Friday, 30 December 2011


about how things will pan out for the last month of cross this season.  Hopefully the legs will come back and the results will improve, and not let me down at Shrewsbury NT rnd - really don't want to be last there.

Rode at the Cov RC Boxing Day cross on Monday, which is always fun but I can never get into the rhythm of this one.  This time got there early enough to have plenty of practice laps and the 10 mile ride over there always makes a good warm up.  But too much single track, and a longish road climb doesn't help me keep focused on racing. 
courtesy of British Cycling
  So I'm now looking forward to the New Year's Day Scramble at Top Barn where I will be hoping for a good result, or at least being able to get in the zone and keeping focused for the full race!

Friday, 23 December 2011

Mud glourious mud...

Whilst we had a fair bit of mud at Cannock last weekend, the World Cup races at Namen had epic portions!  Here are a couple of compilation videos:

(sound track not suitable for young folks, or the very old! but I do love the spectators having to use ropes to descend the slopes)

4ème Manche de CDM cyclo-cross from Petitesreines on Vimeo

some of my favourite cross videos are from Petites Reines

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Something from the Weekend

Photo courtesy of British Cycling

Last weekend was the Cycle Shack Christmas Cross at Cannock Chase.  I had decided to take a leaf from Lars Boom's book and was riding for pleasure!.  

All morning I was wondering how much pleasure I would actually get since there was snow on the ground when I got there, and then showers of rain, sleet, snow and hail arrived too!  Temperatures weren't much above freezing either.

After a couple of practise laps, it was obvious that the course was going to be muddy and slippery with plenty of single track through the wooded areas.  any pacing would have to be done in the fire tracks that linked it all together.

Lining up to be gridded I noticed another Belgian (HCtB), so a quick nod was all there was time for.  After the usual mayhem at the start, with over 70 riders in the first wave closely followed by another 60 odd in the second, it took most of the first lap to settle down and start to enjoy the racing.  A cautious start placed me well down the field but as the laps went by I managed to pull back places ion the fire tracks and recover following riders into the single track.

It was fun, and after sleet, rain and hail the sun came out (as you can see in the photo above) which made it quite difficult to see!  A final push on the last lap saw me finishing around 20th of the Vets and juniors and 15th Vet40-49s.

Cleaning the bike after the race actually took longer than I was actually racing for!  I'm glad to only use one bike in some ways as I'm sure it would take even longer cleaning two filthy bikes! But I did enjoy it immensely.  

Riding this week has been difficult with being busy at work and feeling the need to recover.  Monday was a steady 13 miles into work on frosty roads, but the 13 home included 5 x 2min anaerobic intervals with 2 min RI between.  Tuesday and Wednesday have been spent stripping down the CX bike to clean out the cassette and sort out the gears ready for the Boxing Day Cross at Kenilworth, another traiining race to try and improve the skills whilst trying to give it full tilt.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Will it won't it ...

The predicted snow fall for the Midlands didn't make it as far us at the top of the M40 this morning.  It wasn't even that chilly really.  So a steady 13 miles to work in just over 45mins, but on the way back the plan is different.  Some lactate tolerance intervals are required to push the threshold higher.  So 30secs with a 15 sec RI on an slightly uphill road is call for.  Do 4 of these then spin easy for 5mins, and do again, and again. 

This Sunday is round 10 of WMCCL and in the words of Mr. Boom, "I will be riding for pleasure" - we'll see.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Keeping it fresh

Unsurprisingly cold this morning.  The forecast was for a barmy 3 degrees, but when I got out it was more like 1 or below.

It was a tricky decision whether to try out a few anaerobic intervals on the way to work, with the risk of a bit of ice on the roads but sticking to treated roads meant I was able to get a quick set of 5 reps in.  At least this kept me warm, but it did need a lot of focus with trying to read the road for any icy patches too.  I've not done too many of these sessions going into work on dark and frosty mornings, as I usually save them for around dusk on Friday afternoons.

13 mile dash in just under 50mins, not massively quick but did get the HR up to zone 4+.

