Monday, August 30, 2010

Cycling and Skiing

This blog update brought to you from Turangi. Have had some amazing skiing so far, yesterday’s weather was amazing and fresh powdery snow meant we skied all day. When we arrived here last Friday I discovered something quite amazing – cycling has improved my skiing! Apart from the obvious benefit of stronger quads and calves (meaning I don’t get tired so quickly) the downhill cycling on Tahuroa has meant that my skiing speed has increased as I’m not so nervous at heading downhill at speed. Lack of speed was the major problem with my skiing so it’s improved hugely thanks to the power of the bike! Having said that speed is not always a good thing, had a major wipeout yesterday during my ski lesson – stopped paying attention to the terrain (too busy thinking about all the things I had to remember) and found myself out of control at high speed – took off over an edge – wheeeee, landed on my feet which duly flew out from under me (never a good thing to see your skis in front of my face!) and landed with a nice bump on my butt followed by my head bouncing off the snow – and that dear readers is why we wear a ski helmet. No damage apart from a large snowball down my pants. As we were leaving at the end of the day the wind whipped up and it started snowing again, unfortunately the wind has increased and the mountain was closed today. BIP gone off to play golf and I went out for a strength interval cycle on the bottom part of the mountain road. Must lie down now.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Going Bananas

One of the things my PT has advised me to do is work out what sort of food I can eat while cycling so I know what to take along on the big day to sustain me over 6 hours + of cycling. So my homework this week was to take a banana out on my ride and try and eat it without slowing down or hampering my cycling. So off I set this morning with my (already partially opened) banana tucked in the back pocket of my cycling shirt. After about 30 mins of cycling I decided now was the time and encountered my first problem - how to get the banana out of my pocket. The knobby bit at the top was caught in the elastic top of the pocket and I ended up nearly removing my shirt in order to get it out - hmm, definite loss of speed there not to mention the dangers of flashing if I wasn't wearing my thermals. The next problem was that the nice flat bit of road I had been admiring when I first attempted to get the banana out had now disappeared and as I took my second bite I found myself at the bottom of a hill - phttttwt, spit out lump of banana in order to get up hill without choking or throwing up. Then I had to go downhill on a windy bit of road trying to manage steering, braking and banana holding,  nothing like getting mashed banana all over your cycling gloves and handlebars to brighten up your day. At this point I admitted defeat and biffed the remains of the banana into the nearest bush. I think it's safe to say that bananas will not be on my list of approved cycling foods.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Supervised Training Ride

So it turns out one of the reasons I was so pathetic during my PT session last Monday was I was coming down with flu! Yes flu!! Unbelievable, I haven't had the flu since I was about 8, I guess my immune system was still down in the dumps from all the chest and sinus infections of last month and the flu bug saw an opportunity and swooped in. I also got another dose of bronchitis along with it for good measure, just what I needed. So a week of no training spent mostly in bed or sleeping. Yesterday I had a game of hockey so decided to use that as an indication of whether I was well enough to train again, and having survived it reasonably well had my PT session today which consisted of going out for a 50 min cycle with my trainer. Apparently what we did was what I should be doing for my base rides - definitely worked harder than I would have if I'd been doing a base ride by myself which is a useful indicator. Got some handy hints on a few bits and pieces which should help on group rides and also some homework which consists of things like eating a banana while cycling ! Pretty worn out when I got back but seem to be reasonably ok and haven't had to resort to a lie down yet this afternoon - maybe I am actually getting over this bug?!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Week 2, Here I Come

Torrential rain all day Saturday and the absence of the rest of my cycling group (off doing some extreme cross-country running event in Rotorua) meant that with all the will in the world I could not get myself out on the bike. Instead I set my alarm for early on Sunday with the plan of getting out first thing as I had a late hockey game so figured it should just about work out ok. Unfortunately having got out of bed I got as far as making a cup of tea and then got back into bed again! I finally managed to get myself out on the bike at about 2pm for a hard hilly ride - actually harder than anticipated due to poor route planning! Needless to say I was exhausted when I got back, and then had to go out and play a game of hockey - my poor legs were not impressed. Still very tired this morning so I was totally rubbish during my PT session. I had to do a kettle bell swing warm up interspersed with bungees on the swiss ball and by the time I'd done 3 sets each of those I was seriously ready to lie down. After the dreaded ITB roller sets and some half-hearted attempts at plank and side holds even my trainer had to concede that he wasn't going to get much out of me today! "Listen to your body" is good advice - mine is telling me to go and lie down somewhere warm and have a nice snooze.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Isn't Friday a great day, it is of course the official day of rest in my training schedule and hence my new favourite day. Having recovered from the mad exertions of Tuesday's speed intervals I was relieved to find that yesterday's strength endurance session was a little more manageable. I cycled into work in the morning at recovery pace (i.e. really slowly with minimal exertion) which was, quite frankly odd. Just before I arrived at work I got overtaken by some cyclists and had to use all of my will power to not take off after them and remain at my sendentary pace, hmph. Used the ride home for the strength endurance which is about ramping up the gears to hard and maintaining a constant cadence, the aim is that you can "feel the burn" in your legs at all times. Well that and the puffing and panting, and coughing, and spitting up bits of lung (still!), but all in all still easier than speed. Took my bike in for a service today as I thought it could do with a little tlc given all the work it is and will be doing, think I could do with the same myself!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Remind Me Again Whose Stupid Idea This Was?

