Sunday, May 19, 2019

Almost There...

Almost no issue with the achilles in today's treadmill 'race'. Felt it just a little in the first few minutes but after that it was fine. Today's effort was another increase, 8km. Going to continue to increase things slowly to minimise the risk of recurrence but it definitely feels good to be on the home straight, so to speak.

Finished the days training with a one lap race on the Richmond UCI course, 16km. My legs were suffering from the start. After the initial skirmishes I found myself in a group of four. It was good fun as we each tried to break off the front only to be caught after thirty or forty seconds. I gave up on the idea of a break on the flat and dug in until the final four kilometres, with the three short climbs. Once we hit the first climb I was away and despite my legs burning, I went all in to break away - and break away I did. Rather surprisingly I managed a PB on the first and last short climbs by a whole second and seven seconds respectively.

All in all it's been a very successful weeks training and I'm ready for my next race - whatever that turns out to be.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Now That Was Some Training...

So I managed to reach 5k on the treadmill today and my achilles felt better as the metres clocked up. Still not perfect but I feel sure I'm almost out the other side.

After the run I hit the bike for a loop of virtual London, 15km, 200m ascent. It wasn't an event, just a random ride but I decided to put in a big effort anyway. I started pretty hard, not all out but I was definitely working the legs.

I topped out the Box Hill climb 13th of 112 riders on the climb at the time with a pretty massive PB by 1 minute and 55 seconds! Then, after the fast down hill, completed the London Loop 2nd of the 65 riders on route at the time. Another PB, but only by 24s. It not being a race, so there was little drafting to be had, which accounts for the apparent discrepancy between the improvement on the climb vs the over all lap - ie, you don't really get much drafting benefit when climbing but it gives a noticeable speed increase on the flat. And to top it off the ride registered as an FTP increase, up to 212 from 209.

All in all a pleasing day of training.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Grim Reaping...

With my scythe. I have to admit to letting the garden grow - out of control so it was time for a little scythe action. Upper body is aching now. Surprisingly hard work.

Anyway, with that done I hit the bike for an hours group training session - except something went wrong with my power readings and I couldn't get ERG mode working. Slightly annoying. So with the group training gone south, I tried a solo session and managed to get ERG working so I'm not sure what went wrong. The session I chose was surprisingly hard effort. 3 sets of 3 rep sections. The first set was 1 minute efforts at 85%, 100% and 115% FTP. The next 2 minute efforts and the final one was 3 minute efforts. The recovery was short and I really struggled on the last set but I managed to avoid the spiral of death. A good work out.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

It's Still Lingering...

Back on the treadmill tonight. Legs still don't feel totally fresh but not far off. The achilles, however, is still royally getting my nerves. It is improving - just not as quickly as I want. I ran a bit further than Tuesday and nudged the pace up little. Nothing properly fast, mind, but at least it's at the pace I think it is. Don't want to push too far too fast just in case.

Anyway, I've a couple days off now and just my luck for the weather to turn but I'll cobble some training together - and I know a good indoor training session if needs be [winks to camera]...

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

My Legs Are Still Fatigued But...

I mustered for stage 6 of the Tour of Watopia. Another time trial, 30km this time. I didn't have much power and what little I had was leg burning but I worked steadily from a slow start to a better finish. #Zwift is such a cracking work out.

Before the ride, I did a teeny weeny pre-tour run on the treadmill. My achilles is still not completely normal but it's definitely on the home straight. It was only 2.5k but every little helps.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Virtual Stage 1 Giro d'Italia

#Zwift have accurately virtualised the first stage of this years Giro d'Italian. An 8k time trial, the last 2km is all up hill to the finish at an average of 10% with sections up to 16%. The pro's have been riding it to get a feel for the course before heading out for real.

I could feel yesterday's time on feet in my legs. My quads definitely felt a bit fatigued but that didn't stop me firing out my best power stats to date. I rode just under ftp for the first 6km before letting rip on the climb. I was out of the saddle for the first kilometre of the climb, up at 125% of ftp but I was over cooking it and my legs were burning. I dropped back to about 115% ftp for the last kilometre and over the line.

My time was 21:05 - so only 8 minutes and 10 seconds slower than yesterday's real world stage winner, Roglic.

I finished off by riding the reverse back to the start as warm down, except I ended up working just as hard and really finished my legs off. My quads are wrecked. A good work out though.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Clocked Up Some Good Time On Feet In The Mountains

I'm glad I volunteered to act as support runner at today's Cwmdu feel race - although I'm not sure those I supported were quite so glad.... Cwmdu is a pretty decent fell workout at 10 miles with 900m ascent. Definitely not a walk in the park and I feel surprisingly worn out. The weather though, was corking. Cue the first application of sun block of the year. You could see right across to Pen-y-Fan.

Hopefully, those I supported won't be too put off by the trauma of today's outing, and be back for more...

Friday, May 10, 2019

And Yet Another Tester

5k this time, at a steady 10kph on the treadmill - and a real 10kph for the first time. Achilles felt much better. Still not completely settled but definitely the best it's felt for a while and I was able to run without really feeling it hinder me. I reckon I'll be back to racing in a week - although I am making an appearance at the Cwmdu fell race tomorrow in a semi-racing capacity.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Another Little Tester

and not just of my achilles. The other test was of my new Stryd - I do love a good gadget. I've been reading up on it for a few months and by all accounts it appears to be very very accurate. With that in mind, my treadmill would appear to be waaaayyyy off, reading much too high. That means all this time I've been running slower than I thought I was - which helps to explain why when I go for a proper run at 'similar' pacing it feels way harder - yeah, that would because I am actually running faster than when I'm on the treadmill. On the up side, I can at least start working at the right pacing on the treadmill. Oh, and as to the achilles, it's still not great but I was able to go faster than Sunday's little tester.

Monday, May 06, 2019

Stage 5 Of The Tour...

on the ol' smart trainer. It was a fairly short one. Only 20k and it was over in half an hour. My legs felt far fresher than on Saturday and I rode it more like a time trial than I did then and I had 8W more power as well. My achilles is still iffy, maybe a tad better but not much in it, so I decided to rest it. Aiming for a gentle jog tomorrow.

