April 8th and Spring has finally arrived here in the UK. Well temporarily at least. As I write this I have just come back from the Sunday Social with Brixworth Velo where we all got soaked. Drowned rats. Yep this is the great British weather for us.
As the sun was out earlier in the week, the mood was lifted. The days are longer thanks to the clocks springing forward, so we get more of the evening sun. It is amazing what a bit of sunshine can do for the motivation (Inevitable battle with motivation). Vitamin D is back on the menu and it is time to increase the training load.
I find it much easier to fit training in when the sun is shining compared to when it is dark and damp. And I definitely feel I am not alone with this one.
Much of my winter cycle training has been confined to the Turbo Trainer. Although Zwift is a great tool to fight off the impending boredom that comes with riding indoors, it does not replace the great outdoors. How can you explore new routes, swear at the inclement weather and bunny hop a pothole when you are a pixel on your device’s screen?
So far I have done 609 miles of indoor cycling out of my yearly total to date of 1400 miles. Now I know indoor training shouldn’t be measured in miles or even mph, as it is not an accurate reading of the ride – power and heart rate are the preferred measurements for indoor training – but as Zwift is fairly accurate due to all the data being input into it, I will use this for the sake of argument.
For me, those 609 miles were a hard 609 miles. The effort you put into a turbo session IS more than an outdoor session. There is no free wheeling, no wheel sucking, no slacking. Basically there is nowhere to hide, you just have to ride. An hour on a turbo workout can feel like 1.5-2 hours on the road.
So although I will be happy to leave the turbo behind, I know at the same time that those hard sustained workouts will be harder to replicate on the road and in the real world conditions.
So it was time to hit the tarmac and with the sun out on Thursday night, it was time to dust off the bluebird and take her out on her maiden 2018 adventure.
Since I last rode her in 2017 she has had the addition of some tri-bars fitted, and a new Adamo saddle. She also got treated to a human fit in February, so she could get fitted to me more accurately. As I was setting the bluebird up to be my triathlon bike I wanted a bike fit done to make sure that once on the tri-bars, I was in the optimal position for power as well as comfort. The last thing I need is a cycling related injury too!
I used www.bikedynamics.co.uk in Leamington Spa, and I can’t recommend him enough. If you need a bike fit done, and live locally, check him out. I am not affiliated with him in any way, so this is a genuine recommendation. And if you do use him please let him know how you found out about him – Accidental Cyclist sent you his way 🙂
I decided to hit my own TT loop. A 2 lap loop from Wollaston to Irchester and back. It is roughly 10.5 miles in length over to 2 laps, and although most turns are right handers it is a fairly quiet route which makes it a good for this type of riding. I did what I call the middle loop as a warm up, so within 8 minutes I was back in Wollaston and ready to start the TT ride. This was the first time I had used tri-bars so it was all fairly new to me, and I must say they are AMAZING. The gains are big, especially on a course like this that is not that technical and is fairly flat. Although I did have a speed wobble when I looked over my shoulder to see if there was a car behind me whilst still on the bars. I got all out of shape and only stayed upright due to my exceptional (tongue in cheek) bike handling skills 🙂 Note to self: do not look over shoulder whilst on tri-bars!!
By the end of the TT I had managed 22.8mph over 10.5 miles hitting NP of 299w. I was grinning like a Chesire Cat.
After last weeks
failure (nay, I have been told not to use that word, so…….) change to the weekly plan I was adamant to stick closer to this weeks schedule. And I am happy to say I did pretty well.
Although my left foot injury has now moved to my right foot – which has definitely paid end to the Brighton Marathon – I was determined to make the most of the swimming and the cycling.
However, after a pretty decent week of training I woke on Saturday morning with a stinking headache. I still got out of bed and headed to the pool – but this mornings swim was not a good one. I struggled with my breathing and having the head in the water did nothing for my headache. So although I had planned an hour+ session with the aim to hit 3000m (albeit mixed with fins, buoy and without), I settled for 1000m and back to the sofa.
As I was sat there feeling sorry for myself I picked up the phone and looked at Strava. Staring me in the face was an activity from Clem and another one from Hollis. That was the kick I needed. I may not be able to run at the moment, and the swimming was poor this morning, but I can still cycle. So I leapt up from the sofa and jumped on the bluebird.
I am glad the BXV lot motivated me. I headed out on a fairly flat 35 mile route, and by the time I got home I had finished the ride at 21.6mph – 272w for NP.
The bars are definitely helping, but it has also highlighted that the cycle training I have been doing throughout the dark cold winter has and is paying off (if only the running and swimming were as rewarding).
I am keeping positive though. I may not be able to run at the moment, but hopefully that will change in a weeks time and I can kick the miles back in again. Then there is the swim. The distances are increasing – albeit with the toys – and I am hoping the wetsuit being 3:5 will replicate the buoyancy the toys are offering me in the pool. I will soon find out in May when I hit the open water for the first time.
And finally the cycling is definitely improving. I am getting stronger and quicker.
Despite the fatigue in the legs come Sunday I managed to hit 85 miles (forgot to start Garmin at the start so only recorded 81.7miles!) with the BXV crew – out to Emmaus Cafe and back. I didn’t top the weekly Brixworth Velo miles leaderboard though as Clem stormed it with an epic 93.2 miles on todays ride to clock 179.8 miles overall. Well done mate.
So the marathon is off, but the training won’t stop – and I now get to spend a stress free weekend in Brighton next weekend with my good wife 🙂 Time to hit the coffee shops. If you have any recommendations then please comment below.
And, it’s a big AND, I may even make it to the start line and treat it as a training run and quit at the half way point. Don’t worry Ego, no chance of me doing the full distance 🙂