Tag Archives: time trial

Another hectic week

18 Oct

It feels like all of my posts start with an excuse about how busy my week has been, and this week is no exception. Hopefully, I will have more time for blogging in a month’s time when the season winds down. Although if Ironman were to have their way, I’d be entering another couple of events this year!

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Tuesday started with a great SUTRI strength and conditioning session with Olly from SolentAthlete. We did some technique work and deadlifts. I really appreciated the mobility drills as I feel like my joints are seizing up :-S

© SolentAthlete

© SolentAthlete

This was followed by another session on Thursday morning where we did plenty of box squats. Olly described the final section of the session as “a tasty posterior chain workout”, which was rounded off with foam rollers and stretching, which felt like torture, even though I know it’s good for me!

© SolentAthlete

© SolentAthlete

On Saturday, I took part in ‘Tim Wilks Day’ with Southampton Tri Club. It is a fantastic event that is held in memory of a triclub member who sadly passed away shortly after finishing a local triathlon. The committee did a brilliant job organising it and I was grateful to the volunteers for supporting us. The event consists of a 400m timed pool swim; a 10 mile time trial and a 4km run in the New Forest… however, transitions are not timed as the events take place in different locations.

I had a bit of a panic when I realised that I would be sharing a swim lane with my other half as I was expecting him to finish about 2:30 ahead of me and I hate the pressure when someone starts tapping your feet. We had a chat with Donna, the timer for our lane, and agreed to have half a lane each so that I wouldn’t get in Stu’s way. I predicted a 9:30 swim time, so was pleasantly surprised to finish in 8:42. I tried to swim at a steady pace, and I wasn’t too exhausted when I finished, so I think I could go faster.

I was really nervous about the bike section. I’ve done time trials with the Embrace Sports crew in Portugal, but I’ve always known exactly where we were going and it has definitely been for fun, rather than a timed event. However, I’ve done a reasonable amount of cycling recently, so I thought I’d be reasonably fit. I said to Stu that I reckoned 35 minutes would be about right for me – I finished in 35:05, so that’s pretty close… but I didn’t realise that in order to get that I’d have to wheeze for the entire ride. It was so uncomfortable. I probably should have stopped and used my inhaler, but I didn’t want to waste time. It also inhibited my cycling – spinning made me wheeze more, so I had to keep grinding away in the big ring.

The 4km run course was on an attractive forest trail. It was well-marked and as someone at the back, I had plenty of people to follow.I started out feeling quite comfortable and with a good cadence, but when my watched beeped at me at 1km and I saw I was running at 4:44/km, I knew it wouldn’t end well. I kept doing the best I could, but was gradually slowing down and others passed me. I was so relieved when I saw Sonia and Claire along with a group of others. I put on a terrific sprint finish… only to find that the group were some random ramblers and that there was still some way to the finish – doh! The ladies were simply there to direct me. A few minutes later, I finally saw the finish, but I had nothing left. It took me 21:27, which was very slow, but at least there’s plenty of room for improvement next time!

Today, I took part in a new sportive organised by Red Skye Cycle Tours. Stu and I chose to enter the Great Oak 70 mile event, which started just after 8am. I was really surprised that only about 10 people had entered the long distance, and only 7 of us were there at the start. We headed out as a group, but after a few miles, one of the women headed off on her own as we were cycling at a social pace.

It was quite chilly, but I’ve learnt from my last two bike rides, so I started out with a SOAS jersey and shorts teamed with arm warmers and knee warmers. I think it would have been good to have worn a buff, but I soon warmed up, so I know I made the right choice.

Although I was unfamiliar with the start location for the ride (Holmsley), there were sections of the ride that I was really familiar with. It was also clearly marked, so I didn’t have to worry too much about following the route on my Garmin. Sadly, someone had removed one of the signs, which had confused some other riders. It’s such a shame that there are so many cycle saboteurs in the New Forest area – they are clearly unaware of how much income this popular pastime brings to the local area.

I had thought that we would get to the rest stop after 35 miles, but when we had gone that far, I was warned that it would be another 6 or 7 miles before we got to the rest stop. Fortunately, we were doing well with spotting Hampshire’s ‘big game’ – we saw wild cows, horses, donkeys, pheasants and even a herd of pigs. I’ve only seen one wild boar whilst out cycling previously, so to see a herd of pigs running alongside the road was great.

By the time we got to the rest stop, I was flagging. Fortunately, the rest stop was really well stocked. I had a banana followed by a granola bar and plenty of jelly beans. I knew that at some stage, the sugar rush would wear off, but hoped that it would be enough to get me through at least 20 miles. I also picked up a pineapple flavoured energy gel to pick me up later and get me to the finish. Unfortunately, we found out that the female cyclist had not made it to the rest stop ahead of us, so we hoped that she hadn’t got too lost.

There were some tough headwinds during the ride that really sapped my energy, but I was determined to finish. I was also struggling as my chest was really aching after yesterday’s time trial.

The final section of the ride included some busy roads. The major road towards Bournemouth currently has some road works, so lots of cars are taking an alternative route near to Matchams. Some fo them were driving at crazy speeds, which was a bit nerve-racking. We also got stuck in a traffic jam.

Most of the ride had been overcast, but in the last hour or so, the sun came out which was lovely – there’s nothing better than cycling in sunshine!

