Sunday 26 February 2017

Pink stinks and 2017 Snowdrop

Started the week by taking Pinky for a test run (cycle) to Little Martin and back. Felt great to be back on a single-speed machine. Pinky performed ok, the chain/tensioner resonates a little and when a lot of pressure is applied to the pedals (e.g on steep sections) the chain appears to slip and makes a terrible crunching sound. Not sure if the chain will be better once bedded in a little or maybe I should avoid real steep sections? Pinky was created to be a commute bike so no major issue if steep sections compromise the smooth running of the chain. Maybe I won't use this bike for the pending Snowdrop Audax.
Also started (and finished) the week with a run too. This first run was a xc affair across the fields of Studley. My final run was a lap of the Studley Triangle.

Cycled a lot (relatively speaking) this week. Much of my cycling was indoors. Decided to play with different app's just for fun and because my Sufferfest subscription had expired. Zwift looked good but it didn't work well at all. Zwift did not appear to like my sensors - it recorded my heart rate just fine but said I was cycling double the speed I actually was which just got annoying. Bkool looked cool but didn't work so cool either. Bkool recognised my sensors but the running graphics were jumpy and slow. My best cycling session took place watching Breeders, Warpaint and Avril Lavigne (shh) videos on You Tube. Ha!

My favourite adventure of the week was cycling the 2017 edition of The Snowdrop Audax. This was the 7th time I had completed this event. This was also the first audax event I ever entered. Below are a few shots from previous years.
Snowdrop 2010
Snowdrop 2012
Snowdrop 2013
Snowdrop 2014
Snowdrop 2015 (Turned up too late for group start photo)
Snowdrop 2016
This year saw fewer of my friends compared to previous years. A lot of folk bailed - most with half decent excuses. Jane Mitchums excuse was a poor one though, he said he had mud in his eye or something like that.
Snowdrop 2017
Essentially, we started as a group of 5. Pretty fast start, but as usual, the peloton soon spread out. Weather was relatively perfect during the first stage (and only slight rain thereafter). Phil encountered menace as he hit a pot hole resulting in a puncture. I got the blame for not shouting a warning.. On a brighter note, it allowed me to take a photo of some snowdrops whilst puncture was fixed!
Can you spot the snowdrops?
Nice cup of tea in the first control in Upton. Shame Mark Rigby had done himself a mischief so couldn't stamp our brevet cards. After munching on some of my home-made pink marble cake, we were off.

Stage 2 was super fast and zoomy. It only seemed like 10 minutes before we reached Evesham. Our group of 5 had become a 2.5 (Phil caught us as we stopped, so we soon became a 3). Ron and I had stopped to take a selfie as proof of passage. The usual control in Evesham, Raphaels cafe had burned down. Such a shame, that cafe held a lot of memories for me - SJ, kids, parents and siblings had met me there on previous years.
Selfie at Abbey Road
We found an alternate cafe in Evesham and stopped for soup and tea. Phil and Ron had soup a lovely pink in colour. Pink seemed a theme on this ride. We had already eaten some of my pink cake and now pink soup. I very nearly cycled my new pink bike too. My soup was a filthy pea colour. Fuelled up and off we went.
Pink soup
As we cycled the final stage, our group of 3 became 2. Ron and I just pressed on rather than wait at the hill tops. Not lots of hills, but the Lenches were pretty hilly and that Pig Hill is always a bit of a pig. Before we cycled the penultimate climb we passed a combine harvester - so what you might say, but this one was pink! Ha, pink stinks and so did we by the time we finished this wonderful event!

Sunday 19 February 2017

Pinky and Perky

Monday started well. Got Pinky's issues all fixed up, well kinda. Pinky was built up a short while back but she didn't sound quite right when in motion - the chain/tensioner rattled like crazy. I had tried swapping chains and tensioners but to no avail. Pinky had a second opinion (and treatment) and now the rattle is more like a wheeze. The previous chain was stretched a little (so Pinky was treated to a new pink one) and the link rubbed a tad against the tensioner jockey cage. The tensioner jockey cage was disposed of. Noise still resonates but I'm informed that carbon will make noise resonate more so than compared to steel, and as the chain becomes bedded it'll quiet down a little more too. We'll see. At least Pinky is functional and looks great.

Didn't cycle Pinky on Monday though. Instead, I went for a run with the Mrs and saw her turn a similar pink colour to the bike. Ha! I'm real pleased SJ has started to run again.

Tuesday was spent on my trainer. Just couldn't find the time to go outdoors (we had a new door put in our lounge, bed delivered, blah). This spin didn't see me complete a stage of The Tour of Sufferlandria (have abandoned that tour) but I did attempt to complete a Sufferfest session called 'Rubber Glove'. I didn't finish - after 45 mins, I knocked my iPad off the shelf. D'oh! That's 2 attempts at 'Rubber Glove' with no success - maybe it's a sign?!
Roger and 'The Beast'
Wednesday was a great day. Caught up with my buddy Roger as we cycled his tandem for the first time this year. A relatively short (30 mile) adventure but great to be out in the great outdoors once again.

