Wednesday, September 29

Cross Session Review

Every Tuesday during the cross season for the last 4 years a group of misfits has congregated in a field in Knocklyon. Riding in the dark beside a motorway under the residual light and flashing bike lights makes for interesting training. In the dark you learn to feel the bike better, learn when your tires are about to give way, and learn when you can and cannot go hard.

This year I've been busy for the first 3 sessions, last night was the first of many for the season in the run up to national championships in Lurgan this year. The sessions follow a mix of short laps with lots of tight corners looking at maintaining speed. Then normally a few fast hot laps with some mini racing, a bit of start work, and then if all goes well a bit of racing at the end.

This is where the magic happens, 1hr 15mins into a fairly intense session and you try to hold race pace for 15 or so minutes. This is where we find out who is going well, and who is going home.

This was last nights race. 15mins on a 8 lap course with a gradual climb each lap that tried to suck the tires off your wheels. One dismount and some super slithery corners may not have made for a fast course, but what it lacked in speed it made up for in pain. Two falls, a near crash into another rider and 3/4 of a lap gap between us and the scratch group meant that getting 18th out of 30 was harder than expected. Not to add that my Vittoria CX at 20PSI were not up to the level of grip.
But whatever doesnt kill you makes you stronger. 180bpm is a target i haven't hit in a while. For the last year or so i've not been able to hit any higher than 176bpm in a max test in the lab, or during simulated 20mins time trials of any sort. Working at 95% of max for 15mins is something I am happy with. Strength may be lacking, but at least the heart is coming back.

Tuesday, September 28

Cross Season Looming.

Busy season this year, lots of races, lots of weekends, and a few double headers between southern races and up north. Going to be hard to pace for the whole season. Calendar is at : for those of you who haven't had a look yet.

I've been thinking about the year and what races I'm going to aim to go well at. Obviously we are going to aim to do our best at nationals in Lurgan this year, and a least get a place on the team prize. Supercross Cup is a biggie, but missing one round means that i need to make sure that i perform in the other 3 (maybe 4...shhhh). Ulster League, not a focus, but one or two of the courses suit me and i know i can top 10, maybe top 5 on them.

Training tonight should give me an idea where i am in relation to the Dublin crowd. Opening up the lungs and legs for the first time in a bunch of peers is always hard for me, for some reason I've always been paranoid about this, don't know why, but I'm sure I'm not the only person.

Bike ready. Rider ready. Courses....we will see.

Friday, September 24

Science Nerding again

Interesting week, more and more people preparing for the cross season and some late season Ironmans. Helping out a few different riders and triathletes at the moment and really starting to understand how years of study actually relate to some thing.

Got some nice data to play with off Russell Cox , full timer in the IM game, and had a play with it looking at his rates of carbohydrate usage and fat oxidation. About two years ago Rich Brady came to me with the magic number. 2.5g of CHO/min. At the time i didn't know where he'd gotten it from but turns out years of training and racing as a pro had given him the idea. Figure i better credit the guy/coach/my ex coach.

Of late in the labs, and through some pretty hefty reading, ive looked into where this number may come from and how it will relate to performance not on the bike leg of the IM split, but more so on its effects on the running leg.

Starting to think more about not only the rate of CHO oxidation but perhaps the ratio of CHO:Fat oxidation as a better predictor. Obviously having more fat being oxidised at a given intensity as well as carbohydrate is ideal, but hitting the max fat burning intensity for racing is not exactly the ideal situation as it may result in super maximal/sub maximal burning of CHO at that point. Which in turn may not be optimal for the run.

More of a stream oc conciousness idea here, but what if we were to look at improving the ratio fo CHO:Fat not as a more CHO to Fat or more Fat to CHO but as an optimisation of the fat oxidation with minimal CHO utilisation at intensity that may not traditionally be fuelled this way. Possibly a dynamic pacing approach to the bike that initially up regulates fat oxidation and CHO consumption but allows for a throttling off of CHO usage and higher ability to oxidise fat could be used.

I could also be wrong.

It happened once.

Monday, September 20

Weekend of stickyness

Cross season is looming. Way way way over weight myself but its coming down slowly. Just need to start ramping up the training again. Main thing is that nationals arent until January, so a good time to drop down to sub 80kg again. Mixed bag of a weekend, but overall pretty awesome.

Weekend riding:
Pauline was up for the weekend and looking to get into the idea of IM training. End of a good season for her racing Oly distance so we decided on a nice early long ride on Saturday. 7:30am clock went off....9:30am got up (FAIL). 11:45 rolled out of the house in the rain. TBH it was one of those days where we knew it was going to be a slow one, so didn't mind too much!

