There comes a point in your training when there is nothing more you can do to increase your fitness and you need to accept that you have done all that you can. Whatever happens on the day will happen, I got back off a long ride feeling pretty negative as my power and speed were low, but thinking about it rationally I had done a 10km (running) Time Trial the night before, and had been building for a while, only having a short recovery after the 100 mile TT, so not surprising really! There is a great post about tapering here which I found helpful and inspiring.
I have been looking at last years taper for Wimbleball and comparing it to my training this year, I had some feedback that my taper may have been a bit drastic, this was because I was ill after a race and then started tapering after I had recovered. This years will not be so drastic and I’ll be nice and ready to race!
This years Performance management chart
Last years Performance management chart. a sharp drop after Slateman
Time trials and tribulations (garmin data is here, full results here)
I went along to the 10km Time trial organised by Pembrokeshire Triathlon club on Tuesday evening, hoping to better my time from 6 years ago!! I can’t believe how long ago that was. My time in 2008 was 43.23. When I arrived Ian, the timekeeper, decided that I would be fastest and put me last. I was not so sure, but went along with it anyway! Ellie (the only other woman) went off 1 minute ahead of me and I tried to keep her in sight. It soon became apparent that she was flying, as I counted the time from her passing a lamppost, she was already more than a minute ahead within the first few miles. , it was a lovely evening, and nice to have a chat. I got a time of 41.14, so 2 minutes faster than last time. I should be happy with that, but maybe have been feeling a bit negative this week.
The long ride
I decided to ride the whole Ironman course the day after, and was pretty dissapointed in my speed. I may have been tired, and also lacking motivation doing the route on my own. I’m not sure that I really wanted to do it, because I knew that if I was slow it would make me depressed, but Patrick suggested it and I thought the pro’s would outweigh the con’s. Anyway I borrowed his go pro which was quite fun, although I have now spent hours editing the ******* thing.
A bit of geekiness
After I had recovered from the ride, digested my stats, done some more research, and generally got slightly obsessive about numbers, I spotted that my Intensity factor for the ride was based on my old FTP, so with a few calculations I realised that I will be able to go faster on race day, (of course some other factors will come into play too) but if the maths is right then I’m happy !!
Last year I rode the 50 mile national Time Trial Championship in Abergavenny, and at the end I swore I would never, ever do it again. About 6 months later, and after signing up for Ironman Wales I decided that it would be a good idea to do another long Time Trial as part of my training in the lead up to Ironman. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) the only long TT that I could do was the 100. I entered online, thinking I don’t actually have to do it. My mum agreed to support me, and we drove up the night before, after checking the weather we decided not to camp. I booked the Premier Inn in Pontypool. My mum was still optimistic about the weather, thinking that it would rain overnight and then be clear for the morning. I was not so optimistic after checking my phone. At least it didn’t look windy!
Rain, and more rain
At 5:30am the alarm went off, and I had a cup of tea, dressed and applied liberal amounts of Sudocrem and Hoo Ha glide to my posterior, (thanks girls for the tips!) Unfortuatley I forgot that I then had to sit in the car. The sudocrem had already seeped through, so I sat on my coat to protect my mums upholstery, ( must remember next time to apply cream at last minute!)
a magical combination
As we drove somberly towards the start in the torrential rain I had mixed feelings, I was really looking forward to doing the TT as I have never ridden 100miles before, but the weather was horrendous, and I could tell my mum was a bit worried, as she asked whether I would be riding along the dual carriageway, and if there would be cars on it. I was also worried that they would cancel, because as we got nearer to HQ there was not the usual hubbub of riders warming up and riding to the start.
We arrived at 6:30, (the first rider was off at 7:09am) I joined the huddle of freaks, sheltering outside HQ who had decided that come rain or shine they were riding 100 miles today. The organiser had not arrived yet so there was some speculation as to whether it was cancelled. Suddenly the doors were opened and signing on sheets signed. I committed my signature to paper and organised myself, giving my 2 bottles to my mum and explaining where and when to wait. I went out to the car and slung my bag over my shoulder and felt a sharp pain across my back. Now my mind really started playing up, and as I rode to the start my power meter started dropping out, and I could hear a clicking on my front derailler. I was starting to wonder if the gods were trying to tell me something, but I moved my garmin to my handlebars, and realised that the clicking was only the cable knocking against the crank arm, and my back was fine in the TT position.
I set off behind Tanis Hand (ex Tenby Aces, and the only other woman to ride) The route is 3 laps of the dual carriageway up to Monmouth and back to Abergavenny. At the first turnaround I saw Tanis and she looked a way ahead of me so I just stuck to my plan. When I got out on the second lap I did a quick bit of maths and realised that I was going to be at the lay-by that I told my mum to wait at about 15 minutes before I told her to get there. Happily I spotted her car as I approached ( she likes to be early thankfully) and I stopped to fill up my aero bottle and grab the other bottle from her. I said I was feeling good and got on my way. The photographer was at the next lay-by as globules of snot, spit, and rain dribbled down my chin. I couldn’t really muster a smile!
