Hello…. Someone asked me why I always look so ridiculously happy on my bike (s). Riding my bike makes me tick, it sorts my head out, it brings me tranquillity and balance. It is where I find peace. I also have a dark side … I like to race.
I could almost be in Scotland. The views are big, the roads are empty, the gradients constantly unrelenting. I can hear the odd song bird, see the odd animal. The early morning air is sharp and I struggle to understand people. But I am most definitely NOT in Scotland.
The early morning nip gives way to a hot 26 degrees at the end of October, the animals are lizards scuttling for cover and crickets landing on my mitts. Beautiful autumn colours in the leaves are reflected back in the colours of the house walls and every village has a church or a castle dominating its skyline with a plethora of little streets and hidden bars beneath.
My wheel bounces off fallen almond nuts and I catch glimpses of red and orange as ripe pomegranates and oranges peep from under laden boughs. The olive trees are speckled green and brown and black as this year’s crop bends the branches and splashes of yellow announce the presence of some lemons.
We climb out of this richness and wend our way across barren scrub land plateau before climbing once again. Our reward is a wide angle view of the sea and the coastal plain and we then plummet towards some larger settlements where we find good coffee and sandwiches in a shaded town centre square. Continue reading “Scotland?…or maybe not”→
Within three minutes of a question on heart rate being asked on the Mapdec weekly check in we had neatly demonstrated the complexities of the subject. We had 3, 5 and 6 zone models, all developed by different people such as Friel and Steiler, and all in use. Not to mention those models which have 4a, 4b or 5a, b and c….I could go on. So we have taken a bit of a mish mash and come up with a working Heart Rate Zone model. This model uses the Sufferfest model used at Mapdec with one or two tweaks – no 4a and b zones, that’s just splitting hairs and I know no garmin which uploads 4a and b religiously onto Strava.
So far we have just been using Training Peaks as a diary of sessions. This is absolutely fine and this programme was set up to support people to exercise and stay healthy. However now we are starting to get a lot of questions around training to be fitter instead of purely exercising. The difference is outlined nicely in an article on the Mapdec App. If you are interested in the training aspect then please read on. If not – STOP RIGHT NOW…. and continue to enjoy lots of varied exercise.
We are to some degree following The Training Cycle…..several of you have mentioned that you haven’t ever trained ‘properly’ and would like to know more about the process. So here I have tried to construct a thumbnail sketch.
You don’t have to consider yourself ‘an athlete’ to benefit from this process, many of us don’t hold that as a self image. You also don’t have to be heading to a main event such as the woman’s Kendal Cycle Club trip or the Kendal Cycle Club Mallorca trip to benefit from using the training cycle. You may just wish to arrive at the British summer feeling ready to enjoy your cycling, gardening and walking.
So, in outline, the training cycle lasts all year. It normally looks very roughly as described below. It should be noted that this year, due to the current situation, the Beginner’s Group is currently working in the Base phase. (May 2020) In a normal year people may well be in ‘Build’ by now and we may progress there, depending how long Covid 19 lasts. Continue reading “Base training explained…”→
And so began an adventure for everyone, four blind or visually impaired athletes, (VIs) a guide and two multi-purpose coach/guides.
Five days of a d-i-y coaching course at Club La Santa, Lanzarote, with eleven sessions on offer focusing on technique over the three sports, and the chance to do a couple of fitness tests along the way. Impairments ranged from totally blind athletes to those with almost enough sight to ride a bike solo. But the athletes react differently to different light conditions. One needs funnelled bright light and carries a torch, one has vision reduced even further in bright light. One reacts to flashing lights so spent a sleepless first night – the two tiny red lights on the fire alarm in the bedroom appeared as disco strobe lights to her. One of my first morning jobs was to perch on a stool and cover them with kinesiology tape. The other job was to talk to reception and ask the cleaners not to ‘tidy’ any belongings as the VIs struggle to find them again. Mental mapping, especially in a new place, takes a huge amount of energy and carries high anxiety levels. And at Club La Santa all accommodation looks identical wherever you are, even as a sighted person!
Day one – Swimming in an outdoor 50 metre pool for the first time for everyone was a great experience. One to one coaching was on tap and we had two swimmers per lane, only one crash and everyone received individual input on their own specific points for improvement. Productive session. Any more than two swimmers and the result is carnage. I still don’t know how visually impaired athletes know where the end is, this proved to be difficult due to the pool markings being a faint blue instead of a bold black strip. Bruised fingers and heads all round I guess.
I was inspired by a blog written by a team of 13 year old girls who completed ‘the Strathpuffer’ last year. This is a 24 hr mountain bike race in a forest in the North of Scotland, held in January. My rationale was that if they could do it so can women who are over 50. It will be fun, something different and a bit of a challenge. That was July, in the hottest summer for years.
January 2019 and I have a team of women, and a fear monkey. This is supposed to be a little bit of fun but my head as gone into overdrive and is hiding in a black hole somewhere. It quite often does this before races. Eating gets harder, my head is convinced I’m ill, it’s normally lying. It’s trying to protect me from myself. After a week of this I decided this is ridiculous and we sit down and have a big talk with each other.
What is the issue? There are several – as someone very close to me pointed out I am a lousy mountain biker, I hate being cold and get cold very easily and I can’t function without sleep. Ideal! And all of those mean I might let the team down and that isn’t OK, So how do I get out of this hole? Find the evidence to convince myself these problems aren’t problems….
Rotterdam, what a party, what a blast. Olympic Distance World Championship Triathlon, whooop whooo. I don’t know what it is about the sport. In the days before you complain about all the faff, organising, walking about, difficulty of transport etc. And then you race, and all that tension and pent up energy explodes. Amazing bike course, just screamingly good fun, adrenaline flood. A few weeks later I am still high and still can’t wait to do it again.