Monday, 13 June 2011


Fate, children, unexpectedly late nights and difficult domestic jobs all conspired against me to mean that I did only 4 pretty short training sessions last week.  Or at least that's what I could claim.  The reality is that lack of a plan was the thing that conspired against me the most.  It seems that I don't even need a target particularly to get on the bike (though it helps); the mere existence of some words on a page is enough for the lycra to be pulled on.  So, sure I didn't get to bed till 2.15am on Sunday morning and I was going down to Wolverhampton to see the kids at Sunday lunchtime, but I could still have managed 45 mins on the turbo rather than lying in bed.  And yes, removing the fronts of the kitchen units on Friday night for them to be taken away, stripped and re-painted was a right faff, but I didn't have to watch the Tour Series highlights did I?  Again, a quick core training session in the back bedroom was definitely feasible.

To summarise then, it was a lazy week.  But I'm stirred to action this week.  The missus is away most of it, so there's no excuse there, and most importantly, I've written the plan down.  It's simples really - I'm going to do 6 weeks of Carmichael's Time Crunched Cyclists Training Plan (interspersed with 'real' rides, like the Hereford Villages Audax this coming weekend, and then the riding in France for the Tour), and then move on to my patented, special, secret, hill climbing training ready for the Pyrenees.  I'm not going to reveal the magic ingredient in that recipe, save to say I'm glad telephone directories haven't been phased out yet. (Why ever not though?).  The serious point about that is that riding up a foreign hill for an hour is a very different experience to riding up most British hills, no matter how severe their gradient.  And that difference centres on duration - being able to put down 350 watts to power up a half mile British climb is of little use if you can't convert that to 250 watts for an hour to go up and over a French col.  That, in turn, tests out your core, your lower back muscles, and your muscular endurance, all of which must be worked on.  And I simply don't do enough road miles these days to build those things through general riding, so some specificity in the training is called for.

The question is - why don't I do enough road miles?  And the answer is....a whole combination of things, ranging from the fact that I get bored easily and my consequent need for variety, to the lack of regular local riding partners (not that I've tried to do too much about that, and it's never stopped me in the past)), to the volume of traffic on British roads (we're getting closer to the truth here), to - and I think this is the most important thing - the shocking state of British roads.  Last Saturday the weather was glorious and my route was as quiet as it's possible to get in Cheshire, and yet.....and yet.  I seemed to spend much of the time avoiding not just the ubiquitous potholes, but the rutted, the uneven, the broken away, the generally deteriorated surfaces.  It's just not fun to ride worrying about which bit of the bike is going to get broken next.

The whingeing is going to stop there however.  I'm looking forward to both the ride from Hereford to Hay-on-Wye and back next Sunday, and the the first outing of the London to Paris team 2 weeks today round the delights of north Wales.  I've also not suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune that Mendip Rouleur has had to endure in recent weeks (qv his fishneedsabicycle blog for more detail).  So, Chapeau Bradley after his triumph yesterday at the Dauphine, and let's bring on the riding.

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