Posts Tagged ‘regentspark’

January redux

With the snow and ice washed away by rain and milder weather, I’ve spent the weekend pulling January’s shoddy training schedule back into line.

Despite waking up on Saturday morning vowing to spend two days at my laptop, I braved the drizzle for an hour on Regent’s Park. As ever, the hardest part about going for a ride in bad weather was pulling on the lycra in the first place. I rode the hack, and got soaked.

Today I rode the Finchley – Knebworth ‘cheat the week’ route – for one last time before the move south. To be honest, it’s not one of the classic routes (no hills to speak of, plenty of A-road) but from North London, without taking a train, it’s about as good as it gets. I’ve never Google mapped it before, so here it is for posterity:

View Cheat the Week in a larger map

It was 3hr 30 – the majority in the small front chainring. Conserving le jus at this stage. Joe once told me one of his club mates didn’t go into the big ring before March – excessive or the best way to build an early-season base?

Top end outage

I rode 90 minutes this morning when I was supposed to be working not cheating the week (ssshh, don’t tell work). I wanted to punish myself. 5 and a half weeks since the Marmotte and any really serious riding, and the layoff is getting to me. The first 3 weeks were OK – a relief in fact – but the last fortnight has been increasingly rough. Despite pinging it around town on the hack as often and as fast as possible, weekend commitments have kept me off the Wilier – stood reproachful, and a bit grubby, in my bedroom – and my general mood graph has recorded a marked slump.

Clearly, I need to set a new goal. Clearly, I need to get back on my bike, pronto. To this end I headed out today, aiming for a 6/4 Regent’s / Swain’s (in layman’s terms, 6 laps of regent’s Park followed by 4 hill repeats up Swain’s Lane. Here’s the graph:


I felt like my batteries were fairly flat from the start – even though my eating and sleeping have been fine over the last few days. In the end I managed 3/4, i.e. only 3 hard intervals on Regent’s Park. I was climbing OK, but my power output felt about 30% lower than I remember it being last time I did one of these sessions.¬†Compare the above graph with a similar ride I did on June 24th, just prior to the Marmotte, or this one around Easter time. On both of these, I remember / blogged that I felt good, my heart rate went higher, and I did 5/6 or 6/6.

So evidently my top-end fitness has taken a hit over the last month or so, while my weight remains constant (or even slightly less, incredibly), my endurance is solid, and I can still climb. It seems like the most fragile, short-lived part of my form, that needs to be kept topped up lest it wane. It’s time to bring back the power.

Final pre-Marmotte Regent’s Park & Swain’s Lane

Just back from a 2-hour Regent’s Park / Swain’s Lane session in the warm sunshine. Nice to have it back after quite a few cloud-covered outings.

My technique in the park today was, rather than ride at threshold for 5 minutes, start from the same corner but go all-out to the traffic lights, then recover. On my first one of these I hit 193 bpm, which I think must be close to my maximum. Needless to say the 2 boys attempting to follow me were toasted, burned, then binned.

Ignore (again) the ridiculous 240bpm peak in the first 5 minutes.

Ignore (again) the ridiculous 240bpm peak in the first 5 minutes.

I’ve identified a definite bug in my Garmin heart-rate monitor, reviewed earlier on this blog. Occasionally, in the first few minutes of a workout, the monitor will display a massively erratic reading, e.g. 240 bpm, while I’m coasting downhill. This is kind of annoying, because it throws my nice heart-rate graph out of whack.

On the subject of Garmin, it’s great to see continual enhancements to the user interface on the Connect website. The whole Garmin project feels fresh and innovative – I will certainly be investing further.

Here’s one example: the ‘Player’ workout playback function, with variable speeds and micro-controls to view exactly when and how hard you were training. However, I guess it’s supposed to show a graph in the middle – my version didn’t.

Garmin's workout 'player'. Cool.

Garmin's workout 'player'. Cool. Fresh. etc.

Back on it

Around town in DC.

Around town in DC.

I went to Washington DC last week for a holiday. In summary, DC (at least the bits I visited) is very touristy, very stars ‘n’ stripes, really quite artificial – and frankly, kinda dull.

Wary of packing on pounds from potato chips, beer and desserts, during the week I put in a couple of token workouts in the hotel gym. Actually, the main purpose of these was not to burn calories but to warm up then have a good stretch – walking around town all day made my feet sore and my whole trunk and legs very stiff. Sightseeing and shopping are alike in this respect: they both cause fatigue without gratification.

I must have picked up some bug mid-week, because I was suffering on the flight home (I also got drunk Thursday night which didn’t help). By the time I landed at Heathrow, my body felt like a sack.¬†

Miraculously, however, I have turned the situation around. I had Friday off, then did 6 laps of Regent’s Park yesterday, followed by 3 hours hard this morning with London Phoenix. And now I feel fine, much less worried about the forthcoming Ventoux sportive…

February: shocking start, improving steadily

Last week was a bad one. The harsh weather was dragging on, the fall on the ice near Buckland was painful, and I was prevented from even a cautious commute by further sleet and cold winds.

But then, the weather started looking up. I put in 2 hours on Saturday – some brisk intervals around Regent’s Park – followed by a 6-hour epic on the Sunday, starting in Brixton and heading out to Cobham and the North Downs via Richmond Park, then returning all the way up to Archway. I followed this with 2 days of commuting, and another good session this morning – of which more later.

The sight of this weather forecast was truly a morale boost: