Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy new year

Just want to wish everyone who reads this blog (all 3 of you!) a happy new year. I hope all those new years resolutions are stuck to!

Spin update

On Monday myself and a few of the guys from the club hit Djouce again. It was a great spin. We did all the trails at least once, tried a few drops and had a couple of spontaneous sprints on the fire roads. The weather was perfect and over all a super day.

As I am thinking about doing a duathlon in January, I did a 5km run. It was the first run in about 18 months and boy did it hurt - during and after. I had a couple of pains come and go in my ankles, but nothing too bad. I hope these runs get easier :)

And today was another road spin around Kildare - just 60 odd km's. Another super day, so I was happy just to get out on the bike. Before I get back to work on Monday I hope to get a long road spin in and/or a long mtb spin.
In between all of this I've been looking at the new bike - figuring out ways to drop it down below the 10kg mark. All I've learnt is that there is no cheap way of doing it. I'll be buying a new saddle, and may revert back to the 160mm rotor on the front by changing the brake caliper to a post mount. After that it would have to be the fork and pedals, which I doubt very much I'll be upgrading next year. I will investigate the tyres. The set on the bike right now are pretty light, but there may be some weight saving to be had and it would be quite a cheap upgrade. I'm trying not to get too obsessed with this weight thing as I'm a couple of kg's heavier now than I was in June, so personal weight loss is the easiest and cheapest way to drop the combined rider/bike weight!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas week spins

Have managed to squeeze in a couple of spins between feeding sessions. On Stephens day I did a spin of the lake, but felt very heavy and slow :) . But it had to be done as I was off to the in laws for xmas dinner part 2 - the fattening. I did not got too overboard and today I headed off into Kildare for a few hours. I considered Wicklow, but I just did not feel like lugging myself up those bloomin' hills all day, so a spin on the flat (albeit at a fairly zippy speed) was on the cards.

I roughly followed the Kildare 100 route, but missed a couple of turns and by passed the "Mur de Huy" - probably for the best. Still it was a nice spin on a beautiful day. There were some patches of ice on the roads, but nothing to be concerned about.

Tomorrow I'm doing a spot of trail building for a couple of hours. I'll bring the bike along too for a quick spin. Monday I'm back in Djouce for some more fun filled adventures.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Off Road and On Road spins

Yesterday myself and a couple of club mates hit Djouce. I was not too hopeful about the weather as it was damp and miserable in Naas, but in a typical Irish way, there was a miraculous transformation by the time I reached Djouce. Blue skies and mild. It was just a general blast around the main trails (XTC, GC, foxglove climb, benchcut etc), even managed to cycle up XTC.

Today was the big road spin. I left Naas and made for Enniskerry via Tallaght, Rathfarnham and Kilternan. After that it was up the Glencree valley on the Crone side. I met up with Jackie and Sean there and we headed for Laragh, via Sally Gap. They stopped for coffee but I decided to continue on. There were some good climbs. The Wicklow gap was a painful as ever, mainly as it was towards the end of the spin. But Kippure was the highest point reached.It was just a touch over 135 kms with 1300 metres of climbing. Moving time was 5:23.

It was really nice to get the distance in, and will plan on doing something similar over the weekend or early next week. Its amazing what just 3 or 4 of these spins do to your general fitness and your ability to get aerobic fit much faster (and less painfully I hope).

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

3 rock night spin

Great spin up in 3 rock tonight with the club. A night of savageness from start to finish! Its great to head out with a group who are that bit faster than you as it means you are pushing yourself harder than you would when out alone. And that's what happened tonight. There was a brisk pace up to Ticknock and it went up a notch on the way to the ariel's. My heart rate returns to normal quite quickly on the usual sessions, but tonight it refused to drop below 100 bpm even after a couple of mins stopped! I'm taking that as a good sign (but my doctor my thing otherwise) :)

Also, just got the news that the K-capital is not till mid-summer. So the NPS is happening first, starting at the end of April! So 4 more months without racing! This also means the training will need to be knocked on the head till the end of Jan or so. But I'll be keeping an eye on races up north and in England happening in Spring.

It also means that some upgrades for the new bike that I was putting off will probably be done by the time serious racing starts. More on that in another post.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Road spin tonight

Did the usual road spin around Naas this evening. Had 4 intervals. All between 1 and 2 minutes @ 90% MAX HR. Felt really good after them which I put down to having a decent lunch today! If the weather holds up, we'll head out tomorrow and go for 4 X 4 min intervals @ 80% and see how we're fixed.

The good news is I feel pretty good after my 115ish Km spin yesterday. Defo think it was down to me tapping along most of the route. The next long road spin will be Saturday. Before then, there will be another road session tomorrow weather permitting, an mtb spin on Wed, and possibly a cycle to work on Friday.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sundays road spin

It was cold and dry this morning, but no frost. So went for a road spin south through Kildare and Laois. The original plan was to do the southern piece of the Wicklow 200 route, but I just did not feel like it. Can't put a finger on why, probably just the thoughts of all those big hills or something :)So instead the plan was to head to Portlaoise, and when I got there I would decide where to go after.

