Tag Archives: Training.

Ibiza

This is the first time for me. Clubland, Ibiza. Despite DJing when younger I’d never been here. I wasn’t that much of a hardcore clubber I suppose. The murky drug side of it all put me off too. I have never really been one for all that stuff.

Now, at the age of 32, and with TPO’s 30th in a matter of days, we decided to come for a bit of a mixed holiday. The Balearics for me is something I associate with cycling training camps. Majorca has some of the best roads and a climate that is favourable makes it precisely the type of place cyclists like to spend a week or two at the start of the season. A bit of searching on the Weight Weenies forum, and I was told that there was enough riding on Ibiza to fill a week too. In that time you could pretty much cover the whole island. I packed the bike into the (new) bike box, and we headed to the sun for 5days beech, cycling (me), running (TPO) and relaxing in the sun. This was followed by two nights in Ibiza town doing the party thing. Fortunately, I am not at work again until Monday 2nd, so I will have some time to recover.

Well lets just put it this way – the roads are awesome. Too twisty to be fast in a car, so locals seem to stay below 80km/h most of the time. I have ridden along country lanes, with the sun shimmering on irrigation tanks, a perfect mirror of the brilliant blue cloudless sky. I have seen farmers rebuilding a dry stone wall. I have seen the coastline, beaches, boats. I have seen hairpin bends, and the type of twisty yet smooth road descents where you go as fast as you dare, the tyres and your faith in your brakes being the only limiting factor – the mountains in the north really did give me what I was looking for, as the pass climbs from sea level to 270m in a very short distance. It was a case of selecting the granny gear and grinding. All of your effort going into climbing in autopilot mode, while the sweat of the 35degree heat glares down on you. I drank litres of fluid. Perhaps 4 – 5 litres a day. I got up at 7:00 to avoid the heat. I once more fell in love with my bike again.

It is true to say that traveling with a bike is a pain. You need to hire a car or get a larger taxi – you need to pack it properly and cross your fingers that nothing will happen. You need to be prepared for it to be destroyed. I ride a lot of bikes though, and honestly, there is nothing like riding your own one on the sort of roads you kid yourself you ride. The sort of roads which are the image in your head. The type of roads where Armstrong and Ullrich would have duelled. Yes, it isn’t the Alps or the Pyrenees and they certainly are on my list, but please don’t dismiss Ibiza if you have a week to spare. Particularly if your own pretty one is with you. The parties in the evening, riding in the morning and sleep all day is a sweet way to pass the time.

Just a word of warning. Do not burn the candles at both ends too much. It could be messy.

My rides were as follows:
45.3km 422m climbed
62.2km 802m climbed
81.4km 971m climbed
28.0km 245m climbed
85.2km 1072m climbed

So 302km with 3512m climbed. Not too bad, given this is a holiday and I went clubbing all night between the first and second ride!

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What am I training for?

Well it is a question I was asking myself on Monday, when someone was trying to convince me that really, in my heart, I wanted to do a ten mile time trial.  I didn’t want to at all (they are a suffer fest) but it is something that I am considering.

Commitment.  First of all, committing to exercising is difficult.  I understand that, and people who don’t exercise – you know, I can understand that too.  Taking the time every day (or 4 days out of 7 minimum to make me happy) to do something that raises my heart rate sufficiently for an extended amount of time is sometimes very difficult.  The English summer is cold and miserable for the most part this year so far.  I know, we are only in May, but still.  I am very pale for someone who has ridden as much as I have recently.  My knee warmers have proven to be the best investment I made of late.  When the wind is blowing and the weather is cold and damp, then yes, staying at home does seem like the preferable option.

There was a time in my past where I trained properly, every day.  I had a training schedule, and I worked at building up my hours.  It worked very well, and I was quick, but then my knee went bang.  I have always aspired to get back to that level of fitness, but actually the motivation to train like I did wasn’t there.  It was fair to call my approach one of an athlete.  I would be upset if I didn’t train.  I watched what I ate.  I HAD to go and ride at least 4 hours on Sunday.  Even in the snow.  It was on my training plan.  I am actually pleased that I am not approaching it like that now, but, and here it comes, where do I go from here?

