Audax

Ade's Road Cycling Blog

Audax bikes outside the café

I’ve not done an audax for some time but I have noticed that I’m getting a lot of hits to this site looking for specific audaxes.  I’m sure visitors already know this but all my audax rides are tagged, so you can click on the menu to the top right of this screen, scroll down to the tags section which is under my Instagram pics, and then select “audax”.  Alternatively, click on the following link for the same result

https://ade2010lejog.wordpress.com/category/audax/

I hope people find these useful although they aren’t meant to be detailed guides.  One of the main reasons I started writing this blog was because I knew I would forget rides and places I’d visited.  It’s been great fun reading some of the older posts again, and I hope they are in some way useful to others.

Videos to Watch on the Turbo

If like me you find it riding the turbo a deadly dull experience, even if you are following a structured plan, you’ll probably try to entertain yourself by watching videos or listening to music.  I follow TrainerRoad on my  mac but have an iPad mini showing videos at the side.  Some people I know like watching cycling videos whilst they train and there is a lot of choice on YouTube.  Over the years I’ve taken a few videos whilst out on my bike so I’ve put a set of links below if anyone is interested in using them.  They aren’t in anyway professionally produced and you’ll probably have to put your own music on in the background but there are a few interesting ones in there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smarter Training – Joe Beer on the Cycling Time Trial Podcast

@markflorence11

@markflorence11

I listen to a few podcasts related to cycling.  Amongst them is one about time-trialling by a chap called Mark Florence and it’s called the Cycling Time Trial Podcast by Mark Florence.  You can subscribe to it through a few different sources – I use iTunes here.  Anyway, it’s a great podcast and he usually has guests who provide insight and information on a range of subjects, all related to time-trialling.  If you’re reading this blog for that reason, you should listen to this guy.

So his last episode introduced a coach named Joe Beer.  I have to say I’d not really heard of him but he’s been coaching endurance sports for a very long time – not just cycling.  He has a white-paper available for download from his website (until 11/2) called Smarter Training – here.  The crux of this paper, and his talk on the podcast, was about training “smarter” and was based on many years of accumulated evidence and data.  I’m not going to reproduce the report here – read it yourself – but I was interested to compare my training approach to the rules that he lists.  As an example, his rule 1 is that 75-90% of your total training time should be in what he terms zone 1.  He defines this as “low lactate” or working at an intensity of 55-80% of your maximum heart rate, so it isn’t the same as, for example, Coggan zones.  Now when I heard this on the podcast, I didn’t quite catch the definition of zone 1 so I thought it was very odd and certainly not something I do.  However, when I looked on TrainingPeaks I realised that his definition of zone 1 encompasses zones 1-3 on the scale I use (80% of my HRmax is around 146bpm and zone 3 tops out for me at 151bpm).  When I added those up I was surprised to find that since I started training at the end of September to now, I’ve spent 76.5% of the time in Joe Beer’s zone 1.  Who am I to argue with that!

Like I say, listen to the podcast and check out the website/white paper.  Very much worth your time in my opinion.

January – a stumble is not a fall

© Sylvia Duckworth

© Sylvia Duckworth

I think there are too many memes in circulation.  They are usually trite nonsense designed to make the sharer look clever and therefore unsurprisingly Facebook and LinkedIn are both full of them.  So it’s very rare for one to actually capture my attention and resonate with me  This one does (btw click on the image to go to the authors website – very talented).  As I wrote last month, being ill set me back.  And somewhat disappointingly I find myself at exactly the same level at the end of January as I was at the end of November.  But that is a reason to continue working hard and putting the effort in.  Especially as it is now only 6 weeks to the start of the racing season and training really counts now.  However, it’s also at this time of the year that I begin to have doubts about whether I have done enough, whether it is the right training and whether it will translate into actual speed on the bike.  So this graphic was a timely reminder to keep perspective and keep doing the things I have been doing and hopefully it will pay off.

