Monday, 24 January 2011

Gran Canaria: Endless riding

My 3 week training block in Gran Canaria is over and I’m now recovering and resting before we go to Lanzarote for the Club La Santa two day mountain bike race there next weekend. I’m currently sat by the pool in the sunshine as I type this 8-)

Training has been broken into blocks of four days. Typically, day 1 has been a 4 hour mixed pace off-road ride and days 2 and 3 have been 5 to 6 hour lower intensity endurance road rides (but always on my mountain bike and using a powertap). Day 4 is a rest day, but has often been filled with chores and not quite as much beach and pool-side activities as I originally had in mind! It’s not all bad though, resting here is much nicer than trying to keep warm in England! What has been really nice is that Dave has been able to join me for all of my rides, with the only exception of a few MTB rides. He’s been riding his road bike while I’ve been on my mountain bike which has meant that he’s been able to keep up :) He’s super fit and strong now and for a change it’s Dave not wanting to stop for coffee during our long training rides. He even wanted to skip the rest day today!!! Weird, I've created an endurance cycling monster out of a surfer ;)

Pushing Dave around the isalnd has given me a great training benefit ;)
It’s so easy to ride out here, the roads are generally perfect and it’s easy to piece together great circular routes of varying distances (e.g. 40 miles up to 100+ miles). The climbing here is brilliant, it’s not too steep and it’s possible to keep a high cadence with low power if you need to. On the whole, motorists have been extremely courteous and unbelievably patient. The weather has been perfect, 20-25 degrees and there hasn’t been any rain until our last ride yesterday. Amazing. It’s been so nice not to have to wash the bikes once in the whole time we’ve been here. I can now see why so many pro-cyclists come here to train. This is the first time I’ve ever seen familiar faces from the racing scene almost everyday both on and off the bike. It really is a cycling Mecca here. A couple of very familiar faces from the British race scene have been Mel Spath and Ryan Sherlock.

A typical day out here begins when I wake up naturally (i.e. no alarm clocks!) normally at 8am(ish). I then eat a huge bowl of porridge and drink at least one coffee – I can’t function without coffee ;) I’m out on the bike between 9 and 9.30am. I always drink Torq energy drinks (pink grapefruit flavour) during my rides and if I’m out for over 4 hours then I take extra powder to make up drinks en-route. I also eat at least two or three Torq energy bars (pineapple and ginger, and mango are my favourites). Generally I aim for 1 gram of carbs per kilo of body weight (e.g. I weigh 54kgs so I consume 54grams of carbs per hour). When I get home the first thing that I do without fail is have a Torq recovery drink. I’m really enjoying the chocolate mint flavour one at the moment :)

After showering a feeding frenzy commences……I’ve been eating lots of salad out here, but when I say salad I don’t mean a pile of lettuce leaves and cucumber! I have a huge appetite and often shock people with how much I eat! Salads always include tuna, smoked salmon, or chicken, potatoes or rice, and a combination of the following: feta cheese or mozzarella, avocado, tomatoes, red pepper, spinach, boiled egg, carrots, sunflower seeds, cucumber, red onion, olives, sweet corn, and extra virgin olive oil. Lovely :)

Once my belly is bulging a daily post-ride ritual has involved a 20 minute walk to one of the cafes at Faro de Maspalomas for a fruit smoothie and ice cream. A few hours later I cook dinner which often includes one of the following: gluten free pasta, risotto, sweet potatoes, or curry (chicken or chickpea and potato) with rice. I don’t eat red meat but that’s due to personal preference and it's something I haven’t eaten since a child. I don’t drink alcohol because it inhibits the immune system and the last thing I need is to get ill!

Eating doesn’t stop there! I also graze on a lot on fruit (e.g. oranges, bananas, pears, nectarines), nuts and dried apricots. Before bed I’ll have a cup of cocoa and some dark chocolate :) As you can see, eating clearly takes huge priority in my life! Another thing that takes priority is sleep, which is particularly important when training hard. I have a good 10 hours sleep a night. Great :)

This is the first time since taking a sabbatical from my academic career that I’ve ever been able to train hard and rest well like this and I don’t know how my body will respond to it or what the 2011 race season will hold for me, but for now at least I’m feeling strong. Oh, and I have two good knees :)

Happy training,

No comments:

Post a Comment