Training plans?

9 04 2013

These generally went to pot last year. I am obviously too much of time crunched cyclist and even Chris C’s plans defeated my random work/life planning. So, I just got out when I could. I used to run at lunchtime many years ago and I’ve resurrected this with some success.
I’ve started with Strava for these rides and stopped using the turbo and heart rate monitor over this winter. I bought some decent winter clobber and some Continental 4 Season tyres and just tried to get out at lunchtime whatever the weather. Generally it’s been good (cold but not too wet) for most of the winter and I’ve been constructing various loops of 20 – 25km to keep me interested and challenged. I usually have a look at the weather forecast and decide on a ride based on the prevailing wind. Round the Great Orme in a SW gale has been a bit scary on the summit and descent!
Strava has been a great ride diary and an encouragement to get out. Nice to see personal improvement, which is what I’ve been after, and the totals for each month are a great motivation.
I bought a Garmin 800 to track all the data and this has been a great bit of kit. I’ve been using it with OS 1:50k mapping too both for road riding and also for route finding offroad. It’s been used for all the winter S24O bikepacking trips and I’m going to start to experiment with a back up USB power supply for longer bikepacking trips. The power seems to last pretty well on the one day trips so far, especially if it’s not on map view all the time. Loads of good stuff on the web relating to the Edge but I particularly liked Frank Kinlans Blog ( for some hints and tips.

Another three month goal ticked off… Tour of Flanders

8 04 2013

Long time since I’ve posted on the blog but I have been out and about on the bike with some short, sharp training rides at lunchtime to get the legs spinning before the Tour of Flanders cyclosportif on the Easter weekend. I had only managed a few 100km rides in the run up to the 133km event but I’d been doing lots of short hills (and some longer ones in preparation) so was feeling confident of getting up the hills; I was just hoping my back held out for the distance as I still seem to getting a bit of a sore lower back after three to four hours in the saddle.

Need not have worried really. A cold start at 0830 saw us roll into town (Oudenaarde) from the hotel in Gent and get sorted in a field with a huge mix of other nations, mainly from France, Holland and the host nation, but a lot of Brits were there too.

We’d registered the previous day, after a dash round the bikes shops to replace a damaged stem on one bike, so the actual sprotive departure just entailed rolling over a timing mat and off on a sunny but very chilly bike path and canalside towpath for a good flat 15km warm up before the first berg. We could see it coming – marked by the sea of bobbing bike helmets as everyone bottled necked on the first climb; we were all brought to a standstill followed by a slow push to the top (don’t take your best overshoes!). Back on at the top as this was the last walking I’d be doing all day. I managed to carve a path through the punters on the second berg with some last minute line swapping and lots of shouting (‘Rider’ or ‘Up, Up, Up’ seemed to do the trick). The remainder of the bergs enroute had much thinned out traffic and so were managable by staying on a relatively central line although the smoother cobbles were often to be had at the edges.

We (Jason, Rachel and me) had decided to stick together and make a socialable day of it. We managed a 6.5 hour ride ( and I felt surprisingly OK at the finish. The steep bergs were very rideable at slow speed; I wasn’t finding the cobbles that intimidating and traction was good in the dry.
A berg in Flanders

But lulled into a false sense of security I barrelled down a long undulating 2.4km stretch of cobbles and nearly lost my fillings. Big gear, push hard and keep your bum just off the saddle (“float like a buffalo, sting like a bear”). Pretty tough and at speed you had to keep your eyes peeled for loose or rough patchs as well as all the bottles/pumps/tools/random bits on the road as everyone began shedding stuff. Jason lost a cage bolt and had his bottle swing into his leg on one section. I lost a bottle (that I went back for) on one section but needed this as it was a long way to the next feedstation so I stopped for it (old inner tube on the cage backs next time). The feed stations were well served with Shimano workshops sorting out all the battered bikes and helped out Jason too.