Sunday, May 05, 2019

A Very Gentle Jog...

to test the water, so to speak. The achilles felt sore throughout but no worse afterwards. It wasn't really what could be considered training but I'm hoping it will continue to feel less sore tomorrow and in the days onward so I can continue the return. As it is at the moment there is no way I can stress it so I really do need it to start improving...

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Zipping Along...

In the Zipp High Speed Challenge. Drafting off. Power to the pedal and pedal to the floor. A 23k virtual time trial on a virtually flat course. My legs felt dead for the first five to ten minutes but I gradually got into. With no drafting it's just you and the power. I was in the bottom half of the field at the half way point but by then my moment was building. I gained over a dozen places on the way back, my power increasing, to finish in the top twenty of fifty one. The only downside is that my god damn achilles is still playing up. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger - even if it is very annoying.

Friday, May 03, 2019

Finally Managed Some Training

My achilles is still sore but easing. Still not ready to risk a run though. I was, at least, up to entering the wondrous world of #Zwift for the first time since last Sunday's ordeal. I decided to repeat stage 4 of the Tour of Watopia. 30k on one of the flatter routes. I took it easy rather than racing - except towards the end when the racing got me. I couldn't help myself and wound the power up. By the end I was emptying the tank quick. Heart rate hitting the mid 170s, I held off a couple of late attacks - and then had to lie down for a couple of minutes to recover. The achilles survived though. A run tomorrow? Fingers crossed...

Monday, April 29, 2019

Crippled, Crippled I Tells Ya...

It's another fine mess I've got myself into. My achilles is not feeling too chipper. In fact I'm a little worried as to how long it's going to take to settle down. The bike isn't even an option today as it hurts to pedal. I've been hobbling around at work, better than sitting at a desk I suppose - although I'm not totally convinced. The euphoria of blister popping has definitely faded so now it's fingers crossed the achilles settles quickly so I can get back to running...

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Well I F*(#ed That Up...

The South Wales Mountain Trial. And I failed spectacularly. It was always going to be my longest/hardest 'race' of the year and it was just too much for me.

I started off pretty perfectly. I wasn't covering the ground quickly but I was direct to control points 1 through 5. By the time I reached CP5 I was beginning to tire though and I changed my mind on the best way to six. I'd originally decided to go over the top, pick up the path and locate on the trig. Beginning to tire as I was, I decided to contour round the end to save the climb. That was the wrong choice, and despite heading round on the 590 contour I spotted the wrong 'river' which wasn't the river and with brain turning to mush through fatigue, I didn't really use the compass and spent a long time fannying around on the 490 contour trying to find the stream and CP6 - that I was never going to find in the location I was fannying.

I then decided to call it a day as just getting back was now going to be a task. I was knackered - and if you thought I was covering the ground slowly at the start, then by contrast that was formula one compared to my speed heading back.

As I was heading back I spotted the actual river and very almost headed down the stream to CP6. My gps plot shows the right angle turn I made on the way back, following the stream down towards the 490 contour - and yes, I was actually on the right stream but I aborted as I knew I had to forget the trial - fast becoming an ordeal - and get back.

I took as direct a route as possible to the finish - which took me within 50m of CP7. I waved at it as I walked past. The 25m climb to it, up the stream was well beyond my capability by this point. I was broken by the finish. I bit off way more than I could chew - but once I'm able to walk again, I'll be back...

Saturday, April 27, 2019

The Big Question....

Are we headed east or west? I am of course referring to tomorrow's SW Mountain Trial. My money is on west but either way it's not too long till we find out. I've done sod all today and my legs do feel a bit lighter - I suspect that feeling will disappear sometime shortly after 11am tomorrow. 

Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Achilles Is Still Playing Up

So it's been a bit of a rest week. The achilles is feeling better but I didn't want to risk a run so I hit the saddle for stage four of the Tour of Watopia. A 29km blast around the figure 8-ish route. I put down my best 30 and 40 minute power to date so I'm pleased with that. Also pleasing, having looked at the data, is seeing that my resting heart rate has dropped 6-7bpm over the last six months. All positive signs. Now all I need to do is to make sure my achilles is settled ahead of Sunday's Hill Trial - or should that be ordeal...

Monday, April 22, 2019

Well That Didn't Work...

So I headed over to Gilwern Hill and ran the 5kish loop to check the route before the race. The local ne-er do wells - and I don't mean RogueRuns - had been ne-er do welling and had tampered with the route markers at the far end of the course. I put that right and headed up the climb back to my car. My legs felt like lead on the climb. Totally fatigued from the last few days activity.

Anyway, I got back to the car and then headed across to my marshalling spot. The weather was glorious as I sat in my chair taking in the rays. Waiting. Waiting a bit more. And then a bit more. After my estimated timing for the first runner expired by some minutes I began to start thinking something had gone wrong. And sure enough, sometime after I'd gone round, someone tampered with the route markings again, marring the race for the first dozen runners.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

I Almost Cried...

When I realised where the final 10k of the #Zwift L'Etape du Tour de France Endurance Training Event was taking us... A hill finish at the top of the Epic KOM climb. I was feeling heavy legged throughout and thought [read hoped] we were headed for a flattish finish as we turned away from the reverse Epic KOM climb just after the halfway point. My mistake. After a few twists and turns on the flat, we looped away and towards the climb...

That final 10k was a real leg burner. I was knackered but had to keep grinding in order to end the pain as quickly as possible. I was out of the saddle a fair bit. Finally made it to the finish after 2 hours and 26 minutes, 73km and 1012m of climb. My legs are totally worn out. On the plus side my achilles feels fine now! It was still sore beforehand. Better than yesterday but still sore. Now it feels fine. Go figure.

