Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Getting rained on too many times and bunch rides can be good.

It was a bit like that last week and by Thursday I was already feeling that something was going to get me and put me in bed… Add some neck and shoulder issues and the body started to break down.

I have to admit that I go for days with my batteries on low because of sleep depravation, which I relate to going to bed late (as odd as it sounds, if I go to bed before 9ish, I will wake up at 1 am and will stay awake for a few hours before falling asleep again) and getting up in the early hours to get to work. Add a bit of rain, an air conditioned room at work, 20 hours on the bike the previous week and more rain and here it is my own recipe for a cold or flu.

Last week was a recovery week and it finished with a local bunch ride on Sunday. I chose to do the Zupps hoping that I would meet a couple of friends, have an easy run and drop off when the pace picked up. The last hardly ever happening, I should know.

However, after spending too long on a higher HR zone than I should and having the legs starting to scream for a bit of a rest, I decided that it was enough and pulled out of the “race”. That was after one hour with the bunch, I had to do another two to finish my ride and half of that happened in heavy rain.

The positive thing is that I now know where I am in terms of conditioning and in three or four weeks I can do the same ride and measure how much I have improved and look for the areas that need more work. This is how I like to use bunch rides in my training programs.

Comes Monday and I could hardly breath through my nose and found really difficult to get out of bed. Frantic times as I can’t have too much time off the bike at this time of the year. Off to my GP for drastic measures, the conventional drugs.

A good dose of a generic antibiotic, a nose spray and lots of food and rest is doing the job.

Week Seven (Base):
Time: 9 h 15 min
Dist.: 253 km

Safe riding

Saturday, February 20, 2010

It has been a terrible month for cycling in Brisbane. I am not writing about training or racing this time, I am just looking at what is happening on our roads at the moment.

To start, we had the local paper (not worth to mention the name here) publishing a few articles with clear intentions to further divide and, even worse, create more conflict in between two groups of road users.

Unfortunately, the journalists writing the stories and their bosses din't (and still don't) realise that stories of this type, published in a city where the "bikes shouldn't be on the road" culture coexists with a "lets not change the rules even to save more lives" attitude by the organisations that are in control of the roads, might harm people who for different reasons prefer to leave their cars at home and ride their bicycles.

Dramatic as it sounds, it is noticeable that drivers do react to stories like that by expressing their opinions when behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. That is done by verbal abuse, the dispose of a cigarette butt or just a drive past, only centimetres from a cyclist’s exposed body. The Magda Szubanski fiasco proved this to be the case last year, when many cyclists were told to get off the road or be “doored".

It doesn’t help when motor vehicle associations try to advocate their ownership of the state’s roads on behalf of their members, when they should promote safe use of the roads to everybody instead. Fundamentally, they fail to realise that when one of their members “accidently” hurt another road user, they will have a long term physiological condition to deal with, therefore everybody looses.

That brings me, with lots of sadness, to the latest fatal incident in Brisbane, when a young cyclist was hit by a truck when commuting home after work. The driver might or might not have failed to obey the road rules, and might or might not have seen the cyclist, but he was obviously travelling at an uncontrollable speed for the traffic conditions at the time.

I wrote uncontrollable speed based on the fact that the cyclist was dragged under the truck for 30 metres after the impact, as stated in the Police report.

Thirty metres! What a horror!! Is that what takes to stop a truck approaching an intersection marked with a couple of give way signs? If the answer is yes, these heavy vehicles are travelling too fast on our roads. What if it was a school crossing?

Clearly, we are not trained well enough to handle fast cars (check the number of fatal crashes by speeding drivers in Australia) and we are driving heavy vehicles at speeds that won’t allow the drivers to stop in time when needed(see the opposition leader’s close call this week). These factors are causing a lot of accidents and hurting a lot of people in this country.

The rules have to change!

Safe riding!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Recovery day, recovery week... I think I need it too.

