15
Apr
19

That’s a wrap on Duathlon season

In effect this is a 4 month blog so I shall start at the beginning.

Target was to qualify for the 2020 ITU and ETU Age Group Sprint Duathlon Championships and win a medal at the British Standard Distance Champs.

I have been back racing qualifiers for the last 2 years to prep so as far as sprints go I did go into this year with some confidence, the only problems I could foresee were

  1. I would have a mechanical
  2. my legs would play up

The first event in my master plan was the ITU qualifier at Ashridge, TT bikes to qualify for a draft legal event, okay I can live with it. Got the rig out and did some training, went along and it was bloody cold but the first the run went ok before a puncture 3 miles into the bike saw me DNF.

Put a little side relief into my duathlon season with an MTB event, this was fun but also totally brutal 4kms up and down hill for both runs with 48 mins worth of suffering on the bike, around this time I learned about cross duathlon so thinking about doing that as well. I came 5th overall with 2 solid runs and a top 10 bike.

It’s a funny thing but when there is a road bike involved I look like a cyclist who runs a bit, make it an off-road event and I look like a runner who rides a bit.

So March saw me enter two events, a fun event down in Kent where I had hoped to me Yiannis. Basically a smash fest where I went hard and came 2nd overall. The more important event was the tactical entry into Bedford Sprint, another Qualifier for a draft legal event that was non drafting, this time ETU. Given the national is at the same location this is actually a big win as it is TT bike on the same course. I had a good day out here with 17th overall and the Age Group win. No issues at all with my legs or the bike and confidence that the leg problems of previous years were behind me.

April the 7th and the year anniversary of my crash saw me line up for the national champs. After last years issues getting off the bike I decided that I would just do a normal dismount and remove my shoes at the rack.  Beyond that I lined up feeling largely OK, the first run was steady rather than fast and there was no doubt I was not happy at the mid point but around 7 or 8kms I was feeling pretty calm and in control, coming into T1 in a similar time to last year but for less effort. I took gels at 5 and 10km as I wanted to ensure fueling was not an issue. The bike was windy but much better than March and yet with all the prep within 4 laps I was getting twinges in my calf that meant I spent the next 4 laps being aware and cautions but riding solidly, I even drank nearly 500ml of drink on the bike so coming into T2 I was cautious but calm. Got off the bike and jogged to the rack and even though not great I ran out of T2 aware my calfs were sore but not cramped. First  KM came up in 4 mins but it was the only KM as shortly afterwards the left hamstring went POP, only way to explain is it feels 1 inch wide and 2 inches long yet stretch 12 inches. As I went to stretch it I got a first, my abdominal cramped and there I was stood still unable to move. As I watched runners go by even as it finally loosened I knew my day was done. I have no desire to complete things I’m a racer.  No medal for me on this day and I can’t explain how disappointed I was.

Now due to the January puncture I was forced to accept I needed to go to Stockton Duathlon which happened to be today , now the pluses here are a draft legal race and a short 2nd run.

Given the stressing I have done these past 7 days even with these things in my favour I was  not convinced I would be able to race. I ran a few times this week and I rode my bike but there was nothing you could really call proper training. I also started Yoga, yes I did write YOGA. This is a  one year plan, research says this is the only option beyond surgery that may help my back mobilise and save my legs from what I go through. I will also look at doing more longer brick sessions, I thought I didn’t really need these but it seems I may be wrong.

My hotel was 6 miles from the HQ so I decided I would warm up by riding to the start, I got there but was not warm :¬) I stretched off and stayed wrapped up as long as possible but 15 mins before I had to be on the start line. Kept my gloves on and a base layer but shivered on the start line right until go. Within a km I had unzipped my front and race head had arrived. By 2kms I was moving through the field and came into T1 inside the top 30 and a little quicker than expected.

Run 1 – 18.01

T1 – the system worked well and a 43 second turn around

Pegged it out and flying mounted the bike moving smoothly up to the first turn and passed 2 people, grabbed a drink early and got my head down. There was a nervous early moment as my hips felts a little tight but it soon passed. Thinking I was going well I was shocked to be passed by 2 riders so jumped on the wheels and wow they were strong. A group of us basically ripped through the field, I didn’t do as many turns on the front as I wanted but more because I couldn’t get to the front than laziness.  In the end a small group of us broke clear so I risked the feet out the shoes as I knew I was racing,(no issues) dismounted and ran into T2.

Bike 29.14

T2 – again really smooth and out in 33 seconds !!!!

Out of T2 and I was nervous, tight but not cramping but memories of last week were there. After a cautious first KM I settled in and held my place in the line, not catching but also not being caught either. At no point did I spasm but I did feel like my stride was short. Crossing the last bridge I lost a single place and I admit that I didn’t risk everything as I knew I was well placed overall and the objective was to finish.

