Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Eight Four Hundreds

Had a few technical issues tonight. The data recording kept dropping out which annoyed me but I managed to get to the end of the session without losing it, although I did curse once or twice. 8 x 400m with 150m recovery. It wasn't the fastest session but the recovery was short which never the less made it hard work. And that's that.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Enjoyed That Burn Up...

I was straight into the saddle after work for a short, sharp #Zwift race. Three laps of the 'hilly loop' - although it's not really much of a hill. 27km, 300m ascent. It took me half a lap to get into it but from there I picked up the pace. My power was down a little from my best but my legs were burning and I didn't have any more.

It was the first ride with the clean chainset and what a difference it made to the noise levels and shifting. Definitely going to be a bit more regular with the maintenance from here on. Next up, a run day tomorrow.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

A Bit Lacklustre

Wasn't totally feeling it this weekend. I completed the planned training schedule but wasn't feeling full of beans. Yesterday was a virtual hilly ride in order to complete the L'Etape du Tour mission. Fitting in 4563m of climb during the three weeks of the mission came down to the wire but the 600 plus metres clocked up yesterday took me over the line.

Today I treadmilled it to 10k. The first time I've managed that distance on the treadmill. Helped, to some degree, by Stranger Things. I'm up to episode seven. I fear there could be some binge-watching going down - but I'll not let it impinge on the training schedule.

Looking to be back on the racing next week. This weeks Four Fans would've been beyond me and I'm trying to be sensible.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Random Intervals

It ended up being eight random pace intervals. seven 250m's and one 500m rep at various speeds. Felt okay if still someone hot. It was another somewhat poor night's sleep so I haven't been feeling full of energy. I almost called it a rest day but intervals was on the training plan so intervals I did.

I'm giving Four Fans a miss tomorrow. The twelve rugged miles and that heart breaking final climb is beyond me at the moment. I know if I ran I'd almost certainly be in tears on that final Fan Fawr climb. So it's going to be more training instead. 

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Not The Weather For Me...

So I missed yesterday's training session because I was feeling wiped out. I hardly slept a wink Tuesday night. First, the thunder struck at midnight, and uncharacteristically the cat was out. She's a timid one at the best of times so I rushed outside, sporting just my undies, in the pouring rain to try and get her in. She came squeaking past but ran under the bloody car instead of through the open front door. Try as I might she wasn't coming out from there and despite looking like she was bricking it I couldn't get her in. Eventually I just had to leave her to it but by then I was wide awake - not to mention dripping wet.

I towelled down and went back to bed but struggled to get to sleep. A couple hours later, having finally drifted off to sleep, I was awoken by the cat yowling at the front door. I could here the solenoid on the cat flap triggering but she wouldn't come through. I think the click was scaring her after the terror of the thunder. I was up again to let her in and guess what? Yes, I struggled to get back to sleep again. Come 5:40 I was up and off to work, feeling less than wide awake. Suffice to say, after the day at work and then the drive home, baking in the car, any hope of the training session was out the window.

Tonight I fared better. I wasn't feeling full of beans but having had an okay night's sleep last night, had a modicum of energy with which to pedal my way to stage 4 of the #Zwift Off the MAAP Tour. I started slow and built. My heart rate monitor is playing up at the moment, rest assured I wasn't hitting 200bpm but I did start to build the power through the ride.

I targeted the hills, where I put most power which helped me move through the field. I ended up solo with about 6km to go and then got caught by a small group with 2km to go. I knew I had more power in the bag and latched on to them until one of them went from 900m to go. I matched him for 500m before going from 400m out and held on comfortably but not without getting the heart pumping towards max - but definitely not as high as the heart rate was reading. 30km, 275m ascent.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Back In The Saddle...

For stage 3 of the #Zwift off the MAAP Tour, 37km, 477m ascent and an uphill finish - wasn't expecting that!

I started out slow. Not for want of trying to go more workman like but the ol' pegs didn't want to work. Gradually I got into it though and got in with a decent group. I wasn't sure of the course for this one but after two 9k laps it looked like a four lapper. I was happy with that as I was starting to feel stronger and stronger.

Then things took a turn on the final lap - quite literally, and we headed off the lap and up... I realised instantly where we were headed and suddenly didn't feel so strong. The saving grace was that it wasn't exactly going to be the Torremolinos, um, er, I mean the Col du Tourmalet of stage 14 of the Tour de France but there was a bit of 16% action going down - or should that be up?

