Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

15
Oct
17

CX IS here

Otherwise known as  “agitated and disillusioned” a journey on the road in the wrong direction.

Lets be clear I have arrived at CX season in brilliant shape, oh I’m not cross fit (more on that) but I am fit.

The first round of Central saw me finish in 10th, really only lost out due to a lack of top end on the last lap and lets be honest that will probably be the same at the end of the year.

It’s been all down hill since round 1 to the extend that I have struggled to write this blog

I survived National Trophy but off a tragic start I found myself near the back before riding through the field but failing to make it as far as my gridding, I just made too many basic errors with lines, gears just anything that could go wrong.

Sadly, National Trophy was barely the tip of the iceberg of disaster, MK the next day saw my left leg just seize and so I limped in laps down. I could talk about how well I was riding etc. but I just can’t raise the enthusiasm.

It got worse as well with round 3 seeing me make a blinding start and make progress to be struck down by debilitating cramp in my right calf and once more watched everyone just ride away. At least this time I was able to role to the end as long as I hobbled the barriers. Off the back of this I spent 2 days with a locked-out calf and couldn’t walk properly.  The week has been spent doing light training in the hope that I would be clear to ride today

Arriving at today I was apprehensive to say the least, viewing the course did nothing to calm my concerns but riding it did. Discovered I could get up all the climbs without standing and decided to be cautious over the jumps and re-mounting. So obviously off the start I went backwards and up the first hill I went backwards some more and then to add insult to injury I crashed. That was the last of the bad news as I rode through the field and finished above my gridding.

Sat here right now there is relief that I finished a race and am not in pain. There is a little bit of hope and I think I have a plan ,  but I am left with this closing thought.

It’s not really racing if you don’t take part from the start is it ?

 

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03
Oct
17

What have you been doing ?

It’s round up time!!

Obviously I blogged to the end of TT season and although it was a good one I ended with a cold at the National 10. Many people when they know they have form would carry on for a few more weeks.  Made no difference to me as I parked the bike and started to think about Cyclo Cross and hill climbs.

Mentally I was done, time trial training is not fun really as it is all about control and numbers and the racing is all about control and numbers. Yeah you ride close to the edge but there is a mental side that takes its toll and frankly by the National I was ready to stop.

What does this mean ahead of Cross season? Basically I start the year not cross fit. I trained for sure but a little running, rode my MTB and Cross bike a bit but mentally I recharged by removing the real rigour of training.

As many of you know I have power meters on most bikes and this includes MTB and Cross but I don’t race on power. What you do however is analyse the data and build training around it. This then becomes fun as I can do efforts at Cannock on the MTB or Cross bike. I try to still do 1 “proper” session on the watt bike but even that is different.

I also seem to run a little more.

Why? Simply put the effort and being tired on the Cross bike is more important than the actual number. It is good when the numbers come up and when they come up tired it is satisfying. I also don’t need to hold 300 plus watts for 20 mins so why train for it ? :¬)

Oh yes and I try to do more work in the gym, actually this is bad. I used to love lifting but even though I know about training zones etc to avoid building size I am always nervous. My legs are always used so yes Helen Wyman I hate legs!!!

So two races in and how is it going?

Race 1 was sound, I was gridded and made a solid start. Raced against a few people and got a solid 10th. Afterwards I discovered my rear disc was badly warped :¬0 I’m sure it ram ok before hand. I lost 8th and 9th on the last lap, I am putting this down to being fit but not cross fit. The season is long and I want to be ready for Nationals in January and that means mentally as well as physically.

Race 2 was a disaster, I started badly but recovered and moved through the field.  Sadly I was taken out on a climb and wrenched my leg out the cleat. I had one of those tell tale spasms in my calf but I rode on thinking I had control of it. I had run Limus and low pressure for the mud and in reality this was a bad idea. Yes I was good in the moisture but enough was dry that I could have ridden harder Griffo. Now you may ask how do I know they would have been ok ? Well, funny you should ask as on lap 3 I pulled the tub off the rim. Made the pit but with my calf spasm meaning I couldn’t run I stopped. Em collected my spare wheel, a Griffo which I pumped up, I also pumped up the front Limus and after 10 mins decided to “cool down” so re-joined the race. I rode very easy for the remainder of the lap but climbed solidly until being forced to dismount on the single track slope. This time I was ready and got off rather than forced off. I ran the hill and at the top thought “typical it is fine now” so put the foot down for the rest of the lap, I had no issues with the harder tyre pressure or the Griffo rear. I wasn’t last but this was not the race I was hoping for.

