Monday, July 12, 2010

Trialling Skins C400 and building for the Tour with epic rides....

It has taking me longer than I wished to start this post. But we, that is all of us living outside the European time zone, have an excuse for under-performing in one or two of our usual activities this time of the year. After all, a remarkable Tour de France is happening and most of us are watching it at some odd hours of the night or morning.

I did write something like "... avoiding the Tour de France" in relation to watching it on TV but being part of such an adaptable race, I have found a way around it. Yes... I have watched most of the stages live!

It hasn't stopped me training or going to work (just!) and it certainly didn't stop me putting the new gear on to start the trial for our friends at Skins.

Epic Ride #1

So, after a high intensity ride that took me to Clear Mountain for a few repeats, the next ride - and first ride wearing the C400 compression kit - was planned to be 115 kms at low intensity. I chose to head out to Dayboro with a friend, slowly get up to Ocean View and come back via Samford. This route presented a variety of terrain and road surfaces to really test the new gear out.

Peter, a non-competitive but super keen cyclist, came out to play. These times, I realise how valuable it is to have friends who are able to come along for those long sessions, especially during the week and in the middle of the day.

We spent most of the ride to Dayboro splitting on the climbs, re-grouping and rolling down the hills together. Peter is a slim six foot something guy, obviously a lot heavier than me so the rolling hills and climbs aren't his best allies. Still, he was not disturbed when climbing Mt Mee Road or when I gave him the news, during our coffee break, that from there and after the 25 km stretch to Samford and Highvale, we would be hitting the bottom of the Goat Track climb (2.6 km dirt road) and head to Mt Nebo, adding a few more kilometers to the ride.

We ended up riding over 128 km, ascended more than 2000 m and averaged around 26 km/h. I did a little more than the low intensity ride planned but had an epic fun.

The C400 compression kit was really impressive. Although I first thought the compression jersey could have been a bit small, it felt good on the body and didn't create any restrictions while on the drops or climbing out of the saddle. The bib shorts felt like they could have been a little tighter on the legs but they were perfect everywhere else. The chamois looked a little thin at first but again, I had no issues with my butt or any important parts in contact with the saddle after almost five hours on some rough roads. This gear is fantastic!

Three more rides added another 4.75 hours to the training (Clear Mountain, Bunya Road and Sandgate rides) but no racing on Saturday. Still, there was a high intensity 54 min ride that evening, from home to Sandgate - average speed was 34.7 km/h. I was late to meet Sandra and a few friends...

Epic Ride #2

Sunday was the day for another long/low intensity ride. I ended up joining the QSM Team ride, with twenty or so members, this time exploring Brisbane's north side and some of my own training grounds.

I loved that but again, the intensity was higher than what I have planned for as the terrain was fairly hilly for parts of the ride. I should have known better. I had also the impression that this new gear made me push a little harder, in the end it is about testing it, isn't it?

We finished back in town for a coffee, some of us clocking around 100 km and others a little more as they added a quick Mt Coot-tah loop to the legs.

After chatting with a few friends (answering a few questions on the C400)and having my coffee, I decided on a quick ride home for a beautiful brunch Sandra had planned for us.

Not much time for anything else and I was heading for work, tired. After all, it was the end of a good week of training. For the second time, I had tried the new kit and again, it exceded my expectations. It felt good. The jersey moulded so well to my body that I even forgot I was wearing it. The pockets are nicely placed on the back but I found them small for the long rides. I like carrying my food!

Week Twenty Seven: Build
Time: 16 h 30 min
Dist: 450 km
Ascent: 4,350 m

Today was a rest day (rest day for the guys in France also) and I feel well recovered. The legs are showing no sign of fatigue or soreness. It looks like the C400 compression gear has done its job quite well.

Just no sure if I want to wear anything else from now on...

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