Training wise I must be getting fitter. This was my longest virtual ride by 3km and 140m hillier. Despite that I was over five minutes quicker - and that was with the feeling tired beforehand. All looking good to be able to jog round the 5k loop of the Gilwern Grunt route check tomorrow. Need to check my timings, don't want to be late.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

No Run For Me

So I woke up to discover my achilles feeling sore this morning. Not sure where that came from as yesterday's run wasn't pretty but I didn't in any way have any soreness or tightness. Run cancelled. I'm not risking injury. Luckily it didn't affect peddling and I was able to complete a pretty decent hour on #Zwift, the 3 x 13min Climb session. It wasn't as hard as Wednesday's session but still provided a pretty good burn.

Friday, April 19, 2019


A thirty minute run followed by a thirty minute #Zwift. The run was laboured. The ride was steady with a few efforts thrown in for good measure. Back to the run. I struggled to get into it. It was just my home 5k hilly loop but it felt more like 10k effort-wise. Heart rate wasn't excessively high. I'll just put it down to the fact I'd sat on my ass all day before the run and that it was bloody hot out there. The ride was better.

I'm going to give Cribyn fell race a miss tomorrow. It's definitely not one to be going into feeling tired. I'll probably just do a couple more days easy running and riding before Monday's Gilwern Grunt where I'm marshalling not running - although I will be running the Hill section to check the route markers are all in place before hand.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Back On Tour

Stage 3 of the Tour of Watopia was a group workout and it was right up there with the toughest workout sessions I've done on #Zwift. It wasn't, maybe, the overall toughest but the first reps were as tough as any I've ridden.

Three 1 minute efforts at 150% of FTP. I very nearly hit the spiral of death on the first rep. Caught slightly unaware, I didn't take in enough cadence and only narrowly avoided coming to a total halt. I was more prepped for the second and third but my legs were throbbing at the end of each one. The next five reps were short but very sharp, 10 seconds at 270% of FTP with ever decreasing recovery. The final two reps, ten minutes at 90% of FTP, weren't as easy as the figures would suggest. Those first reps had really taken their toll and I was still feeling the lingering fatigue from Sunday's long race. Thoroughly enjoyable and a damn fine workout to boot.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Running With The Romans

and the route has changed since the last time I ran the Chedworth Roman Trail. It was most of the same bits - just not necessarily in the same order. At almost 17km it was my longest race this year by a margin. Not as much ascent as a fell race but it still racked up 330m. Overall I went okay but began to cramp up in various leg muscles with three or so kilometres to go. Nothing too major and I made it to the finish in one piece - and then had my customary coughing fit.

Being a pro-athlete [cough, cough] I'm not really one for medals but today's one was actually quite a nice one, made from wood (hopefully from a sustainable source). If I ever decide to get rid of it I can bung it in the shredder and make it into mulch.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Needed To...

Do something because I couldn't face a gap of three days without doing anything. It wasn't really training though but it made me feel better and despite just going through the motions I couldn't help myself on the sprint section and really belted it out... New PB!! - But apart from that I took it really easy to complete 10km.

And that's it now before Sunday's Chedworth Roman Trail. I ran this one way back in 2007 where I came, wait for it, wait for it, 17th out of 307!!!! In 1hr 7mins. I'm likely to be double that this time and it'll be a miracle if I make the top half of the field.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Almost Didn't But I Did...

Easyish ramps. 10kph up to 14kph and back down again times two, with each increment being 250m. Not the most auspicious session in the world but I almost didn't do it at all so I'm pleased I beat today's malaise.

My legs are still pretty heavy and I've got my longest race of the year coming up this Sunday. The Chedworth Roman Trail, 10miles. It's not got the ascent of a fell race - but that just means I've got no excuse for walking! I'm going to find it tough so I really need to consider tomorrow as my last training day before Sunday because I really need my legs to feel fresh...

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

I Enjoyed That!

Eight 4km laps for stage 2 of the #Zwift Tour of Watopia. My quads were still feeling it from the weekends efforts - should there be an apostrophe in there somewhere? It took me a couple of laps to get into the groove but by lap three I was making inroads and set my lap PR. Over the next three laps my times dropped a couple of seconds as I worked hard to time my efforts on the short climbs before a surprise quicker lap on the seventh, increasing my lap record by a whole three tenths of a second. By then my heart rate was climbing. I was really blowing on the final lap but still managed to hit my highest power averages, and for once took the sprint from those around me. The legs are feeling heavy now...

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Final Fondo of the Season

My legs, specifically my quads, are sore from yesterday's race but I wanted to complete the full set of six #Zwift Fondo. So after manning the Offa's Orra water station this morning I headed home and hit the saddle.

Unsurprisingly it was bloody hard work and although I did edge up through the field during the ride it was more a case of wanting the pain to end rather than eager racing - and anyway, it's not a race. I was very much knackered at the end but pleased I motivated myself to do it. 60km, 600m ascent, 1hr 45. Almost certain to be a rest day tomorrow - unless there's a miracle...

Saturday, April 06, 2019

Race Eight, Sugar Loaf

My legs didn't feel as heavy as I was expecting after yesterday's bike session - they feel bloody heavy now, mind. It never gets any easier does it? And the days when I could go below the hour for Sugar Loaf are well behind me but I'm happy with 1:15 and not last.

It was hard work on the ups and it wasn't much easier across the Deri as I was working hard to make up some of the ground I'd ceded on the first climb. I enjoyed the descent though and managed to gain about ten places from the top. I'm hopeful the results will show a slight performance improvement. The data analysis - yes, I am a total geek - shows improvement in several areas. Not massive improvements but I'm in this for the long haul...

The stats for today's race, 11½ km, 600m of ascent in 1:15:31. Up tomorrow, the final #Zwift Fondo of the season - after I water the runners at tomorrow's Offa's Orra trail race.

Friday, April 05, 2019

Couldn't Quite Manage Two Rest Days...

Relative to my recent form (that's the last three to four years) I've been hitting it pretty hard these last two to three weeks and my legs definitely know it. With race number eight coming up this Saturday I decided to take a couple of really easy rest days, pottering around doing nothing - except I just couldn't bear it and I broke. Today the second of the rest days became a virtual group ride.