So I started the New Year with a hard session on New Year’s day and spent most of the month completing the rest of TrainerRoad’s Sweetspot Base High Volume II plan.  It had taken me several weeks longer than planned as I restarted it after my illness but I finally finished it a week or so ago.  I’m now moving on to the Sustained Power Build plan, which started with a new power test.  This ended up with an FTP basically the same as my last test at the end of November.  I had to dig pretty deep for that too – feeling physically sick at the end of the session, so as I say, I was disappointed.  This is where keeping a training diary comes in useful.  I looked up my last test and I can see that I came into it after a rest day and with a positive training stress balance (TSB) – the equivalent of form.  Due to family commitments I had rearranged January’s test so that I was without a rest day before and so had a negative TSB.  My average and normalised power had increased by a small amount.  So I suppose it wasn’t as bad as I thought – probably a slight improvement, but as I’m my own worst critic I struggled to take it as a positive.  Maybe writing it here will help!  Of course, I may be bumping against the upper limit of what my ageing body is capable of so I will take another test towards the end of February to see.  However, if I go into the season with my current FTP it will still be better than last season so again, take the positive Ade, take the positive!

During the month I managed to get outside a few times but the weather has been typically cold and I’m looking forward to it warming up a bit.  I’m also still a bit heavy, which makes going up hills a bit harder but shouldn’t be an issue for time-trialling.  In addition to eating anything and everything over Christmas, I’ve been trying to eat a bit more since then in a (so far futile) attempt to increase my power.  Still time yet but I think I need to lose a kilo or so of bodyfat before the season starts.  I’m sticking with my aero kit from 2016 but took the opportunity to try some new gear on recently!

Trying out new aero lids…

The final weekend of January was also the Manchester & District Time Trials Association Annual Luncheon & Prize Presentation.  I came 2nd in the Cheshire Points Series and 3rd in the Best All-Rounder (BAR) but was part of a Seamons trio that won both of the same team trophies as well as the South Lancashire Shield 100 mile team trophy – which is literally massive!  Seamons also won one of the other team prizes that I wasn’t part of but that is one of the great things about being part of this club.  There is a strong and talented bunch of riders and even if you don’t win yourself there is usually a chance of a team prize.  Other strong riders make for a great incentive and motivation.  The medals were very nice too, so thanks to all the volunteers and organisers who made the events and the competition possible, as well as organised the lunch and presentation.

Overall, during the month I managed 343 miles outdoors with 19,799ft ascent at around 15.5mph average, which used up around 14,009kcals. I spent 28 hours and 25 minutes on the turbo using a further 23,469kcals. Total for the month was 2,882TSS

 

Opening a can of worms… 3cm rule

I’m sure there are many people who ride time trials in the UK who have a level of ignorance of all of the rules involved.  I know I don’t know them all and I really should.  Over the years I’ve picked up all the important ones (I think) but I haven’t read all of them cover to cover.  For many, though, I expect that they have never been particularly familiar with the 3cm rule which has been in force, I’m told, for many, many (20+ ?) years.  It’s tucked away in Regulation 14 (d) and the 2017 update states
(d)  Machines fitted with triathlon handlebars and derivations thereof which have forearm supports, or Spinacci type handlebars without forearm supports, may be used provided that when the rider adopts a competitive position on these bars:
    (i)  The wrists are no lower than the elbows.
    (ii)  The point of the elbow (olecranon) is no more than 3 centimetres in front of the steering axis when measured perpendicular (at right angles) to that axis.  This measurement is illustrated by the following diagram:
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CTT diagram – “3cm rule”

