Sunday, September 30, 2018

Slow To Start...

but I finished strong. Coinciding with the real UCI road world championship, Zwift has been running virtual events all week. I've not been in a fit state to compete until today. To begin with I couldn't get going and began to think I still wasn't in a fit state. My power was way off FTP but I was trying pretty hard so it didn't make sense. Into the climb I was still struggling to generate any power but as the climb progressed I picked up. By the top of the climb I was grinding it out above FTP, heart rate heading towards 170 without dying. In the end made it over the top within a couple of minutes of my best.

The descent went pretty well as well and I was able to keep the power up where normally I struggle to keep it going. I was working my way back through the field. Having hit the start of the climb just inside the top 100 I was up to 67 by the time we exited the hill and finished 63rd of 135. Average power was well up by the end, some 30 points more than I was managing in the first few kilometres so I'm happy for now.

And just because, here are some photos from yesterday from the top of Pen y Gadir Fawr.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Must Be Getting Stronger...

So it was more marshalling duty today. Check point two, Black Mountains fell race. Location, the summit of Pen y Gadir Fawr. That meant a short 3km ascent from the car park in the valley below to get there. What was surprising was that my Strava segment was the third quickest of the six on record for the ascent - and I was only pootling.

And for once the marshalling was in the dry. In fact, it was one of the sunniest days for a while. Not a cloud in the sky. And to top that off, the runners and riders were through the checkpoint in good time. Then it was back down and to the race HQ for cake and then the drive home.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Felt Better Afterwards Than Before...

Well I think that session did me good. I started off feeling meh but finished feeling good. My legs still don't feel totally right but they're getting there.

The session was pretty long, 78 minutes consisting long reps (9 minutes) decreasing to short (1 minute) with a one minute recovery each time. The effort level increased from 87% FTP up to 95%.

Despite feeling bolstered I still feel a long way down on being able to main 100% FTP for an hour. Maybe tomorrow...

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Still Feeling The After Effects

My muscles feel almost mended but the tendons? behind my knees feels sore today and my blistered foot wasn't clearing up as quick as I'd like either so I decided to cut the dead skin away to let it breath. That has worked and it's feeling better this evening. All in all still pretty pitiful but I do feel I'm close to being back in one piece. Managed a decent 60 minute virtual group ride. Felt like it was doing me good...

Monday, September 24, 2018

It Was Only A Walk...

...and I think I might be up to training tomorrow! My legs are still pretty bad today. Still quite sore but definitely easing and I'm itching to get back to training. I thought about a session on the bike tonight but it would've been going through the motions for the sake of it rather than being meaningful training. I'm definitely going to be fit for Wednesday's mountain run though - and even the forecast looks decent (famous last words)...

Saturday, September 22, 2018

It Might Only Be A Walk...

...but it has completely broken me. Completely and utterly broken. But my spirit remains strong and I finished with a smile.

It was going pretty well to begin with. Yes, it rained the entire time but it was fun. Fun until about 25km when I could feel my hamstrings starting to go. By 30km they gave up the ghost. From there it got painful. By the end I was struggling to get over the stiles. I made the mistake of sitting down in the village hall at the finish for some sustenance - BIG mistake. I actually struggled to get standing and the 100m walk to the car took about 5 minutes. Getting in the car? I had to sit and lift my legs in. Getting out of the car when I arrived home was even more pitiful. And now I'm not sure I can even ascend the stairs. Luckily I have a downstairs loo so I may very well be sleeping on the sofa tonight...

But I'm glad my work colleague talked me into doing it. When I recover - in about three months - I'll look back to see it was good training. Time on feet an' all that - and it was a bloody long time.

Friday, September 21, 2018

It Might Only Be A Walk...

...but it's quite a long one.... The LDWA Cotswold Challenge. It's 42km with 1500m of ascent. Proceedings are almost certain to be soggy and I'm doing it tomorrow.

