Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Job Done...

Well that's the full set collected. All seven stages of the virtual Tour de Oz complete and it was another pretty good session. I wasn't feeling strong - and I'm definitely having a rest day tomorrow. The field was down to just 15th of us so it was certain to be a solo ride. I guess most people interested in doing the full set had already completed, this being the last day.

Stage three was just shy of 30km and 250m ascent. My average power was within a couple of watts of yesterdays shorter ride so I'm happy with that. I surprised myself by pushing harder than I thought I'd be able to, not having the competition. All in all, another pleasing training session.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Entry Confirmed - Gulp

So that's it. The deal is done. The entry is confirmed (for the OMM). I've heard there are some lovely views to be had in the Black Mountains at the end of October - mainly mist, fog and rain....

So tonight, to keep my dream of completing the Tour de Oz alive, I needed to complete one of the two missed stages. With my legs feeling tired I decided on the shorter of the two missing stages, stage two at just 22km and 200m ascent. To be fair it doesn't really mean much but I've set myself the target and it'll be nice to meet the goal.

I wasn't feeling it at the start and set off pretty pedestrian. After a bit I started to edge the pace up a little. Then after a couple of kilometres in I found myself leading a pair of riders who just sat on me for about 2km without taking any of the work at the front (and yes, drafting, even in the virtual world, is simulated). That irked me a little. I know it's only a virtual little world but even so I wasn't having it. I put the hammer down and kept it down until they were but specks in my rear view mirror [don't actually have a rear view mirror but I never saw them again].

After that I caught up to a sporting Brit and we pretty much shared the work all the way to the end. We each tried to make a few break aways but neither of us managed to get fully clear before being reeled back in and so it came down to the sprint finish..... Which I took by no more than a metre or two. Bloody enjoyable and what I thought was going to be just going through the motions became a proper hard work out.

I'm thinking I may pay for the effort tomorrow but nothing is going to stop me completing the 30km of stage three to complete the tour...

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Furthest One To Date

Well that was a bit killer and I'm definitely heading towards empty - which is not good news as I have the final two make up stages of the Tour de Oz to complete on Monday and Tuesday.

I really drained the tank today. Probably set off a bit hard, caught up trying to keep up with the other riders around me. That was a bit of a mistake. On the plus I got a pb on the Box Hill climb and the London lap but from there each subsequent lap (4 laps in total) and climb was slower than the one before. I was really treading water on the final lap. Suffice to say my power average was well down but it was my longest ride to date at just under 70km and 840m climb, 2hr31.

I almost lost it in the final 9km section after completing the 4 laps. The route seemed to be heading back towards the Box Hill climb again. I turned the air blue with expletives, a very very dark blue. I was pretty livid, scratch that, I was full on livid, as I thought it was making me go up the climb again... Thankfully it turned before the start of the climb and headed back to the classique finish.

I am feeling so very knackered right now...

Saturday, July 28, 2018

What Have I Done?.....

.... I've only gone and got myself roped into entering the OMM in October. With the commitment made, I'm actually feeling quite scared at the thought of spending two days in the middle of the Black Mountains based on my current state. But to be fair to my race partner, it didn't take much roping. The idea of such a hard challenge, relatively so close, should be just the shot in the arm I need to knuckle down. Three months to get myself mountain race fit...

As to today, I took to the bike for a virtual Zwift race and put in a pretty hard effort. On a flat 27km multi-lapper, I hit a good (for me) power average of 185W. Got some good jelly leg on the sprints, especially the final one, across the finish line.

Friday, July 27, 2018

A Light Week In The Heat...

So it's been a light week. I'm feeling worn down by this heat and the disturbed sleep patterns it's brought. I'm normally a morning person, up with - or before - the sparrows, but this week has been a struggle. It was a steady turbo this evening. Not a hugely powerful session but acceptable.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

BKilled It...

on BKool this evening. I decided to re-ride the virtual Mordiford 17km loop and race myself. It's surprisingly motivating to try and break away from your ghost - and break away I did. But once you're out ahead the motivation keeps on coming as you push to prevent the gap closing. I pushed at all stages of the route and was rewarded with a decent ride. Three minutes quicker and among the highest power output averages of my rides to date. I think it was actually the highest but I can't be arsed to check - well, maybe later....

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Pleased With That...

So I completed the last stage of the Zwift SIS Tour de Oz, stage 7. Taking on the 48k, 900m Three Sisters Zwift course in 1hr46. My longest 'virtual ride' to date and it was pretty hard going. I can definitely feel it in my legs.

So when I say I completed the last stage, I don't mean I've completed all the stages - yet. I missed stages 2 and 3, as I said before - at least I think I said that before, or maybe I didn't. Who knows? Anyway, I missed those two stages but there are 'make up days' available at the end of the month to ride the missed stages. Not sure how that all works but hopefully it will become clear before the day as I would like to complete the set - and get the unique virtual Tour de Oz kit for the virtual me to wear with pride.