Now it’s been there for a quite a while and was introduced, I understand, to ensure that the “superman” positions being tried by riders such as Chris Boardman and Graham Obree were not dangerously introduced to British roads (although this is based on conjecture because nobody seems to recall exactly why this rule was introduced).  Recently, though, more and more people have been adopting aero positions that take their elbows quite a bit further forward of the steering axis and hence for 2017 the clarification (including the diagram) was passed into regulation.  This has caused an absolute sh*tstorm on the main timetrialling forum.  The last time I looked there were over 100 pages, much of it accusation and recrimination.
As far as I can see there are a number of objections including the arbitrary nature of the rule and the enforceability of it.  I’m not going to get into an opinion piece on this blog other than to say a couple of things
  1. It’s a rule, however arbitrary, and therefore I need to comply with it
  2. As with many rules simply having it may well be enough to encourage the majority of people to comply (which is the main point of a rule)
  3. However, for those that don’t, it appears that to enforce it will rely on other people “reporting” riders using  either witnesses or photographs as evidence – which doesn’t really encourage the kind of community I want to be part of (or think I’m currently part of)
  4. Simply witnessing it is almost impossible.  Indeed, the measurement from a photograph is fraught with difficulty for a number of reasons.  So enforceability will be an issue.
I’m going to attempt to illustrate this using pictures and videos of me racing and in my new position.  My new position is, I believe, compliant as shown below.  However, if I over-reach during a gear change, which can easily happen when you’ve been riding at the edge of fatigue for several hours, it might just drift out.  So do I change position to account for that or not?  So let’s get into the problems
Identifying the steering axis
Now this seems like the least of our problems.  On a bike with a standard headset (see the CTT diagram above) it’s fairly straightforward.  On a lot of modern TT bikes the cockpit at the front is fully integrated.  So on my Canyon to work out where the actual steering axis is you have to look very closely.  On the pictures below I’ve marked it with yellow sticker on the bike
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Ade's Road Cycling Blog
Ade's Road Cycling Blog
Identifying the problem as a witness
Here’s a video of me at the velodrome.  It’s helpful because it’s slowed down at points. Freeze it at 00:12s to see my position in motion.  Try to see whether I’m complying at full speed from 00:18s onwards.  It’s pretty difficult.  You can see slow motion again around 01:15s
Identifying the problem from a photo

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That’s still quite tough but obviously we can blow digital photos up.  Luckily, in this picture, the photographer caught me virtually side on, meaning there are no real issues with perspective or angle.  Of course then you get into the issues with telephoto lenses, depth of field and other such complexities that make an accurate measurement even harder.

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But even now we still don’t have my helpful yellow steering axis line there.  And my bike is unhelpfully matt black, making it a bit harder still.  Not impossible, but hard. So it’s going to be interesting to see how this pans out.  I intend to keep the following pictures because to my mind they show that my position (albeit in a static position) is compliant with the regulation.  I think that’s all everyone can do.

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Conclusion
I wonder how many people really knew about and understood this rule?  I also wonder if the timetrialling forum is representative of the overall community and whether there will be the problems in 2017 that are being furiously discussed on there?  I suspect there may well be a couple of early season “reports” made by individuals to hammer home their points.  There are some very, very vociferous people who seem hellbent on proving their point.  So worst case and we could end up with some sort of trial by internet.  If you are getting ready for the season, my advice is to take the opportunity now to make sure you are compliant, as best you can in a static environment.  Doing the photos above was a pain and quite difficult to do on my own.  I know they aren’t completely accurate but I think they are enough to set my mind at rest that I am compliant, being aware as I am that once riding, the dynamic nature of it during a 20min, 1hr, 2hr, 4hr, 12hr timeframe will almost certainly change my position on the pads at points during the ride.
Here’s hoping it’s a storm in a teacup.

And that was the year that was… 2016

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It was a terrible start to the month.  Fresh from the highs of my highest ever FTP at the end of November it all came crashing down as I fell ill.  That knocked out 5 days without training and my CTL tumbled off a cliff.  Even then, when I started training again I wasn’t right and couldn’t hold the power on what should be relatively achievable sweetspot sessions.  Moreover, my HR was all over the place – dramatically too high for the power levels I was putting out and I was getting increasingly despondent at my inability to complete sessions properly.  It is incredibly frustrating as you watch hard-fought gains disappear and the net result is that it has probably set me back at least a month, and possibly more.  But these things are part and parcel of life so it’s no good sulking (for too long!) and I’m back on the painful road to recovery.  In the meantime, I lost a lot of weight (muscle probably) and then did my best to put it all back on over the Christmas holidays, so 2017 will start with trying to shed timber again!

