Saturday, 30 January 2010

High Miles

Well I've been training hard for the last few weeks and I'm starting to feel stronger. I've been doing lots of zone 2 endurance rides with some shorter but faster zone 3 rides, and the miles have been clocking up! I've found some new routes to ride which has been keeping things interesting and I've also found a new female training partner - the miles go so much faster when you can have a good natter! Although we're not the same pace we've manage to figure things out so that we both benefit from the ride: sometimes this means that I ride my MTB while she rides her road bike, this = zone 3 for me and zone 2 for her; other times we both ride road bikes which = zone 2 for me and zone 3 for her.

I've also had a computerised training partner for the last month or so: a power tap. Although I'm not using it to it's full potential at the moment (mainly because I'm still figuring out how to use the software etc.) it has meant that I have been able to base my rides on keeping in specific power zones rather than basing my training solely on heart rate zones. At first I found it incredibly frustrating and I didn't think that we would get on very well, mainly because it is so sensitive. However, this is actually one of the benefits of training with power over training with heart rate: you get instant readings rather than the delay you get with heart rate. In other words, heart rate takes longer to rise and fall meaning that you might think that you are working easier or harder than you actually are. I'm starting to get quite attached to it now, but the jury is still out on whether I consider it to be an essential training tool for me.

Tomorrow I'll be doing my first race of the season: the Brass Monkeys 4 hour enduro. This is very early in the season for me, but given the fact that the Cape Epic is looming I think it's time to blow off some cobwebs! It'll be a fun race, not least because Dave is doing it too. He's taking annual leave from his pit duties :0)

I'm looking forward to a week of warm weather training in Tenerife in a couple of weeks, where we'll be catching up with James Ouchterlony (British Marathon Champ 2007) which will be a lot of fun. I'll be able to put in some high miles and hopefully get used to temperatures higher than what we've been having in the UK for the last few months! This will be important because it could be pretty hot in South Africa. I also need to get a little bit of colour - I'm feeling a bit pale and translucent at the moment!

Friday, 15 January 2010

2010 Adventure Number 1: Cape Epic

Wahooooo! Yay! I've just booked my flights to Cape Town in March for the Cape Epic 8 day stage race, and I'm VERY excited :0) I'll be riding in a mixed team called Adidas Big Tree with Nico Pfitzenmaier. I now have 8 weeks to get super fit and strong. What more motivation could I ask for?! Bring it on :0)

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Battling the elements: ice, rain, sleet, hail, fog and snow

Well the last few weeks have certainly made training interesting! We spent Christmas visiting my parents in the Peak District and we were looking forward to getting some long rides in around the great local trails. I love the Christmas holidays because I get to ride for hours with Dave and my Dad and then sit in front of the fire while watching TV and munching through a range of festive treats and drinks. As soon as we arrived we were itching to ride one of our favourite loops around the Goyt Valley and Macclesfield forest. We were greeted with -5 degrees, bright blue skies, and icy trials. Smooth pedaling and staying off the brakes ensured that I managed to stay upright, needless to say Dave didn't.

Errwood Reservoir

The next day we drew back the curtains to reveal snow, and lots of it. On went: two pairs of socks, winter boots, overshoes, winter tights, base layer, windstopper jacket, two pairs of gloves, and a buff; and out we went. It was absolutely hilarious :0) I've never ridden in the snow before; I highly recommend it. We were treated to some amazing views and deserted trails. The going was slow and we didn't cover much ground but it was excellent skills practice. We felt like children as we skied our bikes down the steep descents; we all took turns to go 'over the bars' but the landings were soft! We'd have got down much quicker if we weren't rolling around in the snow laughing at each other! We repeated the routine of breakfast, ride, and post ride recovery (food and feet up) for the next couple of days. But alas, the snow started to melt just before the temperature plummeted again. The result was black ice and completely unrideable trails - the only thing I'd be riding would be a stationary bike. We decided to retreat back home to the South of England in an attempt to escape the ice and the turbo trainer.


Riding back at home in the Purbecks was nice and although there was no snow we had thick fog to contend was a case of holding your nerve and hoping not to hit a cow :0) Today however my mission to abstain from the turbo trainer was broken. Almost the whole of the UK has had at least a sprinkling of snow, so I doubt I was the only one pedaling on the trainer whilst looking out of the window watching the snow fall.