Wednesday, April 29

Paulines birthday BBQ

Mmmmmmm meat. Had a BBQ for Paulines birthday over in her old house. Good night few friends over and lots of meat. Spent the night cooking in front of the BBQ in a t-shirt. Great night. Had a bit of help setting up the fire from the G-nome.

Tuesday, April 28

Weekend in Djouce

Took the sheep out for a walk, he likes a bit of green
View from the Saddle at Djouce looking towards The Sugarloaf

Marker at the Saddle at Djouce, line of walkers to the top

Howerya loverleys! Sexy specs from Spesh

Looking down the Foxglove climb, just at the turn off for Djouce Trail challange

Couple of pictures of the weekend before last mountain biking up in Djouce with Pauline. Great weekend, weather was unreal, just warm enough to keep you sweating, but cold enough in the woods that you started to cool down if you stopped.

Sunday, April 26

Rest weeks are super...thanks for asking

Been a while, last week was tough, very very tired by the end of it and didn't think i would get through the weekends training. Sucked it up and just HTFU. Did it knowing that this week would be a rest week.

Had a good week though, took it easy enough, did my nice easier sessions with only 9.5 hrs this week. Weather has been a bit shite to say the least so i didn't mind pool time or running. Pauline was over for a few days so managed to get a few good sessions in. Mainly a class session up in Wicklow hills. Post some photos tomorrow.

Wednesday night the first of the Irish Mountain Running Association (IMRA) summer series started out in Bray head. Its a trail run i haven't done in a long time. Pauline was going to do it but her leg was at her. So got a lift out and home from the race!

Great race, felt strong for the first time ever while running. First kilometer was up hill, averaging 16%. Kept it steady and didn't go to hard, picked it up after the first kilo and started to wind it up. Hit the second trig point feeling strong and turned for the downhill. Lost one place on the way down, but managed to get paced all the way home by the second placed woman. 35:40mins for 6.5km off road with 495m climbing. Had a good fight at the end with a bunch of 5 runners, beat all the puny little weaklings...nearly passed out...but beat them. Came in 46th at 125% of the winners time. happy out!

Friday, April 17

Bring on the flames

The tri season is literally just around the corner. First race for me is in less than 4 weeks down in Wexford. Week after is Fingal tri then a break in the USA for ACSM conference.

Took the TT frame down last week and gave it a good clean, re-did all the cable routing, changed the length of the bars and generally twiddled it about a bit.

I literally cannot wait to get racing on her again. New Powertap in the Zipps for this season mean a lighter more aero back end than last season without sacrificing power readings. As much as i love my disc it pisses me off not having power to gauge by on races.

Now to get a Powertap for the MTB...

Monday, April 13

MTB session today

A building i went. Been looking at a nice new climb in the local wood so decided to take a wee peak today. It rides up alongside the back of a school up through some bluebells and a bit of a rock garden. Hence i call it Bluebells Rock! Swings down and then it starts to drop. Looks nice from the top but it has a few hidden treats in store!

Stuck a few rocks on the backside for the people who are going to mess it up. Frankly its a spongey landing anyway but better to be safe than stupid. Especially if people are going to be riding behind the school come day time!

Rest of the ride took in some of the normal trails. Decided the rest of the day would be a mixture of exploring and some serious intervals on the hills. Spun up the Ouroborus climb (it just keeps on going), legged it across the golf course and up onto the Ben of Howth. I remembered an old DH trail that used to be there so decided to check it out. Turns out the young'uns are still keeping it clean and it is much better than i remember. Couple of nice big drops and some very fast lines. All of which done on the Race bike....with 63mm of travel at the moment...ehh my ass was on my tire for much of the drops.

Spun down into the Deer Park Golf Course then back up THE climb. Still haven't cleared this fully. Its technical, muddy, rocky and steep. Still dabbed on 3 sections of it. I will clear this by the end of the summer. Its now a target. Loop on the 'Quarry trail' and up the old DH run. Decided to head up and over the head, down the 'Horse Shoe' and into Balscadden Bay. Up the 'Your a...' climb and down the excellent single track out onto the cliff trail. Hammered where i could but there were loads of walkers. Once i got past the summit it was clear and gunned it on the hard packed mud.

Back up and over the new section up by Bluebells and down this random little section i found. Legs were toast, serious potential for bonking (oh er missus) so hit the road and gunned it home. Oh it started lashing about half way through the ride. Didn't even notice it until i saw some people hiding from the wind :)

Great ride, but my legs are shot now. Just over 32km, average speed 13.2 kph and HR 145. Maxed out at 177bpm for about 20secs, 46% of the ride at tempo (140-158) and 20% @ threshold (159-176)

Friday, April 10

In the spirit of easter

Cycling is the most simple form that i know to clear my head and rest the angry clock. Every time i go out no matter how crap the weather i come back feeling better than i did before. It has taken me years to realise that i need to reset and how to do it. Simply put exercise is the anesthetic for my emotions and i think i may be addicted to it. Ahh well.

Rebuilt my old Planet X Jackflash as a single speed on Friday. I've been interested in the idea, and it'll make a nice way to get some miles in the legs where i am forced to climb like a beast. Went out but the gearing i chose (34x16) was a bit to much combined with the pains in my chest and shoulders. Never the less i did a loop of the trails in Howth. Great on the downs and lovely on the flowy stuff...climbing sucked. 110mm up front at the mo, and can crack it up to 125. Bit diff to the 80mm i've been used to :)

I was servicing the Psylos so hence it looks like it has 3mm of travel!

Saturday saw myself and Waggers head up to Wicklow to get some riding in. Looks like its my lats and shoulders more than my chest that's hurt so that's a good thing...ehh yeah...shuttup. Fancied some trail centre riding, and Mr Wagstaff wasn't full of the joys of sleep so seemed a good idea. Hit Ballistoe for a quick loop of the trails and avoiding the bimblists was fun. Forgot how different trail centres ride, fast but choppy rather than open and flowy. Odd.

Got bored after first loop so decided to persuade Wags to head up to Djouce for some uber technical riding on the roots and ruts of the Djouce Trail Challenge course. Even better now that its been dug in the course was riding well, took it fairly handy on the climbs and enjoyed the descents. GPS did its things...mostly. Got a bit lost.

Sunday was mostly spent playing with bikes. Pauline got in late on sat so went out for dinner and got to bed late ish. Had a leisurely breakfast then just worked on all the bike bits i need to get sorted, race bike; tri bike; and tubs on wheels. More or less all done now, just need to tweak the gears on the tri bike. I ate an egg also :)

Wednesday, April 8

Round up of first quarter

So over a quarter of the year is gone and how has it gone Mr May?

Well i think, feeling strong, bar when i fall off and mangle myself and i reckon things still have room to improve.

Where do you think you can improve next?

I reckon my swimming can get better, not logging much time in the pool and to be honest that which i do is not the best, my own fault, so easy to skip pool sessions.

Do you think you have made any major improvements?

Yes, definitely. Aerobic fitness is much much higher than last year, i'm able to push harder for longer and not suffer as much. Running is no longer a chore and i'm bashing out road miles like never before.

Where do you think you need to go next?

At the moment im just lacking any top end power and strength. Need to work on this and need to get my head sorted on the swim side of things.

On a scale of 1-10, how do you reckon you are compared to last year?

Now? About 10, much much more prepared.

Sometimes you just need to ask yourself a few questions to see how you think things are going, i find it works and helps give me a reality check every now and again. Although i think im doing well, internaly this is not always the case. Probably just did this on a good day though ;)

Monday, April 6

Rest of the weekend was ..

....very very good. Figured i should put this in today :)

Up to borking myself yesterday it was good. Went for a nice long trail run on Saturday 14km in shorts and t-shirt weather was just perfect, light breeze but not enough to make me cold. Brought a light gillet out but didn't need it. Running out on the normal MTB trails makes for some good technical work, and i found a new section, about a km of uphill drag that i didn't even know existed. Might see how im feeling on wed and give it a blast, but i wont be hammering along it for a while :(

Cut across the golf course while sprinting across a few of the fairways just waiting to be a human target. Short cut up over the 4th tee and into an old section of trail...which is now not trail any more...woops. Gorse gorse gorse, how i both hate and love thee. Cut my knees to shreds and my lower legs would have been gushing had it not been for my furry matting... reminds me its nearly shaving season :(

Rest of the run took me up and over Howth with 360 degree views of Dublin. Not a cloud in the sky and gorgeous as i was also the only one up on the head. Did the steep section of the IMRA route backwards and then dropped into the valley and went over the second head out towards Deer Park golf course. Swung into the section that runs through the rhododendron garden and was in a pink warm fluffy heaven of running sweetness. Running on mulch over roots and rock with pink flowers and the smell of summer in the air. Didn't see another body until i came out of the trees at the back of the members bar. People looking at a blood and mud covered blue monster exiting the woods.

