Monday, March 30, 2009

Des Hanlon Memorial

Finally got my first road race under the belt, and boy was it a tough one! After the Newbridge GP was cancelled, I was definitely not missing the Des Hanlon Memorial race hosted by Carlow CC.
I did not put much preparation in during the build up - by my recent standards I took the preceding week off (3 spins!). But I saw this race as just training and a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon. My club mate Arek was also going to break his road cycling duck. With a bit of arm twisting I convinced him to do the 110km race (as opposed to the 60km one).

The race started in Eire Og GAA club - dead nice changing rooms etc. Ryan and Mel had also decided to give the race a go, along with a few mountain bikers from WORC, Team Rocky Mountain and Epic. It was nice to see some familiar faces out.

Did not bother with a warm up as the first few km's were neutralized, plus I thought with wind blowing about, no one would fancy leaving the comfort of the main group. And it pretty much was like that for the first hour. OK, there was the odd manic periods where the group decided to chase down certain break aways, but for the most part we just happily lolled along. At times the pace really dropped down - to an extent I was started to get a bit annoyed. Hah! That all changed rather quickly when we hit the first proper climb...

So there was me, Mel and Arek, happily minding out own business in the middle/back of the main group. We were coming up to Castlecomer and the first real climb. I only knew this because my family are from around the area, and I did not really know exactly how steep the climbing was. I actually said to Mel that if the group was together for the second lap I'd go for it on that climb!

So, hard left and drop down. Then up. As soon as the leaders took the turn, they were off. The initial section was one of those climbs that Mountain bikers love. Steep and (seemingly) short. I could see that the increase in pace had messed up the group - there were bikes and bodies everywhere on the climb. I powered up the hill in my mountain biker way, and then came around the corner to see the climb extend onwards, and the leaders already around the next corner. OK, I'll just keep the pace up. So around the next corner and the climb eased off, but continued another 300 or more metres. As this point I knew I was in trouble, the main group had powered off, leaving a bunch of us trailing in its wake. It took a kilometre or too before a group of 6 formed. Myself, Mel, Arek, 2 Epic riders and a couple of other guys. I decided at this point the best thing I could do was get Mel back to the main group to give her a chance of fighting it out there her one and only competitor. So I got to the front and pushed as hard as I could. The Epic guys jumped in and for a while we were definitely making progress - probably only a couple of hundred metres from the comfort of the main group. But we turned a corner and they were off again. I was gutted. We got to the top of the climb and I went to the front. I was a flat section with a nice tail wind. We were topping 50kph up there, but still could not get in touch. Then I started to feel a twinge behind my right knee. At this point we had been chasing for 25 mins full on. Mel went to the front and drove the group on, but I was cooked. I coasted down the descent, had a gel and drink and got my breath back. At this point Mels group was out of sight. I was descending down to begin the second lap of the course, and into a headwind.

In the second loop I passed lots of guys who where heading back to Carlow. I guess it was a case of once dropped from the group, they saw little point in continuing on. I just did not get that - you've never give up in a mountain bike race. OK, it's a different type of race, but surely you would continue on just for the exercise?

Anywho, once I got the full effect of the headwind I seriously considered heading back myself. Only the signpost showing 5km's to the climb (and nice high ditches to break the wind) kept me going. I came across a lad who was in the inital breakaway - totally cooked. We had a chat for a while, and I headed off again. I felt pretty strong on the climbs, but the leg pain was becoming more pronounced. At this stage there was no turning back. With almost all the climbing done I was going to get to the finish. Queue some hairy descending down dodgy pothole filled roads before a left turn and 5kms to Carlow. Probably the most satisifying bit of the race for me. Despite sore leg, I never dropped below 45kph the whole run in. I completed the race in 3:29 ish (off the Garmin). I think I was about 10 mins off the winning time. We got back to the club house, and a toasty shower.

The back of my knee was really starting to hurt now. With darting pains up and down my leg. I should have iced straightaway, but didn't. I did do some stretching and thought that would have been enough. But this morning I was not even able to put weight on the bloody thing. I got to the physio before lunch who concluded I just inflamed the ends of the hammy's (the bits that connect the bottom of the hamstring to the leg. He gave it a massage and ultra sound thing, and was told to rest for 3 days, icing and stretching regularly. I hope it does clear up in a few days, as otherwise the buildup to round 2 is going to be impacted.

