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Showing posts from June, 2007
Well here we go....

All packed, car loaded, tapering and worrying. I couldn't fit my race wheels and Powertap into the bike bags so had to deliberate long and hard on which was coming with me. Should I take the PT so I can keep a watchfull eye on my power output on the day? Would it be better just to go all out and forget about power? Would I get the pacing right without it? Wouldn't it be better just to hit pain and work through it? The race wheels are lighter, more responsive and stiffer, that would help on the day?

I left the powertap at home.

So, we fly to Grenoble tomorrow, and have an afternoon to unpack and build bikes etc. Then on Monday we're out for a bit of shopping and a light spin to loosen up the legs and get out into the surrounding countryside.

Then the serious stuff begins;
Tuesday 3rd - Alpe D'Huez TT - Lone ride against the clock hard as possible. Followed by rest then spin down and do it again with the missus taking photos along the way. Rest of the day …
Estimate of 59:18.75

I did a dry run for the Alpe last night, with a week to go I'll be doing nothing heavy over the next few days, just a little light spinning.I worked on the Tacx keeping the power output between 300w and 310w at a steady cadence of around 70-80rpm. Trying to simulate the cadence I'll be using on the big day and keeping the Tacx "honest" (since it tends to overstate power output at higher cadences).

I kept it steady for 30 minutes with my heartrate settling at 163bpm. I'm well chuffed with that, since in the past 300w has caused my heartrate to fly up to max hr fairly quickly. I guess I'm as ready as I'm going to be. I stopped short of carrying on for the full hour - I could have carried on, there was no physiological reason to stop. But there was no value in it and I don't want to get overtired or risk injury etc. And of course, it really hurts!

I'm going with an FTP of 300w and a weight of 76kg - according to kreuzotter this wil…
Caged Tiger

Summer is definitely here then. Glastonbury. Rain. Summer Solstice at Stonehenge. Rain. Plucky Brits at SW19. Rain.

Will this damn rain ever subside? Its been such a frustrating week - when I was ready to ride it rained. When I couldn't ride the sun shone. Took the lad to the Slipstreamers yesterday got back in the afternoon, it rained. Got up this morning ready to ride. It rained. BBC tells me it'll be clear through till this afternoon, shame it's raining cats and dogs right now then.

I actually WANT to go riding, not interested in the training benefit. Ho hum. Off to see Shrek 3 with the kids at 4pm, no doubt we'll get a heat wave. S'pose it'll be a good opportunity to clean and service my bike ... especially the drivetrain - it needs a little TLC.

Of course, I can afford to be a little smug. I'm off to Grenoble next Sunday for the Alpe D'Huez ride and with a week in the Alps I'll certainly be doing a lot more riding besides. I am definite…
Word of Caution

Here is a word of caution from Charlie, a guy I was due to reccie the course at the end of May with..

"OK, I was due to do a recce in May but the weather was real bad and we abandoned, but I have now done it, well I got to the top of Port de Bales! Guys please go read the description on the Rapha website (features). Its very accurate. What caught me out (big time!!) is the amount of invisible climbing. Port de Bales is easy right at an average of what 6%? Well the first 10kms are between 3 and 5%. BUT the 2nd 10kms are at 8 and 14%, it does not let up and you are a ways into the etape with a SOB to come. Col de Mente is very very tough, You climb for 2kms, dip down and then ramp up like alpe d'huez. This will sort out many people. Last year was tough, this year its a lot harder, mentally you have to expect the worse and you have to eat and drink lots from the go. Compact at the least, triple wont do any harm. Guys some of us wont make this, it will be no shame, …
Bike needs to go on a dietIts got to that stage where my bike is starting to be a bit limiting. I've been weighing the various components and well, there is a bit of flab that needs to go, here is the inventory;Weight%ageComponent1.921.8Powertap Rear Wheel (incl. tyre + skewer)1.213.8Front Wheel (Bontrager Race X Lite)0.55.7Saddle Bag (tools, pump, tube)4.754.0Frame (incl. pedals. groupset)0.44.6Saddle + Seatpost + Clamp8.7100Total Bike WeightSo, it doesn't take a genius to work out where there is the best scope for saving weight. After me of course. I'm not planning on ditching my frame and groupset, certainly a triple is not on the cards - it weighs more and a lot more to go wrong on the day.The saddle and seatpost are relatively lightweight, so we can discount those. Wheels and TyresSo the wheels are gonna have to skinny up. The powertap will not be climbing Alpe D'Huez - the stock Race X Lite wheel it replaces, including cassette and tyres is 1.4kg - a whopping hal…
Pavlov's Dog

So Ivan Petrovich Pavlov trained his dog to salivate when he heard a bell. I have now been trained to drink from my water bottle when I hear a polar HR monitor beep. It all came about from my training weekend in Northumberland. I have been struggling to take-on the right amount of fluid on my long rides.

Using my Polar HRM I can set an interval timer that repeats every 20minutes (if you are interested under Options->Exercise Set->Timer1 and Timer2). So now I start my ride as normal and every 20 mins, bingo alarm goes off and I dutifully drink from my bottles.

The funny thing is, I took my lad racing last night over at the Hillingdon Slipstreamers (his first real race!) and whilst waiting at the paddock loads of adult roadies arrived for their races, which start after the juniors. As they milled about their monitors beeped as they auto-started and auto-stopped with the activity.

Every time I heard that beep I felt the need to drink... it became quite unnerving!

I AM P…
Northumberland Training Weekend

Phew, its a long way to Northumberland, but thoroughly worth it. I spent 12 hours driving 720miles there and back and 11 hours riding 185 miles. Rode with some great guys, all of whom are training for significant events; The Raid Pyreneen, The UK Ironman or a personal ride of the Marmotte route. No slouchers then.

Saturday - 85 mile leg loosener.

Actually we kept up a good pace. Neil (Marmotte guy), John (Pyrenees Raid) and Quentin (Pyrenees Raid) and me (Wally) hit the quiet roads of Northumberland and cranked round 85 miles in a whisker under 5 hours. A fairly hot pace.


Sunday - 103 mile Trip to Scotland.

Ian (Raid Pyreneen), Glen (UK Ironman), John and Quenting again. A very fast and hard ride to the Scottish border and back over some undulating hills. Have to say that undulating hills are so energy sapping - you dig in to get over a rise then have no recovery time before you are doing it again and again and again. Highlight has to be the lone piper playi…
Sometimes you need to just get on with it.

I went out for a ride in the Sunday sunshine and eventually managed to enjoy myself. Sometimes it feels like a merry-go-round in the Surrey hills. Lots of roadies all whizzing round and round training hard, with zero fun. I managed 3 hours before I decided to hop off the merry-go-round and skive off into the lanes of Sussex. Bliss.

Made me realise that I had forgotten why I like riding my bike. Also made me realise that I haven't been cycling with my wife for months. I missed her as I cruised around the hazy lanes in the glorious sunshine. We both watch these lanes change over the seasons, from wintry bleakness to autumn blizzards and now summer birdsong and nettles.

Felt strong but every day I can feel my confidence ebbing away ... I guess its some kind of performance anxiety kicking in ... exactly one month till the Alpe TT. Gulp.
The usual
Lost my mojo

The sun is shining, its Sunday. Bike is ready to go. I've got an all day pass. What more could I ask for? So why am I disinterested in hitting the hills today? I am having to force myself to ride. How the hell does that work on a day like today?

Is this what it feels like to burn out?

Putting on my bibs and jersey actually feel like putting on my suit and going to work. Yeesh.