First ever Strava KOM. #justsayin’.
Life in the old dog yet.
Within ten minutes, I could tell that my Van Nic was not happy. The whole transmission felt graunchy and gritty; the gears were not indexing properly and it felt like the bike was eating itself. I knew that my chain was on the way out but I had really let things get pretty bad. As Dale said to me, after the second time I had almost been pitched over the bars by the chain jumping when I got out the saddle to push down harder on the pedals, ‘I thought that as a DT teacher, your bikes should be really well maintained?’ This is true and while I can tackle the vast majority of bicycle maintenance issues myself, I’m quite lazy at actually doing them when I need to. It got so bad, that for the first time in my cycling life, I had to walk up Whitedown and suffer the pitying stares from the other riders who were tackling this nasty little climb. Oh the shame of it.
After a strip down of the chainset and sprockets, it was obvious that the whole lot needed replacing, but the seat post is also firmly stuck inside the frame, so after a vicious couple of minutes wielding Allen keys, cable cutters and spanners, the whole bike was stripped down.
I absolutely love my Euros. Strava has us at riding 24,000 miles together, but I actually think it’s closer to 30k. My body has become firmly welded into position on her and I will never part with her. It’s time to give the old girl a new lease of life.
These days happen, and happen more frequently than they used to, but it’s making me question whether lots of structure in my training is worth it? I’m starting to think it’s best that I just hop on my bike and see how I am, before deciding whether it is a day for a hard session or not. It can be demoralising to have a session planned and then not be able to get anywhere near accomplishing it.
Along with this, one of the other tweaks that I have made to my training is that I am doing less intensity and more steady, easy riding. This is again to increase volume without wiping me out all the time. Quite a bit of this has been on Zwift where I have been riding steady for around 90 minutes, burning fat and trying to get my weight back to around 70kgs. I’ve made good progress so far, coming down from 74kgs to 71, so I must be doing something right.
I’m also tinkering with my kit. I’ve bought a new Giro Aerohead helmet and some new bars to get my front end into a faster position and I’ve started the process of trying to get myself comfortable and familiar with this. In my first outing of the year on the TT bike it felt faster but only time will tell.
All of this is to actually do some time trialling and I’ve entered a few events. There’s a couple of Sporting TTs coming up but the biggie will be the Breckland 12 hour in August. It would be good to add on some miles to my 246 mile ride a few years ago.
I’d actually forgotten that I had this blog, then it popped into my head yesterday and after some scrabbling around, trying to remember my google password, I was able to get into it. It’s nice to see that my loyal 5 regular readers have remained faithful. I’m not sure I know why you bother, but thank you all the same.
So 2021 has started as badly as 2020 ended but let’s try to remain positive, shall we? I suppose that my big decision is that I have officially retired from triathlon and running. It’s something that has evolved over the winter, with the realisation that I have not been able to run for almost a year, since the Hampton Court half, last February. Despite very few runs in that time, my feet and ankle tendons have been sore very regularly and I can just about do a 5km walk without too many side effects. I’m sad about it but it is what it is, so time to focus on other things.
Most of this winter I’ve been on Zwift, doing a few races and other events and they’ve been fun, but there’s been no structure. I cancelled my TrainerRoad subscription for a few months, but yesterday, I reinstalled it. It’s time to get some structure and discipline back. The goal is to beat my 25 mile TT pb (55:39, set back in 2017). I think on a fast course I should be able to get under 53 mins and I’m going to have a tinker with my position on the Argon and I might even treat myself to a new TT helmet. I might stick up some pictures next week, as I’ve got some Aerocoach bars to bolt on.
It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged or even looked at this. I think that’s indicative of how I’ve felt generally about swim, bike and run. Well, bike and run. Actually, barely biking of late. It’s not that I’ve lost my mojo, it’s just that it is firmly laying dormant. It is there within me, wanting to bust out and be used to good effect in a race or event, but I just can’t seem to force it to the surface to make me really want to do something athletic.
Part of it has been to do with work-life balance. I need to caveat the next few sentences reflecting on the fact that I still have a full-time job and that I can pay my bills, which thousands of people are currently struggling with. For them, the foreseeable future must look pretty bleak and I can only sympathise and hope that we can get things back to some sort of normal as soon as possible. Work has had to take a priority for the last couple of months. I’m usually pretty good at knowing when to park work stuff and look after myself, but I need to spend more hours working at home, which means less time to hop on the bike, even if it does just mean a 20 second walk to the end of the garden to get on the turbo.
The other reason for my dormant mojo has been a lack of racing. To be honest, there have been some events that I could have done but I just haven’t felt in the right frame of mind to do them. I dragged myself out to the Kingston Phoenix Open 10 TT, and pushed out 24:05. It was a really well organised event by my club, but without the usual bants over tea and cake, it seemed a bit hollow, despite the quick catch-up with club mates.
The last few weeks have been more about easy coffee rides with the odd hard effort up hill or on a strava segment. And gradually some desire to work hard has started to return. I’ve begun to focus a bit more on my TrainerRoad sessions, particularly, those horribly hard 90 minute over-under sets which almost leave me honking with effort. They are so hard, but by far the most effective sessions for me to improve my ftp and get back up to 300 watts. I need something to focus on over the winter months and that’s as good a thing as any. With us being in a Covid world for the foreseeable future, it looks like a TT based focus for next year is likely. At the moment, I think I’d like to have another really good go at my 25 mile pb. Currently, it’s 55:39, so getting g a lot closer to 50 minutes would be rather cool.
|First time to Ditchling, in a loooong time!|
Leading Ritchie Porte out, up the volcano #fanboy
|Getting there, bit by bit|
|1 outdoor ride in a month|
|Happy chappy. Mad hair.|
|Amazing vegan cookies made by my friend Rachel. You'd never know.|
|Banana pancakes with fruit, vegan yogurt and golden syrup. An odd texture, but ok.|
|Black coffee's far too strong, but black de-caff tea is great.|
|Greggs vegan sausage rolls. Believe the hype. Gorgeous.|
|KFC burger. The box would have had a better texture.|