Sunday, 25 March 2012

First rides of Spring

Finally hauled the fully revamped TCR Advanced for it's first ride. Well it was midday and the sun was shining. Weeks ago I was having misgivings about choosing SRAM, but once out on the road it was truly superb.  In fact the whole thing was a treat to ride, especially sprinting from a corner or out of a slower section. Well I guess that's what you get when you run sub 1400g wheels. The other major difference over my titanium training bike is the stiffness, when you hit the button the rear wheel almost feels like it's going to overtake you.
So Saturday I pounded around a hilly 45 in the big ring, gurning like an idiot. Note to self - fit a bottle cage.

Sunday was also a glorious day, very sunny but not so warm. Nine of us left Energié, but other than that I can't tell you anymore as I was under instruction the whole route! Pace was above tempo, signs were up for bagging and long straights screamed one on one off.
We lost one rider due to the pace, and I think lack of a few miles in his legs. We also lost Tim early on, a victim of having a life!
We  also had a newcomer with us, 18 year old Neil who did a sterling job keeping up. Though he faded at around the 45 mile mark, not bad though when you consider he had only ridden about thirty miles tops beforehand.
Then on the homeward stretch we came across Tim? The training wheel on his dollar dollar Basso had shat itself leaving him stranded near Quainton. After much well deserved piss taking and photos we moved on, only to get an impromptu shower as Tim passed us in his wife's was water wasn't it?
Pace then dropped as Neil started to suffer, we got Neil home to Cheddington, and regrouped for a dash home.
Barney, Craig, Carl, Paul, Rob, Neil, Adam
All in all some great riding, if a little scruffy around the edges. Definitely great banter and hopefully a taster of what's to come.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Night riding again.

With Nick-No-Balance, just like days of yore.
A quick blast up through Southcott Stud and down through Bluebell Woods. Then a sharp turn onto the new'ish Rushmere Park cycle trails. We rode the fine little selection of downhills complete with berms and of course the loose loamy uphills that'll have anyone huffing and puffing.
Once out of Rushmere we climbed up through Stockgrove and out into the trail that leads to the old A5.
Before heading back to retrace the route we mcame out on, we did a quick loop of Oak Wood, the original local man made trail. That done it was a fast ride home.
not sure where my necks gone...Kermit?
Both of us are quite a bit rusty on the trails, but I for one intend to make Tuesday night rides a regular thing once more.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Early Spring Ride

Got up, went out, had a ride about and went home.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

The Time Crunched Cyclist

Train smart seems to be the advice being handed down to me as the years go by. It's well documented that your power and speed drops drastically after forty, about 10% per decade and your heat rate threshold drops also.
It isn't rocket science that at a slightly overweight 52 I'm not going to compete with guys half my age without adding a little something to my training. And I don't mean getting juiced up.
So to that end I'm hitting  Chris Carmichaels 'Time Crunched Cyclists' training plan - again. It's worked for me before getting me ready for the cross season, though I've never tried it for road racing. In case you don't know Carmichael was coach to lance Armstrong and George Hincappie.
The plan I'm embarking on is one aimed at racers taking part in crits and cross and other forms of racing that run within that hour long format. Ideally the plan should have you ready to race at nine weeks, but I'll have to be ready in seven.
My training 'proper' kicks off in five days time. So I've spent a few evenings getting the garage (or pain cave) ready. The bike is on the turbos, the HRM is set up on the bike, the cooling fan has been wall mounted, there's music to hand, three sheets of A4 with detailed plans adorn the wall along with a calender with count downs to race one.
The only addition to Mr Carmichaels plans are a midweek night ride off road and one steady road ride.
Sundays will remain club Sundays
The new bike along with race day only shoes will remain locked away whilst I train on 'heavy bike', a bit of an old fashioned way of doing things, but it's nice to feel you are on and wearing something better on race days.
So with the soul sold to the Devil I just need to get on.............mleh.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Paris Nice 2012

Nuff said

Race plans

It's two months yet before I race, but preparation starts next week (too ill this week) but I have plans that are most cunning.
Before I start I'll have one more week of just riding as it still feels like winter.
First of all I'll be back on the Chris Carmichael plan. It should be nine weeks to peak using this plan, but I should feel the benefit by the seventh week. I just hope I can stomach the Turbos for that long.
Then with a month to go I'll use the race bike for the first time. I'll also use my proper race shoes that I haven't worn for over a year. Hopefully the stiffer soles will help a bit.
I'll also stick in an off road ride once a week, good for upper body and handling.
Were I've gone wrong in past years is doing this too soon, peaking early and would then be burnt out by June/July just as the others were speeding up.
Well that's the plan.  

