Tag Archives: training

Bike fit and rest week

Bike fit

I decided to get a proper bike fit, as I have been messing about with my saddle and seat height without having a clue what I was doing, and have also been getting a stiff neck on my long rides. I have been following someone on Facebook whose husband does Retul bike fits, they sounded interesting so I googled it and found someone in Carmarthen doing them.

After a look on Facebook at reviews I decided to book a fit with Andy at Cranc cyclesports. When I arrived Andy got me a drink and generally made me feel very welcome before we discussed my main events this year. It turned out that we were both doing Ironman Wales this year for the first time! I then did some flexibility tests and was set up on my bike, warmed up and had the sensors placed. Andy made quite a few changes, he raised my saddle 18mm, and moved it back 29mm. The cockpit was lowered 5mm, and my stem was shortened to 80mm. This has resulted in a comfortable but more aggressive position. I’m looking forward to testing it out on a long ride.

The whole way through the fit Andy explained what he was doing and why, I would thoroughly recommend him, he even drove out to my house to fit the stem, as he didn’t have one in stock.

The end result!

The end result!

Rest week

Typical that on a rest week the weather is the best its been for months! Never mind I spent a few days in Bath with my mum to celebrate her birthday, and made use of the Roman baths, which again I can thoroughly recommend!

Spring like weather

Spring like weather

When I got home I did an FTP test urggh. I got a free month of premium membership on Strava with my power meter so I thought I would make use of the Sufferfest FTP test while I still had the membership. I was 10 Watts higher than when I did the test in April last year, which is great, but also could be down to being more motivated by the video, or a different power meter, or bike fit, however I felt strong so I’ll assume that I have improved!


Garmin glitch

My Garmin has an intermittent fault with the elevation, which I am trying to sort out, I didn’t realise until I uploaded my ride and run to Strava how bad it was! Managed a couple of 20 min runs last week though so good news 🙂



Spring is coming

Busy bee

Signs of spring

Signs of spring

Its been quite a hard month with being away from home, and not being able to run. I spent a weekend in Brighton, followed by a weekend in Cardiff for my level 2 coaching course, then I was home for a day before driving to Baildon (6 hours) with the boys to visit family. All this and trying to get back into my training rhythm after being ill. I am fortunate to have an understanding family, so I squeezed in a 4 hour ride up in to the Dales. The weather looked like it was just going to be a shower at midday, but in true style it started p***ing it down about an hour into the ride, and on the way back I could definitely feel the headwind that I did not notice on the way up, and could definitely notice my cold hands that I was struggling to change gears with! I arrived at the cafe at Cavendish Pavillion, near Bolton Abbey, where there were lots of other bikers. I stood by the radiator and waited for my family to arrive, and enjoyed a hot coffee. Out and back

Out and back

The next day I had a lovely swim with a free pass to the gym that my mother in law gave me, had a whole lane to myself for most of the time, I was wishing I could stay a bit longer and make use of the jacuzzi, and sauna, but Leeds beckoned!

Knee and hotel niggles

My knee is still not right. I went for a run in Cardiff, and it was painful afterwards. I put it down to being sat all day and muscles being tight, but as a precaution have not run since. It is quite hard being away and not being able to run, because its something that is easy to fit in around everyone, hopefully it will improve, still using my roller and tennis ball. I also had a pretty bad experience at the hotel in Cardiff I should have known when I saw the topless men outside smoking and the gym that was called “Inn Active” my room smelt of smoke, and drunks woke me up every hour. I called reception a few times but that didn’t help, and they only offered an apology after I reminded them how bad the night had been the next day. Then I got home to find I had a parking ticket from them! park inn needless to say I won’t stay there again, although they have offered me 25% off as a compensation. :-p

Power meter

An update on my power meter. It arrived a few weeks ago!!

It was really easy to install. If you want to know why I chose this meter I read a lot on DC Rainmaker about various types, and for my budget it seemed like a good buy. I’m pleased with it so far. I am about where I was last year in terms of power readings, although I was using a different meter last year, so I don’t know if it is comparable, hopefully I can improve on last year. I went out on Wednesday and had to be rescued as I think I was still tired from Tuesdays ride, I also underestimated how far I was going, whoops. I am in need of a rest though as you can see from the comparison between my last 3 rides! Luckily next week is rest week 🙂

Garmin comparison of last 3 endurance rides

Garmin comparison of last 3 endurance rides

Rollering and resting

Foul February

Its been a hard month, with a combination of the start of my knee niggling again, a bad cold, and a bout of food poisoning to contend with, mixed up with being away for 2 weekends on the trot and a trip to Baildon a few days after. I am feeling the strain, and so is my training. The weather isn’t helping either!A mixed bag!

A mixed bag!

I have been to see Kim down the road at Valley gate a couple of times, and seen some improvement in my knee. I have only run for 30 mins at a time for the last 2 weeks, so am a little worried that I won’t have much time to build up my distance again.

So its foam rolling every day and have a great book and resource that I have been using by Martin Koban

My new best friends.

My new best friends.

