Friday, 26 May 2017

Sub 11

My intention, when I entered the Outlaw Triathlon was to get under 11 hours and even up until a few weeks ago that seemed quite possible.  I am now looking at reevaluating my goals as just to finish. My cycling is fine. I know that I will be able to cruise around the 112 miles and knock out a fairly comfortable time around the 5:15-5:30 mark and that would normally stand me in good stead for a sub 11 time. More importantly I think I've managed to put the miles in for that type of time to be relatively comfortable and at a low rpe.  Once again, the issue is my running.  After aggravating my Achilles four weeks ago, it has not really gone away. I've been able to do some gentle 5 mile runs a couple of times a week, but anything more than this and I can feel my Achilles tightening again.  I am still hopeful that I will be able to get a few long runs of around 15-18 miles banked, but I will not have the run conditioning that I think I will need. My mindset has therefore changed, and changed for the better.  It's going to be a long training day and I intend to just enjoy it, stay relaxed and not worry about the clock. As I said last post, it's only a hobby.

In the meantime, I still have some things to get ready for.  This weekend is a family one so no training at all to speak of, but the weekend after next is the SCCU 50 TT. The plan is to ride there and back which should give me a good 100 ish miles. The SCCU course is quite hard with lots of junctions and climbs; not a sporting course but most definitely not a drag strip either.  Then the weekend after that it's the Newbury 12 hour TT.  I didn't realise that it was effectively the same course as the Charlotteville 50 that I rode a couple of weeks ago, except just lots more of it! There's a rumble strip section which I think is going to drive me insane by the end.  Both these events will give me the chance to practice eating and drinking on the bike and getting my nutrition right.  Happy days.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Mostly cycling

I rode the SCCU 10 at the weekend on the G10/57 and achieved my aim of a course pb of 22:46; a one measly second improvement. I had a really good ride and with the stiff climb almost from the start, which I have always found tough, it was a well paced ride.  Simon beat me over a 10 for the first time in a year by 9 seconds, which was a great ride from him.  When I compared our rides on Strava he went out much faster than me, climbing that hill considerably quicker and I was going faster towards the end as I slowly caught him, but not quickly enough.  It's really good for both of us to be so close and to be pushing each other on. I was wearing my new Bambino lid, which was extremely comfortable and gave good visibility; it is the most comfortable aerohelmet I have ever worn.  Only time will tell if it will be actually 'faster'.

 Simon, Dale and I currently hold the Phoenix 25m team record so we have all entered the Bedford 10 on the F11/10 course and the Blazing Saddles 50 on the fast P885/50 course, with the intention of us getting those team records as well. The 10 record will be relatively straightforward, but the 50 will need Simon and I to go a good chunk under 2 hours, while Dale will probably be looking at potentially 1:49:xx.  It's something to aim for and it will be pretty cool if the three of us can hold all three team records at the same time.

I did an early turbo session this morning. My legs were very heavy from a 7 mile run home from work yesterday and I just couldn't push out the watts and I ended up spinning for most of the session. I was pretty disappointed and hacked off; I hate it when these sessions don't go to plan and I stalked off to the kitchen to get breakfast and turned on the TV to hear the news about the events in Manchester last night.  A big dose of perspective; it's only a hobby.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Free speed? You must be joking!

So after my outing at the Charlotteville 50 last week, things have been on a bit more of an upward turn. It was a pretty consistent week's training and I ended up riding over 180 miles, plus a swim and a couple of runs. Saturday morning saw me out for another 70 miles on the road bike on my own and while it was a slog at times into the wind, I felt pretty comfortable and got a pleasant increase in speed over quite a few Strava segments, despite it just being a steady aerobic ride. I did have a minor spill while riding one-handed and eating a soreen loaf. A temporary set of traffic lights had been set up for the Horse Show in Windsor and I just wasn't concentrating as I almost ploughed into a group of pensioners. Doh! Hit the back brake with my one hand and went straight down on the greasy surface with fresh rain. Thankfully, I was only pootling at 5mph and nothing damaged or dented except my ego. I had a lot of bemused stares from the elderly as I picked myself up, but the lady who was controlling the crossing was lovely and seemed quite sure that I wouldn't make it back and I should take care.

So, free speed. The bike speed that can be obtained without the need to train for it. However, free speed is a misnomer. Free speed is bloody expensive. My Catlike TT helmet was looking very tired and it was very large on my head. More importantly it had a very long tail and quite a few pictures taken of me racing time trials showed that the tail was often sticking up into the air as I got tired and lost a good aerodynamic position. I decided to get a short tailed aero helmet instead so I have bought myself a Kask Bambino, as worn by Team Sky. If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me. It may not be as aerodynamic entirely as the Catlike, but with my head potentially wobbling about a lot more than it should I am hoping that the net effect will be a reduction in the amount of watts I need to push my carcass through the air.

And then there's a skin suit. First of all, my existing one is red and I look like an enormous overweight chilli pepper. It is highly unflattering. More important than that is the fact that it has a lot of wrinkles and wrinkles equals drag. I also have to pin my number onto the back and a pinned number also equals drag. So I've invested in a Nopinz skinsuit, which seems to be the current standard for such lycra items. On their website they claim that their Supersuit will give a 10 watt reduction in power needed at 45km/hr, so in theory over a 10 mile TT, that's a 'free' 16 seconds. So, for these two items I have pretty much spent the same amount of money as my first road bike. On Saturday I am riding the SCCU 10. Last year I rode a 22:47, which is my second best time. In theory if the conditions are on my side I should knock that out the park. If not,

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Charlotteville 50m TT

I rode this event for the first time this morning, hoping for a pb, which I got, but it was one of those unsatisfying PBs that left me feeling a bit flat. Training's been going well and I've been pretty consistent, ftp's been creeping up and I've done more weekly miles than ever before. It's a pretty fast course so after last year's 55 minute 25 I thought a sub 2 hour should be on. I know that on a bike I have been finding it hard to keep my power up once I am over an hour, so this would be a test to see how my longer earobic endurance work has been going.

Well. it was fairly meh. it was quite parky when I set off but my heart rate was soon up, but on a few flat sections my speed was well down as I battled a head/ cross wind. After the first turn I was able to get my speed back up again and thought I was back on track as I headed to the top turn. Again, a long battle into wind as I headed south and I just hunkered down, trying to keep the cranks spinning quickly.  I ended up with a long 2:02, so a four minute pb, but there were people who I had beaten last year riding 1:58. I find a 50 a hard distance to pace and I think that I was too conservative and probably needed to push harder from earlier on. Next time.