MFP Vuelta Challenge – Stage 14

Bagà → Andorra. Collada de la Gallina 156km

Usual Loop, Nothing much else to report, other than the foot is a little less sore than yesterday or the day before.  Definite Autumnal feel to the ride – leaves on the road, lots of blackberries in the hedgerows, and a bit of a nip in the air – Frankly, I was glad i’d decided to wear the Gabba and Nanoflexes today

Strava here

MFP Vuelta Challenge – Stage 12

Maella → Tarragona  164km

Really nice weather again today, sadly with my sore foot I couldn’t take full advantage of it.

Managed a steady away 43.0km, needed the “winter” shoes on as the Sidi’s were a trifle “snug” in the offending area…

Strava Bumph here.

Oh – and a non-biking result…  call from Stannah re: the stairlift – finally got an “uplift” date for the removal of the damned thing – Tuesday 11th…  I was rather hoping that this would be the day that the new ‘crosser was delivered as well  – but I guess that’s partly in the hands of “Her Majesties Custards and Eggpies” as to how quick the container of frames clears…

MFP Vuelta Challenge – Stage 11

Tarazona → Tarazona ITT – 38.8km

Strangely enough, I did EXACTLY the same distance myself, as the riders over in spain.

A bit slower mind – I think I was 39m42s down on Cancellara!

Though – considering I kicked my toe up and it took me 10 minutes to fasten my cycling shoes before setting out (not to mention the foul language every time I came to climb anything more than a speedbump – it wasn’t that bad.

Strava stuff here


A Sunday in Hell

Those of you that know me, know I’m a former extremely fat bloke, who’s now just a fat bloke, and who is enthusiastic, nay obsessive about cycling.    I’m also running a fitness challenge on MFP called the “Classics Cycling Challenge” – a series of themed rides, based around the Spring Classics –  the true “Monuments” of the cycling world.

Well, this weeks installment was the Paris Roubaix – IMO the toughest of the one day classics – something like 250km of riding, 50km of which is over Pavé…  Not so much a surfaced road as “think of a farmers dirt track, that someones flown over with a Chinook Helicopter, and dropped 10″ square blocks of granite into” – I rode the “sportif” version 8 years ago, and it was 4 days before I could type as I’d lost all sensation in my fingers, andcould barely grip a bottle of biere afterwards, nevermind hold a cobblestone above my head as a trophy!

Anyway, that’s one hell of the north – traditionally run on a Sunday, and it has the quintesensial cycling film made of it – “A Sunday in Hell” – hence my title…

Sadly, I didn’t get to ride this weeks challenge.   Mid Week, my Father fell and broke his hip.   He was old, infirm, and suffered from all the problems that ex-miners with 30+ years time served suffer from – we’re talking something like 70%+ pneumoconiosis  (or in the vernacular – Dust) – basically over 70% of his lung capacity is knackered because its full of coal dust!

This of course makes it very dangerous when you have to have an operation that requires full sedation…   They tried the hip-op under an epidural, but it was too difficult, and they had to resort to full anaesthesia.

Sadly, he didn’t respond well, and whilst being okay the evening of the op, he had a couple of minor heart “episodes” (what they call  a heart attack when they can’t prove it happened, but they can see the effects…) and became seriously unwell.   After 2 days requiring machine ventilation, and with decreasing (to point zero) responses, we had to respect his “do not resusciate” wishes  (he had a stroke 20 years ago, and a couple of years ago, as he began to become a little more frail, made me take him to the family solicitor and made a “living will” to that effect.)

Anyway, to cut a long story a little shorter, earlier today, my father was removed from all the “machines that go ping”, given a 0xygen mask and a couple of pain management and air-passage clearance treatments via drip, and while I spent a couple of hours telling him all the trivialities that meant the world to us, and probably nothing to you… (the Winner of the Grand National – he’s allways been a “racing man”, and the fact that his Favourite Bike Rider had won Paris Roubaix for the third time, in the most spectacular fashion, or that I loved him, and I never regretted for one second giving up my prior career and highly mobile lifestyle to stay at home, and look after him and my mother.   Because looking after them was probably the only worthwhile thing (in the greater sense – as in improving the world, NOT earning money) I’d ever done.

And as he smiled at me, he gradually slipped away.

So – that’s my Sunday in Hell.

It wasn’t a traditonal hell – no fire and brimstone – in fact it was a lovely bright, airy and pleasant environment, with two (or more, as needed) charming and wonderful nurses, that I could never, ever describe as Daemons…

But, yep, I’m in hell at the moment,   because I’m an “only child”, 50 years old, fat, ugly and I’ve used my personality and looks as a method of contraception for far longer than I care to dwell upon.

I’ve never subscribed to the “hell is other people” theory… for me, hell is being alone…

Indoor Cycling – We have all kinds Sir…

In a bid to inject a little variety into the indoor riding today, I decided to mix things up a little.

First of all, it was high time that I actually managed to get a proper Anaerobic Threshold Test done.   So – I had a crack at the Conconi Test as detailed on the Tacx Training Website.   What can I say – like most Max-Tests, its pretty horrible towards the latter stages.   A quick breakdown of the stats are on Garmin Connect HERE.

Second ride of the day was a bit of general riding, started with the “Training with Milram” DVD, which ran for around 13 minutes before crashing.   So – I decided to go to a old disk – the “T1956-16 Grossglockner” DVD – originally  intended for the Fortius, rather than the Bushido, it’s video quality isn’t great, but it contains a nice leg loosening spin, followed by a short steep uphill, and a wild thrash down the mountain to finish off.   Again, this was logged on the Garmin 705 as well as the Tacx Bushido, and the details are posted here.

Third ride was another repeat of the above trip down the Grossglockner, though this time missing out the saddle and intermediate col.   More than anything else,   I wanted to see how my injured left thigh would cope with some high speed, high cadence work after a decent length of riding.  At the moment, things feel good, and the Garmin log makes for some impressive speed stats, if nothing else…  average speed of 24.1 m.p.h. actual at the rear wheel, Average cadence 82 (which is very high for me – those big legs don’t thrash around very well any more!) and a max cadence of 127 was just scary…

Not sure what happened on the third ride, but I managed to get some sort of glitch, which showed a power reading on the Garmin – unlikely, as I’ve no power meter! – extremely unlikely, as it read 16,383 Watts – yeah right 16 and a bit Kilowatts!!

Another Test – this time on the road

Still not 100% sure about the tweaked muscle in my leg – so gave it another nice steady run around my local loop.   Nothing of note to mention, apart from losing my flaming front light at some point in the ride.  Didn’t even notice it pinging off to be honest.  Other than that, was just a normal, slow-ish ride – but my leg didn’t complain so – I suppose I should be happy 🙂

Ride stats here

Gentle spin to test the Leg…

Had to do something – my right knee was starting to sieze up – so – had a gentle spin on the Bushido – set the VR machine to ride down the Lauteret towards the bottom of Alpe D’Huez, then jumped off before it started going  back uphill, like the wimp that I am…

Felt pretty good though – not even a twinge from the left leg – Woo-Hooooo!! – ride details here – such as they are – made a stuff of things, forgot to switch off GPS, so it was trying to lock on all the ride 😦

Hopefully I’ll still feel good tomorrow, and actually get out on the road again!