Trying to be positive, its an opportunity to build up my bike and swim endurance! I am sure that it will teach me something…

The good news..

My power meter arrived on Tuesday, so back to the number crunching, and data woo hoo!!

B****y bearings

After my great sense of achievement replacing my BB and chainset, I thought I would do another job that I’d been putting off, replacing my headset bearings.

tried to re-grease them, but they are pitted and rusty

tried to re-grease them, but they are pitted and rusty

Its a very easy job, except that nobody would sell me the bearings! I tried 2 shops which I will call shop A and shop B. In shop A I had already had success in buying bearings for my husbands mountain bike, buoyed up with my fortune I took my road bike bearings in and asked if they had any. I was told that the man who knew where they were was not there, and they took my details to call me. I dropped in the next day and was told that he had not had time to look for them, and I could have them back if I wanted. I assumed that meant they couldn’t be bothered.


My next stop was shop B, they told me that they could order some, so I left the bearings there and they called me later on and told me that they had some that might fit, but I would have to bring my bike in to check. Now call me stubborn but I did not want to take my bike in. I knew how to do the job and wanted to do it myself. I went in the next day (without my bike) and bought the bearings, (which did not fit!) they must have known that they wouldn’t fit as he measured them with a micrometer, however he only measured the exterior diameter and not the interior one. He said that if they didn’t fit I would have to take my bike in, a recurring theme!

The wrong size!

The wrong size!

So I went online and found the bearings that I needed, they arrived 2 days later from Tweeks cycles, and I now have a lovely smooth headset, I only wish I’d done that myself to start with. However, several days later I had a call from “shop A” to say that the bearings were now in stock!! Typical.new bearings

new bearings

Strava debate, my two pence worth!

The Strava debate

I have recently decided to try to simplify my life a bit by not downloading everything to Strava. It has also coincided with a long break from training due to illness, so I have had more time to think about the pro’s and con’s. I found another feature the other day, where there is a leader board for clubs, so that you can see how you stack up against other people in terms of distance, time, etc. This is one of the reasons I dislike Strava. I find myself constantly comparing myself to others, which I am trying to do less of! So here goes my list of positives and negatives


  1. It allows me to compare my efforts and power data for a certain segment, or hill climb.
My record, while being chased by a dung laden tractor.

My record, while being chased by a dung laden tractor.

2.  I quite like the social side of having been out on a ride with others, it shows up that you had a ride with someone, and also allows you to comment on peoples rides. (I do have friends really!!)

3.  You can see where you are compared to others, however there is a limited women’s pool on Strava.


1. If you compare yourself to others on Strava you don’t know what the conditions were like, so you are not comparing like for like, they also may have been time trialling while you were on a long ride.

2. Sometimes people can comment negatively on your ride/feed.

3. If you look at what other people are doing it can cause anxiety about not doing enough.


If used wisely it can be fun to use. My husband has just recently entered some of the challenges on there, which got him out riding more than he would normally, so it can be good at motivating people.

I have started making my rides private, then I can still see my results and where I stack up, but I will probably not download everything, ultimately its something else to distract me from other stuff that I should or want to be doing, and I use Training peaks for analysis of data so I don’t really need another programme. However it did show me that I set a personal record on a section of road to Marros, and would have picked up a queen of the mountain had my ride not been private, while being chased by a tractor pulling s**t, maybe I should visualise that in future races 😉

Don't know which is worse, being behind or ahead of one of these.

Don’t know which is worse, being behind or ahead of one of these.

Getting back into the groove!

After analysing and stewing over my data I decided to ask someone about it and emailed Coach Cox to see if he would do an analysis to confirm what I thought. I payed for a report (really good value) where he gave me feedback on the event. I probably gave myself a bit too much of a hard time, thinking I could have done better, but there is always room for improvement. A few easy weeks a trip to Barcelona, and a trip to Abergavenny to do my level 2 cycle coach course later, I am back to training with a bit more vengance! (Only a bit!)

The taper continues!
The taper continues!

Went running in Barcelona and got lost, but managed to get directions in my poor Spanish, all the roads looked the same…. BIG.

Getting lost in Barcelona

Getting lost in Barcelona

Then repeated the experience getting lost in Abergavenny on my mountain bike. Actually the bit I went wrong on was the best bit!

The Blorenge after I missed the turning

The Blorenge after I missed the turning

I made another rare outing with the Dynamos, did the Pembrokeshire Velos 15 mile time trial , and have entered their open events in a couple of weekends time. So should be improving again for Bala. The weather has been amazing and we spent a lovely evening down on the beach in Tenby watching Devon race Taff kids. Loads of bikes around as its the long course weekend. I seem to be the only one not doing something, and the sea looked sooo inviting on Friday, still Its nice to see people out and about doing stuff, and it was great to watch Devon in his own race!