The first National trophy is this weekend and I am nervous really. I had hoped working legs and being stronger the left leg would cope better.

If all goes to plan I should blog after each National trophy weekend.

Have fun and stay healthy

cxracer

Gobi

13
Sep
17

Time trial season

A round up and a review of the national 10.

So it was the first full season on the tic tac which had been purchased late last year after one frustration too many on the size medium Transition. (Still the prettiest TT bike ever)

Gobi

Early season form was promising with solid power numbers and feeling like my bike and I got on well. Working back in Coventry has meant a season of efforts on the K41/10. It is not a fast course but it is honest. I was delighted to be above 2015 form straight away.

With this in mind I had decided to have another go on E2/10, F11/10 and V718.

Sadly and positively the trip to E2/10 set the tone for my year. My biggest power numbers EVER in a 10 on a TT bike and DrBob was 40 seconds up the road. Why was I sad ? A chat with the Dr told me that we were almost the same weight and I had put out over 30 watts more than him. That was that it was time to go and see a PRO.

I selected Wattshop off a friends recommendation, that and the fact I could get a 7am slot on a velodrome in Derby. Daft as a brush I had raced track league the night before. Never ever do this kids as you spend chunks of the next morning doing 4 min efforts around FTP. THEY ADD UP !!!

side

Above is the set up I left with(Thanks Morgan @BanjoCycles for executing Dans plans). From the session I came away with a solid ride-able set up that saved me a lot of watts.  It is not perfect but a lot of that is my bodys fault and ironically I need a bike with more reach and less stack. The biggest thing I learned is I know nothing about aerodynamics, that said expense parted with the SHIV is the best I can get it and it is not shabby. There is logic in the engine but you can buy speed. My advice, train hard, get set up, follow advice and buy the best kit you can afford.

For perspective I went out on the K41/10, rode 20 watts less than I had before on a new set up and destroyed my course best. This turned out not to be a fluke of conditions as I never looked back and by the season end I had lowered my K41 best by around 45 seconds without any more power.

Next up with the F11/10, I have blogged more than once about having fast head on when you go to a fast course. I was rewarded with a HUGE course PB and I had edged ever closer to the target of a 19.xx.

Somewhere in all this I had a trip to France and for some strange reason decided I should do a 50, they are too far and I must admit I faltered near the end but I rode a 1.50.cc so nailed the sub 2hr and beyond. Not sure how many 50s I will do but at least now I should get a ride on most courses.

My performances and comments seemed to inspire my friend Rich so it was no surprise that a second trip to the velodrome for me and a first for Rich was arranged. I just wanted to know my best kit so I had race day V training day, already had it for suits but it would be nice to know I am on the best wheels I have in the most aero kit(after the surprise of my expensive banjo suit costing me watts due to me being too slow I needed to be sure of everything). I was therefore surprised when my stack was lowered again to actually gain me watts, seems to be very much against the stacking convention of current set ups but …. Seems my warped head likes the Bambino so the Spesh TT lid was sold. I also tried the Giro ” flavour of the month ” Helmet. Much laughter as it cost me 14 watts.

Next year will see Di2 or a new bike, probably a new helmet but there will not be a blind purchase. This TTing is expensive and I still have to do the training!!! This brings me to the V718, she is the fastest course in the country on the right day with the right head on.

A lovely lady told me it was a perfect day but it felt good to me, I did my usual slack Alice warm up (thanks for testing Ken, nice to be told I just need to ride a bit) and arrived at the start ready. I was out the gate and on it straight away, my roundabout although not perfect was good enough. It was always going to be close but a good last mile saw me home in 19.46. Season target achieved.