I've ridden this particular group session before. Twelve short 2.5km laps in virtual New York with a 8-12s sprint section which you ride hard every other lap. It's really fun and the laps fly by. It did however go a bit pete tong as I overcooked the first of the sprints and absolutely crucified myself, fell off the back of the group, never to be seen again... I tried to get back but after 20 seconds I knew I was doomed to ride the final nine laps lonely, sobbing into my virtual hanky.

On the plus side, while overcooking it, I did set new all time power curve figures for 0 to 45s. On the downside I have absolutely destroyed my legs so I'm likely to be battling to avoid coming last at tomorrow's Sugar Loaf fell race. But who cares? I'm back and I'm loving it...

The power spike at 16 minutes was where I overcooked it...

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Run Reps Recurrence

So my legs are really feeling it - even before the start of tonight's training but I'm not stopping. More reps on the treadmill. Six 500m reps with 250m recovery at 12kph, 3 x 15kph, 15½kph and a final 14kph. The final two were hard work, my calves were tightening but I completed the set.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

A Time To Tour...

Yes, the seven stage Tour of Watopia on #Zwift has kicked off and I really got into this evening. I felt heavy legged to begin with. I've not given myself enough rest - and I can't bring myself to do so for fear that the curse of the sofa will strike again - yes, it's a real curse.

So anyway, it was a good field with over 3000 of us riding and to begin with I was outside the top 2000. By half way I'd only nudged up towards the top 1900 but from there I really got into... As can be seen in the charts, my power (yellow) gradually trended upwards.

By halfway things had splintered into smallish groups and I really forced it from the front to get the group speed up in order to bridge to the next group. We took in group after group as we moved up through the 1800s, the 1700s and into the 1600s. Into the final seven or eight minutes I was maintaining beyond FTP and feeling the burn to finish circa 1540. The middle graph highlights where I went into the red - and shows how steady the effort was in the first half.

I really enjoyed it tonight. The official events are great fun - and highly motivating. Bring on the next one...

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Another Day, More Training

A bike session today and I chose a session from last years #Zwift Academy. It was the 'race day' session and consisted of three 'break away' reps. Each rep consisted putting down a short big power blast before maintaining high power for a few minutes before another spike followed by another high power section and then the recovery. I thought I'd bitten off more than I could chew when I realised how long the high (above FTP) sections were. But despite it being a bit of a leg burner towards the end I manage to complete without hitting the spiral of death.

I'm pleased with myself for keeping up the training momentum. I'm feeling it in the legs this evening but hopefully it will be worth it... Need to hit a few session mid week before back on the racing on the weekend at Sugar Loaf.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

First Flaxley For A While

With no race this weekend it's just going to be training. Said training began with a loop around Flaxley Wood (9k) and I found it surprisingly hard effort. I was expecting to find it a bit easier going but then I have increased my training effort over the last two weeks. On the plus side it was my fastest on the loop for a year but I somehow expected more. Ah well, I'll just have to keep on with the training and have another crack in a few weeks. More training tomorrow.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Pyramid-ish Session

So having pulled a rest day yesterday I was back on it today. Little and often is the new me (at least until it wears off). It turned out to be a kind of pyramid session of 250m sections undulating between 10, 12 and 14kph with the 14kph section extending out to 500m and 750m and back to 250m for the last two but without the 10kph on the final undulation. Still with me?

It felt like a good session. I was pleased with it, especially the effort on longest rep. And for the first time I'm not finding the reps boring - so that's a first! Finished off the training with 10k on the bike, the Richmond hilly, and I put in some decent effort of the short, sharp hill climbs.

I've no races lined up this weekend so it's just going to be more training...

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Nothing Like A Race...

To increase the FTP - by over 6% from 189 to 201W in my case and I have no idea where it came from! I felt pretty sluggish into the first lap (of three). My legs still felt leaden and my power wasn't anything special but, to quote Gloria Estefan, the racing is gonna get you... (never realised she was into #Zwift!)

Slowly buy surely my power edged up. Riding off the front of group after group I gained over 100 places, from outside 500 up to 370th on the line. I didn't contest the sprint finish as I was on my limit throughout the final lap but I can't grumble at such an unexpected jump in FTP. I do love a good race. (31km, 200m ascent).

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Little and Often Continues...

Yep, back on the treadmill today, #Zwift. Six 400m reps with 200m recovery. Paced at 14kph or 103s per rep, it was just about right. My legs are still feeling dead but I couldn't put off the run any longer. It's all a bit random - and a little bit tame - but as long as I keep mixing it up I'm sure it'll be doing me good and over time hopefully I will make gains. Need to look at factoring in some hill work though - and that might require venturing forth into the real world...

Monday, March 25, 2019

Everyday In Every Way I'll Try...

to exercise a lot but if a lot just doesn't happen, I'll settle for a little! And so today it was a little. Another twenty minutes on the bike. My quads are still feeling heavy and I hit the burn without putting much power down. Still, a little is better than nothing.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Is It Just Me?

or does anyone else say thank you to their Amazon Echo when it carries out a command... Nope, thought not, just me then... Anyway, pulling back out of that cul-de-sac, I managed a short, twenty minute pootle on the bike this morning. My quads are sore and had no strength but I wanted to do something even if it was more symbolic than real training. I'm going to try to get into the habit of doing something everyday even if it's just twenty minutes and build from there...

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Walked Up A Hill...

and it only cost me £2 for the privilege. Bargain! I fared better on the descent. Yes, I am of course talking about the Pen Cerrig Calch fell race.

I knew I'd be doing a lot of walking on the ascent. I just don't have the legs for it at the moment but it'll come... I enjoyed the descent though. I felt light of foot over the rocky technical sections and advanced through the field. The bottom section gets steep and I was able to gain another three places coming down the final two fields into the finish.

Pretty sure the race score won't be as good as my last couple due to the very slow ascent but there's always the next race...

Friday, March 22, 2019

Training In The Real World...