Surprisingly I'm still feeling Wednesday's rides in my legs so taking another rest today in order to be strong for tomorrow's walk, which I'm sure will be more tiring than I'm expecting.

Start and Finish in Birdlip, clockwise route

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Grrrrh, Bloody Power Cut

Well I really could have done without that. I was having a good ride on stage 5 of the Tour of Innsbruck. Almost to the top of the second and last climb and bam - power cut. 32km in to the race of 48km and 750m of the 950m ascent complete. All for nothing. At least the ride was captured to Strava so I didn't lose the precious register of miles but by god I was a tad annoyed. All that effort. All that blood, sweat and tears - and there was a lot of sweat - for nothing. Grrrrhhh. And it meant I failed to complete the tour....

But then I decided not to be defeated by the power gods and went for it again in the 4pm race. My legs were knackered from the start and unsurprisingly I was slower the second time around but not by as much as I expected. I was only two minutes down to the top of the first climb. Not sure about the second one seeing as I didn't quite get there the first time but I was probably within four or five minutes and probably only finished a further couple of minutes down on where I would have the first time. At least it was job done. Tour complete. Legs knackered.

The 48km had become 80km, the 950m of ascent, 1700m. Total ride time, 2 hours 59 minutes.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Recycle Sunday

Yes, time to fit in a run combined with a trip to the tip. It wasn't a long run, more a leg stretcher but I did pick a loop with a steady climb - which I managed to climb for once. As to the shortness, I think I almost spent as much time at the recycling centre, such was the amount of stuff I was dropping off. Part of the reason for the shortness of run was not wanting to miss a delivery. Although as I type this, I'm still waiting so could have got away with a longer one. Which is a little annoying. I finished off with ten laps of Canary Wharf on Road Grand Tours. The sprint section is a good interval and I managed to reduce my PB a little bit since the last time I road on RGT.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Damp, Very Damp...

So it was the big Bristol Water Sponsored ride for WaterAid - and boy oh boy did we ever some water. Conditions were definitely not what was forecast. It did dry out eventually and we even got a ray of sunshine as we arrived back at head office - after the horse has bolted springs to mind... but to begin with it pretty much rained all the way to Cheddar on the outward leg from Bristol, with a few intermissions. I was soaked to my pants and beyond.

Despite the wetness it was an enjoyable ride, very social, at a leisurely pace, we stayed as group throughout and collectively, togerther with the sponsored walkers, raised upwards of £2600. The ride stats were 82km with 500m ascent. I now have one very very dirty mountain bike to clean...

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Not Feeling Too Bad...

Which is surprising as I was feeling right banjaxed yesterday. My legs aren't sore at all. It's still a rest day today though. I've the work sponsored ride tomorrow and I want to be fresh for it. On that front, I've managed to get the rear derailleur to shift to the smallest gear on the mountain bike. So it's only the largest one that won't shift but I'm not worried about that. Even the weather seems to be holding if not even improving a little from forecast earlier in the week so fingers crossed... 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

I'm In Bits...

After today's training. It was good but hard.

I started the day by heading out to the mountains. Bit of a hiccup with the planned route. As I arrived at the Tal y Bont reservoir there was a load of machinery and hubub going on so I aborted the plan and headed on past to the upper Blaen-y-glyn car park. That meant a longer run than planned.

I headed east to the Neuadd reservoir and up to the ridge. Then along the ridge to Corn Du and Pen y Fan before dropping down, taking the route skirting Cribyn and up to the col east of the ex-mountain Fan y Big before following the Beacons Way back to the car park. 16.5km and 750m ascent. By far my longest and hardest run this year and I have to admit I was a little knackered but it didn't end there...

When I got home I had no choice but to hit Zwift for stage 4 of the Tour of Innsbruck. The stages are only available for a single day. I've set myself the goal of completing all five stages and I'm not going to allow myself to fail.

