Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Biggest ride yet

I have 2 weekends to report. Weekend one was challenging - 80km or so, Wolvi then a loop of Deep Ck rd on Saturday.
Last Sunday was our biggest ride yet. One of the riders wanted to check out the Noosa 160km course, so we rode over the gap, Kin Kin range then to Tewantin to inspect it. A quick coffee at Cooroy, then back the same way - 147 km. I was very pleased to make it. THe Kin Kin range is getting easier, but the 15% gradient at the gap seems just the same - almost impossible every time. I give myself a stern talking to about not walking it before every attempt.
During the week, the taped Giro was a great benefit to the windtraining sessions. We managed 3 lots in front of the telly. (Don't tell my mum that our bikes have now moved into the living room during the week)
The following Saturday was a quick 70km along the Sandy Ck route, but Sunday was a cycling write off. We drove to the Sunshine Coast for our daughter's music exam, and the closest I got to a bike was buying myself a new cycling jersey at Mountain Designs.
So far this week I have been running once and managed one session of windtraining. I am trying to get a cadence over 90 on the big chain ring, but am finding it rather tricky.
Our plan is one shorter ride and one longer ride on the weekend. Time is getting short!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Update, 8 weeks to go

Our heart rate monitors have been sent off for new batteries and servicing. I am realizing how much I depend on the computer to help me record my training - no posts since I sent the monitor away.
The last 10 days have been fairly easy, as a recovery after the increased ride distances. In order, there were 2 windtraining sessions, about 30 minutes each, then last weekend was an easy set of rides. 1x about 70k, with some steep hills (Kin Kin, 15% gradients), followed on Sunday by a rolling hilly ride, Mary Valley via Diamondfield, again about 70km. This week I ran for the first time in about 6 weeks -very slowly for an hour, and squeezed in another half hour windtraining session.
Today, friday, was a local holiday for the show. We rode out past Wolvi, with a return via East Deep Ck to add in some hills. I have not much idea about the distance, maybe just over 70km again.
Tomorrow we plan our longest ride yet, 145km. I plan to get to bed early.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

More hills and more km

The second long weekend in a row for Queensland (Labour day). This is always a hard couple of weeks at work, as in our job, a day off simply means trying to squeeze 5 (or 6) days work into 4, so I should not have been surprized that I a)did not manage to cycle at all during the work week, and b)I started the weekend of riding feeling very flat and unenthusiastic.
On Saturday, I was working a half day, so had planned a 3 hour ride, around 65km, but instead turned around at the Gap, and was home by 8am, having only 45km or so under the belt.
I was able to catch up on some things at home before leaving for work - there are distinct advantages to a shorter ride.
However, the trip is looming, and there are some nasty pictures of mountain climbs on the internet, so on Sunday it was 110km to and from Kenilworth over the range again.
This was a terrific ride. There were only 3 riders, and we found a happy medium pace (I did struggle to keep up, but managed mostly), with perfect riding conditions aside from a gusty headwind which managed to change directions whilst we stopped for another excellent coffee at McGinns, so that we could enjoy resistance in both directions. I was tired in the afternoon, but managed to carry out normal weekend catch up activities and thought I was all set for another ride on Monday.
This was a new ride to me, an extension of the 80km return ride to Pomona by crossing the highway at Traveston, and coming back on Mary Valley Road.
The hills to Pomona were fine, and I did some stomach training for France by having a croissant with my coffee at the Pomona bakery. No problems there at all.
Unfortunately, I was putting my watch on the front of the bike after the coffee stop, and was passed closely by a bus, and fell off. Sore shoulder, bang on the head, but the bike was fine. I rode the rest of the way with a head and neck ache. This did not help over a 14% gradient hill and its two nasty unrated companions. Traveston crossing is hard work. I was really tired after the hills, and by the time I got home, after 90km, I was completely exhausted.
The ride took only 4 hours, with a coffee stop, but I did not achieve anything else all day.
I do not want to be lying around on a couch doing nothing after the rides in France. More training is required. This is unappealing this morning.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Long weekend riding

The public holidays over the next 3 months are a great boon to our training programme - in theory.