11th overall – 58.28 – 2nd V45, the winner was in my age group 1min 45 up the road and this tells me I have work to do if I want to be the best.

The level of detail on yesterdays race tells me I need to get back into the habit of doing my write ups after every race as they are useful when you look back.

To be the best I need a body to work and so I shall review my training, doing more testing, spending time talking and planning with Gary from Sportstest, add the yoga and make some changes where we feel they may help. I may even race some of the late season events just to check how I am progressing but for now Duathlon season is over and I hit 2 out of 3 targets.

Largely a good season where true to form I was either on the Podium or don’t finish.

As I told Josie Perry, I believe in my training and have the confidence that I can overcome most things, just the nagging doubt about my back to manage.

Yoga has 12 months so watch this space for reports on my training and I am sure some comments on my Yoga Journey.

 

 

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11
Mar
19

Announcements

After the 2018 season, my crash and just thinking about what I want from sport I spent a lot of the off-season trying to decide on clubs for 2019. After many years riding for a Shop Team I found the transition to club member quite difficult.

I chatted to a few people in various other clubs and look at a few race teams but one organisation stood out for me as it was something I believe in so in 2019 I will be riding for Sportstest.

I have known Gary at Sportstest for a number of years and he is the man I talk to when I want real numbers to see where my training is. I have also in the past sent people I coach to see Gary.

My target is still to represent Great Britain in my Age Group Duathlon at the Worlds and Europeans Duathlon Championships in 2020 and I hope that this change and the support from Gary will help me raise my game a little as lets be honest I don’t just want to take part.

I’m still self coached but with the data and a little advice I have the power to shape my training.  Check out https://www.sportstest.co.uk/ for a full run down on the services Gary has.

Look out for more pictures of me in my new kit and hopefully a blog post about my follow up test sometime in late April or May.

Exciting times ahead and I look forward to representing Sportstest through 2019.

25
Jan
19

Epic fail

It seems I have forgotten to do my end of year blog with my goals for 2019.

Here it is, much shorter but you will get the picture.

Did some duathlons early season and had more leg issues. Did get another Bronze at the duathlon champs.

First Crit of the year and season over after a bad crash. No complaints as that is racing.

Rehab – happened well and my road bike numbers were solid, I also became a leg training junkie.

Recovered – rode a 22.xx on the K41, ran a 17.11 5km, won an offroad duathlon overall and won my AG at Oulton. Went to America for a hill climb race. Took part in 3 CX races without my calf packing in.

Blogs are available so I won’t bore you.

2019 and my plans still involve qualifying for worlds and euros at duathlon but I am not sure if I will race. Talking to people the racing may not be what I am looking for and I won’t be that excited by the AG Trisuit. I just like hard racing.

With that I am looking at powerman and mixed terrain events oh and looking at getting back on the running track.

Let’s go then….

10
Dec
18

My Cross season and on to 2019

All 3 races of it in a single blog.

I have decided not to race cross this year after my crash, lack of confidence not just in my ability but also my body to take the strain. A few MTB rides had shown I was struggling to muscle the bike around.

That said somehow I found myself on the start line at a CX race, it was a grass crit really and riding from the back I knew I wasn’t going to be competitive but finished 16th vet. Mildly pleasing but really not CX.

Time passed and in a moment of madness I entered the Midland Champs, I got a gridding from my one race and off a poor start I finished 11th vet, even though still not stressing it I suddenly started thinking maybe I could have a late season flourish and maybe do a National Trophy and the Nationals in Jan so when Matt suggest Wessex league I thought why not.

Sadly this weekend supplied the reality of how bad my skills are, yes I had issues at the start and yes I slipped my chain but I did manage a few laps without any “incidents” , sadly they highlighted how far short my skills are as my best clear laps are someway short of the guys in the top 10. Not good enough mate.

With that in mind I posted on social media that I won’t be doing anymore this year, I need to train and with Christmas plans to sort I just don’t have the time to devote to the CX bike.

The big plus out of these 3 hard efforts was no CALF issues which plagued my CX season last year.

What this means is …..

Duathlons are coming and I can turn my focus to FTP and the TT bike, I hate testing on the watt bike and hate riding my TT bike to early in the year but sometimes needs must so I shall enter the event on Jan27 with a view to AG qualification in 2020.

Onwards ……………..