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An interesting week, and RTTC national time trial

This arrived through the post on Monday. After driving back from Wimbleball on Sunday I had a cursory glance and left it on the table for a week

Just what I always wanted

Just what I always wanted

I had an easy week and did nothing until Thursday. I entered this Time Trial when I was tapering, and full of energy. At the time I wasn’t sure it was such a good idea, but I thought I’d give it a try. Time Trials are great for improving fitness! My start time was 2.46pm (not used to such a late start and only having to remember my bike… a revelation!) So I left home, got to Penblewin roundabout and realised I had left my Garmin at home charging :-0. I always seem to remember something I forgot on that roundabout! Anyway I arrived in plenty of time to drive the course, which was very well signed and marshalled in any case.

Start list

Start list

I signed on at the village hall and helped pin numbers on someone and vice versa. Everyone was very friendly and asked my name and introduced themselves. I had a chat with someone I knew and then went to the car park to get ready, where I chatted with another woman about saddles and chafing, as you do! I was trying something different and set my garmin to beep when I went under a certain wattage, (normally I set it to beep when its above) In retrospect I should have set it 10Watts lower! I went off feeling good, and was overtaken within the first 5 miles. There were people dotted along the course clapping, which was nice. The dual carriageway seemed to go on for a long time (this is the first 50 mile TT I have done) It was a relief to turn off onto the old road, and I knew it was not far to the turn around point. At the turn around point it all changed, the wind was against us and I started to struggle to hold my power, then the dual carriageway just seemed to go on for ever. I was overtaken by several people (stopped counting). I got to the lap point and almost dropped out, but thought I’ll just try and finish, forget about the power. I turned my beeping pest of a Garmin off, and got my head down. I got to the point of no return and was now starting to get uncomfortable in my aero position, had to stretch out a couple of times and was really struggling, it was like the road to hell. I kept wondering why I was riding up a dual carriageway in pain, when I could be at home relaxing! (maybe not, its amazing what you’ll do to get away from the kids for a bit!) I dragged myself to the finish and then to add insult to injury I had to cycle back to the start, which also seemed to take a lot longer on the way back! Many people had parked in a closer lay-by. This was the most mentally challenging race I have done, and I am amazed at the women who do this regularly, well done everyone! Much harder than my race last weekend.

Full results are here, amazing times!

Couldn't take it!

Couldn’t take it!

Finish times, not quite last!

Finish times, not quite last!

I had to get back home to my understanding husband, so didn’t stay for the prize giving, it looked like there was some good cake though! I did an average of 20.4mph so I was quite pleased that I got over 20, I was aiming for that. Drove home and had to stop the car in a lay-by near Resolven as I thought I was going to throw up (didn’t thankfully) Got home and dumped everything in the doorway, could not even be bothered to open the garage.

Left in the doorway

Left in the doorway

And the next day this awaited me!!!

Tidy up time!

Tidy up time!

So would I do it again? Who knows! Never say never 🙂 Some great photo’s here. and another report. At least I got a good photo though!!


The Slateman, and rushing around panicking.

Things I learnt this week,

1. Rushing around trying to solve problems often gets you back where you started.

2. I need to drink and eat more on the bike.

3. Tapering works, racing when tired doesn’t.

I have just finished my hardest block of training, and entered The Slateman as a practise race,  before Wimbleball. Last week I was pretty tired, I think the weekend away and some harder training had taken its toll. I started panicking on Tuesday, as my bike had been making a creaking sound, so I tried to get it sorted. To cut a long story short this involved me driving back and forth to Penally swapping wheels, and finding out that it wasn’t the wheel at all and ending up with the wheel that I started off with. I took the bike out on a training ride on Thursday and no creaking 🙂

Before the rain and thunder started

Before the rain and thunder started

We drove up to Llanberis on Friday after school, and arrived at 9pm, got the tent up and had a drink with some friends. I had about 4 hours sleep after going to bed late and having freezing cold feet, then the boys waking up at 5 in the morning! We spent a lovely day going round Caernarfon castle until the wind picked up and it got cold, so back to the tent and then out for food. The race was the next day so we had a bit of an early night, and woke up to much better weather. The race was amazing, much harder than I thought, the run was a killer, you can read the full race report here

One more to collect!

One more to collect!

5 weeks and first race next weekend

Back to a “normal” week this week, after the excitement of going away. I did my first Time Trial this week on a windy Wednesday, was slower than last year, but quite pleased with my pacing! Screen Shot 2013-05-10 at 19.25.07

Had a long ride on Friday to avoid the rain on Thursday, and took a few pictures before going up Pendine Hill, always hard, the hill not taking pics 😉


It looked a bit sunnier than this when I was there!! Nice to see the bluebells out though. Looking forward to The slateman triathlon next weekend in Llanberis, I’m hoping the lake will have warmed up a little bit by then! Lyn Padarn brrr..


What a week! (6 weeks to go)


Had a great week last week, my first open water swim at Amroth beach, I got a very cold face at first but then swam down the beach and back against the current, as you can see from Garmin!!Image

Mountain Biking

At the weekend my mum looked after the boys and we did the Dyfi Enduro  in Machynlleth, we drove up on Saturday and camped Saturday and Sunday night. We did the event last year, but didn’t finish (injured husband). This year he trained and we finished, had a great time there’s a lovely atmosphere at the event and its nice not to be competitive for a change!!


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