I want to ride my bikes.  I actually quite enjoyed competition, but enjoyed training more (competition gave me a reason to train – an excuse when questioned about this apparent madness).  The feeling of training when others were at home is great.  There is a clip of Lance Armstrong mountain training, where the team car is telling him that there is 3 feet of snow at the top, and he can’t ride it.  He just ignores them.  The idea of being tougher than anyone else is motivation in crap weather.

I think what I am saying is that doing things by halves is not my style.  I haven’t competed since 2006 because of my knee.  I have rested up completely and recovered.  I have trained differently and actually changed by body shape.  I do work on my upper body now, not just cycling.  I run too, for a shorter, sharper work out.  I swam a fair amount too (but haven’t since moving – which is bad).  More all round fitness was the quest, and I think it has paid off.  I am able to ride, without knee problems.  Of course, I am aware of it, and running is just something I do because I dare not ride everyday.

So on my ride on Monday, after not joining the club time trial, I rode on, thinking about a challenge.  Perhaps one of the Sportives would be the way to go?  I want to build my stamina and my group riding experience, and this seems like a good way to do it.  Sport has for me, always being the best that I can be, not about judging my performance against others.  A sportive seems to fit this bill.  I also want to ride the greats.  Go to France and ride the climbs of the tour.  Go back to South Africa and do the Cape Argos.  All of these things are on my list.

So now I am searching for a Sportive to do.  In August from York there looks to be a good candidate – 100 miles and about 1000m of climbing.  That isn’t much over that distance.

Monday’s ride was 63km, with an average speed of 30.1km, by the way. Yesterday’s exercise was a 6km run.  In the sun, incidentally.

Free Pizza for lunch

I just turned down pizza for lunch and ate my wholemeal smoked salmon, rocket, avocado and tomato sandwich instead. The smell of the Pizza in the staff room was good, but I am very proud of myself! Let’s see if I can keep these things (Pizza, crisps, chips and alcohol) as treats like I used to. It is difficult though.

There was no butter or mayo in the sandwich either. And I rode through the snow to work.

Smug, me?

Just ride

Simetimes it is just about riding a bike. My plan is to become fitter than I have been for the last couple of years, that is no secret, but what normally happens is that the path there, the planning to achieve your aims can get in the way of the name of the game itself.

In order to be faster on the bike, at it’s most basic level, I need to ride my bike more. For the moment, this is what I am concentrating on. That means, If I think I can squeeze a ride in, if I have an hour in which to do some pedaling, then just do it. Truth of the matter is that while structured training, training plans and hours spent riding a day would see a lot more progress, opportunist training will also have an effect.

I think what I am saying is that anything is better than nothing.

My plan this week is to use the bike to commute. It is cold, it is miserable and it is dark. But, and this is the point, at least I have ridden.

Training

I am still on my quest to regain part of my fitness, and visiting my best friend here in Cape Town certainly helps. His commitment to himself, his training and his fitness is inspiring. He has set himself goals and is working towards them. What I like about it, is that he is tireless. He will work out twice a day, eat the correct things and enjoys every minute. I am not that lucky! Cycling is the highlight, and everything else is an enabler!

Some of the routes around here though are amazing. The wind too. That is amazing in all the wrong ways. You round a corner and then the wind takes you from 40 km/h to 16 km/h and struggling to change gear fast enough.

In the past few days I have spent 5.5hours in the saddle. Not much in terms of pedal time, but my legs are exhausted. The climbing and the wind has seen to that. Mix that in with the heat, and it really takes it out of you.

This is a holiday though. A holiday with some training mixed in. I am here to relax, do what I enjoy and ‘recover’ a bit. My hectic schedule continues almost immediately when I leave.

Today, my plan is to visit a coffee shop, and plan excursions over the next few days. Photographs are what I am after and I will be armed with a digital SLR to try to appease this desire!