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Showing posts from April, 2007
Stratford Marathon - 4hrs 53mins

Ok, it was my wife and not me. After 3 months of gruelling training and planning she ran the Shakespeare marathon in mild but windy conditions in the countryside around Stratford-upon-Avon.

Although the time isn't as fast as hoped for, completing the course is a major personal milestone and there is a lot of learning there. Respect the distance that is for sure. Sam walked to the start line after a night of broken sleep due to troublesome kids, severe dehydration due to a room with stifling heat and a smaller than usual breakfast (a banana!) since the hotel only started serving from 8.30am (slackers!).

Needless to say we won't be hurrying back to that particular hotel. The marathon itself was very well orgnanised and offered a lap of closed roads in the centre of Stratford at the start which was very exciting.

As for me, well. I've had the week off and have spent it fiddling with my bike and doing light, easy riding of no real substance. I'…
Monday Weigh-In

Weight: 74.5kg Bodyfat/LBM: 15.0%/63.3kg Calories: OKish Riding: 600k (!)

A good week with lots of riding thanks to a 60 mile roundtrip commute done on a daily basis. Still managing to avoid sugar although the flour crept back in ... but when you burn 2000 calories a day in cycling it doesn't really matter. Ate when I was hungry and didn't worry. Strangely surprised by the loss of weight but I'm not complaining. I still think 70kg is worth aiming for, but not worrying about losing weight anymore - looking at improving my FTP instead.
NYC Marathon Booked

Yep, after the Alpe and Etape I'll be pounding the pavement during November in Manhattan - and getting in some early Christmas shopping no doubt. This time I'll be able to enjoy the event and training with my wife who will also be competing. Actually she's doing the Stratford Marathon next weekend as neither of us got in to the FLM (for the fourth time in a row).

I came to cycling from running so hopefully going back won't be a biggie. Of course the weightloss from the cycling is a big bonus - my knees should be very grateful at least.
Another Hilly Hundred
100 miles of climbing including the Tour of the Surrey Hills in 6 hrs 30 mins, 20 mins quicker than earlier in the month. My averages are good too; HR 133, Power 193w, Speed 25km/h. I had a rest day yesterday with no exercise and felt strong for it. I've spent the last week commuting to Egham which is a 100km roundtrip. Needless to say I'm feeling good today! (But didn't do my monthly RAMP test yesterday so will need to do that sometime later this week)
Polar Data Powertap Data
CyclePeaks WKO Data
The Lakeland Loop

Managed to get round in 5hrs dead. It wasn't quite the 75miles advertised, I made it 108km or about 67 miles and the climbing was limited to 2050 metres and not the 3700 metres advertised, but it was an amazing time in the saddle. I hooked onto a number of groups in an attempt to not get lost (I'm good at missing turns etc) and this helped me keep to a gentle pace and averaged 21kmh and 138bpm. I even had a 10 minute (!!) break at the second feed station waiting for a compatriot, who incidentally, dismounted at the base of Hardknott and I never saw again.

Really encouraged at my climbing as I dropped all-comers on the longer climbs, by a distance. Of course, I did head out early with the slower guys so I'm not resting on any laurels. The Lake district hills weren't the scary prospect I was expecting. If anything they are relatively easy as you can settle into a rhythm and just climb. Having said that ...

Hardknott is a beast - its seriously steep and jus…
FTP Test - 263w Watts per kilogram 3.5 - a disappointing 'Moderate' rating
Ok, so the route was undulating making a sustained effort difficult when descending, I had to stop at some roadworks (!) and hit a bunch of junctions. Oh and I didn't really warm up. But apart from that it was ok.
Lets face it this is a baseline test and 263w is definitely not my maximum potential, I'll do the next test on the turbo, or find a flatter 33km+ route which is quite a challenge around here. Definitely helped to be outside. An average heartrate of 154bpm isn't too shoddy given the number of times I had to slow up.
Polar Data Power data
Weigh-In Monday