 

 

29
Oct
18

Gobi on vacation

Simply put this was 6 days in LA to ride my bike mainly and the initial reason blog is here

https://gobi70.wordpress.com/2018/10/27/gibraltar-road-phils-worlds/

Distance 6.1 mi
Moving Time 0:37:03

all lost in a ride out and back :¬)
Position 36th Overall 9th V40-49
Avg Watts 290 W
Elev Gain 2,593 ft @8%avg

I shall not dwell on that one except to say that on the Thursday my old friend Peter Abraham took me south and I rode the Glendale loop, this was on its own a spectacular loop and the climb would have been worthy of a hard effort.

Distance 39.9 mi
Moving Time 3:05:29
Avg Speed 12.9 mi/h
Avg Watts 120 W
Elev Gain 4,370 ft

 

Phils Cookie Fondo Day 1

Distance 47.5 mi
Moving Time 2:47:28
Avg Speed 17.0 mi/h
Avg Watts 170 W
Elev Gain 5,180 ft

These are the basic numbers, the day before I had met Jeff from Canada and we rode a bit together, basically until the Strava segment climb where off he went and I didn’t go so hard. I rode too hard on the Saturday but with Sunday in mind I did hold off a little.I really enjoyed this and reflecting on how I like to ride my bike and what I think about real long days in the saddle this was a perfect day out for me. The routes were well marked which was great and yet I still turned the wrong way. 100% my fault. This was a good day on the bike, the roads are nice and the drivers are pretty chilled out. I think the roads being wide really helps with attitude. Back at base I had lunch (including cookies) with “the fast lads” which was great. I think the only downside of staying in LA was that I couldn’t really hang about for an evening social and that would have been nice but then I got to go to the M Street kitchen with Peter and watch the baseball so you can’t have it both ways.

 

The good news about Video is you  don’t need to see my ugly mug :¬)

Phils Cookie Fondo Day 2

For reasons I still don’t understand I had decided that I would ride the “Double Fudge loop” basically 110 miles on the bike, anyone who knows me will know I have been over 100 miles twice ever, I have a history of doing 70/80 even the occasional 90 miler but considering this after what I had done was not wise really. That said I’m in great shape, my legs felt ok and if I know one thing it is how to judge an effort. Early out I rode with Jeff again but said I would let him go on one of the climbs as I wasn’t keen on the Zone 4 effort to stay on board, I know if I ride Zone 3 maybe low Zone 4 I can keep on trucking.

All was going quite well really until I did it again, I was enjoying the descent(not the one above) and totally missed the turn(let’s be clear there were signs and they were big). I was shouted at as I shot past a young lady we chatted and then off she went back up the hill. I realised at this point I had done enough. I felt aerobically fine but my legs were tired and I could feel some pulling in my adductor (this has happened before and if it goes totally I can’t ride). Having gone the wrong way I was then rewarded with this.:¬)

At 1.20 you can see me get cozy with a Mustang (oops) but skip to 2.10 if you want to get straight into the twisties. At 3.30 you can see the poor girl who went the wrong way, stopped me, dropped me and then her rim over heated and blew the inner tube. One of those moments where beyond telling them at the aid station you can’t do anything.

I made an aid station in for me was about 60 miles and made sure I could head straight back along the Pacific Coast Highway, still 28 miles but just cut out the last 2 climbs. It was the right move as I could ride find on the flat but where the road climbed my adductor pulled so I have no regrets about my decision.

Distance 88.2 mi
Moving Time 5:17:12
Avg Speed 16.7 mi/h
Avg Watts 170 W
Elev Gain 7,195 ft

In conclusion I am not a Sportive man but Phil organised a very relaxed event and it removed all the guess work for me on routes, I met some great people who I hope to see again one day and caught up with an old friend.

It has been a truly excellent 6 days and I know I will come back. Thinking in 2020/21 for another shot at the hill climb, maybe with a few more days beforehand just to get used to the heat.

The watt bike has been an excellent tool and no doubt without it I would not have been as ready as I was.

I need to thank Ian @Northroadcycles for building me an excellent bike but also thank Erick at Helen Cycles for fixing the Headset that I somehow messed up and to Keith at Velofix for sorting the rear mech hanger which had bent slightly in transit(Ian I need a new hanger).

Finally to Phil Gaimon for amusing me into entering his event and seeing California in a new light as a cyclist. I’m even reading one of his books!

Now to eat everything, get fat and have a few days off the bike!!

27
Oct
18

Gibraltar Road – Phils Worlds

Phils Worlds

So I have become a fanboy, no kidding! I am here in Los Angeles because a Retired
Pro spends his time attacking KOMS and his Videos/Strava amuse me.

