good week of hard intervals but they must do me some good, all I want is more POWER and endurance (don't we all) and I feel by closely following my coach's workouts I am defo getting there. The Cheshire cats only a month away and I think I have improved a fair bit during these last 5 weeks of the plan. Proof will be in the pudding as they say...

My Stats
Tuesday 1 hr, 14.4 miles, Av Speed 14.4 mph
Wednesday 1 hr, 14.7 miles, Av Speed 14.7 mph
Saturday 1 hr 30min, 22 miles, Av Speed 14.7 mph

Total turbo miles this week 51.1 miles - just need 49 miles from Sundays ride for my target of 100 miles.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Turbo Week 4

4 weeks into the program and Chris gave me Monday to Wednesday off, so no Tuesday workout, isn't that kind of him...

Today was a repeat of a last weeks Tuesdays workout with 6 power intervals, sounds horrendous but each interval is only 3 minutes long with 3min rest between intervals. I'm finding the prescribed wattage for these intervals getting easier especially after the early weeks rest, today 206 watts seemed nearly easy and I was regularly in the +215 W range.... I'm happy...

Should have been the same workout as Thursday but with a shorter rest time between sets however as Sunday was our club ride day I thought I should go easy and do Sundays easier 'group ride' workout a day early. The workout didn't quite go to plan as i chose to follow Chris Carmichaels hill climbing DVD that calls for a lot of steady state intervals.... hard but steady intensity work...

Snow here snow there snow every flippin where and no club ride so instead I retreated to the kitchen and an MP4, the MP4 in question? Sufferfests downward spiral. I had all my wattage figures worked out so knew exactly what levels of suffering I was to undergo, and yes I was worked hard, really hard but what got me was the sprints near the end - you think you are almost finished so go all out, out of the saddle for the last 15 seconds or so then you are told to do it again then again then again.... I was TOAST after that and I mean TOAST... end of workout No1, time for a breather...

Workout No2 was Realrides Force DVD, all good stuff with more steady state intervals but with suffering from the Sufferfest and knowing what Carmichael had in mind for me the following week I didn't go all out and cut the DVD workout short 40 minutes in making up the hour at endurance miles intensity.

Turbo Stats
Tuesday Rest day
Thursday 1hr30min, 21.77 miles, Av Speed 14.5mph
Saturday 55min, 14.04 miles, Av Speed 15.3 mph
Sunday No1 - 1 hr 2min, 15.41 miles, Av Speed 15.41 mph
Sunday No2 - 1 hr, 14.3 miles, Av Speed 14.3 mph

Total for week
65.52 miles

Well short of the desired 100 miles but it was expected with it being a half rest week and no W/E ride.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

North Cheshire Clarion club ride 14 Feb 2010

Today was Valentines day and in order to stay in the good books of our better halves we planned for a short ride of just 40 miles around North Cheshire so as to be back nice n early. Metcheck had promised us a -2' C night with a sunny but cold early morning and that's what we got. I planned to ride out to the meeting point but a spare parts delivery to other club members had me in the car instead, didn't matter but I did want some extra miles in to take me above the 100 mile mark for the week as I needed 44 miles minimum from today's ride.

Loading the car up revealed a thin layer of ice on the car and fog on the ground so I was glad of the drive out and hoped it would all be gone but I hoped in vain, the fog was still quite thick come 9am the time we set off from Stretton. Nine of us set out but within a mile we were all semi-blinded not just from the early morning fog but also from our glasses steaming up rendering us incapable of seeing where we were going so off with the glasses and on with the ride.

The ride itself was not really a hilly one but of course heading out to the Willingtons and back through Frodsham did involve some hills along the way and I am glad to say the training I'm putting in is doing me some good, the short hills I found a lot easier than on previous rides and some I stormed up. On the longer hilly drags I did my usual thing going up at my own slow pace and the legs felt great, felt great for the duration of the ride. One hiccup was that my heart rate monitor was playing up telling me that I was either at 70 to 90 bpm or sometimes 200+, when I stripped off later I found the reason why, the chest strap had become a stomach strap...