The ride was hard. It was the reverse Lutscher course, 22km and 800m ascent, the climb an average 8% gradient. I took it easy, my average power was 50W down on recent rides but despite that I still got a bit of the shakes towards the end. Completed it though, so job done. Bloody knackered now and just had a bit of cramp in my left calf muscle - ouch.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Innsbruck, Stage 3 Complete

I was a bit in between this evening. The bigger race fields are fun and with 500+ riding I was riding in the pack for most of the race. Three laps of the Innsbruckring for 27km total. I ended up pulling on the front a few times, burning my legs out, neither managing to break away nor the pack taking their share. Hence, I purposefully eased back to sit mid pack, cruising at lower power. If I can't break free then I sure as heck ain't riding at the front for kilometre after kilometre. Anyway, I managed a sprint PB on the second lap and still managed a decent average power despite taking it easy in the pack a few times.

All set for another mountain run tomorrow. I'm planning a loop of Tal y Bont; up Craig y Fan, around to Allt Lwyd, down into the valley and back up the other side through the woods to Tor y Foel and back down to the reservoir. Should be about 13km and a slightly worrying 1000m of ascent. The forecast has improved and hopefully by the time I get there the rain will have moved south.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Rest Day

Just a quick 30 minute 20k on the the ol' Zwift. Nice and easy does it.

On another issue, I'm riding in the Bristol Water SRS (Southern Resilience Scheme) sponsored walk/ride this coming Friday. For the riders, it's a fifty mile ride out of our head office in Bedminster Down to Cheddar and back again, loosely following our recently laid Southern Resilience Main.

To make it interesting, I'll be riding my knackered, battered mountain bike. The rear cassette won't shift into the largest sprocket nor the smallest no matter how I adjust it and it weighs half a tonne - got to up the challenge factor.... but mainly it's because there's no way on gods earth I'm unhooking my road bike from my smart trainer now I've got it set up perfectly for Zwifting!

If you do feel like sponsoring me, here's the link to the funding page, and if you do please mention me in the message field so they know who you're sponsoring... (thank you)

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Back To Training...

...with a Zwift four lap classique this morning, 27km/100m. I've still a little soreness in my quads but they're as near as dammit mended so I went at it pretty hard and it was good racing. I was in a small group of four then three for most of the race. We reeled in multiple riders through the race, riders who'd gone off too hard before hitting the final kilometre. I was caught sleeping as I was undecided as to whether to try and break from there or wait till the sprint. In the end I stayed with one of the two I was riding with before out sprinting him but the other was away and gone.. Each race is different but I was over two minutes quicker than the last time I rode this race. Pleased with that.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

I Can Think Of More Pleasant Ways... spend a Saturday afternoon than sitting in the wind and rain at the top of a mountain for an hour and a half. It's a nasty job but someone's gotta do it or the race (Four Fans) don't go ahead! On the up side I think I'm on for a PB for the number of times I've marshalled at races in a year. Next year I am stepping up and actually running some... and I did at least walk 5km/300m ascent up from the forest car park and back, oh and my legs are still sore. Back on the training tomorrow...

Friday, September 07, 2018

It's That Four Fans Time Of Year

And tomorrow, once again, I shall be atop Fan Llia to marshal check point three - although I'm thinking I might need to leave extra time to get up there as my quads are f*(%ed. I can barely walk! Definitely no training today. Be fine by tomorrow though, I'm sure.

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Recovery Tour of Innsbruck, Stage 2

So my quads are destroyed after yesterday's pootle in the mountains. Then I realised I had to ride stage 2 of the Zwift Tour of Innsbruck. The stage is only available today so I had no choice. Okay, I thought, I can potter around at the back of the field. It started off that way, at least, as I happily rode in the last quarter of the field.

Then a second realisation hit - we were on the UCI Worlds Short Course, which has a 7km, cat 3 climb (total race distance 24km, 500m ascent). Oddly I found it hard to take it easy on the climb and ended up going harder than I'd intended. From there the red mist of competition set in.