So I braved the real world and ventured forth into the forest for a training run.... Just a 5km plod around the Sallowvellets Inclosure area but it was enjoyable enough and I didn't want to over do it what with tomorrow's Pen Cerrig Calch fell race - race number seven of the year. I finished off the training with a gentle 10km ride back in the safety of the #Zwift virtual world...

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

19 Kilometres per Hour...

On the treadmill. Yes, so fast I was overtaking the cyclists! Okay, one cyclist and only for 200m but heck, that's the fastest these old, lardy legs have gone in a long time.... I kind of made it up as I went along and it ended up being six 200m reps with an equal recovery at 14kph, 16kph x 3, 17.5kph and 19kph. I'm stating things in kph as it sounds more impressive... in reality it is a long way from what I could once do but it only took 30mins, including the warm up and cool down, and didn't bore me to death! I almost feel like I could find the motivation to fit in a few more sessions here and there. And now the bridge toll has been removed I really should try and work the flexi late shift - that's 10am to 6pm - in order to get across to Harriers training on a Tuesday and Thursday night....

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Short Blast Over the Hill

So I was intending to run on the treadmill after work today but having spent the entire day sat at my desk, my legs were really stiff and heavy. I tried a few strides and decided to do a short ride instead. That ended up being a single lap of the London Loop including the virtual Box Hill. 15km and 230m ascent. I took it steady and my legs felt a bit better afterwards than before. Interestingly it was my third fastest time up the hill and I wasn't really pushing at all.

The lesson of the day though, is that I really should get out of the seat for a stretch or two during the day.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

A Bit Of Four Seasons...

for today's Tor y Foel fell race. Yes, we had sunshine, rain, hail and biting strong gusts - practically froze my face off along the top.

So as I suspected, my legs were heavy from yesterday's slightly fool hardy training. I did a little warm up beforehand in the hope that they'd feel less dead - it didn't work. Having said that, I had an okay run. Pants on the main climb - no surprise there - I fared a little better on the descent. I managed to collect about five or six places. I nearly went over a right purler on the section of the descent after the road but managed to 'ski' a couple of metres on one foot before getting back control.

I ran pretty well on the 'cobbles' but didn't enjoy it at all. Most uncomfortable but gained one more place before reaching the finish. Despite the cold and wet I enjoyed it so I'll be back for the next race in a weeks time...

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Probably Not Ideal Prep...

For tomorrow's Tor y Foel fell race. My legs are fair wobbly after today's race up the Alpe du Zwift. I should probably have chosen an easier ride. As it was I sat in and ground my way up the 12km, 1000m ascent - after the 15km lead in section. With the race finishing at the top, I decided to add another 13km of easy riding back down. Ride totals, 40km, 1220m ascent - and one set of wobbly legs. On the plus side, I claimed a PB up the climb by just over 2 minutes. Total ride time 1hr 51m. So that's me totally set for tomorrow's fell race....

Friday, March 15, 2019

Managed Something

So I felt a bit crook yesterday and overnight. Yesterdays training session didn't happen and despite not feeling completely topper I needed to do something today. I decided on a short group training session. Just about the right amount of effort. Hopefully I'll be totally back to 'normal' for the weekend and Sunday's Tor y Foel fell race.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Charging The Head Torch....

It's been a while since I've used it for running and I'm not sure how well the batteries will hold up - I guess we'll see at tomorrow's Blorenge Night Roundabout. I don't know much about the race other than the location of the race HQ - and the rogue that organises it. What's the worst that can happen?...

Sunday, March 10, 2019

A Better Week Of Training

That's more like it. Despite not racing this weekend, it's still been a good week of training. Yesterday's marshalling felt like a race the way I had to push to get to the checkpoint in time for the first runner. My legs felt heavy before this afternoon's #Zwift Fondo and they're feeling even heavier now. 52km, 550m ascent.

It was a good session. Not a race. Who were we kidding, we were all racing it. I was in amongst some big groups for most of the ride but things broke up in the last 10km or so. The route they use for the bambino fondo suits me as it's a climbing finish and I was able grind out some good positional gains and to that end I moved up through the ride from around 500th at the start to 314 of 967 - but it wasn't a race.

My time was a couple of minutes down on last month but I had a much higher fatigue level going in to it this time - and I felt that throughout. Definitely been a good week's training and I'm feeling buoyed.

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Well That Was Bloody Close....

I only just made it to my summit in time to marshal. I arrived at Cribyn a full sixty seconds before the first runner came through. Some might call it perfect timing - I'd call it, getting my timing slightly wrong...

So I arrived at Blaen y glyn car park with plenty of time to spare - in the pouring rain. Happy days, I thought to myself but by race time it had cleared up. I then proceeded to layer up as it was bloody windy, before heading out to get to Cribyn, with what I thought was about the right amount of time. With it being a biting cold wind I didn't want to get there miles too soon - but sixty seconds was definitely cutting it close.

It was unsurprisingly hard work into the the strong wind and as I started into the final section of my trek, the ascent of Cribyn itself, I realised it was going to be tight. I kept looking across to Fan y Big, as that was were the runner would be coming from. When I was about half way up the first, steeper section, I looked back to see them coming - shit, it's going to be close, I thought. I pushed on.

After clearing the steeper section, I pushed on along the final, gentler section to the summit. Looking back, as I was about half way along I spotted the first runner clearing the steeper section - not going to make it... I had to start telling myself, "come on, I can run this bit" - I wanted to slap myself for uttering those words, grrrhh. Eventually I made the summit, got out my phone to record the runners and got myself sat down just as the first runner came into view...

The return journey was less worrisome as I tracked the last runner home. It was pretty decent training. The outward journey was 5.75km with 650m ascent and the return, following the race route, 6km with 175m ascent.

Up tomorrow is the Zwift Fondo number five. Pretty sure it's going to the bambino, but maybe I'll feel refreshed enough for a crack at the medio.

Friday, March 08, 2019

I've Been Upgraded...