Sub 20

This was everything done on the bike except putting on the really expensive new tubs which came later :¬) Power was everything I had on a day and that was good enough. I actually withdrew from my other ride on this course as Hull is a long way from home.

There were only 3 things left to do:

  1. Put the posh tubs on
  2.        Ride a fast 25, entry to R25/3H sorted
  3.        Ride the National 10

So the posh tubs went on and I got a trip to Wales, funny really as at this point the wheels fell off my season a bit, I was throwing up the morning of the event, even now not sure what triggered it but it was nasty. So I  lined up unfuelled and took a gamble as it was Wales, I got the PB but the course did it really. MarcinB rode 43 mins !!!!!! which tells you it was a good day. So a successful failure really. There is another minute to come on the right day.

I had a period of time to prepare and put in the reps, rode well on the K41 and on the week of the race I got a cold, seems the last good ride was K41 5 days before as from the next morning I was ill. By the Saturday I had convinced myself I should ride, I knew I was 90%. I had even slept Saturday night without using “night nurse”. It was cloudy and windy when I arrived and sure as fate it started to rain as I headed to the start. Cold and wet with a cold is not ideal but I went anyway. After 4 miles of not enough power I had a coughing fit. Not ideal!!! Add that to being cut up by a motorbike who then walked his bike round the turn(this alone cost me a long 21) meant I was not in a good place. Anger, frustration and stubbornness saw a better ride back but it is safe to say I paid for it later and there is no doubt the cough carried on well into the following week thanks to this ride. Reality is I should have DNS’d.

So my last two rides were probably events that should not have taken place and on reflection I shall note that no event is more important than my health.

That said, what a TT season. Outright PBs for all targets and course PBs in other places. I even bagged a win or two along the way. I’m not a tester but I do enjoy it. I expect to see some more of the same next year although knowing I have some solid times means I can probably avoid Wales and Hulls for at least a year and look to ride fast on normal course.

Surely the aim of every tester is to be fast(relative) everywhere.

Hill climbs and Cross now so see you on the other side :¬)

 

 

 

31
Aug
17

Torq 12hr mtb race

Otherwise know as a 6hr Pair with Em.

I could break down my ride into lots of details and I could vent a little about things but largely I had a great day and nothing that exciting really happened on each lap I did. I really must have got better at this MTB riding.

Instead a little blog covering a few points…

Yeah this was her first MTB event and as I gave up 12hour racing last year doing the 6hr and hanging out at the “Orange Gayzebo” seemed like a great way to spend the day.

So we got there Saturday afternoon and along with Hannah, Tom, Jon and Jem we went off to look at the course. Nothing scary but the usual array of sponge ground and climbs. I was delighted that Em got round this without hurting herself or the new bike :¬)

We hung out for a little while before leaving the campsite and heading home for dinner, one does not camp. Even less so when I live 30 mins from a venue.

We got back early on Sunday so we could see the guys all head off on the 12hr which also allowed plenty of time for Em and I to eat and get ready. We had a game plan:

Gobi – 2 laps

Em – 1 lap

Gobi – 2 laps

Em – 1 lap

I would then go again if there was time.

From test riding the course and talking to people I had concluded the 7th lap would be touch and go but possible if all went to plan, if all going to plan meant 170 plus HEART RATE within a few mins of the start and me sending Em out having done 2 laps in way under 90 mins then yes we were flowing. Well Em was as I was knackered and knew I would need to be more sensible next time. Fortunately Norna was on hand to give me coffee and I was organised enough to eat. (eventually)

Em came past after 60 odd mins saying she had crashed a  lot but she was still going well, I jumped on my bike and headed to the transition to wait for her. Off I went again and this time I was more cautious. As I passed them on my first lap I heard the shout telling me Em would not be able to do another lap, obviously I didn’t know why and was disappointed but thought I will do my 2 laps anyway.(I had concluded that if we were “in it” I could ride another 2 laps slowly)  I came round the 2nd time and it was confirmed she was out. Sadly the rest between efforts her body had shut down. (The joy of diabetes and something we will investigate and plan to get around for next year) A quick check said we were 6th and  actually it wouldn’t be a team if Em didn’t do 2 laps so we sacked it and watched the rest of the day.