Overall, during the month I managed an even more paltry 298 miles outdoors with 16,890ft ascent at around 15.1mph average, which used up around 12,682kcals. I spent 19 hours on the turbo using a further 17,015kcal. Total for the month was 2,307TSS

2016

You can read about my race season here. It beat most of my expectations and I was really happy with it overall.  It means that 2017 either has to be something really special or it’s going to be a massive anticlimax!  Obviously I’ll try to do all I can to make sure it’s the former but this is a sport where everyone gets faster every year so it’ll be a real challenge!  Anyway, regular readers will know I love a good stat so here’s 2016 by the numbers

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Total road mileage – 5,558 miles, or roughly the distance from Manchester to South Korea

 

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Of which 1,379 miles were racing and 1,658 miles were done on a singlespeed

 

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Total time on the bike or turbo – 545hrs, 43minutes.  If I had started at midnight on January 1st 2016 and rode continuously I’d have got off around 16:50 on January 22nd

 

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Total Training Stress Score for the Year – 30,810TSS, an average of 588TSS per week

 

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Total energy expended – 379,156kcals.  Equivalent to 31,596 penny sweets (just as well given how many I ate over Christmas…)

 

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Total ascent was 243,510ft, the equivalent of riding up the Galibier from sea level 28 times

Structured Training

I often get asked what bits of kit give the most improvement in time-trialling.  Whilst it is true that a TT bike will allow you to get into a more aerodynamic position, deep wheels will cut through the air faster and a pointy hat and skinsuit will reduce your drag into the wind, my advice would be a good training regime first and foremost.  This is especially true if you don’t have natural talent or physiology and rely on mental fortitude and hard work like I do.  Here’s an example of the relationship between the amount of turbo training time vs my average times racing on J2/9, a 25 mile TT course in Cheshire.

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Hours on the turbo per year

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Average time on J2/9 each year

Whilst there are other factors (like experience, kit and position improvements) it’s no accident that my training has increased in volume, focus and specificity over that same time period.  So by all means spend your hard-earned on whatever kit you want but it’s no silver bullet without the training to underpin it.

2017

I haven’t fully defined my goals for 2017 yet.  They’ll probably be based around the M&DTTA and VTTA M&NW series events, with occasional trips to fast courses where possible.  One goal I already have in mind is the 12hr – I think I can add 10 miles to my 2016 distance, weather and course permitting.  Another goal is a financial motivator – I want to earn enough in prize money to buy a specific piece of kit at the end of the season.  I won’t say what it is just yet but it would mean me winning even more money next year than this year so it is a very tangible, yet challenging target.

I have made one difficult decision and that is that I won’t be riding London Edinburgh London in 2017.  There are a number of reasons for it but I think it is the right decision when all things considered.  I had great fun when I did it in 2013, but most of that was due to the company I was riding with and it wouldn’t be the same without them.  And it does make planning my season next year a bit easier and I can focus wholly on what I define as my “A” races.

If you are planning to race in 2017 I would encourage you to set goals for yourself.  You’re much more likely to stick at it if you have a difficult, yet achievable, target to aim at.  And if you hit it early, set another one.

Finally, and most importantly, I do all of this because I absolutely love it! It seems like hard work, and it is hard work, but it is so fulfilling that it never feels like hard work.

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I’d like to wish you all a fast and safe 2017 whatever you choose to do and hope you get to enjoy it as much as I do.  Happy New Year folks!

Jinxed It!

In my last post I wrote

It’s that time of year where it is almost inevitable that colds and bugs go round.  I take multivitamins and have lots of vitamin C/fruit but I am expecting to lose some training days and have built in an allowance for that.  I have made the mistake in the past of trying to train through these things and then regretted it – but there is nothing like making your own mistakes to really hammer home a lesson!  So don’t worry about taking one step back to take two steps forward if necessary, but then you won’t listen to that if you’re anything like me!

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Literally the week later I was struck down with some sort of illness that knocked me out for the best part of a week.  I dropped 8 CTL points in a week.  To put that into context, it had taken 6 weeks to get to that level and I estimate a further 4 weeks to get it back.  Anyway, c’est la vie, and for once I did heed my own advice !  My first attempt to train again tonight was a horror show – no power in my legs and high heart-rate.  Suddenly those 4 weeks look like a long time…

November Update

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November has been a busy month.  I spent some time testing positions, upgrading my bike for next year and attended the VTTA Awards luncheon.  Oh, and I managed to fit in some riding and training too!

The testing was really interesting and was done with the guys at Veloptima at Derby Velodrome.  I spent a couple of hours trying various positions and equipment and although it turns out I was pretty aero anyway, I have a new position to work on that could be worth a considerable amount of time next season.  I just need to work on a slight flare in my right leg on the pedal-stroke and learn to stick my neck forward/head down a bit more!  Here’s some video if you’re interested

I’ve also made some tweaks to my bike.  I’ve fitted Aerocoach armrests in an attempt to pin my arms into the correct position.  They take a bit of getting used to but should provide some benefit.

