Sunday, 25 April 2010

Training Week -2

The weather was warm and sunny this week, so I cycled to work quite a bit. I did a 44 mile ride on the Saturday and didn't want to overdo it, as I had a gig with my band that evening and needed to conserve energy. I also started sorting out my kit - 5 pairs cycling shorts, 14 t-shirts etc, knee bandages, pain gels etc! My legs are feeling pretty fit with no knee twinges, stiffness or taught muscles, so I hope to keep it that way. I'll do pretty much the same next week except will only go for a short ride at the weekend. Off to Penzance on Monday 3rd May!

This week's diary:
  • Mon - worked from home - 14 mile ride after work
  • Tues - cycled to work 16 miles
  • Wed - rest day - swam and band practice
  • Thurs - cycled to work 16 miles
  • Fri - - cycled to work 18 miles (back via sailing club)
  • Sat - 44 mile ride to Great Horwood
  • Sun - rest day - walk and allotment

Weeks mileage: 108 miles Weight 11st 8 lb.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Weather Outlook for early May

I've checked some long term weather sites again and forecasts for the UK in early May predict totally different things...
NetWeather says:
May "With low pressure currently expected to have more of an influence during May, current expectations are for a wetter than average month, with the potential for some very wet weather. Temperatures are expected to be close to average across much of the UK"
Weather Outlook says:
May: Temperature: Close to or slightly above average. Precipitation: Slightly below average
"The first half of the month is expected to bring a good deal of dry and fine weather, with temperatures climbing to above average values. Less settled conditions are likely at times, especially in the west, where showers or longer spells of rain are more likely."
There's a good chart here which looks hopeful 0day%20outlook.aspx
Metcheck says:
23 Apr - 16 May "Again, a cool period usually, however the Atlantic starts to quieten down and winds from the North or East are very common whilst Westerlies are rare."
BBC Weather says:
Monday 3 May 2010 to Sunday 16 May 2010
"For the first 2 weeks of May, values of temperature, rainfall and sunshine are expected to be close to the seasonal normal. The best of the warmer and sunnier days are likely in the southeast, with northwestern areas more likely to see occasional wetter, cooler and cloudier spells."

So I'm packing waterproofs, t-shirts, sun cream and jumpers.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Training Week -3

The weather has really warmed up this week with dry sunny weather all week. I cycled to work 3 times and decided to give up spinning and gym sessions, in order to give my knees a rest. On Saturday I planned on cycling the same 42 mile ride that gave me knee pain on Good Friday, but the weather was so nice and my legs were feeling fine so I cycled on to Wallingford instead (59 mile return trip). It was great to cycle in shorts and t-shirt at last. At Wallingford I met a chap in his 60s who was on his way from Wolverhampton to Sweden, where he lived with his Equadorian girlfriend. We both decided to have our ham sandwiches and coffee on the river bank (pictured) at exactly the same time! He was an ex-copper and had done the 'End to End' ride 4 times. Although he used to race he was now on a hybrid with hub-gears (Giant Expression N7), with lots of extras, but a flask instead of a water bottle! I cycled back in the sun and my legs and knees felt fine - which cheered me up no end. I was a bit stiff this morning, but just the usual general aches, and went for a couple of walks with Nicky - again in the sun. No planes at the moment because of the volcanic ash - so the sky looks clearer than usual. I was tempted to cycle today but thought I'd better not overdo it.

I've been comparing my weekly mileage with that suggested by Discover Adventure. Mine shown in green on the graph to the left fluctuates quite a bit because of weather at the start, business travel and our Easter holiday. Generally it follows a similar trend and is often within the min and max suggested. In terms of total miles cycled I've done 1196 miles this year (cf. DA 1080 to 1460 miles recommended)

This weeks diary:
  • Mon - cycled to work (16 miles)

  • Tues - cycled to work (16 miles)

  • Wed - rest day - swam (band practice)

  • Thurs - rest day (travelled to Cambridge)

  • Friday - cycled to work (16 miles)

  • Sat - cycled 59 miles

  • Sun - rest day - walks

Total cycled: 107 miles. Weight 11st 8 lb

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Highland Cross Training Week -4

