Thursday, 11 May 2017
Flirted occasionally with XC racing, 6th at XC Nationals in Elite was a highlight. Attempted to start training from the moment the CX season had ended until, well, all year. Never got going. Kids going through poor sleep patterns, bouts of man flu or tending to child flu, over tiredness and over eating... not ideal environmental conditions.
CX Season came round again. For once I was less excited and more fearful due to a terrible year of zero preparation. And then it happened - The girls decided to start sleeping. Absolute bliss. Going from 4-5 awakenings per night, every night to one or two maybe once or twice a week at most happened at just the right time.
I still didn't train much, but at least now I was able to stay awake on the start line. I managed a 2nd place in the opening UCX round which I put down to a fluke of conditions that suited me and others having mechanicals, but when I had gained another few podiums I realised that sleep really is the best thing in life.
6th at CX nationals in Tollymore was a real turn around for my form in this race. For once I was happy with the performance and preparation and know its as good as I could ever have hoped for given the stellar field of riders.
The Under 6 racer upgraded herself to Under 8 and continues to surprise me, collecting a couple of 3rd place medals along the way, and more importantly, enjoying every race and getting stuck in. Offspring MKII also decided to start racing lately on her balance bike, because everyone else is at it. 30 months old and racing on an under 8 licence, ridiculous, but she loves it.
Base training going well so far in 2017, with small signs of progress for the first time in a few years. I raced one Ormeau spring series and a shoulder injury shut me down on the last lap, but aiming for a blast at Ulster XC round 4 this coming weekend held in Castlewellan Forest by Shimna Wheelers. It's sure to be a good one.
Friday, 6 May 2016
Following on from here...
Season 5 - Transformation to full time CX racer. Its just handier with two wee girls and one wife who has decided running is a good way to spend her days. It has the added benefit of being able to make progress at a chosen discipline again. When you start at the bottom, there is only one way to go.
But when the XC came round, I had no choice but to feed the urge again and get a few races in. A few was all it was in the end up. Various commitments and an unwillingness to travel away for whole days or weekends proved to be enough for me.
7 minutes of the only road race I entered convinced me never to set foot in an open RR group again. Absolute carnage. A quick dabble into full on Time Trialing proved not to be the time saver or competitive appetite suppressant I had hoped for. It turns out commuting on Aero extensions is a right pain in the back.
Season 6 - Completely besotted with cyclocross at this stage. Raced every single weekend from September until mid December - for the traditional, inexplicable 3 week break in proceedings before the biggest race of the year. The CX nationals. League went well, grabbed some podiums which I never dreamt possible. 2nd in the overall league. Top 10 at nationals, the result may not have been as good as I wanted but the performance was, so I went home happy for a change.
Now if I could just break the caramel square habit and get a block of 8 weeks or so of no more sniffles brought home from the mini-me's I could maybe get something going.
Best thing of all about season 6 is that offspring MK1 has started racing U6's, doing quite well in the first couple of races and totally blowing the form book open by beating everyone (all the smelly boys) in her 4th race. She was the reason I started racing in the first place. MK2 has a long way to go but I am sure her total abandon for her own safety will prove useful in years to come.
Thursday, 31 July 2014
How to dig a hole... Train really hard to hit the ground running in your first season in elite. Be dead happy at how you put in a stonking performance in round 1 and then build from there.
Then under prepare for rd2 by training too much and resting too little I'm between. Ride around with your forks locked out and then Snap your chain In a rage of fury at how bad you're going.
Continue to search for answers to your poor performance by entering an A4 road race on the following weekend to try and pick up your confidence. Crash heavily at 25mph after 8 minutes and end up in A&E with a suspected fractured femur. Be glad that its just a massively dead leg. Hobble around for days and force yourself back on a bike to try and make round 3 before the next weekend. Ride round 3 like a person who thought his leg was broken 7 days previous.
Continue to ramp up your anaerobic sessions. These are the intervals that will make the difference. Its true! But its intervals plus rest that does it ... You know this... But fall into the trap of pushing on In the hope you are superman. Go to round 4 in Limerick. Realise half way through the race that its a long one and 3 bottles aren't enough. Be relatively competitive with a podium possible. Blow up like a big balloon with 10 mins left when the screw is Turning. Sit in the car for 6 hours home and then wonder why your legs don't work for days afterwards in their dehydrated glycogen depleted unstretched state.
Go to rd5. Put in a class performance. Always measure your performance against yourself and what you know you can do. Even if it is your lowest position. Ignore the fact that you had enforced rest up to this one. Get back on the hole digging asap!
Continue to ramp up your CTL in WKO+ and get sick. Bonk on 3 rides in a row and race with manflu anyway. A new low!
