Remember, you’re having fun…

IbizaThe start of July was mostly spent burning off a few too many boozy weekends in June (see obligatory pool side Ibiza leg photo above) and getting my fitness back to where it had been. I tell you, it’s frustrating when the real world gets in the way of a well crafted training plan (Tongue firmly in cheek!). So here are a few highlights (or lowlights in some cases) from July.

Hog Hill 3/4 – 16 July

I foolishly ventured back to Hog Hill for a mid-week 3/4 race. Originally with a buddy, but I ended up racing on my own. For reference, my last 3/4 here ended about 30 minutes prematurely with me blowing out my arse. Not much has changed it seems. Tough course with some serious characters racing. There’s a big jump in ability between your garden variety 4th cat and a serious 3rd cat. Plus, the weaker riders aren’t going to choose Hog Hill for a mid-week crit. Sensible chaps.

Still, I lasted about 5 minutes longer before getting dropped this time. How’s that for progress?

https://www.strava.com/activities/347617951

Langham 10 – 22 July

Second attempt at a ten and I knocked 10 seconds off my PB with a 25:31. Average power was a PB equaling 284 watts. Solid. Any training benefit was immediately counteracted with celebratory nuggets.

https://www.strava.com/activities/351903501

nuggets

Cyclopark 4th cat – 25 July

Now this is where the excuses begin. I honestly reckon this could have been a great result, but, well, it wasn’t. Returning to the scene of my sole point with Jamil I was hoping for good things. We both were to be honest, think of it as a mid-season 4th cat lack of points paranoia. Instead of making excuses I’ll just leave this quote here, taken from a chap on a forum I frequent, which about sums up several of my recent races, including this one!

“I attacked a few times but no-one was willing to work with me, sat comfortably in the bunch for most of the race, was in a great position/leading position/first 5 riders with 250M to go and then <insert something bad here> and finished about 25th.”

17th in my case. Next time perhaps.

https://www.strava.com/activities/353741525

Cyclopark 3/4 – 30 July

Those words again, 3/4, more than a little apprehensive of this one. Sole mission, survive. I had no illusions of grandeur, just dreams of survival. The difference between a 4th cat only race and a 3/4 race seemingly is that everyone is strong enough to attack the bunch and no-one is willing to let anyone get away. Cyclopark is a tough circuit but its no Hog Hill, I was hoping that would be the difference.

You can see where this leads, to the most ridiculous set of intervals I’ve ever experienced. I was practically begging to be dropped by the end with the words “Remember, you’re having fun” ringing in my ears (Thank you Tom Starmer). Average heart rate in particular says it all. 175 bpm is what I would look to average for a 25 minute TT effort, which is usually a well paced climb towards a pre-planned oblivion, 175 bpm for an hour is a new level of uncomfortable.

Cyclopark_3_4

I was racing with two buddies from my club which was good fun, they both had good prospects of points, possibly even a win, whilst I was purely pack fodder. The inevitable attacks began almost immediately but no-one was getting away. Ollie and Justin each had a dig with the pair of us still in the bunch running interference. No joy though. Someone went down with about 6 or 7 laps to go which split the bunch and left me chasing hard the length of the back straight, Ollie came whoosing past like I was standing still but we both got back on (only just in my case). Simple maths is surprisingly difficult when in oxygen debt but I eventually worked out that there were only 12 or 13 of us left in the lead group. Suddenly, the odds had improved!

Not enough seemingly, the inevitable last lap pace change came early and gave it everything to hold on for 11th or 12th. Ollie bagged 3rd and Justin 8th. Not a bad team result all in. About 20-25 others hadn’t hung on to the lead group so I was happy with that, especially as the lead group was entirely 3rd cats with the exception of Justin, the world’s fastest 4th cat.

Nuggets well earned that night.

https://www.strava.com/activities/357613352

FTP goggles

I might have just invented that phrase. But still, that’s my problem, chasing improvements in functional threshold power. Makes for great pub bragging rights (or a really dull conversation….) but it doesn’t translate well to circuit racing. I’ve raced a few rounds at Trinity Park and been dropped unceremoniously every time.

I’ve had two problems, not enough short intervals being one, but also my back falling to bits over the rough surface. Its weird really, i’m on the limit (obviously) but its pain rather than the legs that is chucking me out the back. Gradually it gets harder and harder to jump out of the corners, then bang, gone (again). I thought it was my back but after a bit of digging I think it might be a combination of tight hamstrings as well as the weak back.

I’m going to try some stretching, like so:

http://jomcrae.co.uk/bike-fit-blog-part-deux/

and some core exercises courtesy of my buddy Davina (laugh all you want). I’d forgotten all about these until I read that my buddy Michelle, the running astronomer and now an internet celebrity (Linky) was having similar problems. The core session is only 15 minutes long so I’m going to try and fit that in a couple of times a week.

Lets see how that works out!

Langham 10 – 1 July I fancied a break from the weekly Trinity Park kicking and I’d penciled the Langham 10 as a suitable distraction. A 10 is also a great way of incorporating a threshold test into an event as you always go harder with a number on.

It was a bit toasty to say the least, a TT on the hottest day of the year so far certainly helped to burn off a few cakes. I want to break 300 watts (no specific reason, just an arbitrary target) over ten miles and i’m getting closer. 284 watts this time out versus 281 last time. I think there is a little more to come with pacing. Heart rate is pretty good, a nice gentle slope to blurry vision and the need to vomit, but power is a little shaky. It will always move around but I found I was lifting off too much when I lost concentration. For me at least its harder to keep it at full gas than it might seem.Langham_10 I’m chasing power rather than time as i’m at hefty disadvantage on a road bike without extensions, but I was pretty chuffed with a 25:41. Slowly slowly catchy monkey.

https://www.strava.com/activities/337131386

Trinity Park Round 5 – 8 July

Same old same old really. Except for added wet weather and the cornering ability of driving miss daisy. Still, I stuck it out to the end and raced for last place. I really hope the field has come on as I was doing the same thing last year.

https://www.strava.com/activities/341937446

Onwards and upwards

I’ve not managed many miles through June so for July i’m going to go back to basics and smash in some miles. I’m not going completely old school so I’ll keep working on the intervals too. I’ve got a few road races planned in August along with a few crits and time trials through July to keep my focused. I’ve found double days to be pretty useful for getting the training in. Generally I’ll do a gentle recovery ride in to work (about 25 miles) and then use the way home to up the intensity and chuck in various intervals, be it 10-20 minutes at threshold or a block of 20/40s.

https://www.strava.com/activities/337475151

https://www.strava.com/activities/337719036

First park run – 4 July

In my quest to maintain fitness whilst the real world got in the way of my training I gave park run a try. It’s a really cool concept as it has a competitive element (mostly against yourself) but is also totally inclusive for runners of all ages, abilities and sizes.

My running ability has always been woeful, I once ran a 10k, or rather walked a 10k, after Erin signed me up for a charity run (which reminds me, I didn’t ever get her back for that….). That should have been an eye opener really as to how unfit I was. Cue hilarious photo of fat Pete and some guys that look vaguely like my friends but aged about 5.

Run fat boy runI haven’t run for about 18 months but I figured my cardio was good enough to get me round. I was right! I ran 25:29 as a first attempt over 5k which isn’t too shabby. My legs however were not ready for this and I spent most of the three days after walking like John Wayne. Ouch. I’d like to give it another go but I’ll definitely be sticking to the bike. Drafting in a run isn’t very effective for a start. Although if I didn’t swim like a drowning cat a triathlon might be tempting. Hmmmm.

Park run