A steady ride home after a couple of Xmas beers at lunchtime will hopefully waken the senses again.

threat of rain and snow tomorrow :O

Friday, 9 December 2011

Catch up time

Wednesday was nice but windy.  I had planned for a long criss-cross cruise interval session of about 50mins but my legs were hurting and it turned into a std cruise interval session with 3 sets of around 14mins, which was ok.  About 21 miles in 1hr 10mins in very windy  conditions.

Thursday, a shortish steady ride into work of around 13miles and a quick dash back of about 10 miles in a total time of 85mins.  Again the wind was a major feature, along with some rain showers on the way home.

Friday has been a day at the physio to free up my lower back, so entailed a 10 mile ride into work, then 6 miles each way to the physio all nice and steady in the morning chill.  About an hour and 25mins all in.

This afternoon will hopefully be an anaerobic pyramid session on the way home.  that's 1-2-3-4-4-3-2-1 at 92%+ max HR with equal rest between each interval.  It's hard but tolerable, just!  Hopefully the sun will stay out and I won't feel the cold :D


Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Back in the Park

Today was time to get back down the park for a cyclocross session practicing dismounts, remounts, cornering, bit of off camber, single track, a few bomb holes and starting sprints.  Still a bit frozen in the shade, but mainly muddy and wet.  the XMs seem to shed the mud well and clean up nicely in the wet grass but the grip was a bit sketchy in really slippy thick mud.  Had fun then had to wash down old Johan.

Last nights dark and cold spin home was 15 miles in just over 50mins, so a round commute of just over 35 miles - not bad for this time of year.

Monday, 5 December 2011

A cool start for the week ahead

Another chilly start this morning, only just getting the mercury above zero.  Doubled up the base layers to keep out the chill as the predicted feel like temp was expected to be in the minus figures.

Another 21 miles, 1hr 20min ride going into work this morning.  Following the quiet A and B roads worked well as these had been treated by the gritter lorries, but closer to work and the frost and ice could be seen more and more along the edges of the roads, and the little cut thru had to be taken at walking pace.

Friday finished with a quick 13 mile dash home via the shops, 10 mile in 33mins then an easy 3 mile home.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Frosty start

Last night's dash home from work in the dark was along the short route, 9.8miles in about 34mins with no real hazards en route.

This morning was a chilly 1 degree, possibly the coldest this Winter so far.  Tho the cars were all iced over there wasn't too much frost on the roads.  I took the longish 20 mile route into work, covering the distance in about an hour and a quarter. 

This afternoon I have to try and pop to the shops on the way home to pick some Xmas pressies - but I will still try and get some interval work done along the way.

Sunday sees the Regional Cyclocross champs at Shrewsbury, which is sounding like it will be a very muddy affair, so hopefully the single chainring setup will come into it's own... 

Thursday, 1 December 2011

A Pinch and A Punch

Blimey it's December 2011 already!

The whole year has nearly come and gone without me writing anything here - not that surprising as I often lose focus on things that need to be forced into a routine, and anything that involves writing!

However, I have been thinking I would try and record just my daily commute and ride stats, as I'm much more of a numbers man than a one of literary meanderings.

So this morning was a barmey 8 degrees, and I rode the flat medium route in - 21 miles in 1hr 15mins, nice and steady, laden with laptop, got dazzled by more cyclists than cars again, but enjoyed the ride.

Friday, 21 January 2011

It's been a while

Christmas has been and gone, and so too has the New Year.

So far I've not used the car for work even tho there has been some decidedly dodgy weather around, particularly this last couple of mornings. You can see that the mornings are slowly startin gto get lighter, and the sun isn't starting to wane until much laater in the afternoon but the mix of freezing night time temperatures and mildish days means that there is tending to be a lot of frost and ice around meaning that on has to keep ones whits about one all the way in. It's better going home tho and this afternoon looks like it might be the best yet. The last couple of Fridays there has been rain, showery but heavy which doesn't really mix well with up hill intervals where wind on it's own is hard enough.

At the moment we are in the middle of our C2W window at work and this week we had the local bike shop in to help generate some interest. This seemed to go down well and we had a flurry of folks passing through picking up leaflets and checking out the bikes. I just hope the showers get a make over soon to accomodate all these new commuters.

Sunday see the last cross race of this season for me - hopefully I will get my head down and manage to grab enough points to move back into the top 10, and then who knows what next season will bring?