Anyway, the group splintered and I found myself a lot more towards the front than the back of the riders from said group. Heart rate thumping out of my chest. Over the line. Good work out.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Failed It

I gave it my best shot but it beat me. For me, the virtual 2019 L'Etape du Tour de France remains un-conquered. At 128km and 2335m of ascent it was 10km and 835m too far for me - but that 10km and 835m ascent was up the Alpe du Zwift (aka Alpe d'Huez) and was likely going to take me about two hours based on the speed I was going. Yes, by that point I was absolutely on my arse and crawling along. My tank was empty, my legs were starting to cramp and more importantly my arse was a little saddle sore.

Overall I'm happy to have attempted it but disappointed it ended in failure. On a positive note, I managed to clock up 118km and 1500m in 4:18hr and burn 2000 calories. The ride was 45km further and 500m more ascent than than my previous longest ride. I am exhausted. Next year...

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Finally, After Two Push Backs...

I got the row session done. 10 x 1 minute efforts at 1:55/500m off 30s recovery with a 3 minute recovery half way through and 500m warm up and cool down. I struggled on the first few reps. My arms didn't seem to want to work. Perhaps I need to adjust the warm up to include a bit more effort.

Anyway, it was a good session but the evidence, the data export, was totally wonky. I did do the session, honest guv. Not quite sure what went wrong on the data front. Taking a quick look at the raw data all the reps and recovery seem to be overlaid on top of each other so I'm thinking that I somehow set the session up incorrectly in Rowpro. It did prompt the reps and recovery correctly during the row so I'm not sure what I did wrong. I shall investigate before my next session.

So it's going to be an early night because I have the long, long day in the virtual saddle tomorrow. Although, actually the saddle is real and so too will be the effort. It's going to be my longest #Zwift to date - assuming I complete it, the 2019 L'Etape du Tour de France. A virtual 126km ride with some 2400m ascent, finishing on Zwifts version of Alpe d'Huez. I have my Netflix play list at the ready...

Friday, July 19, 2019

Rejigged the Schedule...

Because I forgot about stage 2 of the virtual off the MAAP tour and today was the last day to get it done. So I did. The row is pushed back to tomorrow before a tough, tough Sunday...

I started today's ride easy, it being a group ride not a race. Although everyone treats it like a race but not me - at least for today anyway. I rode it harder than Tuesday, my legs feeling back to normal-ish, but nowhere near full on. I did pick things up in the last third but didn't get into any battles. Good solid workout. 42k, 330m. Pleased with that.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Easy One Back On Two Feet

My legs mostly feel recovered after my exploits on the weekend but not completely. It was a scheduled easy one on the treadmill tonight but I had to replace my broken door lock first. My first world problem of having to go in and out via the french windows in the Gym was almost too much to bear... I wasn't sure how long it would take but an hour and a half later I had myself a fully working locking door again. Please with that. Then it was straight on to the treadmill for 7k of easy intervals to stretch the legs out more than anything else. A session on the rower scheduled for tomorrow and an absolute beast to come Sunday...

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Should've But I Didn't...

Take another rest day as my legs are still sore and a little stiff but I couldn't not do something - now I've confused myself. Anyway, tonight it was the a group ride, stage 1 of the MAAP tour on Zwift - yes, another virtual cycle jersey is coming my way in another three stages time... Sad git.

I took it easy (at least at the start) but even that was quite hard work. My heart rate wasn't high but the leg effort felt like it. Well into the ride, I managed to get myself caught up in a small group of riders pushing and couldn't help myself, pushing harder to break off the front - so much for taking it easy. I suspect I will pay for it tomorrow - and not to mention prolong the recovery but heck, it was fun and I enjoyed it. 42km, 660m ascent 1:23hr. 

Monday, July 15, 2019

Legs Hurt

So there is no training going on today. I'm itching to hop on the bike as I had a group ride planned but my legs really are very sore and it would be pointless, even detrimental from a training point of view. Going to shift things back a day and hope my legs feel less sore tomorrow. If improved but not totally chipper I'll probably just turn my legs over so at least it makes me feel like I'm not being lazy.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Duty Bound To Go Run...

As I awoke from slumber this morning the first thought I had was whether my legs would work or not... Unfortunately, although quite sore, I was able to walk - bugger, that meant I had to go race Pen y Fan (6k, 580m ascent). When I say race, what I mean is traverse the route.

As I set out, the front door lock broke. The door was locked but it wouldn't unlock so I couldn't get back in! Not a good omen. Oh well, off  I went to the the race anyway...

As to the race. I was crap with a capital K - yes, that's how crap I was, so crap I can't even spell it. Pretty much the entirety of the ascent was a gruelling, painful walk. I was nearly last to the summit. But at least I was there living the dream - or should that be nightmare? I knew I'd fair better on the descent and caught a half dozen runners but it was all very spread out by then. I finished, completing the double header and that's about all that can be said.

So will that be my last race till 2022? As that's what happened the last time I ran these two races. A total loss of mojo for running and a two and a half year break, only resuming this year. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.... [wink, wink]

Saturday, July 13, 2019

I Wasn't As S#!t As I Was Expecting...

I was still pretty s#!t, just not as s#!t as I thought I would be. I do however feel a little bit wrecked and I've blistered up my middle two toes on my right foot which burst during the final road section making the final run in a bit painful. They will need some taping up for tomorrow's Pen y Fan race. Yes, I'm still optimistically hoping I'll be capable of walking when I wake up tomorrow morning...

I was pants on climb - not a surprise - but I was happy to make a dozen or so places on the descent. Unsurprisingly, my time was my personal worst but you know what, I rebooting the records. This is running two point oh. All that has gone before is forgotten. I've got new time markers now, that began January 2019 and I'll see if I can knock a few minutes off at next years Fan y Big fell race (16.8k, 650m ascent).

Friday, July 12, 2019

So It's The Big Weekend Ahead...

The first double header of races for a few years. In fact, looking back through the records, it was this pair of races (Fan y Big and Pen y Fan) back in 2016 where I last raced back to back on a Saturday and Sunday - and it fact, after those races back in 2016, I never raced again..... Until the beginning of this year, when I got back in the saddle. I am hoping that they don't have the same affect again...

Anyway, I'm taking a very humble view as to my target time. I'll be happy to make it back ahead of the sweeper. On the upside, I am feeling less fatigued than as of a couple of weeks back. The last two weeks of lower intensity training has had the desired affect. Looking back at the schedule, perhaps I was being a bit ambitious as to how hard I could hit the training. Much pain to come on Monday....

Thursday, July 11, 2019

I Enjoyed That

Nothing quite beats getting straight in the saddle after work for a 3 lap race around the virtual Innsbruckring and I gave it some tonight. It was up there with my best. I bloody love racing on #Zwift

The first lap saw a group of six of us pushing hard, vying to break away but no one quite managing it - until the short climb. Hitting the hill we all went for it. Going into the red, four of us came over top clear. We continued to push hard.

Nothing changed through lap two until we hit the hill again. Although the racing red mist was descending.... as one of the riders, hence forth known as my nemesis, wasn't pulling his share on the front. And to rub salt into the wound he blasted it on the hill and got clear. I hit the top level with one of the other two riders left from the group and together we pushed hard on the descent to catch my nemesis...

Into the final lap, the rider who'd helped catch my nemesis got away and there was no catching him. So now it was just me and my nemesis and guess what? Yes, he was sitting back. Grrrrrr. Every little effort I put in he responded to, to keep in my draft without coming past. Then a late starting B rider caught us and I worked hard to go with him - so did my nemesis. More grrrrrhh.

Then the B rider broke clear and I made my final move. Make or break. 30 seconds of pain to try and get back to the B rider. If I could bridge the gap I'd get a draft and even for just a moment it would settle things. I didn't make it but I'd broken the draft of my nemesis and I was 20m clear - but he came back at me and the gap started to close....

The fog of war was well upon me by this point and I wasn't having it. I put in another effort and that broke him - to be fair, it nearly broke me! Heart thumping out of my chest, the gap started to grow and I knew. I knew the battle was won. I held it together on the final climb and pushed on to win the war. 26.4km, 43 minutes. It was a right fun one and you know you've given it a good crack when your legs feel wobbly for half an hour afterwards.

