Sunday, October 21, 2012
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
For the long May bank holiday weekend we were due for a short break to Madeira and I decided to take my time trial bike in an effort to find some race form while enjoying the sunshine.
In the end it turned out to be a nice holiday, but one of the worst places to do any time trial training.
Firstly, the terrain is VERY HILLY. I normally don't mind hills, but there really isn't a flat bit of road in Madeira and the road either goes up or down. And the hills are steep... Generally anythigng less then 10% isn't even considered steep here. With my TT gearing I had to resolve to grinding up the gradients with a cadence that would often drop down to 50rpm and legs screaming of lactic acid. A typical 90 min ride would end up with about 1000 meters of climbing.
The road surface is bad. That's the only way to describe it. Potholes, old uneven tarmac, you name it.
There is one road on the South side of the island where there road surface is new and smooth. Unfortunately the majority of this expressway seems to go through tunnels. These range from a couple of hundred meters long to 3km long, with the vast majority being over 1km long. Some have decent lighting, some are dark. One thing for sure - none of them seem safe with trucks going through them at 90km/h.
Finally, the weather. Being so close to Africa and the Canary Islands one would expect the weather to be similar, quite dry, sunny and hot. Nothing further from the truth. It rained on most days (making the roads even more tretcherous with the tarmac not being laid out for the wet conditions) and the temparature was around 16C at sea level. Given that the temparature goes down about 1C for every 100m of altitude climbed it made the mountains at 1400m feel very chilly, particularily if you add the cooling effect of the clouds typically sitting atop these mountains.
All in all it made for an environment not ideally suited to time trial training to say the least. Not surprisingly during our 5-day stay I only spotted one other cyclist on our last day and he looked as out of place as I must have looked on my TT bike.
If you're planning a trip to Madeira and are thinking of bringing your bike with you my advice would be to bring a mountain bike. Or better still, leave the bike at home and enjoy the other attractions the island has to offer.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Sadly my first PBscience Mallorca training camp has come to an end. We had great 7 days in the Mallorcan spring sun and I've learned a lot. Mostly about the fact that more isn't always better.
The weather was fabulous for this time of the year - every day it was around 15C and sunny. The camp was organised with military precision and professionalism typical to PBscience but also with enough flexibility to allow for plans to be modified to suit our goals.
We had a group of 15 athletes, all very fit, as our mountain time trial demonstrated, but with some very different goals at different times of the year, which no doubt provided a challenge for our coaches to plan the daily activities to suit everyone. They did a sterling job and I think everybody left the camp on Saturday having fulfilled their camp goals.
The coaches guided us carefully and with a great degree of knowledge and professionalism in the direction that would provide the best return on our time investment in reaching our season's goals, but left the decision to follow these guidelines to us. All decisions have some form of consequences and the time will tell whether we made the right decisions or not - this is all part of the learning process.
The mountain time trial to Lluc provided some additional excitement...
Monday, January 3, 2011
Sunday, December 19, 2010
This is how the approach to the top of Box Hill looked like this morning:
And this is the famous 20 minutes queue for the coffee atop:
Sunday, December 12, 2010
It was a team event and we had 2 teams and decided to dress up for the occasion:
I was off in a team with Neil and Chris. The event was in a format of a Run, Bike, Canoe, Bike, Run. The weather was perfect and we decided to take it out hard, while still having a good time:
The Canoe portion admittedly wasn't our strongest discipline:
In the end we finished in 13th place out of over 100 teams. We all had great support along the course and at the finish by Alex taking pictures. The event was great fun and we laughed throughout the whole event and for hours afterwards.
Monday, December 6, 2010
The winter wonderland has descended upon us making training conditions "challenging"
Upon returning from Mexico I started my winter preparation for next season, concentrating mainly on cycling. In the first week after we got back I had my first "lab test". Needless to say I didn't break any records and the results were fairly disappointing.
Since then things have been getting better and my fitness is slowly improving, but it will be a long winter and it's a slow improvement process.
That's how I'm spending quite a lot of my time at the moment:
Last weekend was the end of my first 3 week block of training and on Saturday I broke my record at enduring the Chinese torture of turbo training by sitting for 3 hours and 10 minutes on the damn thing. That's my reward afterwards:
Otherwise not much to report, other than looking forward to the Christmas break now.