I also got my mate Martin from Bike and the Mechanic to help me fit new Fibre-Lyte carbon chainrings so that I can run a 56T/42T at the front.  I say help, he actually did it all whilst I stood and chatted to him!  Martin’s a great guy – check him out if you need a bike servicing, building or any type of bike spannering.

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So far the chainrings feel good on the turbo but it’s on fast DC courses where the extra oomph should come in handy!

The weather has taken a turn for the worse up here meaning I’ve spent a bit more time on the turbo than I otherwise would, although I have ventured out from time to time.

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I also attended the VTTA Manchester & North West awards luncheon.  During the season I’d managed to bag the 25 mile championship cup, short distance trophy (best 2 10’s and 2 25’s), FTA trophy (best 2 10’s and 2 25’s local courses) and also won the Watterson Team 3 Distance (25, 50, 100) Prize with Pauline from the club. It was a lovely lunch and very inspirational – there are racers in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s still knocking out fantastic times.  I also got to do the closing speech on behalf of the riders so hopefully I did that, and them, justice.

It has been pointed out that I’m rocking the Dave Brailsford look but I’m older than him so technically he is rocking the Ade Hughes look!

At the end of the month I also did a second FTP test following on from the one I did at the end of September.  Then my FTP was 4.3W/Kg and now it is 4.5W/Kg which is very pleasing, if not a little scary.  With each increment the training gets harder!  I’ve completed the first phase of my base training and now move onto the second.  Trainerroad has proved invaluable and I’m enjoying it, so hopefully there are more gains to come.  I’m still carrying a little winter weight so I reckon there are 2kg to come off but I won’t really specifically target my weight until January.

It’s that time of year where it is almost inevitable that colds and bugs go round.  I take multivitamins and have lots of vitamin C/fruit but I am expecting to lose some training days and have built in an allowance for that.  I have made the mistake in the past of trying to train through these things and then regretted it – but there is nothing like making your own mistakes to really hammer home a lesson!  So don’t worry about taking one step back to take two steps forward if necessary, but then you won’t listen to that if you’re anything like me!

Overall, during the month I managed a paltry 226 miles with 11,618ft ascent at around 14.8mph average (all lows for 2016), which used up around 8,552kcals. I made up for it by spending 29 hours 15 minutes on the turbo using a further 23,687kcal. Total for the month was 2,582TSS

Finally, on the basis that my next post is likely to be at the end of year I’ll wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  Keep training! 

October – and so it all starts again…

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Last month I wrote about the end of the season, taking a short break and then starting training again.  This month my training plan really kicked off in earnest.  I’m using TrainerRoad, starting off with an extended Sweetspot Base high volume plan.  I’ve extended it in two ways.  Firstly, the initial phase of the plan has an extra 3 weeks to fill it out so that I will be ready for the middle of April.  Last season I was ready by the end of February and I struggled to hold fitness through the season so I’m hoping this will help a bit.  I’ll still start racing in March with the first local TT races but will build fitness through that first month.  I’m also aiming to do London Edinburgh London next year so a bit of extra base work won’t hurt.  Secondly I’ve added an extra workout.  Over the last 3 years I’ve adapted to being able to train for 6 days a week so it feels sustainable to continue that now.  And it’s a quality workout focusing on some VO2 max and sweetspot intervals, so it’s not just adding a TSS filler for the sake of it.  The result is a bigger TSS for the month than I’ve ever managed before – I’m going all in this winter!

I’ve also changed my position on the TT bike too which has taken a bit of getting used to.  The saddle is further back and the bars are extended which has the effect of stretching my body out when I’m in TT position. This is an attempt to flatten the Quasimodo-esque hump in my back.  It feels slightly strange but getting better.  I am also trying to do at least some of the training in TT position but it hurts too much on the turbo so I do as much as I can.  It didn’t seem to cause too many problems last season but the more I can manage the better.