I got in with a decent group of about ten riders and every time I got dropped I put the power down to catch back up - probably not the best thing for my poor, sore quads. And then in the final 2km I threw the hammer down, broke away from the pack and took the 'pack' win.

The level of effort in the second half is borne out by all the strava PBs. Definitely not ideal recovery and I shall be highly surprised if my legs feel any better tomorrow...

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Getting Reacquainted With Pen y Fan and Cribyn

It's been a while. Can't actually remember the last time I hit the summit of Pen y Fan or Cribyn and totally forgot how long the Pen y Fan ridge up from Cwmgwdi is. Took me bloody ages to make the ascent - or perhaps I'm just god damn slow!

I was feeling it in the legs from the last two nights of  bike training but pushed as hard as I could. There wasn't a huge amount of running on the way up but I 'ran' whenever it got flat enough. The descent was more fun once down off the steep bit of Cribyn. I wasn't quite sure the best way to get from the end of the Cribyn ridge back to Cwmgwdi but the route I chose was pretty good. There was a short, slightly off piste section up from the river crossing to link up to the sheep trod that headed around Allt Ddu but other than that it was alright.

Might be a rest day tomorrow as my left calf muscle is slightly tight and sore now.

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Not Quite The Recovery It Was Meant To Be...

So I'm intending to head to the mountains tomorrow. Probably the central beacons but we'll see. Anyway, after a good workout yesterday I was intending to take it easy tonight. It was the first stage of the Zwift Tour of Innsbruck but it's not meant to be a race just an incentive to complete the five stages. I thought I could control myself - I thought wrong...

It was the biggest field I've ridden in Zwift, 670+ starters and I was sitting at around 330 at the start of the climb first time around (the Lutscher course takes in the climb twice). I wasn't trying particularly hard - honest, but I was overtaking people. Nice steady top 300 finish I thought....

Okay, 275. I won't be working that hard, that'll be alright. Or maybe 250... and I just kept pushing out the goalpost. It wasn't long before I was thinking, top 200 and that's it and to be fair it was pretty hard work to get there but in the end I finished 187 in the "it's not a race" that was stage 1 of the Tour of Innsbruck.

In all it was 25km and 820m of climb in an hour and six minutes - so a  course PB by seven minutes (9% improvement) - nice easy recovery then... and as proof of how easy I was taking it, I even managed to set a PB on the climb segment - second time around!

Monday, September 03, 2018

Killer Hill Attacks

Just the thing after a day sat in front of the computer.  It really was a bit killer and despite the main section consisting of just ten, 1 minute intervals, never have those ten intervals taken so long... I was anxiously counting the intervals down from about the third one, such was the burn, my heart rate thumping.

To the technicals, the session included ten minutes of warmup. Then there were three, 1 minute intervals at 80% FTP and 110rpm followed by the main event... Ten, 1 minute intervals at 140% FTP and 90rpm with a 2 minute recovery at 80rpm. Easy it was not and I wasn't quite able to sustain the 90rpm throughout - but thankfully I didn't enter the ERG mode death spiral*, managing to keep above 80rpm.

* the ERG mode death spiral is the moment where you can't maintain the cadence at the set power so as your cadence drops the resistance increases to maintain the set power, so you slow more, leading to more resistance and so on, until you quite literally grind to a halt - I've only hit the death spiral once so far...

Sunday, September 02, 2018

That Was Hard Work

After some partying yesterday, I was feeling surprisingly okay but not quite 100% so I decided on a virtual little race anyway. A 36km three lapper and it was a proper race. I was in a group of seven on the first lap. That dropped to four on the second, three riders having got away off the front. By the final lap it was down to just three of us and sadly it was me who got dropped on the final descent. I just wasn't able to put down enough power to keep up as the other two in the group rode away from me. Still, it was a proper good work out. Average power was down a little but then you can't set an increase every day. I worked hard so it's all good.