Last weekend we rode Sandy Creek on Saturday (62km, rolling hills) Kenilworth on Sunday( 111 km, mixed including steep range, 10% gradient)with a recovery ride on Monday - about 50km, rolling hills.
DSCF0187 YJ cooked breakfast for people attending the Anzac dawn service before riding to Kenilworth. He must be tough.
Unfortunately when I was not on the bike during the weekend, I was at work, which has left me rather unenergetic this week. I have done no exercise at all since Monday, although there was a little bit of stretching due to feeling extremely stiff.
We have been booking accommodation and train trips in France to inspire us. Mostly it has inspired us to drink wine and eat, as all the advertisements on the web sites seem to emphasize these pastimes. I don't need any encouragement in this direction, as I never seem to lack motivation for these activites :).
In fact, I think the only reason I am able to ride to Kenilworth is the thought of the excellent coffe at McGinns. It is fortunate for my waistline that it takes at least 2 hours to ride there!

Monday, April 19, 2010


How in Australia, do you prepare to cycle in the Pyrenees?
I don't live anywhere near Mt. Kosciuszko, so I have to compromise.
That covered up sign says "Trucks use low gear, 15% gradient". To local cyclists, this hill is know as Gentle Annie.
It is not gentle.
I have boasting rights, I have ridden up Gentle Annie. It takes less than 3 minutes but feels as if it takes a lot longer, especially if you have just ridden up the Kin Kin range. I auppose I should have done this a few times in a row, but at the moment, once is enough. My legs were sore all week. There is a 20% gradient closer to town, but it is only a few hundred metres long.
Training is progressing. After the 4 days of riding over Easter, I managed 2x 40km rides and a half hour of windtraining during the week, then a 3 hour ride with hills on Saturday, and another 40k on Sunday.
During the next week, one 40k road ride, one windtraining session, then unfortunately the weekend was not good training. It rained again, and although we started out on Saturday, we were on the road only briefly and returned home for a windtraining session. I am not keen to fall off due to bad weather. Sunday was a 40k ride again.
This weekend is a public holiday on Monday, so we are hoping to fit in another 110km ride, maybe with a hill or two.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Finishing off a big week

The fourth consecutive day of cycling was a just over 60K, Sandy Creek, and the turn out was quite small for some reason!


This is another gorgeous ride, hilly, but with nice flat gaps between the hills. I had not done the whole ride previously and was pleasantly surprized to find that it was not the monstrously difficutly ride that more experienced cyclists had been warning me about.
Admittedly, we did take it very slowly.
The feeling of relief at actually riding cycling tour type distances for several days in a row without collapsing or falling off the bike is considerable. I now feel as if I may enjoy the tour in 3 months time, instead of alternating between torture on the bike and stunned exhaustion for the rest of the day!
Follow up training this week has been 1x35 minute windtraining session - single leg drills and standing drills, and I managed to slip in a 40 odd km ride to Hervey siding. With no driving the children to school duties during this school holiday week, I could do this before work on my later start day. I did not quite manage to fit in the distance in 1 hour 30 minutes, but am getting faster, a nice feeling.

I haven't tried starting a ride before dawn yet, but as the days become shorter this might be necessary. I have lights all organized, but am yet to sew reflective tape on my jerseys, maybe this should be a job for the weekend.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

More long rides

The public holidays over Easter have allowed a big jump in the training programme. Unfortunately in the week leading up to Easter, I only managed 2x short (30minutes or so) on the windtrainer, but in retrospect an easy week was probably a good idea.
On Friday we rode 110km, in perfect conditions.
This is the longest ride I have done to date, and I was very pleased and relieved to accomplish it. The ride was mostly rolling hills, but included climbing the Kenilworth range in both directions.
On Saturday, a recovery ride or 45 or so km was not a problem, although rain caught up with us. Unsurprisingly, I felt very stiff by the afternoon, stretched for about half an hour, then went to bed before 8pm.
This morning, we backed up with a ride of just under 70km, at an easy pace over rolling hills. Again the conditions were perfect. We are hoping for a slightly longer and more hilly ride tomorrow.
I haven't got much else done over Easter!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Longer rides