Legs were tired at this stage and dropped down the steep hill at mach 2. Calves were having none of this forefoot running nonsense and told me where to shove it. Next 3km on the road it attempted to rain but sure i kept on trucking on. Got home, shower, food, then watched the Grand National. Carnage. 40 horse enter, 17 horse leave. Like the Thunderdome but better.

Relaxing night over in Andys with the lads, playing Halo3 and eating and talking crap. Ate way to much pizza, and drank a beer or 4...non alcoholic mind you. Good night but long one.

Sunday, April 5

Crash bang wallop kaboom.


Went out late enough to go for a MTB spin with the Wags. Wanted to do a long long day in the saddle but the mountains was not feeling it.

First hour of climbing was grand. All up hill, nice and dry and nothing that wanted to hurt me. Then we started to descend a lovely section 3km long of excellent fast double track over roads. Locally known as Man-tequila.

Brain freeze, sloppy sloppy riding all the way down, couldn't hold any speed, fluffing up all my lines. I've been riding this trail for the last 10 years and i just couldn't do it fast or even partially fast.

Managed to survive and ended up gutted shaking my head, even my mate was wondering WTF was going on. But being the chirpy sort we kept on keeping on.

Next section was a lovely 30 mins climb on fire road and single track up onto Cruagh and Glendoo, all good, hard-tail loves every minute of it....oh then it rained, and i was using dry tires... then it went tits up.

Well i hit a bog hole is a better term, and it was deep, and i sank bike and all up to my nuts, and i got pretty stuck (funny) but not on the top of an exposed ridge with no proper protection and arms and legs soaked.

So as i was at risk of hypothermia we dropped of the ridge down the lumpy fell. Great fun, then travelling through a section that had recently seen some burning. Like riding through the lava fields of Lanza. The smell of burning and charcoal...arrgh not paying attention.

5m of airtime, 2m of vertical falling. Crunch on chest and shoulder. Instantly winded and shooting pain in my chest. Wags ran over to me as i'm rolling about trying to breath. Got breathing again, and then the hurt started. Not good, not good at all. Managed to get off the hill via some farmers front garden, rode on road back to the car and fell in.

Looks like a few probably broken ribs, hoping they are just badly bruised. Collar bone is ok, and the shoulder is ok. I hate breaking ribs...saying that its been a while.

Sorry rant over.

Friday, April 3

Rain rain F-right off

DAMN YOU RAIN. I was looking forward to a weekend of dry trail running and dry MTBing.

Gah it was getting so good, but it could never last could it. Rain has poked its head in and lashed down on me today. Just as i was out meeting a mate to get.....

Oh yes that's full carbon...steerer and bridge...attached to...

A lovely pair of World Cup SID's. Need a bit of refurbishment and probs some new oil. I'll stick them on the XTC tomorrow and have a blast on them on Sunday. At 1,200g they are a nice bit lighter than my Fox Forx...350g lighter.

Let the weight savings begin! Next purchase some lovely light wheels from the lads in Pedalon me thinks.....and maybe a 29er.....shhhhh

Thursday, April 2

Half marathon is... not as bad as i remember.
Last one admittedly was on the end of a 1.9km swim and a 90km bike mind you, but the Wimslow Half was actually pretty good fun...if you call running 21.3km fun.
First 10km or so were nice, easy pace just tipping under the 5min/km pace. Sitting nice and easy and enjoying the weather. Started to pick it up for a few km then for no good reason my hamstring on my left leg kinda started nagging, then just said no to going fast. Dropped back down to 5:07/km and took it easy for a bit, at about 17km could pick it up again to 4:44/km but by then the time damage had been done.
Still finished in a decent 1:45:17 but should have been under the 1:40:00 and closer to the 1:35:00 like i was hoping. Not gutted, just sticking it down to not having tapered much for it, and to be honest it was a training run. Weather was cracking mind you so the day felt great. Pauline did it in 1:37:?? which is a great time, and first time she's ran that far...although to be honest i wasn't surprised she did well :)
Been back and 'recovering' in Dublin. Tha has ment 2-3 hr rides most days on the local trails. So so so dry, on the fast tires and they are squirming with the rock hard trails. Bike is covered in dust, no mud, bit of horse poo but sure its all good.
If the weather keeps up i'll probs hit the local loop again tonight.