A Word on Nutrition

The training I’m doing is very challenging.  The fact is I will be 50 next year so getting the right amount of sleep and eating properly are just as important.  I’m not great on the sleep – the older I get the harder it seems to get a really good nights sleep, no matter how tired I feel.  Also, I’m not going to bore you by listing my diet but there are a couple of things I do which may be of interest, and I’ll share a recipe for homemade protein bars that Liz has refined/concocted from various internet sources – they are really delicious – see below!

So I eat a lot of foods high in nitrates – beetroot, celery, rocket.  I drink cherry juice.  I eat foods that are a source of l-carnitine such as red meat (in moderation), milk and seeds. I also create a smoothie using 175g of frozen blueberries and 300ish ml of chocolate milk, and I eat my own protein bars to aid recovery.  If you’re interested it is worth Googling the benefits of these nutrients to see what you think.

Protein Bars

We found the original recipe online and then adapted it to taste.  These are high calorie protein bars depending upon the size you cut them.  If you cut into 12 bars, or half the ingredients to make 6, then I reckon each bar will be 200-250 kcals but high in protein.  I’m using a lot of calories in my training and my weight (and more importantly my bodyfat %) is coming down very slowly, which is what I am aiming for.

Blend 1 cup of oats until it’s like flour.  Mix in 1.5tsp cinnamon, 6 scoops of chocolate whey protein powder (I use PHD), a 460g jar of smooth peanut butter, about 30g honey, 5 egg whites and about 120ml skimmed milk.  Now I’ve experimented with adding mashed bananas (2 or 3) which was okay but not to my taste.  Instead I added 100g chopped almonds and that was great.  I then added 100g dark chocolate chips and that was even better!  I imagine if dried fruit and/or raisins are your thing you could chuck those in too.

Anyway, mix the lot really well and pour it into a greased or lined baking pan – I think the one Liz uses is about 12x9cm.  It’s baked at gas mark 4 for about 15 to 20 minutes, allowed to cool, cut into as many bars as you need then stored in the fridge.  Mine happily last a week – I wouldn’t recommend longer.

In summary for the month I managed 428 miles with 24,893ft ascent at around 15.3mph average, which used up around 17,693kcals. In addition I spent 24 hours 45 minutes on the turbo using a further 20,340kcal. Total for the month was 2,994TSS

Running on Empty – September

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My last two races in August suggested I hadn’t recovered from the 12hr the week before.  This was not unexpected but I was hoping to shake it off the following week.  I spent that next week doing very little trying to get ready for the BDCA 100, albeit with some trepidation about my form.  On the day, torrential rain and high winds meant the A50 was a spray-fest and so the event was cancelled.  It was frustrating but the correct decision as that road in those conditions would be very dangerous, and I certainly wouldn’t have ridden on it for the best part of 4 hours.  That gave me a bit more time, theoretically, to recover via a couple of fun rides out to see the Tour of Britain, and a bit of easy-ish training.

So my first race of the month was the week after – the Stone Wheelers 25 which also runs on the A50 (J5/8 course from Blyth Bridge).  It was a very fast day, but I was still tired and I really struggled, whereas lots of riders filled their boots.  In fact my 25 mile power was only a couple of watts higher than my 50 miles power the week before the 12hr which is a measure of how depleted I felt.  However, I still managed to PB (a fast day) but frustratingly missed my season goal of a “51” by 13 seconds.  Possibly the best conditions of the season and I couldn’t take real advantage – but them’s the breaks when you race as much as I do.  21st from 128 riders (£10, 2nd team prize)

The next morning I was up at 5-30am to get to Tilstock and race the WCTTA 25 on D25/8e.  I like this course but I was knackered and really not feeling it – mentally as well as physically.  It’s the first 25 where I’ve felt physically sick part-way through.  And my power was way down, less than a 50 and not that far above a 100!  Only by sheer willpower did I force myself on but it wasn’t great.  The obvious solution to this is to race less but I really enjoy racing.  Maybe I’ll consider it next year – I might have to if I want to squeeze LEL in as well.  4th from 50ish riders (£10*, 4th actual) *provisional – results not out 

My final race of the season was the Liverpool Century 10 at Rainford bypass – D10/1.  It was a lovely sunny day with a bit of a stiff wind in just the wrong direction for this course!  That said, it seemed a fast day and I actually felt pretty good.  My power was about 15W lower than the first 10 of the season back in March which is as a result of general fatigue and detraining through the season but was good enough to give me my quickest time at Rainford of 21:34.  6th from 87 riders (£10, 3rd vet)