Nicky (my wife) and I had a week in Scotland walking - and left our 'grown up' kids in charge of the house (parties). We flew to Glasgow on the Sunday, hired a car and stayed in Inverary, Glencoe, Ullapool and Golspie before returning home via Inverness airport on the Saturday. It was a great break, although pretty wet at the start of the week. It also gave my knees a rest, and the good news is I've tested them with a 22 mile ride yesterday and a 30 mile ride today and they seem ok. (There's no bad news!). We covered some of the LEJOG route from Inverary (pictured left) to Invergarry (nr Fort William), then crossed the route at Bonar Bridge. Apart from a couple of long hills north of Inverary and Fort William the route is fairly flat following coasts and lochs. We stayed at Inverary, one of the LEJOG stops and can recommend the pub and beer called "Honey Bunny".

I talked to 4 lads in their 20s on their 4th day of JOGLE north of Oban (Loch Linnhe pictured right), who were doing the trip unsupported on heavily laden hybrid bikes (some with front suspension). They were taking 12 days plus a break mid-way to climb the 3 Peaks in the Yorkshire Dales!

After staying in quite a posh hotel in Glencoe (near where a canoeist girl was drowned in floods sadly), we travelled up through Torridon and Ben Eighe and stayed 2 nights in Ullapool and climbed Stac Pollaidh in warm sunshine - like we did about 25 years ago! The views from the top and Sutherland in general were amazing (left) .

Finally we drove over to the East coast to Nicky's cousin's place between Brora and Golspie and did some nice walks on beaches, saw some seals and generally had a good time with Nick, Jan and their 5 kids. The picture right is Dornoch beach. It's an unspoilt part of Scotland - at least in the Easter hols.... before the tourists and midges pay their summer visits.

This week's diary:
  • Mon - Inverary to Glencoe (stopped at Oban, cafe and Rannoch Moor)
  • Tues - Glencoe to Ullapool via Glen Torridon and Ben Eighe
  • Wed - Climbed Stac Pollaidh and visited beach

  • Thurs - Ullapool to Brora via Dornoch - woodland walk plus long walk at Brora

  • Fri - Climbed Ben Bhraggie drove to Helmsdale

  • Sat - Flew home from Inverness. Cycled 22 miles in afternoon.

  • Sun - Cycled 30 miles

Total cycled 52 miles. Weight 11st 7 lb

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Training Week -5

Just when I thought my training was going well I seem to be getting knee problems. I still was feeling a bit stiff on Monday following my long ride on the Sat, although I had no specific pains. On Tues I felt fine so decided to continue training and felt ok after cycling and spinning. I spent quite a bit of time looking into whether my saddle and cleats were postioned correctly, looking at this article and others on the web I took my bike into my local workshop on Thurs who checked my setup and decided that my saddle was about an 1" too high, which could be causing my muscles to stretch too much. (He checked whether I could touch my pedal with my heels with my leg straight and the pedal at the bottom.) Yesterday I tried this setup and it felt fine, however when I finished my ride I was getting some pain from the inner side and backs of both knees, mostly the right one (possibly from my medial collateral ligament?). I was planning to do another ride today, but decided I'd better rest. I used a support bandage and took some ibuprofen. It feels ok now, and I feel I could ride on it, but better not. So the plan is to have a rest from cycling for a week, then re-start the training slowly, incorporating 2 or 3 rest days a week. If Rooney can recover so quickly so can I! Maybe I should have had more rest days mid-week, although I'm pretty convinced it's the long rides at weekends that cause the pain and I've been resting after these. Probably having the saddle too high is the cause. If I get any more knee pain when I restart I'll consult my doctor. This week's diary:

  • Mon - rest day (30 min swim)
  • Tues - cycled to work 16 miles, plus spinning
  • Wed - rest day
  • Thurs - cycled to work 16 miles
  • Fri - round trip to Thame - 42 miles
  • Sat - rest day (gardening)
  • Sun - flew to Glasgow and drove to Inverary - 4 mile walk up hill

Total cycled 74 miles. Weight 11st 9lb.