You are now wondering whether you should stop the season here. Or travel another 700mile round trip to get your ass handed to you on a plate at the nationals in Killarney. Of course you choose the whipping. You lose motivation to ride and train and increase your ever growing appetite regardless.
...And a whipping it was. Power figures all time low. Couldn't ride the bike at all through the off camber and despite starting poorly... Every lap got poorer!
Well. 2 really good races and a whole book of lessons to take home and learn from. Not a wasted season at all but should have been much better.
A 3rd in the NPS table despite never finishing higher than 4th in a race. A trophy for persistence and fulfilling the rules. 5th in elites at the nationals but a pony trek off the men who mattered. Looks ok on paper.
Who reads papers though?
Wednesday, 28 May 2014
What is Wattclub?Wattclub is a special place, a group more secretive than the Free masons. A guild of middle aged men who, for a multitude of reasons, have acquired a power meter for their biclismo obsession.
It is a place where guys sit around in their lycra and talk in codes of NP, TSS, W/KG with some added chat about CTL, ATL and PMC's added on for effect.
For me, it all started when I was still getting smashed at the start of every single XC race, despite kidding myself that I had been training for the intensity and mayhem of an Ulster Senior 3 race start. I soon realised after moving up to S2 that I could no longer rely on my aerobic fitness to drag me back into a race that I had let slip off into the distance in the first minute every week.
So I started doing some real hard intervals. Except I would go so hard I couldnt last more than 20 seconds of a 1 minute effort without collapsing over the bars exhausted. So I tried to pace the interval a little more controlled but would get to the end of the minute and feel ok - where I was aiming to have the over the bars collapsed feeling. I decided I needed help. I became the proud and secretive owner of a powertap. Secretive until I finally decided I was keeping it and had the courage to tell the wife I owned it.
What is the first rule of Wattclub?In my best Tyler Durden voice... "You do NOT talk about Wattclub".
Unless to a fellow member.
Nobody outside the ring wants to know how many watts you averaged in the inter-club 10 mile TT to the turn, or what your normalized power was for your latest A4 smash-a-thon road race. Honestly. Their eyes will glaze over and you will get labelled as another WATTMAN. A stem Starer. A person obsessed with numbers rather than the ability to actually race.
Just Don't Do It. OK!?
What Can Wattclub do for you?Nothing but inflate or crush your ego.
No longer will you wonder if you were quick because of the wind, or whether you are suddenly superman. You should already know anyway, if you KOM'd it on strava, it was a tailwind.
You can compare your W/Kg with the pro's and realise just how useless you actually are in the grand scale of things.
On the positive side of the coin... The Powermeter is the ultimate training tool. Once your time is limited you can stop wasting time on training rides and make the most of the limited bike time granted by your other half. Those vouchers don't last long. Make them count.
Of course nobody "needs" a powermeter. But in my opinion, it will have a greater impact on the average Joe than the average Pro. The man who is prepared to learn and actually use it rather than learn and use excuses for the rest of their life is the man who can move from being a nobody to an S4 contender!
Man I love talking about watts... You better be in the club...
Thursday, 13 March 2014
But Bored you must be, if you are actually reading this.
Quick XC Career recap.
Season 1 - S3. Deadly season, few podiums and decent NPS position. Top 10 at Nationals
Season 2 - S2. Stroked badly in every NPS round, got it together for a late push and took UXC S2 title and Ulster Masters Champs medal. 7th I think at Nationals, more by default of everyone else breaking their bike Down in Djouce wonderland.
Season 3 - S2. Late 2012 form carried on thanks to a season of CX, Hit the ground running, Podiumed every NPS round with 3 wins and won the National masters title. Go Me. Should have just quit then. But No, I went in and did another full winter of CX after a few months downtime.
Season 4 - S1. Senior 1? WTF? How did this happen? From Baggies and Trailbadger jerseys and racing on a Commencal Meta 5, to racing XC Elites, EPO and A national champs jersey to disgrace. All a bit of a blur. Race one is over, managed 4th in round 1 of the Ulster XC. I have another wee bundle of joy due in August. Expecting full time retirement or total career transformation to Enduro or Downhill, or some other format where I dont have to spend time training in between sh*tty bums.
I suppose I will update again when said baba is heading off to school. Primary or secondary..? anyones guess.
Friday, 23 March 2012
It’s brilliant racing single speed. Everyone thinks you’re hard, yet it’s actually not that much of a disadvantage if any (depending on the course), and it doesn’t matter how you actually do – anything will seem impressive on one gear. So, in short, you’re just a big attention seeker like me!
You can't perform above your capabilities - you can only under perform