Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Training Session #1

Sunday 24th July: West Head loop.

Laura and I embarked on our first training session today. 

We were joined by Andrew Vize who had just bought a road bike this week so he could join in on the fun. He will actually be volunteering during the race and it  will be excellent to have him there to support us. This will be a bit of role-reversal as Laura usually "crews" for him during his ultramarathons. (I am sure she will be returning the favour when Andrew runs the Coast 2 Kosi a few weeks later. (This ultramarathon is essentially the same course, but they are even MORE unhinged, as they RUN it!) For more info on Andrew's crazy ultramarathon antics check out Ultra 168's website

We met at West Head again. I like this road as the surface is fresh, and there aren't too many cars. It also has a good range of hills to keep you entertained, puffing, and cursing! Luckily the rain had just eased and then decided to stay away for the rest of the afternoon. 

There had been a lot of rain this week, which was evident by the amount of dirt, rocks and debris in the dips in the road. Whilst hooning down the hill, at about 60km/hr, on skinny minnie, twitchy, flimsy road tires, rocks and debris are NOT your friend! But, luckily for me, I remained upright long enough to then have to pedal back up the hill. 

We had been riding along quite happily when we turned a corner and there it was. "Hell hill" as I had affectionately named it! This was the hill that had beat me last week. 

The view from the top of "Hell hill".
It looks small, but you can't see the steep bit
 where it drops below the crest in this shot!
Hills didn't seem too bad on my mountain bike as a kid. If you stopped progressing up the hill, you put your foot down. Easy! But now, with cleats, everything had changed. When you stop moving, there is a surge of fear that sweeps over you as you do the maths in your head. "I could keep pedalling, but if I lose momentum I have approximately 0.2 seconds to get my foot out of the pedal before my hip makes friends with the bitumen ... AGAIN! Do I keep pedalling and take the chance *runs percentages of failure through head* or do I hedge my bets and unclip and admit defeat?" 

I made it 1/2 way up the hill before admitting defeat, and spinning around and getting another run up to try again. This time I made it 3/4 of the way. Not bad. But still disappointed. So I sucked up my failure, unclipped and walked the rest of the way.

Try walking normally with these platforms
 stuck to the bottom of your shoes!
Walking in cleats must be one of the best calf muscle lengthening exercises.  Because of the cleats on the base of your shoes,your toes sit higher than the heel of your foot. The result: the penguin waddle that I am sure you would have seen as the flocks of cyclists waddle their way to the coffee shops on a Saturday morning! The penguin waddle creates an excellent stretch to the calf muscles. The stretch  is then increased even further when you add a steep hill to the mix! 

The reward for climbing up "hell hill" was the very fun ride down the hill to the lookout! The only problem was, as I was so excited riding down it, I was painfully aware that the only way out was back up the same hill. 

The view from West Head lookout.
The recent rains had sent all the silt and tannins into the ocean.

After several near misses (of the hip meeting the bitumen variety) Andrew came up with some new cycling terminology.

Barked: What happens when you accidentally steer the bike off the shoulder of the road into the bark chips whilst still clipped in. "You're barked!"

Timber: Verb. The action of falling of the bike. Usually a consequence of being barked!

I had come straight from work to todays ride, and had only had a small yoghurt for breakfast with no lunch. After riding for a while I was hurting! On the way back from the West Head lookout, (up another torturous hill) my legs started to tremble badly and the need to vomit ramped up in intensity dramatically!

Luckily Laura had some nifty gels on her. These weren't the usual sachets of goop that most endurance athletes use. But little blocks, kind of like jelly lollies. 2 Clif Shot Bloks later and I kept pedalling. I didn't notice a huge change at first, but the vomitty urge disappeared and I could keep pedalling up the hills much happier than I had been all day. These Shot Bloks were gold. I think I am in love!

I rode happily back to the car, and as the sun set we all went home. I was still a little hyperactive and bouncing around from the Shot Bloks much to the amusement of the people in cars around me! (Those of you that have been fortunate enough to have been in my car would understand this!)

No ones butt looks good in cycling shorts!
As an aside, why is it that whenever I am on my way home from riding I remember that I need to pick something up from Woolies? Walking around with shorts that look like they have a nappy in them is NOT attractive, no matter how good looking you are. I am sorry, but even Megan Gale would look horrid in a pair of these. I must remember to put a super long jumper or trakkies in the car for next time!

Distance: 25kms
Duration: 1:45 mins
Avg Speed 14km/h
Max Speed 61km/h
Fall Tally: 2
New Falls: 0

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