Having coped with day 1 of my PT schedule (core workout) fairly easily I breezed into yesterday's challenge of a 1 hour interval ride without seriously absorbing quite how impossible it was when I read through the brief. One hour on the bike consisting of 15 min warm up then 5 x intervals of 3 mins at a cadence (pedal revolutions) of between 95-110 interspersed with 5 mins at 85. Then cool down to finish. Ok, firstly, fast cadence and me are not friends, if I need to go fast I tend to rely on power rather than leg speed so this was always going to be a challenge. Secondly, 3 minutes....! Are you frikken kidding me!!! After 2 I was just about ready to stop breathing, and then maintaining 85 as a 'recovery' ... well let's just say 85 is already fast. So after an on bike readjustment to 5 x 2 min intervals with recovery aiming at 80+ I just about made it home. The worst part was I reached the end of my road after 50 mins and had to keep on going as I still had 10 mins of cycling to go. Ugh, everything hurt when I got off the bike, I was like a quivering jelly. Clearly somewhere along the line my PT got the impression that rather than just wanting to complete the Lake Taupo Challenge I'm aiming for some sort of course record.
Thankfully today was off bike and another core workout - I never thought I'd be so happy to get back on that foam roller.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Discovering My ITBs

I had a session with my PT today (can I be the 1 billionth person to point out that personal trainer and personal torturer have the same initials?!) to go over my 16 week training schedule to get me ready to complete the Lake Taupo Challenge (eep). Actually it's quite good to have it all down on paper laid out week by week as I know from half-marathon training that you can just work through the training week by week and know that as long as you get it done you're heading towards a successful outcome. Anyway today being Monday it was my core and stretch session, the core workout didn't look too challenging on paper (although I discovered that there's a good reason the set of Catapults is only 12 as they're only easy for about the first 3). The stretching included instructions to roll my ITB with a foam roller. Apparenly the ITB does a lot of work when cycling and is prone to injury later on if not looked after early. Now personally I couldn't pick my ITB out of a line up - I had a vague idea of where it sort of was (which turned out to be wrong), but hey, that's ok, how hard can it be to roll anything on a foam roller.... famous last words. PT demonstrated by lying on aforementioned roller and gracefully gliding up and down so that it rolls from hip to knee and back in a fluid movement. I attempted the same - hmmm, firstly owwwww! Ok now I know where my ITB is, and also that it hurts like f**k to roll up and down on a foam roller on top of it. Apparently this is an indication that they are already showing signs of stress (and not, as the more sane of us might think that rolling up and down on them is a crazy thing to do). Apart from the pain the whole gracefully gliding up and down the roller thing totally eluded me, I think I looked like a large injured duck that lies miserably on the side of a road flapping various bits of wing and leg forlornly. Yup, go the ITBs !

Monday, August 2, 2010

Rev'in Up

 Bit the bullet today and went to a lunchtime rev class (spin cycle for you overseas bods). I'd been a bit apprehensive as it's been well over a year since I last did one and they are always damn hard - but I'm pleased to report I survived it, although I do have a bad case of jelly legs this afternoon. It's the next best thing to actually being out on the bike and with a crazy schedule this week which is preventing me from cycling to work I feel that at least I'm getting some hard kms under my belt.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Taupo Here I Come..?

A month or so ago in a post-half marathon mood of being totally over running I half-heartedly declared that I would quite like to do the lake Taupo challenge (160km bike ride) this year. Since then I have been variously overseas and then laid low with bronchitis, a sinus infection and a chest infection so haven't been doing much of anything (other than moaning about how sick I am). Last week as I finally realised I really was getting better and could actually get back to the gym and start doing something my thoughts returned to Taupo and I started wondering if I'd left it too late given how little I've been cycling in the past 12 months (i.e. about twice!). In one of those casual conversations that turn out to be pivotol a friend of mine directed me to a weekend cycling group which led to me taking on a 2 hour cycle to Morrinsville and back over Tahuroa (which, to give you some indication of its immense hilliness I generally refer to as the Tahuroa mountain). Against all odds I survived, and almost enjoyed myself (at least on the downhills!) and so I scheduled a meeting with a personal trainer this morning and now have a plan (or will have once he's drawn it up!) and lots of motivation for Taupo. So for the next 16 weeks I will be blogging about cycling with n'er a run in sight, which will at least give me something different to moan about. All I have to look forward to know is my first puncture.... watch this space!