As the morning progressed the fog cleared and the sun came out, it was still quite cool but what a nice day it turned out to be as we travelled the leafy lanes of Cheshire, no water on the road, no ice, not many cars out, not much in the way of road crap and this is the first ride of the year when the bike hadn't needed much of a clean when I got in, things are looking up. I did make the extra miles up tagging them onto the end of the ride so my target of 100 miles for the week was achieved - just...
There is still a lot of work for me to do between now and the Cheshire cat which is just 6 weeks away, I know I'm going to suffer tremendously on the hills but I hope that the time I'm putting in now will make them just a little bit easier than last year...

My Stats

44.43 miles, 3hrs 6min, Av Speed 14.3, 1970 ft climbing

Total for the week
100.8 miles

Friday, 12 February 2010

Turbo week 3


Week three of the Chris Carmichael training plan introduces power intervals into the mix starting today. Thankfully they are kept short with just 2 sets of 3 x 3 minute intervals with 3 minutes rest between intervals and 8 minutes between sets. For me that means putting out a consistent power output of 206+ watts coming down to less than 150w between intervals.

Today I experimented with cadence, I tried to maintain a cadence of 90 at +206watts and although it was slightly easier on the legs I found my heart rate was a few beats higher than if I went up a gear and lowered my cadence to around 80 so down to 80 I went - just a little bit more comfortable. The workout called for 1 to 1.5 hrs but because of having to dash off to work I cut the workout a little short of the full 1.5 hours.

Power intervals at around 206 watts seemed to be about the right level for me,
they were hard enough that during the intervals I had to constantly goad myself to keep the effort up esp when I got into the last minute of each set. They were hard but not so hard that when finished I got off the bike absolutely cream crackered. Carmichael knows how to put a good taxing but not overtaxing workout together, not only did my legs get a good workout but my willpower also, something that will be needed in bucket fulls come the end of March and come the sight of that hump called Mow Cop...


Today's workout called for 27 minutes of over/unders incorporated within 75 to 90 minutes of Endurance Miles. Over/Under works out at 86-90% (under) and 95-100% (over) of the field test measured in watts, in my case that works out at 177-185w & 195-206w. So 15 minute warm up then into the 3 sets, each set comprised of 2 min under 1 min over repeated 3 times for the first set of 9 minutes, 6 min rest then repeat and then repeat again. All I can say is that they are bloody hard work but funnily enough I found that the Over with the higher wattage was just that little bit easier than the Under. What I was doing was upping the cadence to get to the +200 watts even though my HR upped slightly and that made a difference, not a lot but enough to take some pressure away from my thighs.

Again I am pleasantly surprised that the workout was hard but not so hard that after the workout I fell about with jelly legs and a foggy brain which i have done on occasion after an intense workout when I've been doing 'my own thing'. Completing the field test to get an accurate figure to base the workouts on is well worth the effort and anyone reading this contemplating following the TTCP would be well advised to do the test and not just guess your figures.

If you are wondering how I'm reading watts well I bought myself one of these. They are OK but nothing that cannot be done with a normal rear wheel reading bike computer and the speed to watts charts available from Kurt Kinetic, with the KK trainer any certain speed equates to a certain power just as long as you set up your bike on the trainer the same way every time. My advice? don't bother buying the KK computer unless if you are on the lookout for your first bike computer.

One thing I'm not sure about is Kurt Kinetic 'watts', are they the same as real watts the same as you would get from a 'proper' power meter? I hope not I hope that the KK watts are under reading and that my paltry 200 watts is really 250w because if they really are accurate to +/- 3% as KK say then I have a lot of work to do, I've got the power of an untrained pre-adolescent girl... no offence to any pre-adolescent girls reading this, unlikely I know but you just never know...


An easy day today with Sundays club ride in mind so it was pure Endurance Miles and a DVD, just miles today, no intervals and nothing else... boring stuff...

My Turbo Stats for the week
Tuesday 1hr10min, 16.42 miles, Av Spd 14.1
Thursday 1hr30min, 21.75 miles Av Spd 14.5
Saturday 1hr 20min, 18.28 miles Av Spd 13.7

Total 56.37miles

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

New club kit

It has finally arrived, at long last we have our new colours, what do you think?

Quite distinctive isn't it? If you see us on the road give us a wave

PS that's not me ;)

Sunday, 7 February 2010

North Cheshire Clarion Club Run 7 Feb 2010

First 50+ mile ride of the year and I lost a virginity...