After about 15 minutes the cold started to take effect - mainly on my toes. This was annoying as I had my Assos Winter plus socks and Sealskinz. But it quickly go to the stage where they went numb. I stopped a couple of times to get some heat back into them but it was only a temporary fix. So, I've just bought myself a set of wind and water resistent overshoes. During the last hour my fingers also became numb - my own fault as I have a pair of Sealskin winter gloves, but for some reason I did not wear them.

When I got to Portlaoise, I was feeling ok and decided to head to Athy with the possibiliy of hitting Carlow before turning north and back towards Naas. Some really nice country side between Portlaoise, Stradbally and Athy. And just outside Stradbally there is a large estate with lots of forests and hills. Like Kilruddery but on a bigger scale. Might do some research and find out who the owners are and how they would feel about some mountain bikers pegging it around their land.

When I reached Athy, I did think about heading across to Carlow and then towards home, but in the end I thought it would make more sense to head home as I was worried about bonking out on busy roads in the dark.

So, apart from the cold, it was not a bad spin. Overall, the terrain was flat with rolling hills thrown in here and there. I felt pretty strong throughout the spin, but I was taking it easy for the first hour and a half. Will need to do 4 or 5 more spins on that length over the Christmas period to get the much needed base km's in.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Got a quick road spin in around Blessington lakes this morning before I had to head down the country. It was tough going - which I'm still putting down to the tyres. Perfect day though. Would have be great to have gotten in a longer spin but what can you do.
Tomorrow's forecast is not looking great for the road, so it may be over the mountains for me.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The weeks spins so far

Tuesday was limited by the weather again. The plan was a long road spin, but a bad frost made cycling on skinny tyres a bit of a lottery. So we decided to mountain bike over to Glending. however when we got there we noticed some on the chute someone had placed 4 big wooden posts halfway down - with nails sticking out for good measure. This might be just more deterrents for the MX'rs, but they are a recent arrival, so they might be meant for us too. Will get in touch with a few locals and see what the story is.
So feeling unwelcome we decided to do some exploring on the far side of the lake, heading towards Kilbride and Ballysmuttan. There was one potential forest, which had been thinned out. It had steep sections, flat sections, seriously rocky sections - everything you'd need for free ride, downhill and even xc. The only problem I could see what there was only 1 fire road which did not bring you even close to the top, so from a DH point of view, that meant no up lifts. Still, might be worth investigating further. There is another spot on the Gap road just further on from Ballysmuttan which has fireroads laid down on the side of a big hill (I think its Black Mountain - need to check) which could have potential too. Might take a spin up there over Christmas.
After that we tootled back to Naas. Was a handy enough pace all the way, so it would be a stretch to call it training, but better than nothing.
Yesterday evening a bunch of us from the club had an high tempo xc spin up around 3 Rock. It was a great evenings blast. Everyone was pushing the pace, so it really felt like a proper session.
My hamstring was still acting up (along with my hip for some reason). But when I got home I spent some time stretching which helped a lot. So in the future all spins will end up with me sitting on the floor contorting myself :)
Tonight is a road spin. These are usually an hour in length, but from next week, they will be going up to 2 hours. Tonight I have to decorate the tree!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Turbo trainer type of day

It rained all morning and well into the afternoon today, so that ruled out the road spin. Pretty annoying as all last week when I was working late the weather was great. So did some Christmas shopping instead.
Hopped on the turbo trainer for about 40 minutes - which is a record for me as usually I get bored after about 10 minutes. Got 4 or 5 intervals in there too, so better than nothing. The long road spin planned for today is now happening tomorrow.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Mad Club Champs

Yesterday was the Mad Club Champs and AGM. It was a good laugh. I came a lucky second in the race (would have been third if Scrivo had not gotten lost). Afterwards we retired to the Blue Light for the AGM, before further food and refreshments in the Market Bar. So today was a write off totally. I'm just coming back to life now. Just getting the bike sorted for the big one tomorrow, and will be in bed early :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tonights spin

Much better than last nights. Almost 4 minutes faster! That includes slowing down after Gene took a tumble at a junction. The front wheel just slid out from under him. The road was greasy all right. But I think the main problem was his tyres, which are a specialized summer set. During the spin I was thinking about writing a post giving out about my Maxxis Detonators, as I thought they were the reason for slowing me down. But after watching Gene come off at the junction, with cars shooting around, I'm glad I got them.

cold, sooo cold

Went on a road spin with Gene last night - it was so cold I seriously considered turning around after about 3km's. I could not feel my fingers it was that bad. But Gene egged me on, and after about 20 mins and a few sprints, I could feel the digits again. I was not a very enjoyable spin after that either as it was the first in over a week, and I just did not feel I had the usual spring, plus Gene bet me on the sprint - can't be having that :)

I was going to cycle into work today, but slept in. Going to head out again tonight, either on the road or Glending (I think I'd prefer Glending as have not been on a mountain bike in about 3 weeks).

Wednesday is a night spin with the club - bit worried about that as I'm a bit rusty on the mountain bike and expect to be falling over quite a bit.

I've got a couple of days off coming up, so planning big road spin on Friday and Monday. Saturday is the club champs, and Sunday I'll be recovering from a hangover :)