But back to the road racing. I have to say I really enjoyed it, and will do another few before the end of the season. Its totally different to XC racing, which is intense from start to finish. Road racing is intense, easy, intense, easy, intense... and so on. Its also important to keep an eye on whats going on in the race - having an idea when the race will really start and being in the right position when it does so as to not get dropped. Looking forward to the next one already!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Weekly wrap up

Been a bit of an odd week. After all the exertions and travel from the race in Killarney, it was back to normal which consisted of a 5.30am start on Monday to get to the airport. Did not get back to Dublin till after 10pm so no spinning class. Tuesday morning I went on a gentle 1 hour road spin to loosen up the muscles and shake the bike down for the weekends race. I considered doing training on Wednesday and Thursday but I found lots of reasons not too.

Finally got back on track on Thursday - did a fast hour in Glending which was fun - will definitely head up there some evening next week to fix up the trails. And tonight I did 1.5 hours of the same thing.

I had considered heading to 3 rock tomorrow, but I'll some non-bike related stuff on so will just save myself for the road race on Sunday.

Still have not decided which race to do - the 60ish km or the 100+ km. A couple of other lads from the club are heading down so I'll see what their plans are.

I've been upgrading the drive train on the Cube during the week also - it was in a pityful state. I've changed the chain and rear cassette, and just waiting on CRC to deliver the new out and middle rings.

Next week normal service will resume - with the added bonus of summer time! So, spinning on Monday, and a couple of evening spins either in Glending or 3 rock.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

NPS Round 1 review

Round one arrived! The weekend started with a 3.5 hour drive down to Killarney. We left at 10am and arrived about 1.30pm to hazy sunshine. It was mild, verging on warm which was a pleasant surprise. We got a bit of food in Killarney town and then went out to find the course.

Another 20 minute drive brought us to Rossacroonaloo woods - a Coilte managed forest. We got decked out in our gear and registered before heading off on the first pre-ride. Once over the Start/finish line you start climbing up a loose rocky wet trail. There is only 1 easy line on less loose rock. Off that is doable, but only if you absolutely have to. The climb plateaus out a few times before kicking up again - in total it was about 600 metres. It was a fast enough climb though. After that it drops down with some narrow bridges over the wetter bits. Then its a few hundred metres climb on Fireroad before its you take a sharp right climbing steeply up single track (looks like a part of the DH track). You reach the highest part of the course here and then its a fast fireroad descent down to some technical single track, fireroad, and more singletrack. Then its a fast run down to the finish line. 5km's in total.

I liked the course in general. My only problem was an over the handlebar moment when I hit a rock at slow speed with the my weight sitting up front. Managed to bend my Gusset superlight disc, but a bit of TLC got it back to shape pretty quickly.

I was happy leaving the course and we headed back to get checked into the Hostel. I had kind of expected it to be quite, but it was very busy, and noisy. But despite this we got unpacked and hit the pub to watch Ireland win the Grand Slam :)

When it was over to the Malton hotel for the presentation of medals from the 2008 series. Then we headed down town in urgent need of carbs and managed to clear out a restaurant of all there pasta (and a lot of their rice)! We dropped into the pub for a pint before headed back to the hostel for bed and a good nights sleep.

Which was the exact opposite of what we actually got. The hostel was noisy, cold and there was no hot water! Woke up in the morning after having a crap nights sleep, which put me in a bad mood for the day. I got some porridge into me, and nibbled on a torq bar, but I felt exhausted. I downed a coffee and red bull to try to get some life into me. We got to the course around 11 and it was already buzzing. Music pumping, and lots of riders out. I started sorting out my bottles only to find the bottled water I bought was sparkling.... yes sparkling. First 'Doh!' moment of the day. It was too late to head back into town so I gave the bottles a good shake to get most of the fizz out and made up the bottles. Before the races started I headed on one more pre-ride and then back to the start/finish to watch the sports race. It turned out to be a good one for MAD - 1st and 3rd!About 45mins before the start I started on a bottle of energy drink and began a gentle warm up drill on a handy steep bit of fireroad. 20 minutes from the start I downed an energy gel and did a few sprints on the fire road. Heart rate responded nicely - increasing rapidly and dropping down as quickly. I asked one of the sports guys to do bottling for me and then made for the start line. It was a little different from last year - Elites first, then Masters, then Experts. Last year Experts went before masters. I got myself near the front, roughly second row, and waited for the count down. 3, 2, 1, GO! I managed about 2 meters before the fella in front decided to break and turn across my path. I braked and heard some banging behind me. No time to look to see the damage caused. I had a clear path in front of me so went for it. I hit the the first climb in about 8th place, but found myself off the good line. I managed to keep the bike moving until a gap appeared on the single track and slotted in behind a club-mate.