What we learned was:

  1. that Ems new bike is AWESOME
  2. we need to work out what to do so she can do repeatable efforts
  3. probably coupled to Saturday made it just too much
  4. I’m in good shape
  5. my bike is also awesome
  6. we quite enjoyed just doing the 6hr together

This means we WILL be back next year to try again.

Various Banjo teams and solos did very well across different cats including wins in the pairs and the single speed solo.

National 10 this weekend, nothing like something different.

Always good to ride for the Shop , thanks to Mark and the team for the continued support.

 

 

01
Aug
17

Fast courses still need the fast head and legs

So this year I decided to put in the hard efforts and again chase the time.

I have invested in the bike, invested in the clothing and invested in me.

This year I have been rewarded :¬)

10 miles in 19.46

50 miles in 1.50.53

Various other course PBs on training nights at the local 10.

So how come the one blog I am writing about this is looking at a negative?

Quite simply because bad news sells :¬)

Ok not really but we learn more on the bad days.

You can see above there is no mention of a cracking 25 mile TT, I have ridden 2 and one was not on a fast course whereas the other was a slow day on the E2.

It is this ride and Sundays I want to talk about.

On the bad weather day I turned up with my big boy race head and proceeded to really put in a mentally and physically strong ride to be left wonder what might of been on a good day, it was a 54.xx and at this point actually my 3rd fastest 25. The point is I turned up ready and nothing was getting in my way not even god.

Sunday was the polar opposite, the weather has been bad these last few days and come Saturday I had pretty much talked myself out of traveling(it is 111 miles each way) but at 11pm the updated forecast said it would be ok. Alarm set for 0400 etc. I arrived in good time and got ready, warmed up in my usual casual manner and made my way to the start.  3 mile in and I was aware of how low my power was and my heart rate was so tried to raise my effort. It didn’t really happen. At the garage a mile from the turn if I had money I would have gone for a coffee, I nearly stopped again at 40 mins and it was only having someone to chase that helped me drive the last few miles.

Irony is a 53.58 and my 3rd fastest 25 but that didn’t matter as I could see the data now and the phrase missed opportunity is the only way to look at it. I have ridden 54.xx on other courses

So why did I go? This is the E2 and I wanted a fast time

What happened to you? I was so convinced it would be bad that I just couldn’t get an effort, all proof of this was that I went MTB riding in the afternoon and even went after a few efforts.

The killer was my effort was lower than the 50 I did a few weeks back.

So the lesson here is fast courses need the fast head to get the fast times, YOU STILL HAVE TO RIDE IT TO BE REWARDED!!!

My 10 at Hull, HR and power right near my best

My 50 at Etwall HR and power better than I rode the 25 on Sunday

My seasons best on the Newmarket race track was worse than I ride tired on a Tuesday night.

Remember this, it doesn’t matter how good your legs are if your head is not ready for the suffering.

It has only happened to me once this year and I am pretty calm about it but I just wanted to capture my disappointment, that is all it is. I have no doubts about my form. My legs are great and training right now is spot

BUT

NEED THE FAST HEAD ON THE FAST COURSE TO USE THE FAST LEGS!!!!!

 

13
Jul
17

In the words of Cliff Richard

We’re all going on a summer holiday…….

Yep, as promised a trip to the sun for MiniG after finishing her exams, of course this is with me so it is a trip that was “largely” on my terms.

In the months leading up to this trip, trains had been booked apartments rented and stop off planned, yes we were going to NICE but it was a road trip and there was cycling to be done.

I collected the new Yeti on the Friday eve and the first realisation that 4 people and 2 bikes was not going to be straight forward meant some panicking and chatting to the man that is Morgan to arrange a new bike rack. Mate, I can never appreciate the effort you went to that night enough.  THANK YOU!

This caused the first change of plans, Em and I would now be driving from home to collect MiniG and Micha, (Oh I may have forgotten to mention we also took a very quiet young lady who is MiniGs best friend with us) then going to the train before driving all the way to Grenoble. The car was going to be well tested as was my ability to eat miles behind the wheel. Apart from paranoia about the bike rack and it being a very long way Grenoble was reached without any real disasters.

