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...