I considered passing him on the climb, but there was not much space between bikes so I would have probably just have made more work for myself on the rougher stuff. So I just held station until the first fireroad climb.

At this point I was in uncharted territory. In the top 7 of a race... actually competing! Prior to the race starting I wondered what a rider would do if they were near the front - not ever thinking I'd actually be there on the first race of the season. But here I was and I decided to be aggressive. Once we hit the fireroad climb I got into the big ring and pushed on, passing about 4 or 5 riders. At the time I thought there a lot more guys ahead of me than there actually were. It turned out that move put me into second place with just Oisin, another club mate in the lead!

I continued climbing to the highest point of the course and once there I tried to get back into the big ring for the fireroad descent. But the front derailleur cable was loose and I could not get it to shift out of the middle ring. To make matters worse it started to make a grinding noise that continued for the rest of the race! I knew the guys behind would make up good time on me on the descents but there was not much I could do apart from getting into the highest middle gear and pushing hard.

The rest of the first lap and second lap were fine - I just kept pushing hard on the climbs knowing that the lads behind were making time on the descents. I got back to the feeding area in need of a bottle, only to find my bottles but no bottler! This meant I had to stop and get my own. Normally, you've a guy there with his hand out holding your bottle. The delay was probably only 10/15 seconds, but it can be the difference in a position.

Lap 3 was fine, but by the start of lap four I started to cramp. It slowed down my climbing totally. I knew at that stage I'd be caught as it was the only place I was making gaps. Sure enough on the fire fireroad climb Robert Tobin of IMBRC passed me. And on lap 5 Alfie Wallace from EPIC caught me on the first climb. To top it off I also managed to hit my ass of the saddle so hard it shoved the front of it up in the air, making it hard to keep sitting on it.

But despite the cramps I was happy enough on the last lap. I knew I was somewhere in the top 10 and took it easy on the second half of the lap as I did not fancy cramping up to the point I had to stop. So I crossed the finish line with a smile on my face. And then I found out I got 4th place! I was delighted and a bit annoyed. Delighted that I finished so high in my first race, but annoyed that I could not hold the 2nd place position.

So, what do I take away from all of this?
  • Better checking of the bike before a race - make sure there are no obvious problems.
  • Get the bottlers right! In the end I only had 2 500ml bottles during the race. I should have had twice that really. It might have staved off some of the cramps.
  • Fitness wise, I'm fairly happy. Did not feel exhausted towards the end of the race, and never felt I was maxing out on the climbs.
  • Apart from the mechanicals, the bike was perfect. The tyres especially.
Plenty of time to sort out the problems before the next race. And I've got the novelty of being gridded up the front in Ballinastoe. I know a fair few top masters riders did not attend Killarney, and they will be faster than me, but they'll have to get past me first :)

Between now and then I need to keep the training up. Spinning, fast MTB spins during the week, and weekend. This weekend will be different as I'll be attended the Des Hanlon memorial race in Carlow. It'll be 103km race and I'll be treating it as a tough training session.

But overall, a great start to the season for me and the club (3 category wins and 2 podiums).

Friday, March 20, 2009

NPS weekend here!

OK, first race of the season on Sunday! Over the week I've not done a lot. Monday was a tootle, Tuesday was a hard 2 hour off road session and Wednesday was a break. Last night myself and Gene went out to Glending for an hour of a blast which was good craic - and I set a new record for climbing the wall!