Sad geek alert! Only read on if you are a sad geeky bastard like myself...

Had a bit of a hiccup with the Strava import. I started ridding and then switched across to the pre-ride warmup area - all in my virtual little world, of course - but somehow it recorded the last location of my warmup as the first point in the actual ride, meaning the very first point was recorded at something like 8000km/h! That seemed to upset the elevation data, introducing a funny offset. So I tried to manually correct the import file, deleted the activity and then re-imported the data. That fixed the start/offset issue but cocked up the elevation data - I do not think I ascended 3500m! So I had to delete that and re-import the original data which was luckily available from my Zwift profile - phew, I think all you sad bastards still reading, will agree. (You cannot undelete a Strava activity, which is a bit pants). All sorted in the end though, well, apart from the original offset, wrong start point issue - so not really sorted at all then - but the important thing is that all the stats look correct.

See, I said only read on if you're a sad geeky bastard.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

A Bit Of Brush Work...

As I swept the Waun Fach fell race this afternoon. If I'm honest I was a little worried I might not be able to keep up but in the end it was fine. I was well within myself. It gives me some hope that despite a fall off in run specific training over the last couple of weeks, that I've managed to maintain the simmer and can kick up to a boil during the next couple of months in time for my comeback...

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Hors Categorie...

Well that was pretty much agony. Stage 6 Tour de Oz complete and in homage to today's Tour de France, the route was the Alpe du Zwift. 1030m of climb in 10km without any respite. Suffice to say I found it hard going. Moving with so little speed meant the distance ticked down soooooo slowly. Total ride time including the warm up was 1hr41 of that 1hr10 was spent just on the climb! Total ride, including the warm up section, was 27k and 1220m climb. Not sure if I enjoyed it or not! but the achievement of having done it makes up for that.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Bit Of Box Hill

Didn't sleep a wink last night and subsequently been tired all day. After a rest day yesterday it couldn't be another so I mustered for a 15k Zwift loop over Box Hill - it even has the funny 'zebra markings' on the road like the real thing!

Monday, July 16, 2018

More On The Tour...

but I nearly didn't! I felt a bit zonked after getting home from work. Not really sure why but the drive home was oddly tiring and I decided to call it a rest day - but then I remembered if I didn't do today's stage 5 I wouldn't be able to complete the full tour of seven. I've already missed two stages due to calendar malfunctions but they are re-running the stages over two days at the end of the month so I can catch them then. Can't afford to miss any more though so I decided I'd just go through the motions to avoid missing the stage.

Anyway, it's oddly difficult to take it easy when there's a peloton drawing you in.... and so it was that easy turned into one of my most powerful rides. It was really enjoyable tonight as I sat in with several small groups along the way before really putting the power down in the final 6km. I seemed to find myself at the front of the group with no one else taking a turn so I just pumped it up and kept on pumping. I was expecting to have to ease it back but from somewhere I just seemed to be able to maintain it. Normally I cruise at 170-180W but all of a sudden I was 190-200W for that last 6km. Suffice to say I didn't hear from the group again. In all it was 37km in just over the hour.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Top Turbo

So I did the full big loop today and I was 'climbing' almost non-stop for just over half an hour. Two thirds of that out of the saddle. It was really good but equally, really knackered my quads. I'm really not sure my technique is that of a cyclist though. I just can't seem to do the easy gear, high cadence thing. For me its 40rpm grind, grind, grind. Somehow feels like it's good training for hill running though.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

After The Thunder

I put in a turbo session yesterday before the power went off during the thunder and lightning. A quick blast with a couple of sprints that included a pb.

Today I put in an interval session on the treadmill and a hilly 30 minutes on the turbo. Just can't face getting up early enough to go for a run when its cool outside - I'm up early all week so by the weekend I'm really in need of my beauty sleep... Going to try tomorrow... 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Finally Back To It

Yes, after doing myself in on Monday I finally felt up to getting back to training and it was a pretty solid effort on the turbo. It wasn't my most powerful but it was pretty good never the less and I'm more than glad to be back at it. Even the weather seems to be improving...

And as an added bonus, I finally got to the bottom of my 'dubious' heart monitor readings. I gave the metal connectors (where the device connects to the strap) a good clean and then, after letting dry thoroughly, gave the connectors a good shot of the old faithful WD40 - other types of 'what-ever-the-heck-WD40-does' are available. That seemed to have two results. Firstly the readings overall seemed a little lower and more importantly, seem more stable and spiking less pronounced.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Almost Feeling Recovered...

after this mornings run. It totally wiped me out - and I mean totally. I had to lie down on the sofa and listen to the Tour de France team time trial as it was more than I could cope with to sit up and watch the screen. Definitely evidence that I've still a long journey ahead of me - just maybe not across the Malverns on a scorcher...

Just One Word, Why?

Why did I just do that? I feel wiped out - and I didn't even quite manage the planned 16k! I made it as far as the 'blip' after Pinnacle Hill in the Malvern Hills and with my feet starting to overheat and blister, my will to live fading, I cut my loses and headed back.