The night one hotel was a very simple Premiere Classe and it served it purpose. I rose early and headed up to Allemond to see the Marmotte riders heading towards the first climb. I would have liked to have done the Alpe d’Huez climb but time was not on my side. I didn’t take any lights and it was dark when I planned to leave – OOPS !!!! That said I opened the French account with 50 miles.

Got the car loaded and the last part of the drive was an easy cruise down to the apartment, the only stress was once parked as we couldn’t find the apartment, soon rectified we moved in. The weather was glorious, to save time I shall say it was glorious every day.  Advice from the owner meant we knew where to buy breakfast and we found a shop to buy “stuff”

I had planned a week where basically Em and I would ride early and then organise breakfast before the beach or one of the 2 organised trips happened.

Trip 1

A day in Monaco – I’d never been to the old town(you know the real bit) so after looking at BOATS :¬) that is what we did. Down the narrow streets there was a real feeling of back in time. It was also the 4th of July and I had discovered there was a parade of American Jeeps in VilleFranche so we got off the train there and had food listened to music and looked at jeeps. All in all a good day.

Trip 2

The pressure was on here, a number of years ago I promised Em Tiramisu in Italy and so we set off on the train to San Remo where I put my life and promise in the hands of a restaurant called “Dick Turpin” Oh yes you read the right Dick

Fortunately he came up with the goods and Em was happy.  Sea, sand dolphins and boats – ALL IN ALL another good day out.

The last full day in Nice I had to climb the Madone, so I got up early and headed on over there. Sadly I was alone as Em was having blood sugar issues which ruined the last few days of the holiday a bit for her.  It’s not the longest the hardest or the most interesting climb but that Lance bloke used it so it is obviously a solid test. It was at this point I realised why I had been riding either a compact or a CX bike for the last few years. It’s not tragic but you miss the gears. I descended fast and picked up to fares on the way. After a number of miles the one guy shot passed me and up the road and all I hear in French is the other chap saying ” thanks for the taxi ride” among other things. We laughed and rode all the back to Nice together. We even caught the TWAT up on the way.

Friday was selfishly all about me, I wanted to go to Ventoux, yes I sold it as spectacular which it is but I just wanted to play. Starting at The Chalet and descending first was strange but not half as strange as running out of gears in the first 5km before the real climbing starts. It was however a glorious day and I had a great climb and 2 brilliant bits of descending.

Here is the one from the top, the other is also on my youtube. Climbing is dull to watch but descending is awesome :¬)

For the final morning Em had found parkrun at Chateau Pierre de Bresse

parkrun du Chateau de Pierre de Bresse

It was a glorious day and I was made work hard for the win, not helped by my legs being ruined on the bike the previous 2 days. Afterwards along with the other Brits we joined the locals for coffee and cake. It was brilliant to just sit down and talk running.

We hope to get there again one day.

France had been a great success with lovely weather and fun had by all, Ems diabeties playing up over the last few days was probably the only bad point.

The drive back went almost 100% to plan with no drama and even hitting traffic in the UK we were not overly late getting MiniG home. Useful as I was racing the next day…..

Oh you can wait for that blog :¬)

ps. Learned that Tarquin(sat nav) is stupid and we named the car RUFUS.

 

 

26
Jun
17

Randomness – is it a word ?

Is it a real word?