Did I mention, I bloody love racing on #Zwift

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Easy Group Ride...

A really easy one tonight in 600+ group ride. All part of the schedule but I find it really hard to ride quite as gently as that. It was 28k and clocked up in just over 50 minutes. Through the line I blasted off at 110% FTP to reach 30k. I like a nice round number. Need to fine tune the schedule for the next three days so I'm able to get round Fan y Big ahead of the sweeper on Saturday...

Monday, July 08, 2019

Row and Run

Some row intervals today. Short and sharp. 10 x 30s @ 1:50/500m pace off 30s recovery. I'll creep up the number of reps when I do this session again. After the row I hopped straight onto the treadmill for 5k. And that was that. 

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Easy Sunday

I hit my weeks TSS with a short burst on Zwift. Just a 10k ride to turn the legs over. In the week coming up I'm aiming to hit some hard work in the first half of the week before a likely total rest Thursday and Friday before I die on the weekend at Fan y Big and then Pen y Fan. There is no way I'm ready to take on a tough double header - but I'm entered so I'll be doing it anyway...  

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Solid Days Training

I kicked things off with a 30k chase race on Zwift. I've not ridden one before and it was good fun. Being a C category we set off 5 minutes after the D's and similar amount ahead of the B's, with the A's a further five minutes back.

We stayed well grouped for the first 4-5k before hitting the first climb. I was working hard to stay in the group and we had good speed but I couldn't keep the power high enough and got dropped. From there it was always going to be near impossible to prevent myself getting caught by the B's and A's.

I managed to keep the B's at bay until about 12k in, where upon they came firing past in a good sized group and I held off the A's until about 5k to go. I managed to catch most of the D's. It helped that I was able to stay with a smaller group of B's that caught me late on. I had to work really hard to stay there, almost begin dropped twice, but keeping in that group meant some good speed. I even held my own in the final sprint to the line, losing out to three of them but holding off the other two. Bloody good work out.

After a bit of recuperation I hit the treadmill for some hill intervals. 8 reps of 250-350m at 6-8% elevation. I kind of made it up as I went along but it was good solid effort.

Friday, July 05, 2019

It Was Very Hot...

as ventured out into the sun for a run. Too hot for me really but on the plus side I did feel less fatigued than of late. That feeling of less fatigued was more than offset by the heat. It was another slow one and only 7.5k but better than nothing. And what is it with Blaisdon Wood? The ground all around is parched - but it was still bloody boggy on the top path! How is that even possible?

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Another Not Great One

I really didn't feel like it this evening it in terms that I'm still feeling I'm in a bit of a dip. I did it anyway because I need to ride - or in the case of tonight - run through it. I can't justify another week of rest so I'm sticking to the weeks target TSS (Training Stress Score) of 340. So far I'm still on target.

I've another run planned for tomorrow because I feel I need to start stringing some back to backs together before hopefully getting in a longer run on the weekend...

Monday, July 01, 2019

Channelled The Exasperation...

So I found my 'racing' against the D's this evening, and I'm a C category rider. True, I wasn't feeling the power, riding towards the bottom end category power but still, I felt I should be able to get clear and despite a few bursts, I wasn't able to pull away from the group. The exasperation built.

Tonight's race was 31k on one of the flatter routes and by midway I was solidly stuck in a group of six and despite them not technically being in my 'race' I did, however, really want to kick their asses...

Thoughts turned to how, when, where I'd make my move. Leave it to the sprint? But maybe they'd have enough of kick for it to be a gamble. Leave it till a kilometer out and then hit FTP and beyond... Go at 5k to go? I wasn't feeling hugely strong, perhaps I'd blow up. I still seem to be in the (probably overtraining) doldrums.

In the end it all unfolded by itself. When we hit the slightly undulating section, with about 10k to go one of the riders made a break for it and I went with him. Very quickly we got the break and being a duo we were able to share the load and keep the speed up.

Coming into the last 6k the guy I was with made a break on a short steep bit and found me napping. He very quickly got 40-50m ahead and that's normally game over but I wasn't prepared to let it go and started to crank it up. My legs were burning but I could see the gap coming down. I caught him with about 4k to go and just kept on with the hurt. Once I got my nose ahead I wasn't in the mood to let it slip and kept the hammer down through to the line.

Probably shouldn't have got carried away with the racing...