Monday, May 29, 2017

Peak Practise

Every year there's a day or a weekend that comes along to remind you it's still spring, it's not summer yet, in fact, it's almost still winter. It will be different for other people who have managed to train through the darkest days that April can throw at you but for me it came today and I felt shite as the rain lashed sideways in to everything that matters to me. Here are the positives I take from my experience of this late May Bank holiday weekend.

It is entitled "Peak Practise" because this was part of a ride named, "The Peak 200" which I aim to complete at some point - potentially this year.  In the meantime (as this weekend demonstrated) I will need to practise a lot and I will do so on short sections of the ride until it all starts to make sense to the rest of my body.

Had a lie in and got the knitting out.

Went in the garden to do my Legsercises. Had to come inside when it started to pour down on me.

Went back outside and tried to continue yoga in between trying to catch either a cat or a frog to cease the annoying squeaking noises.

Walked over to Gertie's with TSK for lunch. V. Nice.

Loading our gear and bags on to bikes took the entire afternoon during which we lost and found TSK's gear harness and found my sunglasses that have been missing since March.

Tea at the Hawkins' new kitchen. Nom nom.

Both of us were too tired to ride into the sunset so we went to our own bed to leave it for tomorrow.

Out the door before 10am, finally leaving the road and traffic at Rod Moor.

My front wheel started making disturbed knocking noises from the dynamo hub but by the time we got to Ladybower I MESSED = I had righted it. Only once we were kind of committed, did I realise that in the confusion we had missed out the 10 or more miles of my planned route around the Derwent reservoir. Still, there were 90 others to choose from.

Ladybower was quieter anyway and we dealt with the pass over to Edale pretty well, arriving at the station cafe for lunch where the proprietor had taken to glibly advising tourists, 'we sell coffee, not parking tickets'. She was harassed three times by motorists seeking parking advice ("Will I get a ticket if I park in the bus lane") whilst I delivered my order. Poor woman.

Climbing out of the Edale Valley and clearing litter off Rushup Edge.

Finding new and beautiful lanes and through-routes we didn't even know existed, right here in our own back yard.

After the pub in Elton failed us, ad-libbing the route to include dinner in Youlegreave then taking a chance on a lane that wasn't marked as a right of way. It started life as a dead end lane, plummeted down to a tiny packhorse bridge over the river in the middle then thankfully ended as a woodland path on the other side.

TSK not knowing where I was heading and consequently neither of us knew what to expect next.

Long Dale - long, beautiful, trending down hill to tricky, bouldery rough stuff but still, undeniably special, when you have a national nature reserve to yourself on a bank holiday Sunday at 7pm when all the 'normals' have gone to the pub or are sitting on the sofa watching tv.

Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding and, literally, pints of lemonade. Sitting at a table in the car park so you can watch your bike and to minimise the risk of drunken questions (and other conversations) about cycling.

Riding along bridlepaths through the Chatsworth estate and mistaking it for Switzerland.

The fading light

9pm.  Sitting outside the pub in shorts. The best, most fresh mint and lemon tea from the Devonshire Arms in Baslow and exactly what I wanted and needed.

Riding towards bed time, riding the fine grey line between fatigue, progress while things are good and not getting rained on.

Putting the finishing touches to the tent pitch as it starts raining. Brewing up inside while rain lashes outside.

Waking up with the skylarks at 4am.  Getting up to pee in grim, grey skies. The next 3 hours - the best sleep of the night.

Being disappointed that it's just as grey and foggy 3 hours later.

The joy of riding along new rights of way. The horror of the top of Froggatt on what turns out are legs a lot more tired than expected. Deciding to do the wise thing and bin off the plan for the sake of our happiness and sanity (it's been raining for the 7 hours since).

Weather so bad that you can stop for a pee in the long grass and listen to the traffic passing but no one would know you were there.

Working with my husband to come up with things to laugh about regardless of the weather and our atrocious condition. Building a plan for second breakfast and executing the plan.

Enjoyed the Lama café before the staff become over-run, they are still well stocked with change in the till and most sensible children are still at home with mummy and daddy eating their breakfast.

There was nothing good about the ride home from there. It was suffered.

Climbing into the shower to wash away the shit, clam, sweat and rain and to warm up then running away screaming as Sunday's sunburn stung.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Slateman Triathlon 2017

Well, that was probably more of a B(minus) than an E.

All time targets were met and exceeded except for the swim where I forgot to apply any toe-pointing or rotation so swam somewhat like a flat fish... and not the graceful stingray kind.

I left myself too many choices to make with transition clothing so transitions were rubbish and in a rush the essential things got forgotten, like taking my helmet off so I chose to retrace my steps through transition rather than risk a disqualification for discarding equipment in an inappropriate place.

2 hours on the bike was no bother.  None of the cramps from my previous 2 races although, despite dialling down my cleats position to "the perfect position" on Saturday, I set off on the bike after the swim feeling like both feet were completely odd.

I was most concerned about the run, given my dodgy hip and lack of hill climb training.  I have however, discovered that as long as I do Marcus's exercises, I can just about manage anything at the right pace.

I set myself a target to run all the way up the mountain.  In 2015 when I last did the event there was a time trial up the mountain, a total of elevation 185m.  Although I didn't race it (except for a cursory interest in how I did) I was most distressed to be passed by a woman racing for Norwich Tri Club.  It didn't look like there was a time trial this time but I timed myself anyway.  This year completing it 90 seconds faster than last year and passing others from the flatlands instead of being passed.