Weight: 75.3kg Body fat/LBM: 15.6%/63.5kg TBW: 56.9%

Almost at my original target weight! Despite lots of really bad moments this week I still managed to lose some of the pounds. No doubt due to the intensity of the sessions, including the 1 hour FTP test on Friday morning. I've been up in the Lakes this past 4 days hence no posts. I did the Lakeland loop yesterday and Hardknott and Wrynose probably single handedly knocked off a pound. Will post more later.
Etape 2007 Forecast
Whilst I'm busily number crunching and working out power to weight etc I thought I might as well forecast my Etape finish time ;-) On my bike, obviously.
Based upon an average power output of 180w over the entire ride, no wind, no stopping, no adrenalin, no further weightloss nor performance improvements over a fairly simplified route profile I have calculated a total ride time of 9:12:21. Making an average speed of 21.3km/h.
Here is the breakdown, if you're interested:
Obviously, "small" things like heat fatigue, wind and delays at the feed stations will push to total time way above this. I think a target of 9.5 hours is reasonable, with some canny drafting, good nutritional strategy and obviosusly some performance improvements I think I can hit that.
Can you tell that I'm couped up with no bike in a hotel on weekday evenings? ;-) Nothing to do except L4 killer sessions on a gym bike and watching TV. I really must look into buying a cheapo trainin…
Weight and FTP Targets

My 20 minute max power comes in regularly at about 280w during my 2x20 sessions making my estimated FTP about 266w (although I'm testing this specifically later this week with the powertap and turbo). Since my weight is currently 76.1kg this means that today, with no wind, I would average 7.9mph whilst climbing the 8.6 miles up the 21 switchbacks of the Alpe D'Huez - taking me 65 minutes.
I'm currently out by almost 10%.
There is under 3 months to go. I need to either improve my FTP to 292w or I need to drop to 68kg. Neither is a realistic option so a happy compromise of both increased FTP and reduced Weight is required - but what should the goals be?

Doing the maths shows that every kilo that I lose will save me 3w on my FTP. Whilst the most optimistic sources suggest that the best I can expect from a 3 month dose of L4 training is a 10% increase in FTP and that is for an untrained individual - and that is not me.

The chart below helps to illustrate the …
YAWNS - Yet another week of no sugar

It would appear that being public about my food diary is keeping me on the straight and narrow. Not that I expect anyone actually reads this, but thats not really the point. So another week sans sugar and flour. It does amuse me to think that this page will still be on the interweb when I'm picking up my pension, once you commit these things to the blogosphere they are there ad infinitum. No doubt mirrorred across the earth - what an awful waste of disk space.

And Monday is a special night so can have a bit of a blast but nothing too outrageous.

Easter Monday
07:30 Get Up
07:45 90min light ride 40km. Strength of a kitten.
09:30 Bran Flakes summerfruit compote. Coffee. Water. Pear.
10:00 Coke Zero.
12:30 Nando Piri Chicken and spicy rice. 2 Glasses Diet Coke.
14:30 Lemon meringue muffin (!). Coke Zero.
19:00 Entrecote. Rocket and parmesan salad. Bakewell tart and pear sorbet (!)
22:00 Bed

Tuesday
07:00 Get Up - RHR 45bpm
07:15 45min Gym Bike, with Harry too.
0…
Hilly Hundred

I took nearly 7 hours at 06:49 to cover 167km or 103.7 miles with averages of 180w and 25kph at 135bpm for the entire ride. If only all training was this enjoyable. Sunshine and a light breeze and traffic free roads, well mostly. I tried to stick in L3 for the ride but thats easier said than done with climbs that vary between steep and very steep. But hey, I love it really. Did more than 163k because I didn't want to fall short of the magic Century miles. Exhilerated when I finally got home and don't feel too sore will go out for a light spin in the morning.

Polar data Powertap data Cycling Peaks summary
Sunday Weigh-In - Under 12 stone for first time since ... erm, I was 18?

Weight: 76.1kg Body fat/LBM: 15.9%/64kg Riding: 200km+ Calories: Excellent

I'm "carbo loaded" this morning and still looking good on the scales. Its been another good week with no flour or sugar. Food craving is rare, I can tell as soon as I eat something with sugar in it as my heart rate jumps and I get a burst of cravings. On the training front the L4 sessions are paying off - yesterday and last week I felt stronger than ever, so they'll be a regular twice or three times weekly sesssion - I just wish they didn't hurt so much!