Next I saw Jill Coleman who cheered me on, I was averaging 20.8mph so was feeling amazing as I was aiming for 19-20mph. I sang a lovely rendition of Chesney Hawkes I am the one and only (where did that come from?!!) as I was overtaken by one of many men, and I had one of several manic laughing fits as I realised that, yes, I really was doing this, and doing a good time. I had done 50 miles in 2h20 which was faster than I did the 50 mile TT in last year. The rest of the second and third lap was a blur of feeling sorry for lonely, and sodden supporters holding out drinks bottles, marshals waving frantically and pointing, and looking forward to the tunnel near Monmouth for a couple of minutes shelter.
On the second and third lap I started to pass a few people, including Tanis, and Jill told me that I was on the team now, as Paul had to pull out. About 20 miles from the end I started to watch my power dropping, and had to talk to myself a few times to keep focussed, the last few miles seemed the longest ever. I shouted my number out to the clapping timekeepers and with comedic timing the rain stopped and the sun started to come out.
When I got back to HQ my mum told me that there was only 1 other woman who completed the race, so I jokingly said “I may be Welsh Champion then”, to which she replied “you are!” This seemed pretty funny to me and I got inside where Jill, Paul, Dan and Rob told me that we’d won the team prize too. 3 cups of tea later I had warmed up and was presented with my Championship cap, and we had a team photo.
The winning team
A word from the organiser
Garmin data here, full results here, more photo’s of bedraggled competitors here
If you are not interested in data look away now 😉
Out of 71 riders 26 started 7 DNF, and 39 DNS
My aim was to keep above 150 watts, and below 180, I had set some alerts on the garmin, but couldn’t really hear them. I also had an auto lap set for 25 miles, but again didn’t hear the first lap. My power did go down at the end, but in comparison to last years 50 mile TT it was not so extreme, so I was happy with my pacing. I could probably have held back more in the beginning, as my average power for each lap shows.
Below is a comparison between last years 50 and this years 100, you can see how I started way too hard in the 50, and suffered about halfway through! This year I had also prepared myself psychologically and knew what to expect.
100 mile TT 2014
Couldn’t take it!
So overall, I was amazed with my result, I rode about 15-30 minutes quicker than I thought I would, so with some great performances under my belt I feel ready for Ironman Wales!
We have been to Asturias 3 times on holiday now, the area is lovely, and part of my reasoning to go back this year was that I knew a lot of routes that I could run or cycle without having to navigate too much. So it was less stressful for me in the run up to Ironman.
The area around us, Picos de europa
With limited time I have condensed the holiday into the good, the bad, and the ugly! (Its mostly good)
Watching a fixie criterium at Gijon, (I was actually entered for this but then realised it was fixie only and didn’t have a bike, (didn’t stop me having a mad dash to find one, even though I have never ridden a track bike before! Maybe next year ;-))Patrick has done all the hard work with pictures here and a short video here
A nice top end endurance ride around Cabrales getting a few QOM’s
My longest ride
Swimming in the sea, feeling more confident about donning my wetsuit and dodging beach goers to swim
Great food, lots of sea creatures
Devons birthday, I managed to order a cake in my limited Spanish, and he requested “hiking in the mountains” as his birthday treat.
Too many more good things to mention, and I came back to do my best ever hill session, averaging an extra 4-5 Watts per interval, and on longer intervals too! A change is definitely as good as a rest!
Some dodgy fabes con almejas (clams and beans) at a sideria in Ribadasella, which had me up all night with stomach cramps, wondering if it would hinder my training :-/
Our plumbing in the holiday let. After a day or 2 every time we flushed the toilet the contents came up in the bath. This coincided with the above (eurgh) it may have been Devon shoving half a toilet roll down there on the 2nd day, but I didn’t mention that. Luckily a man with a mop turned up after I reported it, and fixed the problem 🙂
100 mile Welsh championships on Sunday with wind and rain forecast, good to be home!
Last week was a busy one with the 4 up Time trial on Thursday evening and a wedding in Jersey at the weekend.
4 up TT
The 4 up time trail was on Thursday evening an hour and a half away, so we left Pembrokeshire at about 4pm and were back home at about 10.30pm, which is a late night for me! Our team consisted of Mel, Clair, Kirsty, and myself, and we had practised a couple of times.
I had never done a Time trial like this before, but it was great fun. The first part of the course is mostly down and I think the wind was behind us. I was checking my speed and we averaged about 27.5 mph on that stretch, so I was feeling pretty good. As we approached the turn of I was at the front, and I didn’t want to peel of at the junction, so I stayed at the front for a bit longer than I would have liked and I could feel it on the way back, as I was watching our average speed drop going uphill and into the wind!
spot when I was on the front!
It is amazing how much easier it is at the back drafting, as you can see from the power graph above. At the beginning I was desperate to get on the front, but by the end I was not looking forward to my turn so much! We beat the women’s Velo’s time by about 4 minutes so everyone was pleased with that.