Yesterday I rode around 85km. It was very pretty, and I had a great coffee at Pomona.
The problem I am having at the moment, is that although I can ride this far with no real problems, I am still rather slow. It took 4 and a half hours, including coffee, and I was very tired for the rest of the day, and not very productive.
I am hoping that after riding this sort of distance in France, I will have both time to be a tourist, and the energy to be interested in being a tourist!
Fortunately, in the earlier part of the ride, it was fun to be a tourist whilst on the bike. Look at the artwork you can see right here in rural Queensland.
I did not ride today, for social reasons, but plan some windtraining sessions during the week and a series of longer rides over Easter.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Still Training

It has been hard going keeping up with the training for the past month, as it has been raining, and flooding for all of this time. Despite this, I have been riding or running 4 times a week, thanks to the windtrainer. The problem is that windtraining is just not exciting, and although I am pleased to have kept up with my one hour sessions, it is not the same as a 2-3 hour ride.
I particularly noticed this on Saturday when I rode the bike on the road for the first time in 3 and 1/2 weeks. I rode reasonably well, had no trouble with the hills, but I was completely worn out for the whole day after a 2 hour ride. I did not do anything on Sunday at all. This is not good for the training programme.
However, this week we booked our tickets to Europe. I feel very poor all of a sudden. Traveling at high season is not the way to find cheap airfares, but as the whole idea is to look at the Tour de France, traveling in the shoulder season is not an option.
I had a little trouble with the tickets. I booked and paid on line, and although the full amount was charged to the credit card, only one e-ticket was dispatched.
I sorted this out this morning with the airline, no trouble, but whilst I was on the phone the very helpful fellow wanted me to book specific seats. He promised me good seats, and I asked for a window seat. All fine, very polite la-de-da.
However, fortunately my husband came across a very useful site a few weeks ago, and when I could get to my computer, I looked up the seats the helpful airline fellow had given me at seatguru.
I was very displeased to discover that he had kindly given us the only "window" seat in economy that does not actually have a window for one plane type (2 legs of the journey) and the only economy seat without a locker that opens for another 2 legs of the journey.
I telephoned the airline again and made a polite fuss, and had the seats changed to ones that seat guru describes as standard economy, with no little drawbacks like being next to the loo. I hope seat guru is right, it is a long way to Europe, and surely would seem a lot longer in a horrid seat.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Seriously windtraining

I have been working on my cycling now for 3 months. So far I have mostly managed to keep to my goal of 3+ riding sessions per week, whilst continuing to run 2x a week. I did not do this for a week over Christmas and New Year, or for another week whilst I was camping on Fraser Island, but otherwise, pretty much on target. I did not do so well with strength training.
Now is a good time for a review. My aim for the first few months of my training was to increase my endurance base. I felt very discouraged about my slow progress for several weeks, due to comparing myself to other riders, but a weekend where I rode by myself, at my own pace, made me notice enough improvement to restore my motivation.
I still cannot keep up with the faster people in the local cycling group, but I am no longer always the slowest (this may have something to do with new members, even less fit than me!)nor am I always tired for the whole day after a 2 hour ride. These are all good things, but not sufficient to allow me to enjoy a 140km ride up a mountain. I have experienced only 2 small injuries, one fall, cutting my knee, which did not restrict me in running or cycling, and one minor ankle sprain (whilst running) which did not limit cycling, but made me miss one running session.

My plan for the next 12 weeks is to use 2 windtraining sessions each week, one emphasizing strength, and another aiming to increase my speed. I hope to continue 2-3 rides per week, one ride to be a little longer than 2 hours.

Today I worked more at the strength end of the spectrum
10 min warm up (small chain ring, 15)
4x sets: 3min at big chain ring, 15, aiming to increase HR to 90%of max by 3min, then 2 min recovery at sm, 15. (20minutes)
3x sets: Single leg cycling at sm, 15: 1minute L, 1minute 2 legs, 1min R, 1 minute 2 legs
another 1 min of L leg alone, as I am weaker on the L (13 minutes)
2x sets : Big chain ring, 12 30 seconds, then recover 30 seconds (2 minutes)
10 min cool down cycling
Total cycling 55 minutes
Stretches; Piriformis, External hip rotators, Hamstrings, Iliopsoas, Lat dorsi
Upper body strength: 10 push ups, 20 triceps dips, 2x 30 sec plank. This is not enough, but I ran out of time before work. I think I will need to do some stretching and strength work in the evening.