Get well soon ride!

A recover ride as opposed to a recovery ride was needed today as my ride in the rain and snow last week had given me severe man-flu.
I decided to roll out of Energié with the club, but with the full intention of heading off alone as soon as possible. It was crucial (techy bit coming) that I kept my heart rate down near 125 max for the ride, so as not to work my chest. So after a little en-route chin wag I waved goodbye to the guys in Heath & Reach and wiggled up and over Stockgrove and Brickhill.
After dropping into Stoke Hammond I caught up with three Triathletes, I rode with them long enough to be polite then shelled them out - cough or no cough it had to be done. My route took me through Stewkley, into Swanbourne, Dunton, Cublington and Wingrave. Past Wingrave I had the chance to put down the hammer without going over my set limit. Big ring selected I hunkered down to reach Cheddington.  Riding along that long straight I met Andy and crew coming the other way - helooooo.
Then as Cheddington neared I had a dilema. Straight on and up Toms Hill then a coffee. Or turn right and ride the Crong (it's not the Cronge Tim (",)). Crong it was.
Bugger I forgot about that long uphill drag before the Crong. I settled down into a very steady pace, trying not to get out of breath, looking over my shoulder constantly in case any Sunday riders overtook me at this embarrassingly slow pace. I even used the gear that is never used, the get out of jail free gear, the 39x25 oh the shame. I did wind it up a bit after coughing up what looked like a human ear that landed square on the back of my gloves, it felt like my pipes had been cleared after that. I stopped at the top to wipe away the bright green offending body part, I did think it deserved a burial actually and pressed on feeling like a new man.
So over the top and the ride settled down at a steadier pace, the sun was shining, I was riding past other riders and took time to fantasize about winning races!
I decided not to head straight for Wiggington, but to add a few more miles and so headed off in the direction of Chesham. Before getting lost again in the same place as last week I turned and followed my nose to Aldbury where I would nip up Toms Hill for a well earned Coffee. Toms Hill didn't seem to bad actually? but I was still going to have my coffee - which was actually hot this time.
Coffee downed, and one of the three tops I was wearing removed I set off to ride over the Beacon. I love the Beacon, whatever the weather it's always a picture. I shot down the other side leaving Sunday drivers unable to catch me. Managed to get the T-junction just right and big ringed it up the short stretch before turning left and slipping into the drops for the last downhill of the day.
From that point in Ivinghoe Aston I took it steady again enjoying the dry roads, even Zoltans corner was fast today. I took a left at Slapton to ride under 'Train robbers bridge', into Ledburn and then a final off road section along the canal under the bypass to bring me home.
A very very steady pace, and not a bad distance of exactly 60.5 miles. I feel much better now thank you.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Show me the money

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Well I hope that did some good?

Today was definitely one of those 'should I shouldn't I' rides. So of course I went for the 'I should' option, however I did nearly turn back after getting a freezing cold wet arse within minutes!
I rode down to our usual start at Energié expecting to see at least one other retard out in this weather, but no I was the only retard on the block.
So setting off in the downpour I decided to make up the route on the hoof. First get out of Leighton Buzzard as soon as possible. That done I set off for Ivinghoe Beacon, by now I was fighting a headwind as well as pouring rain - might as well chuck some hills in then. Once over the Beacon I went through Ringshall, gingerly descended into Aldbury, crossed the A41 and climbed up to Wiggington. From Wiggington I decided to gamble on a new route and set off for Chesham. The sign said 'Chesham 5 miles' that'll do. The headwind into Chesham was ' Hertz Van Rental' and once there I realized I didn't know how to get back without heading off the way I had arrived, I'm too stubborn for that. So I used my mental compass or guessed, funny how time stands still when your lost!
Eventually I got my bearings, I was near the Lee the outermost point of last weeks ride. From here it was a steady pace into St Leonards, the slowest descent of 'The Crong',  into Aston Clinton, Long Marston and then Cheddington where I picked up my first tail wind. With the wind behind me I hooned it into Mentmore,  but my hooning was short lived as I punctured just by 'Train Robbers Bridge'. With a quick feel and a guestimate that I had just about three miles to go, I decided to ride home on it, no way was I going to whack a new one on just on my doorstep.
After a squirmy few miles I came across Tim in the Team Merc, one of the few LBRCC riders that had called the right day this weekend. Tim in team Merc escorted me for the last couple of hundred yards, pro stylee.
Anyway the one thing that stopped me turning back was the simple thought that we have to race in this, and it could be like this when we ride to Paris and back later this year.
Silly really.

LBRCCs Craig takes 2nd at Hillingdon