Finally, the campsite came into view. The six of us cycled under the finish archway together. Woohoo! My first podium finish in a cycling event and top 10 overall 😉 (Sometimes it’s important to be selective about the stats you use!)

End of Red Skye Sportive

End of Red Skye Sportive

We were offered a variety of hot meals, which is always a great way to finish an event. Several of us sat down and ate together, before heading home. I felt exhausted, but pleased I took part! My friend, Jules has also blogged about this event – please do read his post.

Several of my friends have been taking part in running races today – mainly 10 miles, half marathons and marathons. It looks like they all did really well… but I don’t think any of them set any world records, unlike Jessica Bruce. This amazing lady has set a new record for running a marathon with a buggy, completing Abingdon Marathon in 3:17:52. I’d be happy with a time an hour slower than that! More about this story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-34551782

Finally, I saw this video earlier this week. The stereotypes in it made me laugh so much

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Turbo training at home

28 May

Coach Ant had set me an hour of cycling with a reasonably long warm up and a long cool down with the mid section being an attempt to work out what my 20km TT pace might be. I spent a long time creating a playlist to help me get in the mood for the race and managed to get in a very unattractive selfie whilst cooling down!

New Silvini top

‘New’ Silvini top

A lot of my clothes are in the wash, so I wore my Decathlon bib shorts and a ‘new’ Silvini top. I like the look of the bib shorts, but the chamois is like a nappy (diaper) and I don’t find them very comfortable. The ‘new’ cycling top is one that I bought last year, but have never worn before. I definitely think I need to lose a few pounds before I wear it out of the house, but as it’s mainly white it helped to keep me cool.

Whilst I was pedalling away, someone arrived to collect a portable TV, DVD player and freeview box that I had put on freecycle. Stu answered the door to him and he seemed surprised to see me on my bike, but I didn’t want to stop. I later found out that the poor guy had arrived on his bike and had to cycle home with an old-style TV under his arm!

Day 2 of Pyrenees Tri Camp with Embrace Sports

2 May

When we woke up on Friday, the weather wasn’t what any of us had hoped it would be. The skies were grey and cloudy and there was rain beating down. We had a hearty breakfast of porridge and then layered up before heading out. The plan was to cycle to Col d’Aspin as part of a 72km ride. The Col itself is a 12km climb to an altitude of 1489m with a minimum 6.5% and maximum 8.5% gradient.

We hadn’t got far from the farmhouse when Jose had a mechanical, but we carried on. Then Poppy got a puncture, so she sheltered in the garden of a French family whilst fixing it. We carried on towards the turning for Col de Coupe. The route continued up a small incline that is traversed by an abandoned railway line. Neill was just ahead of me. He hit the wet tracks at an angle and went down. I swerved to avoid him and glanced over, calling out, “Are you OK?” At that moment, disaster struck and I also slipped. It was totally unexpected, so I landed with my full bodyweight on my elbow. Elena then fell immediately behind us. Everyone stopped and Graeme came over to check that we were all OK. I was quite startled and a little tearful and winded, but I sucked it up, so that we could continue.

We carried on to Sarrancolin, where we sheltered in the village. Everyone was soaked and quite a few people didn’t have sufficient wet weather gear, so Graeme made the sensible decision to call off our ascent of Col d’Aspin.

Sheltering at Sarrancolin

Sheltering at Sarrancolin

The alternative plan was to do a 15km time trial back towards the farmhouse. I set off just before Alex and just ahead of Elena. I was determined to do well as I have failed so many times in the past. It didn’t take me long to catch up with Alex, but I kept pushing. After a while Bernadette and Louise went past me, but I just about managed to hang on to Louise and we played cat and mouse for a while until we got close to the railway line. I was incredibly cautious and slowed down when I got near it, but managed to go over it with no more accidents. I then kept pushing, but most of the others passed me and just before the end point, Alex managed to pass me again. My average pace was 29.4km/h, which is the best that I have ever managed 🙂

When we got back to the farmhouse, it was time for a 40 minute brick session. I decided against getting changed, figuring that I couldn’t get any wetter than I was already. The session was a pyramid session:

  • 5 minute warm up
  • 1 minute hard
  • 1 minute recovery
  • 2 minutes hard
  • 2 minutes recovery
  • 3 minutes hard
  • 3 minutes recovery
  • 4 minutes hard
  • 4 minutes recovery
  • 5 minutes hard
  • 5 minutes recovery
  • 5 minute warm down

When we got in, everyone agreed that it would be best if Kat’s core session were called off.  As an alternative, we visited intermarche and the local sports store. Stu and I bought a bar of pistachio chocolate, but we didn’t need to buy anything in the sports shop as we had packed for all eventualities!

When we got back in the evening, Neil had prepared boeuf bourguinon and Alan had made a moussaka variant with aubergines and chickpeas – it was delicious 🙂

By this time my right elbow was really painful and had swollen quite badly. I was unable to put my hand to my head, which meant that I couldn’t brush my hair or take out my contact lenses. I was also unable to dress myself. Fortunately, Louise took pity on me and used her skills as a physio to assess the situation and massage my arm. She quickly surmised that nothing was broken. I decided to take some ibuprofen and wanted to go to sleep, but it was difficult to sleep as I was so uncomfortable. To exacerbate my problems, I was also struggling to breathe and needed to use my inhaler several times in the night. I was so disappointed that the day had ended that way, but went to bed hopeful that I’d be feeling better in the morning.