On Friday we flew to Jersey for one of my husband’s friends wedding, we arrived there for a bbq overlooking the beach, the weather was fantastic, and it felt like we were on a holiday abroad, (I suppose Jersey is abroad!) On Saturday before the wedding Patrick and I went for a swim around the headland, although I think we went for a bit too long, as we didn’t warm up until we got back to the hotel, even though the sun was out!
After our swim
We then went out for a run, I had planned to do 3 minute anaerobic intervals, and I managed to persuade Patrick to do the same, I went a lot faster than I would have on my own, as I could hear him breathing down my neck!! So I think he will be on fine form for the Long weekend half marathon, and will probably beat me!
Anyway I’ll leave you with a picture of me and a postcard that we found in the pub!
I began a baking frenzy last week, making cakes picture here and then ordering new cook books after going to a friends birthday and feeling inspired.
Adding to my collection.
I used a trip to Caldey island with the in-laws to try out a recipe from the feed zone book, and made some pancakes with spring onions in. They were very tasty and enjoyed by everyone. Have ordered some mochi flour, corn flour, and black glutinous rice, to make more snacks, I haven’t used the clandestine cake book yet, but made chocolate buns out of my bread book for the boys.
My attempts at food photography.
This then got me thinking about trying to photograph food, so I have another book on its way…..watch this space! Oddly I saw this article in Total womens cycling just after I wrote this post about DIY nutrition.
I did the Bangeston 10 on Wednesday and used it as an opportunity to try out my rice cakes, after bonking the other week on the way home. I had one before I left, and then had a waffle and some homemade sesame snaps before I rode home, (didn’t bonk)
I posted a PB by 1 second!!! Remembered to press my lap button for a change. I was number 13 and had a near miss on the roundabout on my warm down, as a white pick-up pulled out in front of me.
Power for Bangeston 10
The dip in the middle is the roundabout, where someone overtook me, I tried to drop back a bit so as not to draught. Starting to feel a bit stronger, and slowly building my fitness back up, before the Welsh Championships in Abergavenny at the weekend
Beginning to pick up again
Womens sport in the media
I read this in the i (newspaper) last week and was flabbergasted. I have read something similar before. I think it was a man saying that Chrissie Wellington didn’t “win” Ironman Hawaii because men had beaten her, it sparked off a big online debate about physiology, and somebody replied with a very good analogy between boxing weight classification, and asked, would you put a heavyweight boxer against a welterweight? On the plus side there were some women promoting the European U19 women’s football championship, Wales v France next week! Have some free tickets so may take the boys:-)
I almost can’t believe this letter is serious.
Can you believe this letter!
Belated Mountain Biking
I promised my husband I would put a link to his mountain biking video in so here it is! Probably didn’t do it before as there is footage of me being a wuss!!
Have had another busy week this week, and lots of time outside in the fantastic weather.
A few more QOM’s
I entered the Pembrokeshire Velos Open weekend Time trials and Milton hill climb after I got back from Barcelona. I checked with my husband who said this would be fine…. A few days before, he mentioned an event at Freshwater West that he wanted to go to on the Saturday, which was the date of the time trial and hill climb. This was fine as my TT was early, but the hill climb was at midday, I ended up doing the time trial going home, packing up for the beach, driving to the beach, dropping the boys off, then driving back to do the hill climb. When I got back to the time trial HQ I had £5 in an envelope waiting for me, as I had won the morning event (only 2 women entered). I stayed on for the presentation for the hill climb, and won another £5 (again only 2 women entered!) My power meter conked out at the start of the Time Trial so no power data for me. Most annoying, as I was going to use these as a test for my FTP! Now I’ll have to do another one 😮
Hill Climb Results
The sea was great afterwards to cool off in. Beautiful clear water at Fresh West. When I got there the Pembrokeshire surf riders were organising their retro surf contest, which involved paddling races, flapping about in a puddle like a dying fish contest, and a mincing walk contest. (there was no surf!)The stars must have shone on us because Patrick (husband) won best adult male. I was so proud 😉 He won some surf wax, a wax comb, a T-shirt, a surf wax air freshener, and a bracelet!! We stayed for a BBQ which started to catch fire after half an hour, and spent lots of time in the water, lovely.
Freshwater West, so lucky to live near these beaches.
Got home for an early night for me, and beach party for Patrick, which was going to involve him sleeping on the beach and me picking him up at 6am to drive to the 15 mile Time Trial. I woke up at 2:45am to hear a van dropping him off back home, so I set the alarm for half an hour later, then woke up every hour until 6am, when I drove to Carew again. On the course there was a strong headwind on the way back, so I took it quite easy on the way out, probably too easy, but my legs weren’t working today, I finished 3 minutes slower than last weeks time, but still won my fiver (only 2 women again!) I got home to a very hungover Patrick, who I sent back to bed.
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
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.
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.
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
And the next day this awaited me!!!
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!!
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!
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..
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