In all I covered 13.4k with 2,500 of ascent so it wasn't terrible. It was bloody hot though. Have I ever mentioned I struggle in the heat? Suffice to say there is no Tour De Oz stage 2 today - luckily I can catch up tomorrow.

Right, I'm off to look at options for emigrating to northern Canada....

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Tour De Oz, Stage 1

It was a really enjoyable session on Zwift. With 80+ riders competing I found myself riding in several small groups through the ride. That really added to the interest. Taking the lead then following, then back in the lead, then following made it feel somehow more proper. To spice things up - in a saddo virtual way - on one of the climbs, I tried to  bring a small group 'across the gap' to the group ahead. I was working like a mountain goat and got the group close but ultimately failed... Still, it was a good training effort.

Going to head to the Malverns tomorrow, for a melt in the sun. Aiming to out and back from Hollybush to Upper Wyche and back again. At about 16k and 2,500ft ascent, it'll definitely be a run-walk affair but I need to start putting in longer stuff even if I'm not proper running. I'm totally making it up as I go but I still just can't face trying to really push it in this heat.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Change Of Plans

This heat is doing for my training plans so I decided on a change of tack. If I can't cope with the heat to run - and I can't, total pussy me - then I'll go for a longer, hillier walk instead. I did mingle in a little jog here and there but mainly it was a paced walk. It wasn't a route march but definitely more than just a stroll. I put in some effort...

I managed about 10miles and 2000ft of ascent in 2hr15. Can't imagine the heat those brave fools faced on Fan y Big earlier today. I'm still feeling overheated and I had a fair amount of shade.

Probably try a bit more of the same tomorrow as my legs do actually feel like they've been worked. Also want to factor in a ride as I want to Zwift the 7 stage Tour de Oz event which starts tomorrow.

Friday, July 06, 2018

Beginning To Get On My Nerves Now...

This god damn weather is killing me. Really starting to impact training. I just couldn't contemplate a run today. Even just mooching around in the garden and I was dripping. It's utter madness. Madness I tells yer!

I did however put in a pretty useful turbo session. I did a 9k warm up and then a 27k race in my little virtual world. A three lapper around the Richmond UCI worlds route 2015. With windows open to max and fan on overdrive I was able to keep the temperature bearable.

As to the race, I totally came last but not without an exciting battle for second to last. Each lap he pissed past me on the flat and then I caught back up and overtook on the climbs at the end - until the final lap, that is, from whence he'd managed to edge just too far ahead. I got back in touching distance but once we hit the final 500m flat, I was done for.

It was a good hard session. My quads were hurting on the climbs. I'm praying for rain...

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Not Up To Full Power

I think I hit it too soon after being sat on my arse all day in the office. I decided it was just too hot to head outside after Monday's episode and hit the mill instead. Somehow my legs didn't want to play ball. I started gently but still my legs were tight. They eased up eventually and it turned into intervals for 4k. After that I finished off with a decent 15k on the turbo.

I'm off work now till Tuesday but if I'm honest it's going to be just too hot for me. I'm going to take it as it comes but there is definitely going to be training....

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Taking A Couple Of Days Rest

So I've been feeling tired and decided my Tuesday day of rest should run through Wednesday. I should be back on it tomorrow...

Monday, July 02, 2018

107% Of Maximum...

I didn't even know the ol' ticker could go so high! 189bpm! The heat did for me. I knew it would but having not run a proper run for four days I had to go and do it anyway... I've never been good in the heat and out of shape as I am, running at the hottest part of the day was never likely to reverse that.

So I'd been conscious of keeping hydrated through the day but perhaps even so, I didn't quite drink enough. In the first few minutes of 'running' my heart rate shot up - and that was on a generally flattish section. It hit max on the main climb but after that stabilised. By then it was just a case of getting the run done. Although I didn't ease off and kept going to the end. I ended up twenty seconds faster than last time out so it was better than it could have been.

I think I'm just going to have to bide my time during the hot spell and hope it doesn't knock my plans for a September come back race....

Sunday, July 01, 2018

And The Back Is Even Worse Today

So I haven't as yet managed a proper run this weekend. Not sure that's going to change between now and the end of play but if my back eases up sufficiently I will try a late one.

I'm anxious that I'm missing training just at the point I'm starting to pick up momentum. The new bike training is good but still not a true alternative to running - although it is light years ahead of my old exercise bike. So anyway, I wasn't really even sure how comfortable I'd be on said bike but it turned out not to be too bad. This time I thought I'd try the VirtuGo software. It was a bit rough around the edges and limited on the routes - there are just three - but it was usable. The live stats weren't quite as 'ride focusing' as the other software but overall the session was pretty good - in spite of the back. I rode the Wilunga Hill loop. The cat 3 climb at the end was a right bastard - good training for the quads though.

Just hoping my back feels better by this evening...