1.
the quality or state of lacking a pattern or principle of organization; unpredictability.
“we accept randomness in our own lives but we crave logic in art”
Yes it is !!!
So here is a blog – I had a rest day yesterday, normally you find it is because I’m ill or injured or it is just before a very big race.
Yesterday I had a rest day so I could go to the Swansea Half marathon to support my girlfriend who as you all know readers does more than her fair share of sacrifice and also my brother Chazs wife. I have been coaching Bee for quite a while with Em acting as the fluffy foil to dampen my rather blunt methods. It also happened to be Chazs and his daughters birthday around this period and my mummy was also there. So in effect it was family day.
It turned out to be a pretty good day, Em is not 100% back to her best but we feel we are winning the battle of why her calf is playing up.  So for her it was a bittersweet mixed sort of a day.
Bee got a 34 minute PB, yes 34 minutes!!!!!!!
I often think people assume that coaches only work with certain types of people so the assumption with me is I only want to work with people who are FAST, of course this is quite wrong as I actually only want to work with people who are committed to the journey of improvement. Bee ran 2hrs 40 which doesn’t sound like much to many people but for her it was a huge huge achievement and one I am very proud of. I don’t see Bee often but to see her times improving and to see the work she puts in is inspiring.
So if you are out there and think you are too slow to have a coach, think again. All a good coach wants from you is commitment to the journey, it is hard sometimes but the results are there to see. EVERYONE can improve with the right support.
So about this Random day, there was cake and I mean lots of cake, 2 birthdays means 2 cakes, there was food. I ate bacon and cake and burgers. As lovely as it all was a priceless moment was my brothers face on seeing he had his own cake not only that it was the FETT !!!!!!!!
Running this morning just got me thinking about random stuff, things like:
I still very scared by the events of 3 years ago, I will never really understand why the course of action taken was chosen. These days it doesn’t really matter but it still bothers me.  In some ways the events of last year with someone who I thought would be my mate forever have cut me much deeper. All I know is I am far more defensive and protective of my bubble than I ever have been in my life. Sometimes it is a good job I like my own company.
I love coaching, I work with a very diverse group of people, the rewards and the disappointments are something you share.
How well my daughter rode her scooter on a very busy road as she followed me to get her bike serviced.
How glad I am that the damage done during the dark years seems to have been repaired, the relationship with my daughter and her mum matters a great deal. MiniG still has no concept of reality on so many thing but she has turned into a very pleasant young lady.
I still don’t understand how she has finished school and has a prom yet still has 6th form to go but I shall not worry as I saw the dress she will wear on Friday and she will look lovely.
Could I have trained yesterday morning? Yes I could but I chose not to in the morning as I wanted to be there to support Em, she will tell you I am still useless and she made the coffee like she does when I race but I was there to say the right things.
Could I have trained while the half was on? Yes I could but I chose not to so I could drink coffee with my family.
Could I have trained at home in the evening? Yes I could but I had eaten too much cake so decided to just kick back and relax watching the F1 :¬)
Interesting bit – my legs felt brilliant today even if my guts are still not great (too much egg lately I fear) !!!!
Somewhere in here there is a lesson for me that says even though I am the master of the proper easy day sometimes the total rest day when there is nothing wrong is actually a good thing.
Funny really that Randomness is still largely about running but that is me.
I have noticed that I am less stressed about the hours I train this year and yet more focused. I am baffled that I have raced at a better standard and done well yet am less agitated by missing a session but I know it is a good thing. Don’t get me wrong I still target 2hrs a day or 60hrs a month but when it is short it is short.
So to close out this Randomness there has been a lot of focus on the bike this year and thanks to DrBob I even went and had some aero testing  so here is a little palmares:
4 triathlons
Sprint Age Group Qualifier 17th overall and the vets win
Ashridge duathlon 2nd overall
National Age Group Duathlon Championships at Standard distance 17th overall and 3rd V45
Dinton Duathlon 1st overall
My return to duathlon properly was very successful !!!
Time trials
Course PB on K41/10 22.25
Course PB on E2/10  20.55
Course and all out PB on F11/10 20.17
Focus on 10s is part of my prep for CX season
I have done a couple of 25s and they have also been ok and won a random club night 18, always nice to bag a W
Focus on the bike is paying off and these days I am a cyclist who runs a bit, this shows in all the duathlon results. That said I am still running 17.xx and 36.xx for 5 and 10kms and have got the W at a couple of parkruns.(lets not get hung up on is it a race)
I haven’t regretted the decision to ditch triathlon completely.
I’m looking forward to the rest of the TT season before a short break and back to the mud, I will never understand why I like CX as I hate mud and hate being cold but CX is awesome.
Randomness indeed and it’s a real word !!!



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