Today I just made a few tweaks to the XTC, namely the saddle height and and fore/aft position, setting the angle of the shifters/brakes the way I like and tightening up the pedals.

After that, its just packing up clothes, bottles, energy gels/drinks, toolkit and any spares.

Hitting the road at about 9.30 tomorrow. I'll be updating via Twitter for the rest of the weekend.

Woh hoo!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Extra long weekend wrap up

OK, I've already talked about The Djouce Trail Challenge, so yesterday I met up with Paul in the morning and showed him around Glending. I think I might have been a bit of a shock to him coming from Oz, in particular the pine needles and roots. But a couple of sessions on that and he'll be fine :) . It was not a training session, just a blast around some nice, dry trails. I'm defo going to head up there some evening next week to work on some of them as the winter has not been kind.

Today I went out early to Glending to get in a race duration to see how I felt. Not too bad as it turned out. I did about 1 hour 40 mins full on, and did not find it too painful. However I made a big boo boo afterwards. I brought 1 bottle with me, and finished that off. I got home and had to get myself together for a family dinner in the afternoon. In the rushing around I forgot to drink again. I had dinner (still no fluids), and then sat in the garden for a couple of hours in the sun. Had a cup of tea.

I got home, had another cup of tea. About 20 minutes later I was not in a good place - and I'll leave the rest to your imagination. Bascially in the space of the 6 hours after an intenstive session, I had 2 cups of tea - a diatretic. Valuable lesson learned there - stay hydrated kids!

NPS Round 1 promo

Irish XC NPS Round 1 2009 preview from Fergal Kilkenny on Vimeo.

Can't wait!!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Djouce Trail Challenge

Took part in the Djouce trail challenge today. Its not a race as such, more an unveiling of Robin Seymour's latest trails around Djouce. As mentioned before I just wanted to give it a lash - pushing myself but not to the limit. I used the Cube as I would have been gutted if I smashed up the XTC in a non-race event. Plus the extra few kilos on the Reaction would be good for training.

There was a great turn out - over 130 riders of all levels out out for the day. The weather was mild and the trails almost dry - so in perfect condition. We started off up to xtc, then straight across to Benchcut, and then the drop down to the lowest point of the course before climbing on the fireroad back up to the exit of bench cut. Then it was a blast to Off Camber and around to the new section, which was great - technical climbing on very narrow trails, and this continued for a couple of Km's before the climb up ACK (or beside it as the tree felling has removed it). Then down the Longest Descent - which at times made me feel like I was snowboarding down a black run it was so steep and twisty - it was perfect. Then continued right down to the river before climbing back up to to Fox Glove Climb (the sting in the tail if there ever was one), then a little short climb before taking the new section back to the fireroad. It was about 17km's long.

The day started not so good - I had a crappy nights sleep so had to down a Red Bull to wake up some what. Before the race I got about 20 minutes in around XTC and Bench Cut to get the heart pumping. Then back down to the exit of XTC for the start. I was up on the front row because I was there first as opposed to feeling like I'd be duking it out with the Elites and Top end masters. So we were sent off and it was a 300-odd meter sprint to the start of the single track. I kinda screwed up here - totally wrong gear. And I did not have time to get into the right one before the start. Queue a few panicy seconds of shifting down/up. Once I got to the single track entrance I was about 16th-ish place.

We climbed to XTC and then into Off Camber. And that's where my problems started. I had a dodgy link in my chain. I knew it was there before the race, but did not think it would be a problem. But between the shifting and putting the power on and off, it kept coming off the middle ring. It happened about 3 times and each time meant pulling the bike off the trail and getting the chain back on. I think I lost about 2 minutes messing around in total.
But once out off there things settled down and I just got on with it. I never felt I was on the ragged edge during the race, but the climb up ACK was tough and it was the hardest part for me. The there was no where to get a breather in the first 45 mins of the course at all.
At this point the Red Bull started to wear off too! The concentration started to go and I had a few off the bike moments. Not having gotten a lot of off roading down did not help either. I caught up with a few riders and just kept pace with them. On singletrack on the way home I got stuck with some less technical riders which held me up a bit, but on the last fireroad climb to the finish I pulled out all the stops to catch the guys, and even managed to get in a sprint finish - which I lost :)