80km ride up and around north count Dublin, getting some nice hills in, some flat headwinds and some back country lanes that the cross bike would have been more suited to than the TT bike. Easy out pace (more here) and just a nice day out, albeit in the rain for the whole thing.

Weekend shopping:
Mostly we went shopping for food. However on Friday we made a detour to the Cycle Superstore to check out the end of year tri kit sale. This was both a bad and good idea at the same time. Managed to pick up some UBER deals. Total spent <€500, total worth ~€2,000! Picked up a set of 48mm carbon tubular race wheels that were €1,250 for €400. Unreal, can't believe the price. Credit card took the brunt of it, i'll figure out how to pay for it later. All i know is that i now won't be using my 404's during the cross season!

Also picked up a pair of those funky Zoot shoes that are in fashion, some tri shorts, swim shorts, and a nice pair of leggings. All good.

Weekend resting:
Other than shopping for tri stuff we spent it mostly shopping for food. One of those weekends where we decided that we wanted to eat good food. Made some key lime pie, made some other nice food, and ate well. Only had 4 beers this week (small ones too!) so getting back to the normal levels.

Plans for the week:
Train consistently
Eat well
4 units of alcohol MAX

Monday, September 13

Early season weigh in.

Contenders READY. Cross bikes READY. 3. 2. 1. GO!

Currently sitting at 9.2kg without being anal yet.

Changes to last year already include a different seat (snapped the old one), new SPDs instead of egg beaters (snapped the old ones, 2 pairs), and tubs!

Clinchers are still good for training (and the 25km ride each way on tues) so have the two sets of them sitting about. Now added to the stable are two sets of tubs. the 404's and a pair of Alan aluminium rims.

Few bits to get done; Glue tubs, new rear derauiler, new gear cables, new straddle cables with adjuster bits! :O

Then i can start getting anal again about weight. Main thing is i've decreased the rotational weight on the bike, gained a bit at the pedals, but its low down so ok. Now to scour the web for light bits! Lightest 42 tooth ring?

Monday, September 6

Long rides into the north

Missed out on riding Da Cooley Thriller last weekend due to Dublin City Triathlon. Managed to grab a .gpx file off a friend and decided to try out the courses setting on my 405 to see how it worked (never used it in over 2 years!). Surprised by how easy it was to use, just stick it onto compass mode and use it as a , this turn or that one option. Only got a bit lost once, and that was at the same point that Rob did!
Its a big old loop i have to say. 50km and pretty much 85% on singletrack and some double track. Nice mixture of tech and fast flowing Irish peaty awesomness. Great day out altogether. But...well it was moist when we arrived, and it only got worse. Much much worse.

That was probably the only time it became visable enough to take some actual biking footage. I'll throw the rest up later at some stage. but suffice to say 6 hours in the rain and headwind made for a hard day biking. Even more so when you have a nose full of sheep poo.

Thursday, September 2

Dublin City Triathlon 2010

5 years ago i took my pluge into the triathlon world. It all started with a gateway race at the Fingal triathlon as part of a team relay for the sprint race. A race which we won by miles, and still stands as the crowning moment in my triathlon career. Depresing ehy?

To say the least i loved the race. Enjoyed the atmosphere, loved the pain, and then food after? What the hell we never get this at the track or at road races! I'm in. A few weeks later i had purchased a time trial frame and built up my first triathlon bike. A few days later i decided to enter my first ever race. Dublin City Triathlon, Olympic distance, closed roads, just a few km from the house.

Needless to say i trained like a muppet. Had an ok swim, SMASHED the bike (1:04) and then blew up in spectacular style on the run. The year after followed a similar pattern, with an even worse run and a massive digestive track explosion. Year after i took a break from the race as i was away at the TransWales MTB race.

THe last 3 episodes have gone well, 2:32; 2:30. Times coming down, but the bike times going up resulted in much faster run splits. This year however things had been set to go well. A bit of an up and down season, combined with some mental blowups, led to this turning into an event not a race. No PB;s were to be set even before the race started. I was here to have some fun.

Ok swim at 34mins out and into transition, even paced, not fast but i've not been swimming well this year in the least. Maybe not swimming has done that....Then the rains came, and down went the triathletes. Always amazes me how badly they can ride. Held back a little on the bike, for a 274W normalised power over 40km (1:15) felt great going onto the run, and just ran by feel for a bit. Smashed the first km in 4:17, then had to back down. The ghosts of HOTW past were there and i hadn't properly tested my legs since BOTE. Felt good on the run, but only posted a 45mins 10km as i did hold back.

Saying that i was tired crossing the line, i felt i'd given it the best i could, and was happy with my result. FIrst time this year since Portmarnock triathlon. Feels good to end the season on a high, abiet a failure in goals.