Week three of the Base phase of my program ended with a fantastic 150 km ride. It took a little longer than the 3.5 hours (80 km) I had planned but the ride just kept getting better and better as we rode through some beautiful parts of the Sunshine Coast.

And, it was a
QSM Racing Team ride. This is the team I am going to race for in 2010.

Most of the riders, in all divisions, are already racing the criterium series and on the track while a few of us are still getting back into shape after time off the bike or are getting prepared for the road season.

It won't be long before we get all the riders together for some great training rides. Something I am really looking forward to.

So, the week turned out a little bigger and a little tiring. Time for a recovery week before getting back into more endurance and strength building kilometres.

I can't wait to pin a number to this jersey!!

Week Six (Base):
Time: 20:00 hours
Dist.: 538 km

Monday, February 8, 2010

It's raining out there... Get on the trainer!

I don't mind being caught in the rain when riding, especially if it's a warm day. It can be refreshing and brings memories of my youth, when riding in the rain was more fun than in dry weather. What I find impossible to do is to get out on the bike when it is raining already.

Luckily, we have trainers (wind trainers for some) and rollers for rainy days like yesterday. And to make it easier to use them, we have an old bike (Sandra's first racing bike) permanently set up in the garage.

At 6 PM, with 2.5 hours low intensity session scheduled for the day, I had little hope of completing my program for the week unless I jumped on the trainer. So, with a magazine in hand, a water bottle, radio and the mobile, I headed to the garage determined to do at least 2 hours. I had to be realistic about it!

A couple of phone calls, a text message, Triple J, a couple of articles in the magazine, a few pedalling exercises and I managed to reach 2:00:00... And I was out of there. Soaked in sweat and happy to have done it, I could now have a shower, a light dinner and go to bed to start my recovery from the training week that just ended.

Trainers are great!

Week Five (Base):
Time: 15 h 36 min
Dist.: 405 Km

Friday, February 5, 2010

Base Training & Mt Mee Road

Here we are, well into the month of February. For me, it's Week 5 of a race season ending with the Tour of Bright next December. I did start my training with a couple of weeks on the wind trainer and have been on the road now for three weeks after getting a gradual return to normal activities statement from the neurosurgeon, clocking around 1100 kms.

It has been really good to be back on the road and able to do some slow kilometers. So far it is going well, apart from the expected loss of fitness and some shoulder and neck issues. The legs feel good.

The training is going well, also. I have taken another approach designing my program this year and I am hoping to peak for two or three events. It is going to be a very tough and long year so I won't be racing until the end of March. The CA calendar shows a large number of events and as I will be racing in the Masters A category again, it is going to be a lot harder again.

I have been lucky to do two rides on Mt Mee Road, one with Sandra and a couple of friends and one by myself, the later been a really, really easy ride. Just what I need at this stage.

Mt Mee Road

We are all guilty for wrongly calling this ride, The Mt Mee Ride as we don't get to the top of Mt Mee. We do ride on Mt Mee Road but most of us stop at Ocean View. The difference? Another 11 kms and 115 m ascending to the top of Mt Mee and the township.

Starting in the township of Dayboro, 45-50 kms from Brisbane, the route is popular for all visitors of the SE. It is a gentle climb on good surface and low traffic. The gradient is perfect for riding on small ring or on the big ring when strength work is needed.

Beautiful properties along the way, including a small vineyard and a B&B.

For a steeper ride (averaging 6.7%), turn right into Ocean View Road.

Near the half-way mark, the view of rolling hills is stunning... if you need to stop for a breather...

And from there, it just keeps going up...

Townsend Road is the end of the 8 km plus climb, with an average of 4.3 %. Fastest times are in between 20 and 23 minutes.

Gallantly, an old Queenslander rests at the top...

A beautiful portion of the SE corner...

On Townsend Road, a small challenge for those with some energy left...

The descent is fast and fun...

A picturesque return to Dayboro...

The local bakery...

The back of the information centre... 

Distance: 8 km
Gradient: 4.3 %
Bikely map

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