Monday, March 29

New Kit Post

I buy way to many bike bits. Mostly though its small things like brakepads, chains, the bits that need replacing on a regular (sadly) basis. Of late though ive been making a concerned effort to get some more light weight and race oriented kit in the lead up to the race season rather than at the last moment, however even more so that than is the fact that it needs to be CHEAP. College PhD's dont pay much at all....not that they ever have.

2x9 Chainring Setup:
While back i started thinking about this. Cait Elliot from UCD was selling off some TA rings as she didnt want them so i picked them up. Stuck a Sram block on the back and a nice new Mavic chain. €100 for the pair of rings and a rear block. SCORE! Quite like how it rides, only time will tell though, and a few races when i put it on the XTC

Ekoi Diablo Helmet:
€79 for a 220g lid....ok this was either going to be awesome or the worse buy ever. Tried it on when it arrived, no issues, did the bounce about the place with the chin strap undone and it wont move. First ride in it last night. Awesome. Lighter than my Atmos, more air getting in, and looks better. Have worn it for a few rides and i have to say its great. lots of venting, light as a feather and the retention system is great. Only issue is my glasses don't seem to fit the best with it

Sunday, March 28

24 hours of science

Well more like 26. A while back i stuck up some info on my next research project: here. The project basically involves 20mins TT's every 8 hours (ish) at the max power output you can sustain for the 20mins. So in real world you are trying to cover as much distance as you can.

Being the scientist i am i hate getting subjects to do a study/protocol i wouldn't do myself. Being a cyclist who wants to race 24hours better i of course want the data i can get. Funny how these studies work out isn't it....ahhem.

So we started yesterday @3pm. Blood, saliva, resting lactate; HR, blood pressure, core temp, tympanic temp, USG: all taken to see what my body was doing. Then an hour of cognitive tests to get a baseline for me at normal levels, and at that time point. 10mins self selected warm up on the cycle erg, off and stretch for a min, then 20mins of pain.

Self selected time trials are hard. I feel that i can be biased from using a power meter sometimes, but it helps me pace my best efforts. Out hard for 2mins, pull in a bit, then build up to 16mins, then bin myself for 2, then step it up again. 305W for 20mins, 14.46km (42.8kph avg??). Not a bad baseline.

So 4:30 and all finished up. 11pm it starts again (296W avg). Then i was allocated an 8 hour sleep window from 1am. Managed to get 5hrs 21mins according to the Senseware armband we had to measure sleep. Not bad i suppose. Up again t 9am to start again (294W avg) for the worlds most horrible TT. Felt terrible for the warm-up, then the first 4mins i just wanted to pull the test, values lower that 280W avg. Uuugh glycogen depletion. Happy i clawed it back.

Breakfast was epic, felt so good after it. Easy afternoon, stretching, drinking, talking shite with Waggers (other subject in) and just relaxing. 3pm last bout of testing. Knew i had to get this one on the head. Cognitive tests felt slower, couldn't concentrate (lack of sleep). Felt great on the WU. Hit the first 4mins over 306W, next 4mins still at 306W, feeling very good. BOOM, power dropping very very fast, held on until 16mins to sit at 280W avg. Build up over the last 4 mins pushing as hard as i could with over 400W for the last 2 mins. 299W average. RAGING. So close.

Next week i repeat, but with no sleep. Should be fun.

Tuesday, March 9

Death of an Ergometer

Bit of an issue in the lab last week. The cycle erg we use for all the performance testing in the lab died a sad and painful death at the hands of a rugby player.

Bad news; over 5 projects including my own research are now on long term hold. Not so worried about my own, but the 4th years who were hoping to graduate this summer...well they are in a different state of affairs.

Good news; well there has to be something...i have some time to think??

Hopefully we can get this resolved, although i fear Racermate won't believe us.

Wednesday, March 3

What will it take?

'How does it feel, to treat me like you do, when you laid your hands upon me an told me who you are'

Wise words. Just not sure why, but they have always made me think that my bike calls to me. Cross is gone. MTB is back (not that it ever went away). But triathlon has raised from its winter slumber and its calling again. The TT bike looks sad, why have i neglected it. 'I'm so fast' she says, 'so narrow, so light'. Normally i can ignore the temptress, but not now, not when its bright in the morning and the birds are calling me.

What this means is time, more time than i can probably give, more time than i should give to any one thing that's not human.

'Tell me how do i feel? Tell me how, how do i feel?'

Obsession is not a word i use, but there is something to be had from the utter pain you get at the end of a cross race. It feels like nothing i can describe. Your lungs are trying to crawl out your eyes, your brain gave up hours ago and is lying in a rut crying to itself, and yet you want to know why they wont let you get in just one more lap. 6 more minutes of pain, 3 km more of torture, one more tenth of hell for your brain to get away from it all.

The summer equivalent for me is tri, the last kilometre in a race, all out sprinting on my feet as hard as i can. Ignore the last 2 hours of racing. There will be people. They will judge you. You must look strong. You must impress. All thoughts of a misguided green and black suit that i will not be wearing this summer. A Phoenix from the ashes.

140km it took to savage the beast, 140km on a bike i haven't ridden since August last. 140km in a position that will try to make your eyes leave your knees cause its the closest way out. The carbon tubs look at me even as i write. 'Use us, make us make you fast. Love us, treat us well.'

Worst of all. The power is calling. The Powertap has awoken. It calls me. Shouting for the excess weight i've put on. '5kg over race weight, tut tut, how will that impact your FTP fattie.'

Not for long. I want you. I need you. You can make me strong for 24 hours. I just need to tame the beast and it will be mine.