2016 Season Roundup

So that was that – season over.  It’s been an intense season – with over 50 open and club events – and one I’m really proud of, although it seems to have flown by.  I missed a couple of goals I’d set myself but I hit the majority of them.  These included

  • a “19” 10 (three times)
  • power PBs at all distances and time PBs at 10, 25, 30 and 50 miles
  • 50 mile club champion
  • 12 hour club champion
  • Club TT champion
  • Club BAR champion
  • Club 10’s points series winner
  • VTTA Manchester & NW 25 mile winner
  • I targeted a top 5 finish in the Cheshire Points Series and came 2nd, missing out by 4 points and with a total that would have won it in any other year!
  • A couple of years ago I wanted to regularly get into the top ten of local events – this has been the year where that happened consistently
  • A win in an open event and 5 podiums – 2nd twice and 3rd three times
  • Just over £800 in prize money
  • RTTC BBAR certificate

At the start of this year I moved to a new club that had significant talent in time-trialling and I’m pleased to say that has worked out brilliantly for me.  In addition to the motivation of having to compete with riders who are faster and more experienced than me, I have been part of prize winning teams on no less than 13 occasions, which includes the club winning the Cheshire Points Series, winning the M&DTTA South Lancashire Shield and setting an event record for the Dukinfield 50.  It also helps that everyone has been super friendly and supportive too, especially those I’ve seen week in, week out at races.

2017 Training Starts Here!

The week after my final race I took a week off.  No training all week and an easy spin on Sunday.  This not only helped to both my body a break but also allowed me to reset psychologically, and get ready for properly starting winter training.  I have to say that by Wednesday I was climbing the walls and itching to get back on it.  Never thought I’d say something like that about turbo training!

Ade's Road Cycling Blog

Sports science test at TheEnduranceCoach – 2013

To get ready for training the first job was to take an FTP test and reset my numbers in Trainerroad and TrainingPeaks.  My weight always drifts up by about 3-4 kilos during the race season, and when racing as much as I do fitness drifts down as I mentioned earlier (detraining – it’s impossible to recover properly AND maintain peak fitness through hard training AND then be ready to race).  There seems to be a lot of secrecy about power numbers which I can slightly understand for road racing but not for time-trialling.  Certainly when I started I had no idea what would make me competitive and what wouldn’t.  Aerodynamics plays a huge part – especially at the very, very pointy end so power is not the be all and end all.  But it’s easy to measure repeatedly if you have a power-meter and it’s clearly important, and I would have definitely benefited when I started out if I’d really known what to aim for. So I’m recording my numbers on this blog for three reasons.  Firstly this blog is my personal record.  I have a terrible memory so this helps me out a lot!  Second, it’s motivational writing things down and talking about your targets.  They’re out there which helps you retain focus.  And finally if any of the small numbers of readers of these blog find this information helpful that would be a bonus for me. I’ve been relatively competitive this year in Cheshire and generally upper quartile further afield.  So my numbers should serve as a guide if you need one.  As for aerodynamics – that’s a whole different ball game and takes a lot of time, effort and knowledge that I’m still pretty unqualified to give.  Maybe one day when I’ve sorted my own out!

  • So, at the start of my winter training in October 2015 my FTP was 4.1W/Kg (20 minute power at approximately 4.3W/Kg).
  • By March 2016, when I started racing, my FTP had risen to around 4.7W/Kg (20 minute power pushing 5W/Kg).  This was achieved by upping my power by about 8% and dropping my weight roughly 3 kilos.
  • My start point now for winter training is FTP at 4.3W/kg (20 minute power at 4.5W/Kg) which gives me a great base to work from.  If I can replicate the gains of last year and hit the same race weight then I’d be looking at around 5W/kg and 5.3W/kg.  That’s a big ask but you always need a stretch goal to target!

Here’s how the training plan looks.  It’s all planned out – just need to execute it now!

Ade's Road Cycling Blog

So, in summary for the month I managed 409 miles with 18,338ft ascent at around 17.1mph average, which used up around 15,378kcals. In addition I spent 11 hours 25 minutes on the turbo using a further 9,269kcal. Total for the month was 1,848TSS