The descent and associated kicker uphills on the other side of the mountain seemed like they might fly by and then I got stomach cramp as I headed down the first slope.

I was desperate for some water but had to wait until the carpark at the top of the hill before I drank a large cup full.  I resigned myself to a half marathon pace run to work the cramp off but I was feeling well again in no time so took the brakes off and hop skipped the ups.

I regained all the female places I'd lost and claimed another 2 places in the finishing straights.  Mostly the target for this race was to be able to train through it, treating it like a fun race and not killing myself.  I declare it a success as I managed to ride to work on Monday morning.

Swim 24:50 669/949 Overall, 116th / 184F , 34/66 FV40
T1 - 5:53
Bike 1:53:24 558/949 overall,55th/184F, 18/66 FV40
T2 - 2:38
Run 1:14:18 500/949 overall, 51st/184F, 17/66 FV40

Friday, May 19, 2017

Serious shit going down here.

I'm having another day off.  It's Slateman this weekend.  I'm really excited about it.  First triathlon of the season, beautiful place, another excuse to go camping.

Unfortunately I'm in my usual pre-race state - slightly injured, exhausted from a difficult week at work and lacking any motivation to do anything.  The weather isn't really helping but it doesn't matter, today is a good rest day.  Tomorrow, we travel, register and chill.

My tt bike has been giving me considerable jip this year.  I haven't done a single race without getting leg cramps after 5 miles of riding.  I've tried to change the position of my cleats and my saddle but I've been too lazy this year to try anything else in between.  I do just need to start spending more time on it.

This morning, lacking a motivation for anything other than bikey tinkering I dug out the rollers, the offending bike and shoes and my camera and there's been a lot of this...

Some of this...

And quite a lot of this...

(note how the bike is still upright, it's just me that's the problem).

Ripley has been helping

This weekend's race isn't a really important one - it's a fun one and since I've done little training directly for it after recovering from my Stockton world championships qualifying performance 4 weeks ago, I'm not having a taper for this race, I'm just cruising through it like a "B" race, without beating myself up over it.  I have little doubt that I'll enjoy myself this weekend but right now I feel like I'm going to struggle to race so I'm having a think about the great things I've done since my last race in Stockton...
  • Swum nearly 6km outdoors... tick in the box for swimming
  • Cycled over 287 miles - not that impressive
  • Run less than 10 miles - still, no
  • Done 6 yoga sessions
  • Had a massage with Marcus to try to stop my ridiculous floppy hip. 

So that didn't work, I'm going to compare 2015 (last time I did this race) to 2017.  Now that's more like it! (2015 vs 2017)
Swim - 11km vs 21.5km
Bike - 805 mile vs 1087 miles
Run - 112 mile vs 132 mile
2015 was my first tri year back after being ill but still...

So setting time targets is tricky... given it's not important...

Swim - 20 minutes I'll be overjoyed
Bike - Sub 2 hours would be great.
Run - 1:15 (5.76 mph avg).  Sub 1 hour would be dreamland 

I went on to repair the puncture in my mountain bike and finish tidying the general chaos I had caused in the house.  I guess there's a tiny part of me that wants to start packing now.

This race feels like mock exams.  After it, I have Chester Tri and then it's Alpe d'Huez in July.  I have to start doing more miles of everything before then or else I will be in trouble.  So if Slateman is a mock exam then triathlon is definitely Chemistry.  I'm going to get an "E" this weekend but hopefully it's fine, I'll bottle down, do the work, learn the muscle memory and hopefully pass the Alpe with flying colours... just so long as my hip doesn't explode (that never happened in A'levels).

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Reclaiming the Loft

Nope, it’s gone.  I have nothing to give this weekend.  I’m slumping around the house like a glum thing.  

Yesterday was exercisely a write off and today I am pitched out in the loft.  Why?  Because Mr Rodgers doesn’t come up here and so whilst I’m away, it’s a good place to hide the Nutella.  The only thing stopping me from jabbing my finger into the jar (all the hobnobs are gone) is the moisturiser I just lathered onto my fingers to relieve myself from the untrained 150 miles of Braunton and all the associated shifting that came with it.  It’s taken 3 weeks for the skin to start peeling off my thumbs.

During those three weeks I have done a lot.  The Stockton Duathlon and the Norton Wheelers cycling weekend away which is always hard for me since I rarely ride my bike *that* much for triathlon training.  I held my own, though this time and had a good weekend, topped off on Monday with a walk with my husband and a paddle in the river Tyne.

I’ve also ridden my mountain bike this week.  In a week that should have been an opportunity to recover, I had to drive to Guildford and back (after just returning from Northumberland) and I did so through to midnight on the way down.  This combination gave me a rather unsightly unsettled tummy on Thursday night (or possibly, the chef at the Holiday Inn in Guildford doesn’t know how to incinerate black pudding correctly – I have my suspicions).

SO my resting heart rate is 20 above what it should be and, although I can now pass solid objects, I’m still feeling flaky, in some hollow between depression and exhaustion.  I made myself feel better with a shower and a plan to reclaim my yoga studio in the loft as it has become choked with bits removed from the kitchen.  By the time I’d gotten into the shower, I was already trembling for more sugar and then the loft was missing hobnobs and so Nutella from a camping spoon will need to do.