Weather was dry and cold with an easterly breeze all day. We were all starting to feel the chill towards the end of the ride and the long drag home with a few wheelsuckers didn’t help. Nice T-shirt and warming bath in the Gent hotel preceded a traditional Belgian meal and beers.

We went to see the pro’s racing on Oude Kwaremont the following day – they were looping the last three climbs so they came past three times in an hour and half, then we all crammed into the village square to watch Fabian Cancellara time trial to the finish having lost Peter Sagan on the final climb of the Paterberg (FC seemed to have the measure of PS as he came past us on their last lap)
Oude Kwaremont RVV 2013

I would recommend doing this trip as a self-organised one. We booked a hotel in Gent (great city), travelled over on the Chunnel (just over £100 for a car plus three plus bikes), entered on line for 30 Euros (bargain sportive) and ate like kings in Gent’s restaurants. Make sure you know where the car is on your return from the ride; it’s not easy navigating back out of town when you’re cold and tired and have something warm in the car to change into; we all chilled quickly in the easterly winds once we’d stopped. It all seemed loads less hassle than a Sports Tours type trip (Jason had done this the year before). We could be back in the hotel while they were waiting for the last rider on the bus to finish.

All in all a great weekend and I’ll be doing this again with a faster time in mind for next year. Cheers.
Flanders Sports Recovery Drinks

Week 4 – Easter!

15 04 2012

Easter Sunday and a few days away with the kids slowed things down a little. Just an evening MTB and a sunny but very cold Sunday EM ride this week… back still sore and in need of some attention… more stretching of back and hamstrings too as I”m still feeling stiff in the hips after an hour and a half or so. First go with some SIS powdered carb drink today and seems tasteless and harmless enough.

More plans to get out this week by riding home from work the long way (whatever that might be) and back in the following day. Might be on the Trans-Cambrian in a weeks time with Bob as I’ll need to get some more mile in the legs before work looms soon after!

Thursday evening ride on bits of the Marin (with a ?virus thing off the kids so taking it easy) – all cured with a pint of Conwy Ale
Week 4_1

Sunday EM ride – Home – Llangernwy – Llanwrst – Conwy – very chilly northerly head wind on the trip back up the valley!
Week 4_2

Week 3 – back on the MTB

7 04 2012

First time in ages…. an early morning (well 0800 in the saddle) ride round a very damp and greasy Marin Trail. Followed by good coffee and coissant in the van. Home for lunch with friends.
Marin Trail

Week 3 – Ride to work

5 04 2012

No turbo today. Sunshine returns and clear, cold, easterly air stream means a nice long ride into work with two laps of the Orme and then a return up the hill to home later… ~800m climbing and a 50km day. Really good visibility – just make out the hills on the Ilse of Man! Nice tail wind too on the way into work – blown up the Orme.
Ride to Work - Week 3_2

The ride in (two laps of the Orme and not a computer glitch!)
Week 3_2

And the ride home – nice sunny and chilly evening – too much traffic on the back road because of the issues with the A55 (boat aground at Llandulas).
Week 3_3

Week 3

3 04 2012

Massive change in the weather – back to wet and windy ‘spring’ days… couple rest days in the plan to begin week 3 but as I’d missed Sunday with work I thought I’d get a quick cheeky turbo session in on Tuesday morning… 15 x 1 minutes intervals as here…. nice sets and rising rate and effort throughout. Planning to get in some ridding later in the week before we’re away seeing family over the Easter weekend.


Second Weekend in….

3 04 2012

Up early and a good start to a not so warm Saturday morning… I needed to work all weekend on completing a project so up early and into work by bike by the long route over the back of Llanwrst to Nebo and back through Trefriw and up the valley to Conwy – a good 52km of two halves – some hills, a big descent and then a long flatish spin…. couple of hours in the saddle with damp/wet roads so I didn’t go mad on the descents.
Work completely overtook the rest of the weekend – two long 11 hour days at work to get some interpretations completed for Monday in the US! No more biking!
Week 3_3