Rest of the week was mostly spent at work. Doing work stuff. Pah, who wants to hear about that?! I did manage to sneak in a quick (45 mins) spin on the turbo trainer. I used the Sufferfest App again and strangely, this time my heart rate and cadence was all fine. The App used previous data to 'suggest' my heart rate zones (which were actually lower than my 'real' zones) which made cycling in this virtual world a lot easier and way more comfortable. Maybe I should restart the Tour of Sufferlandria. Then again, maybe not. :)

Monday 13 February 2017

Cool running's and the end of Sufferlandria menace (maybe)

Who's crazy idea was it to cycle the Tour of Sufferlandria? Ugh! They need beating with a stick.
Well, continue with the tour I did. Hadn't completed the stages in the right order due to Gremlins, time constraints and just because.
However, Monday started the training week and saw me complete Stage 5 'Nine Hammers'. As the title suggest, 9 big efforts emulating VO2 and Threshold intervals took place over the course of about an hour. My performance was poor - felt pretty whacked having cycled so much already. Hmm. Had trouble reaching high cadence and higher heart rate zones.
Tuesday saw me complete Stage 6 'There Is No Try'. I don't think I tried hard enough - the idea was to get faster and faster during accelerating intervals but I got slower and slower. As per usual, my high cadence struggled and my heart rate barely got into zone 5. On a brighter note, I went for a mini run with SJ which was nice.

Wednesday woke up feeling tired and groggy. This was probably because Moo had awoke early and gotten us all up. Early wake meant an early start to training. Jumped on my machine and cycled Stage 2 'The Way Out + Power Station' at last. I wish there was a way out! This was a long session - nearly 2 hours and I felt whacked from start to finish. Had troubles reaching the cadences required and my heart rate didn't want to get pushed into the higher zones. I think following day will be a rest day (and I do have a 50 hour window to complete these stages, even if I do them in a weird order). My tour, my rules, right?!

Thursday was a day of rest. Kinda. No real rest as I was working 9-9! Work. Pah!
What my saddle was starting to feel like!
Friday saw me complete Stage 7 'Hell Hath No Fury'. This was a long session and to be honest was starting to get bored of Sufferlandria. Couldn't get my heart rate high enough, struggled with the high cadences and motivation almost gone. 2 more stages to go and all will be complete. The next 2 stages are stupid long though - each other 2 hours. Worse still, I have gotten saddle sore - something I've not had for a while. Guess this is what happens when you neglect cycling for a while and then cycle quite intensely.

Saturday was a Parkrun day and I completed my 14th run. This was a lovely run around the Arrow Valley course. It was snowing throughout which made a nice change. Bloomin' cold but I soon warmed up. Didn't have my fastest time by a long shot, however, I was still pleased with 23:12 which is probably my fastest run this year.

Sunday was a day of rest. My bottom was still sore and I did not have a surge of motivation.Unlike me to DNF (did not finish) but I DNF'd the Tour of Sufferlandria. Strangely, I didn't feel too bad about it. Maybe the virtual world won't give me a hard time about it either.

Sunday 5 February 2017

Sufferlandria, who'd have thought (fought?)

Pathetic start to the week. No training took place at all until Thursday. Work was to blame - honest.

Thursday was a slightly better day. Got Pinky from the bike shop all fixed up and ready to go at last. Pinky didn't seem quite right though, she made an awful rattley sound around the chain and tensioner area. Hmm. Tried swapping chains, swapping tensioners and adjusting tension but nothing seems to work. (I think Chris needs to take a look at it). My other bikes aren't faring so great either - Slinky has issues with rear cassette, Winter has broken spokes and Jenny has dodgey brakes.
Pinky, not perky
On a brighter note though, training commenced. My iPad had it's ANT issues fixed which meant I was able to use the Sufferest App and cycle some on my turbo trainer. I only cycled a short (20 mins+) session but great stuff - the iPad and all the sensors worked. 20 mins and I was whacked!

Not so whacked that I couldn't manage a run though. Later that evening I jogged around the Studley Triangle. Only a short (5k) run but at least I had completed a couple of activities now.
Baby Lunar
What a day Friday was. Daughter's birthday, visit to my new job premises and The Tour of Sufferlandria kicked off. This Tour is regarded as the Greatest Grand Tour of a Mythical Nation. This tour lasts for 9 days (4-12 February) and consists of cycling (suffering) whilst watching Sufferfest videos on my iPad. Basically, for 9 days straight, the plan is for me to sit on a bicycle in Doo Little bike room and cycle myself silly. I had to pay a $10 donation for the privilege but monies collected go towards a Parkinson's charity (Davis Phinney) so good call. I get a 50 hour window to start each stage (due to time differences around the World), so that's how I managed to finish stage 1 before the 4th. You get's me, right?!

Stage 1 was named 'Igniter + The Long Scream'. Little did I know that the 'Igniter' part was the same warm up I cycled yesterday. The 'Long Scream' was basically a 30 minute time trial that followed. The time trial should have been cycled at a cadence of around 90 rpm (which I did just fine) in heart zones 4 and 5. Man, I struggled cycling in zone 5 and to be honest only dipped into that zone for a few minutes at most. My average heart rate was 142 bpm and reached a max of 171 bpm (with an AVG speed of 30.3 kmh. Am really quite unfit and am going to struggle with this tour.
The torture device (Sufferlandria style)
Stage 3 'The Omnium' was completed on Saturday. (I know I had skipped stage 2, but plan to cycle that stage following day). I chose this stage because I was working 9-9 and only had an hour to cycle before work. Simples. The stage was far from simples though. It required 6 super efforts essentially  as it emulated six different races which make up the Omnium competition. I struggled with the high cadences required but dipped into zone 5 more so than on the previous stage. My AHR was 141 bpm and MHR 172 bpm (with an AVG speed of 29.8 kmh).

Attempted to complete Stage 2 on Sunday but Sufferlandria appeared to have a gremlin invasion and the video would not play. No bother, I cycled Stage 4 'Angels' instead. Nothing angelic about this stage though. This stage emulated some tough climbs. Still struggling getting my heart into zone 5. AHR 141 and MHR 167. All in all, an ok week, with a 100k cycled (and all indoors).

Happy New Year 2022

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