To Cribyn from Fan y Big, to a mountain from a hill. Yes, in a change to my recent return to running, I shall be marshalling at tomorrow's Tour of Torpantau fell race. But with Cribyn being the furthest point on the course, it means I won't be traversing much less distance than the runners. Need to make sure I get my timings correct in order to get to the checkpoint in time, especially if the cloud is down...... might take my GPS! 😉

Today, I took a chilled day off work - lots of time to use up or lose it. Put in a gentle tour round Innsbruck, with its 500m climb and 25k - I've only got another 14,000m of ascent to go before I hit the magic 50,000m mark and the reward of the virtual tron bike.... #Zwift.

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

A Bit O' Racing

Spotted a 30k race going down and just managed to get myself to the saddle in time, #Zwift. There was just 55s to spare before the kickoff. And I'm glad I made it. It was a good effort. Not huge numbers but after the initial blast off phase, there were enough 'blips' head of me on the radar to spur me on. That spur pushed me to a decent power average, circa 190W. Still down on six months back but definitely creeping back...

Sunday, March 03, 2019

Legs A Bit Sore

I decided on a bike training session today, to avoid the impact. The triple bumps session, three sets of three power ramp ups. A decent workout and just about the right amount of stress for my sore legs...

Saturday, March 02, 2019

More Of A Trot Than A Canter...

but overcoming the strong wind, I got round and for a bonus point it didn't rain. All in all, a result.

At just 8km though, the Carding Mill Canter, was tougher than I was expecting. I struggled on the first climb and it took me a few minutes to get going once I got to the top but then from there I started to pick up the pace and enjoy it. As a bonus I gained a few places - especially on the rougher bits.

My legs were a bit broken after the descent back into the valley at the midway point and I doubly struggled on the north loop. The climb to the top broke into three sections and each one was hard going. The wind made it all the more tough. I was beginning to lose the will to live on the final climb, wind buffeting me sideways, but just managed to hold on and then descend to the finish.

Friday, March 01, 2019

A Sneak Peek...

at tomorrow's Carding Mill Canter. It has the same ascent as last weekend's Hatterall Sledge but crammed into 8-ish km instead of 12. A quick look on google maps shows some paths/trails/trods over most of the route so 'should' be pretty straight forward - and if all else fails I'll still have my GPS... just kidding. Map and compass for me.

The route starts at the lower (SE) car park and heads NW and around the bottom loop, anti-clockwise back around to near the start before heading east and up around the top loop to finish as the top car park - if that make sense....

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Nudging The Treadmill Speed Up...

So I decided, after my last treadmill session, to a) keep to the group runs for the motivation, b) set the target speed from the off and c) set the target speed a little faster each time - but maybe not ad infinitum. So it was 12.2kph tonight (for 5k). 12.5kph next time. It's a bit pathetic but pathetic is as pathetic does - not sure what the heck that means!

Up this weekend I'm travelling up north, Church Stretton, for the Carding Mill Canter on Saturday. The 'racing' continues...

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Recovery Day

I wanted to test how my left sole was going to take a run so I hit the treadmill for a 5k group run. Happily it felt fine. I was hoping to follow that with a group ride but didn't quite get across to the bike quickly enough and they left without me... So I cooled down with a steady 10k solo ride instead. All completed in #Zwift's virtual New York.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

That Was Hard Work

but I'm pleased with the effort. I'm aching a little. I started to cramp up coming into the penultimate field but managed to stave it off and although I didn't have any trouble during the race the sole of my left foot is aching big time. Won't be anything serious, just the after affects of a 70% increase in distance and ascent from the previous race.

The race itself was a proper race and definitely one to put in the diary - The Hatterall Sledge, make a note of it for next year.

Despite quite a lot on running on paths there was a nice little section across the nothing-ness and I took a pretty good line. Would be all the more challenging in the fog - so bring that on next year... I risked the brambles on corner cut towards the end and gained a couple of places. With a recce I reckon you could eek out a decent way through it.

Despite the increase in distance, I didn't fade too badly in the later stages and I generally picked up places after the first climb rather than drop them. All good. 12k, 560m ascent. Feeling a bit tired now though.

Well done Dan S, the marshals and the Old Pandy Inn for hosting.

Friday, February 22, 2019

It's The Big One Tomorrow...

Well it's all relative but tomorrow's fell race, the Hatterall Sledge, is going to be the most challenging for me so far. Back in the day it would be a short, at the moment it's going to feel like an ultra. Definitely going to take it steady on the 12km route with 600m ascent and I must remember to print off a map tomorrow as there is I thinks it's a bit off piste in places. Bring it on...

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Better Than Nothing

Got myself on the treadmill for an easy 5k. All very easy until the last 500m when a runner behind put in a real effort - and it made me do so too. The thing is when I upped the pace it didn't feel too much more effort. Next time I'm going to crank it up more from the start.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Unsurprisingly Sore Legs

So my quads are feeling it today and instead of feeling better through the day I've actually been going in reverse. At this rate I won't be able to walk tomorrow....

Rest day it is - I seem to take a few of those [winks to camera] and I'm going on the record so there'll be less chance of me backing out... To the end of April I have ten events planned, eight races and two marshalling.

The trouble with being a lazy bastard for years on end not running is you end up as a marshal... but that's okay. I won't be giving up marshalling. It's a dirty job but someone's got to do it. No marshals, no races and anyway, I actually enjoy it - as far as you can enjoy sitting at the top of a mountain in the wind, rain, snow, cold - and very occasionally - sunshine....

So anyway, the races are; Hatterall Sledge, Carding Mill Canter, Tor of Torpantau (Marshalling atop Fan y Big), Blorenge Night Race (work schedule permitting), Tor y Foel, Pen Cerrig Calch, Sugarloaf, Chedworth Roman Trail, Gilwern Grunt (Marshalling) and South Wales Mountain Trial...

That leaves two spare weekends. There's Llanbedr to Blaenavon on one of them but I'm not sure I'm up to doing that just yet - but you never know....

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Pen Tir Drop

Race number three complete. A little longer than the last one but not by much and a smidgen more ascent, but again, not by much. 7km, 350m ascent. Performance wise, it's always difficult to compare across fell races as they are all so different but I'm pleased with another increase in average pace, by a good 30s per kilometre. Probably a bit flattering compared to the last two races but it's going in the right direction.