At the current rate of development with weight going down and power going up I feel that I'm doing the right things. Off on a hilly 100 today so that should make for a long interval session and burn more cals. I reckon somewhere between 70 and 75kg is quite achievable if I stick to my guns.
4 hour Tour of the Surrey Hills
Managed to get round the route in 4 hours today - thats the fastest I've ever done it. The sun was shining and it was a joy. The powertap stopped me from going too hard in the wind which was good.
I managed to average 200w over the entire ride with 144bpm and 25.6km/h - which is amazing since I had to stop for 3 minutes at the level crossing at Box Hill and 7 minutes at Peaslake to fill up with water when my water bottle leapt from my bike and emptied itself all over the road.
Not sure how to analyse the power data, but here it is anyway
The good old Polar data
Compact Cranks II

Put my replacement compacts on the bike this morning and actually read the instructions. Including the special instructions attached to the left crank arm. It reads:

'WARNING - The two left crank arm mounting bolts should be
tightened alternately and incrementally rather than each bolt being fully
tightened all at once ... Furthermore after riding 100km (60 miles), use a
torque wrench to re-check the tightenting torques ... If the tightening
torques are too low or if the mounting bolts are not tightened alternately in
stages, the left crank arm may come of during the ride causing the rider to lose
control and fall.
'

Helps to explain my problem with the first cranks. I didn't alternate and certainly didn't check after 60 miles. Hopefully this time they'll stay on :-)
Power play

Got the Powertap setup and working this evening. Had a quick play on the turbo for a few minutes and the numbers coming back indicate that the Tacx is not as optimistic as perhaps thought. Tapping out a cadence of 85-95 the Powertap and Tacx were very similar. I hasten to add that the Tacx had not warmed up and had not been recalibrated since the last time I used it.

Far more encouraging than the Tacx accuracy was how I felt pumping out 292w (The sustained power output required to climb AdH in the hour). I'm not saying it was easy but maintaining it for 1 hour is a distinct possibility rather than an absolute impossibility. Of course, I'm assuming the PT is relatively accurate!

Lots of long rides this weekend so expect to see reams of boring data over the coming days...
Another week of no sugar, no flour

It seemed to work so well last week that I'm going to update with my food and exercise diary again this week. And yes, still no sugar, no flour. But no anniversary this weekend - just Easter instead... and the end of Lent.

I've been working out my TRIMP score for my training sessions and will be upping the intensity this week - this is especially convenient since its a bank holiday weekend this weekend so the morning session can be a solid 2 hours with a long ride in the afternoon on a couple of the days.

I'm gonna do another RAMP test at the end of the week and compare the Tacx with the Powertap - should help to provide an accurate and realisic assessment of how far away from the 292 FTP I am for July 3rd. Gulp.

Monday
05:45 Wake Up.
07:20 Tea. Water.
08:00 Apple. Coffee. Biotic Berry Yoghurt.
12:30 Philpotts Chicken and spinach soup. 2 Pears. Apple. Can of Diet Coke.
16:00 Small Starbucks Americano with hot milk.
18:30 1hr Gym Bike Zone 2. Legs a…
Sunday Weigh-In

Weight: 76.5kg Body fat: 16%. Calories: OK. Riding: OKish.

Will do my long ride this afternoon when we get back from London. Its been an OK week from a training and diet perspective, as is evident in the food diary entry below.

Happy that I've shifted a fair amount of fat. I think the morning sessions and no sugar have been the key drivers to this and I'm going to keep this up. Next week flour products will be back on the agenda and we'll see if the weightloss continues. Feeling REALLY strong so it'll be interesting to see how my ride goes this afternoon. Hopefully will get in the full ToSH but just depends on the time we get back from London. Its been a fantastic weekend, although the lack of a half decent gym bike did force me out on a run - but that was probably a blessing as it really was a sheer joy, especially this morning.

BTW: The weigh-in data is from yesterday, as suspected the scales at the hotel are less than adequate and I don't trust them.