In a roundabout way this trip was also caused by my crash and my quest for something
to focus on. I guess my down time gave me time to surf and see what PhilG was up to. and start thinking well how far behind a PRO would I be? It is a well known fact that I am too heavy or don’t have enough power to be a hill climber, you chose ? For 4 months I rebuilt my engine, specced and had a bike built. I have lost weight and trained using my road bike at TTs plus my watt bike and the good old British hill climbing scene, what a great scene that is :¬)

I arrived on Tuesday and planned to ride the course Wednesday, so did that and
concluded there was nothing silly just a good honest climb.

raceday

So race day arrived and I got there early, had a coffee and some breakfast, Keith
from Velofix tweaked the rear hanger as it has been bent in transit and I rode for
6 mins just to be sure the bike was ok.

So it was finally time and as planned the warm up was the ride out which started easy
but as recced soon started to climb, some 26 mins, 467peak watts and 163bpm later we
rolled through the start. Instantly a group splintered off and I realised within a minute
I could not go with that pace so settled into around planned power. At this point I
will sound like the boring Brit as nothing happened I just rode along on power. I
stood occasionally and overtook a few people on the way, as strange as it sounds I had time to appreciate where I was and what I was doing. With 2kms to go I had caught 7th and it just came 2 kms of what I had left, up the steep section I got close but never past
and as it went round the corner I got slightly gapped. Must admit initally I was disappointed I hadnt just pushed past to see if he would break but I didn’t/couldn’t. I pushed hard for the line as I was being chased and actually won an uphill sprint to finish nowhere :¬) The gutting thing was on countback I lost out as he went through the start mat after me.

Analysis afterwards tells me the power was close to what I wanted but lower, HRM data
tells me the average was in ZONE5, which explains why I couldnt respond on the steep section but then I managed 600 odd watts and 181 HR at the end so I was strong just not good enough.

2018-10-27 (1)

It was good talking to people at the top and the ride down was enjoyable, looking
forward to the rest of the weekend.

I stayed for all the prize presentation, I think the world champion might be
stretching things a little as the entire field had less than 10 non Americans but
it was very well run event, the police were engaging, the staff helpful and Phil
takes the time to talk to people, do pictures. Its also not all about him making a living as there is charity work going on, there really is a trying to make a difference feel about it. The quality of the riders through the field was best summed up by the guy who came 1st in the 40-49, he would have been 4th in the pro race.

If you really want to do something a little different then this is a good idea, the
only other place I have seen events done like this are at Alpe d’Huez and it is fun
racing a hill climb.

I shall report back on the rest of the weekend I am sure but for now I am happy I
got the effort out and really enjoyed the event.

Can someone please get me a cookie !!

24
Oct
18

Hill Climbing

I find myself sat in a cafe in Santa Monica waiting for a bike shop to open and even though it is not the end I find myself blogging about the only course I did this year that I did last year.

Last year was supposed to be my look at hill climbs but for various reasons I only rode 2 and Oxford University was the 2nd. It was not a good day out with me blowing a tyre not long before the start and riding Ems wheel having failed to remove my helmet or my spectacles. End result being a very embarrasing 4.57 and power that this season I put out for 16 mins !!!

So as the event approach I received 2 pieces of bad news, I lost 2 friends in the same week both of which were way too young and frankly after crying I eat, only once in my life have I been so down that I stopped eating and I NEVER want to go through those feelings EVER again.

That said come Sunday morning I built myself up, the bike was smooth and I really needed to put last years ride to bed. Damn cold as I warmed up and I really hope someone produces a picture of me in my trackies, hoodie and Horace. Even the warm up told me things would be different.

Target on a 4 min plus climb is to be within 1 minute of the winner, harsh but fair indication of how far I need to improve to get near the sharp end, ok I am 50 in 2020 so if I stay the same I may improve (so to speak)

From the get go I was different as I drove hard into the first climb, still embracing my go out hard and risk it approach of recent weeks

DqDUCqaW4AUjI8K.jpg large

Check that gurn!!!! (oh yeah and my skin suit zip broke!!!)

I just felt different and off the turn I kicked hard on the flat and drove into the next climb. I crossed the line in officially 4.21 and initially I was disappointed but it was 37 seconds faster than last year and more importantly nearly 50 watts more.

Last years HC bike was not shabby and the 50 watts proves it is not all about the bike. Richard Gildea broke his course record by 3 seconds so it wasnt a terrible day on the course but 37 seconds!!!!!

In some ways this shows how your head can play important parts in the race as well as your body as I was in good shape last year as well. I have enjoyed my foray in to Hill Climbs but I am not competitve with the pro chaps at all.

With that in mind here I am in LA about to race some of the best uphill riders in the states, goal is not to totally suck, it is a 6.1 mile climb so a Time Trial really and I am ok at them. The bike has been set up(compromised a little) and looks good.

DqRus3BVYAEjaOj

Oh and this is my hire car

suburban.jpg large




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