For an out and back course I found it pretty enjoyable. I think that's because you are climbing pretty much all the way to the summit turn. Sometimes steeply, other times more gently but you are pretty much going up the entire way out. In my mind I just kept thinking about the lovely long descent - and it was a lovely long descent.

Up next week is the Hatterall Sledge. At 12km and 600m ascent it's going to be quite a step up....

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Pre-race Warm Up...

Yes, it's race number three tomorrow. Pen Tir Drop and it's the first of the Chepstow Harriers fell series (I think) and "A good intro to fell racing for beginners" - so should suit me then.... 😄

Nothing too ambitious for me today. A 5k run on the treadmill followed by 9k bike at medium effort. To be fair, it's not going to be anything too ambitious for me tomorrow either. I'll just be happy to be back on the start line for the aforementioned race number three.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019


So I'm entering some races. If I enter, I will run....

And for inspiration I'm looking back over my past races and picking a few. First one, Chedworth Roman Trial in April - at 10 miles it's probably too far but the entry fee is paid - I'm running.... I'm also considering the Cleevewold 14 at the end of March. It's the day after Llanbedr-Blaenavon fell race and ten plus years ago I ran the pair back to back.... I'm so not ready for that just yet - and maybe never will be again - but maybe I should be mad enough to try........

More races to come.......

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Treading on the Mill

So I've been bad when it comes to running. With no races, I'm slipping. Fortunately there's a couple of races coming up in the next couple of weeks so things should back on track... Today was just a 5k group run on Zwift. My legs were a little achy from yesterday but feel all the better for having done it.

Saturday, February 09, 2019

Fun Fondo

I started steady but I wasn't trying to go steady. The power was way down but it seemed hard work. Then it all started to come good. Gradually I started to loosen up and increase the power. I'm still down on where I have been but I finished strongly.

Coming to the end of the final climb to a summit finish and being just outside the top 200 I decided to really blast it in the final kilometre. My heart rate was up towards 180. With 300m to go I wasn't sure I wasn't going to die but with one final place needed, I made it on the line to finished 199th. 53km, 580m ascent. Good workout.

Friday, February 08, 2019

So I've...

...Entered my short term target race - the South Wales Mountain Trial and knowing the organiser, I'm sure it'll be a proper test...

Been a bit of a tiring week so far. Work days have been long with early starts and that has drained my energy levels but I feel like I'm recharging. Managed a decent half hour blast on the bike yesterday, although I had the settings wrong which meant I was spinning at higher rpm than I normal. Today my hamstrings are slightly sore which I don't fully understand but there it is.

Tomorrow is the next round of the Zwift Fondo's. I'm still going to have to do the bambino (52k) as I'm not ready for the medio (72k) or gran (98k). I definitely want to do a medio by the end of the series (April).

Sunday, February 03, 2019

It's Over

All nine stages of the Tour de #Zwift are now in the bag and it finished on one of my favourite courses, the Richmond UCI course. It was a much smaller field today than present during the main tour, riding two laps for 33k, 260m ascent. Despite the reduced number, circa 120, there was still some good group riding. In some ways it was more 'racey' - ooh, matron. Because it was a smaller field, I got to know who was riding with me and although the group changed as we caught and got caught, some of those riding with me at the start were still there at the end - not for want of trying to break them on the climbs at the end of the lap, mind. [winks to camera].

I think the three short, sharp undulations at the end of a mainly flat lap is part of the appeal for me. I can really push it into the red, knowing I don't have to hang on for long before hitting the flat and recovery.

And after the race - I mean ride - I treated myself to my one pot microwave macaroni cheese, now tweaked by soaking the pasta in the milk/water for a couple of hours before cooking! Yes, really!! Speeds up the microwaving and eliminates MBO - microwave boil over. Yum.

Saturday, February 02, 2019

Almost There...

That's stage 3 of the Tour de #Zwift complete. Just stage 5 to complete tomorrow and then it'll be tour completed.

It was a good ride. I was in a small group throughout, although the group grew as we worked well together to catch several groups on the road ahead. My personal best bit was leading it out to bridge a big gap. I was up around 350W for what seemed like an entirety and the gap didn't look to be coming down quickly enough for me to survive but then the rest of the group pulled in and together we closed it down. I then had a few minutes on the back, to recover from the effort.

Once recovered, we cracked on before reaching the climb to the finish. From there the group spread out as it became every man - and woman - for themselves. Although the finish was at the top, I couldn't resist riding the decent as a warm down.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The Last Stage of Tour de #Zwift...

but that's not me finished. As I've mention, I still have stages three and five to ride this weekend. I do find the official events give me an incentive to get on the saddle after a hard day at work. Which I think is why focusing on racing is going to help me get back into the running. Although I am struggling for a race this weekend - and no, don't mention the X word! The following weekend isn't much better. There is the Titterstone Clee but it's a 90 minute drive for a 4k race and then of course there's The Long Mynd Valley's Race the following day, which is the same 90 minute drive but for 18k of tough racing. It was my second ever fell race but I'm not sure I'd get past the pre-selection phase now it's gone all nobber on the entry system.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Ee Ba Gum That Wind Were Bloody Cold

There were a surprising amount of branches down along my route this morning - and feeling the strong wind chilling me to bone, I think there were probably more dropping all around me as I 'ran'. So yes, I did manage to get my arse out of bed and head out and I wasn't the only one out there in the cold either. I got overtaken on the climb and it's not often I come across anyone else following the convoluted routes I run in these parts. (Not to mention the fact that I haven't run much, decreasing the chances further).

Saturday, January 26, 2019

The Golden Gate

Stage eight complete and I put down a bit more power than of late. Felt a bit pants at the start but pretty quickly found myself putting down decent power (for me). I think the London course helped as there are a few bumps on the flat section and I seem to find it easier to grind the power when ascending and struggle a bit on the flat as my legs won't fast enough! Grinding up Box Hill twice also helped... Enjoyed it.