It's Feb already and this is my first biggish ride of the year, this stinkin weather has a lot to answer for - keeping me cooped up inside on my turbo just ain't cricket!!!

Nine of us set out from Stretton on a pre-planned route that would take us around 52 miles of North Cheshire countryside with the climb of Artists lane being literally the highlight of the ride. Three punctures along the way (none of them mine) - it was just the one rider that had the misfortune of being singled out for special treatment by the puncture fairy, must have really took a fancy to Phil J the poor guy.

The route was fairly flat with just under 1400ft climbing according to Bikehike but there were a few hills to be found along the way and I'm glad to say that I enjoyed them all, I felt really good on them and unlike my last ride I was able to keep up with the stronger riders. Artist lane was a different story though, it was a 'proper' hill, not especially long or steep but it was winding and pretty and did give the old ticker a good working over, here my special tactics of slow plodding came into force, didn't matter what everyone else was doing I just went at my own pace just as fast as my desperate breathing would allow - thats my excuse and line of reasoning and I'm sticking to it!!!

I hope with the training regime I am following that my climbing ability will improve over the coming weeks, it especially needs to seeing as the Cheshire Cat is just 7 Sundays away. I need more POWER!!!. This week sees a ramp up in the Chris Carmichael training plan with the introduction of power intervals into the mix - gulp....

Oh yes the virginity bit, would you believe it I have never ever needed to traverse a cattle grid! but on todays route as we traveled through Tatton park we had to bounce over three of them!!! wasn't as uncomfortable as I tought it would be but there again these grids looked even and well maintained. Adopting a light but firm grip on the bike and approaching at 90' with a moderate speed was enough to do the buisiness. I wonder, was there a three theme on todays ride? three cattle grids, three punctures and three huge birds of prey (buzzards) spotted...

My Stats

52.8 miles, 3hrs 37min, Avg Sp 14.6mph, 1389 ft climbing

Total Mileage for the week
111 miles. My target of 100 miles has been achieved.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Turbo week 2

A full week since I started the Carmichael workout, today's session was upped from last week with a full 90 minute workout including 3 X 10 minute intervals at steady state intensity (up from 3 X 8). Last week I struggled to maintain the intensity, barely scratching the lower limits of the required wattage but today I was able to stay within the limits. It did require concentration as I was on the very edge of lactate build up so when I started to feel the pain in my thighs it was time to back off very slightly, rocking in and out of lactate build up. Steady state is all about maintaining an intensity that you can just keep up for the duration of the intervals, a total time of 30 minutes in today's workout. Today was a good but sweaty workout...


Todays workout was a repeat of Tuesdays and with working an early shift I was feeling a little tired plus I had a little bit of a niggle in my left knee. Have I overdone it over the last week? Have I knocked it somehow?, I don't remember knocking it so I played it safe by having a nice long 15 minute warmup with a gradual ramp up to the first interval, so far so good no pains. Moving into the first 10 minute interval and the required 177 to 185 watts I eased in over the first 30 seconds into the lower regions of the wattage range, all was good and stayed good for the duration of the workout, a workout that required 75 to 90 minutes of endurance miles including 3 x 10 minute Steady State intervals. I decided not to push my luck and completed just the minimum time called for in todays workout. I'm aiming for a 200 watt Steady State by the end of this month, a big ask? time will tell...

1hr 30 to 2 hrs at Endurance Miles intensity is the workout schedule for today with anything between 100 and 150 watts and 80 to 100 cadence, all very easy stuff. On my Kurt Kinetic turbo this works out at between 11.7 and 15.3 mph, in EM workouts I tend to spend my time in the 13 to 15 mph range occasionally venturing outside these speeds. EM intensity is for the purpose of building endurace as Chris Carmichael instructs
"This is your moderate-pace endurance intensity. While it has a wide range, keep your power and/or heart rate in the middle portion of your EM range"
As I said all easy stuff but thats going to change starting next week...

My Stats
Tuesday 1hr30min, 21.42 miles, Av Speed 14.3
Thursday 1hr15min, 17.66 miles, Av Speed 14.1
Sat 1hr30min, 20.06miles, Av Speed 13.4

Total millage for this week so far is 59 miles so I only need 41 miles from tomorrows ride to get me my 100...