Just stage nine of the Tour de Zwift to ride - and those two pesky stages I missed, which will be Saturday and Sunday next week. But before that, up tomorrow, I'm going to stay local and run my Longhope One and a Half Peaks loop, 9km and circa 300m ascent.

Today's ride with a few of the 900+ other riders

Tomorrow's planned run profile...

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Stage Seven

So I'm just about keeping my hopes of completing the full tour alive - not that it means anything, but the goal definitely helps me keep the focus. I've missed two stages, 3 & 5, of the Tour de #Zwift which I can make up on the final weekend, when they re-run all the stages but if I miss another stage, it's game over. Must stay focused.

Tonight's stage was on the Innsbruck Short Course route, 24km, 500m ascent. I really like it but unfortunately doesn't get much airtime, which is a shame. I think this is the first time I've ridden it in a couple of months. Was nice to hit the 100 kph milestone, aided by the group draft.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Looking For Number Three...

So what do I do this weekend? Travelling north for the Ras Tarren Hendre Fell Race, a six hour round trip drive, seems a little excessive. Is there something closer? If not I might dress as a sheep and sneak along to the FoD Hatteral Hammer recce on Sunday...

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Not A Bad Weekend of Exercise

I finished off the weekends exercise with another stage of the Tour de #Zwift. 28km and a whopping 1200m of ascent on Zwift's answer to Alpe d'Huez, the Road to the Sky, Stage 6.

The route started with 16km of undulations as myself and fourteen hundred other virtual riders headed to the start of the beast. From there, for me, it was an hour and ten minutes of grind on the 12km climb at an unrelenting elevation of 10% pretty much the entire way with no sections of respite. 1000m of ascent later I reached the summit and the completion of a decent training session.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Back For More

As threatened, that's race number two bagged - and inside a week to boot. And it was quite an appropriate one, apparently Craig yr Allt Winter is a beginners fell race....

For a race on a relatively small hill it was actually a more interesting route than I was expecting, with a good amount of up and down crammed in to the 6.5km, roughly 350m ascent. I really enjoyed it. I was pretty crap again but, I think, slightly less crap than last week. This weeks race was 1.5km longer with 50m more ascent and I managed a slight average pace increase. I'm happy with that - for a beginner.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Been A Lazy Git This Week

But my excuse is a stressy week at work trying to bring a new control system online and failing. The battle will commence Monday...

Putting that to the back of my mind, tomorrow I continue the return with another race - it's going to be a bit like the buses. Nothing for two and a half years and then three come along together.... So Craig yr Allt fell race it is. I've never run it before. Bring it on.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Thought I'd Got Away With It...

But I was wrong. My legs, more specifically, my quads have got more and more sore throughout the day - I suppose that's what you get after your first race for two and a half years!!! Yes, I've worked out (I think) my last race before yesterday was Fan-y-Big, July 2016.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

I'm Back!

Yes, my first race in a long, long time is complete. The 5k, 300m ascent of the Mynydd Llangorse fell race and all the old racing feelings came flooding back. So I wasn't near the front - but I was far enough from the back that I was happy. Once the race was under way and after the initial argy-bargy was over, the race positions settled down and I began to start plotting when to work hard and when to ease back in order to keep ahead of the runner behind and capture the place ahead. It didn't matter that I was way back in the field. The important bit was beating the runner ahead... and then the next... and the next...

As expected I was bloody rubbish on the up. But I knew that would be the case and so I put in some effort along the first flat section before the main climb in order to gain a few places. Things were all pretty steady during the up and then came the down. I was nowhere near as reckless as once I could be but I still managed to pick up half a dozen places on the decent. I'll take that as a beginner!

So that's it. I'm back. Bring on the next one...

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Warming Up For Tomorrow...

So tomorrow it is. My first race, in god knows how long. It's certainly been well over a year. I'm not fit. I'm certainly not going to be fast but if I wait till either of those happen I don't think I'll ever 'race' again....

Today I warmed up with a 5k #Zwift and now I'm all set to trundle around Mynydd Llangorse tomorrow. Once more into the real world, dear friends, once more....

Friday, January 11, 2019

Oops, Where Did Stage 3 Go...

Yes, I missed it. I managed to crack on with Stage 4 of the Tour du #Zwift tonight though. I'll have to use one of the catch up days at the end to get Stage 3 ridden. Today's ride was pretty good. Not all out but a pretty steady, consistent effort throughout. 40km, 285m ascent. Job done and bring on the weekend as I could do with a bloody good lie in.

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Stage Two

Thirty five kilometres around the virtual Central Park to complete Stage Two of the Tour du #Zwift. A medium to hard effort. With over 2000 riders there was plenty of scope for bridging to the next group up the road. I started off around 1500th place and slowly moved up to towards 900th place. That meant for lots of efforts throughout the entire hours ride. Good workout.

Friday, January 04, 2019

Let The Tour Du Zwift Begin...

Stage 1 of 9. A relatively gentle introduction, just 28km on the Jungle route. Riding with over 1000 other riders online it was an enjoyable 45 minutes. I set off steady, still feeling lacking in the power department. Once we hit the jungle loop I started to feel competitive though... From there I started picking up places and gained almost 100 places to move from just inside to the top 500 to just inside the top 400 by the end. I really enjoyed grinding out the hill - probably because that's where I really cut through the field.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

So The New Tack Began...

With a little jaunt around a small corner of the forest at the New Years Day Orienteering Score Event and in typical Creber style it had a few little surprises to set it apart from a normal score event... Not least of which was a fifty point bonus for those lucky enough to find - and then carry round the rest of the course - a small breeze-block. Bloody lucky them!

I had a pretty good outing and finished middle of the pack. I was happy with that as I wasn't expecting much. Could have been a top quarter finish if not for the second Creber surprise - roaming controls. After spending three or four minutes playing hide and seek with the sneaky Judith, aka the human tree, I decided I couldn't waste any more time trying to find the high point control and moved on. After that, I didn't bother with any more of the roaming controls and moved through the rest of the course to come home with just a minute to spare.

Good to be back...