Over all, it was a great day. It was good to get that race feeling again, and to know there are a lot more trails up in Djouce just confirms that its the number one spot in Ireland to go Mountain biking.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Really nice day today, but a little blustery. In the end I had things to do so did not manage to get out on a bike. Instead, I started looking for some useful stretching exercises. I always find various parts of my legs starting to get very sore during races, to the point it slows me down. This guy demonstrates 3 simple exercises that work on the main muscle groups and tendons/ligaments. Well worth a watch.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I feel rung out today. Probably down to me having one day off in the last 7. I was a feeling it yesterday after the cycle home, so I downed a recovery drink. I woke up pretty ok this morning and I was supposed to be lashing about Glending on the mountain bike, but felt drained, so it ended up being an hour of just tapping along, reacquainting myself with roots, drops, and more roots. Downed another SIS recovery drink afterwards.

Hopfully I'll get a good nights sleep tonight as I am cycling into work tomorrow (it would be criminal to not with the weather so nice). I'll take it easy as I can - the laptop on my back should help :)

Saturday I plan on doing a 2 hour fast, spin - which might be on road or off road.

And no change for Sunday - it'll be the Djouce challenge.

I'm keen to get a lot in this weekend and then take it easy next week in the build up to the first race, but I suppose you need to not over do it also. The trick is finding the balance and if anyone can find it, please let me know!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Change of plans and the run up to the first race of the season

I suppose if you are really committed to training, reaching goals etc. , you take changes to the training plan in your stride so here we go...

Did the spinning class last night which went well - was a tough one. Tonight I did a quick run cos I felt like it. I was planning on going mountain biking tomorrow, but I've got some stuff on so I'm cycling in and out of work. More stuff messing up my plans on Thursday, and will have to work from home in the afternoon. the only advantage to that is I will get out to Glending a bit earlier in the day.

Friday I'll try to spin into work also.

Saturday was supposed to be the rescheduled Newbridge GP, but they've moved it to June. So I think I'll do a hard road spin out in Wicklow, 4 or 5 hour job, starting about 8am.

Sunday is the Djouce Challenge. I'm still going, but its more about just having a bit of craic now and getting a good hour or 2 on quality trails. I'll still push myself and this with the previous days road work should leave me shattered by the end of the weekend.

My company have been nice enough to give us Monday off - but I'm busy in work these days so may not be able to take it. If I can it'll be a fast spin around Blessington lake - real fast. If not, its spinning.

Tuesday is Paddys day, so off again. There is supposed to be a road race on in North Dublin, so I might do that, but I'll play it by ear.

Then is the count down to the first race of the season - Killarney on the 22nd of March. I might do a hard session on the mountain bike on Wednesday and then just take it easy. I don't think I'm going to be in tip-top condition for the race, but I'll be a damn site more ready for it than I was for my first race last year.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Weekend roundup

Quite enough really. Friday I cycled in and out of work and luckily avoided all the big showers that were lurking around all day.

Saturday I did a few hours trail building on our new club project. I can't wait to get out there on a bike as the loop has everything - killer climbs, techy bits, swoopy singletrack - the lot.

I was to do the Newbridge GP today, but with gale force winds and blizzards coming through, I thought better (in the end they re-scheduled it to next Saturday). So instead I did a big session on the turbo trainer.

The plan was 10 minute intervals, so 10 minutes at level 6 with a high cadence, and 10 minutes at level 10 out of the saddle (big ring and middle sprocket). I kept it going for 1 hour 25 minutes. It was an interesting work out.The chart shows the seated durations as troughs which ramp up (warms up and downs not recorded). In the first 10 minute stint out of the saddle I could not even get close to the 90%+ max hr range. It was the second in saddle stint that pushed me up. The only thing I can take from that is it looks like I need one serious warm up to get the heart pumping. I'd say 25/30 mins hard cycling. Once I broke the 160bpm barrier, the effort definitely got easier, so thats something else I need to look at.

It was good to get a long TT session in at a high tempo. Its getting closer to race distance and effort - I'm just missing the off road techie stuff. Over the duration of the session I drank 3 litres of water and managed to fog up all the windows in the kitchen :)

So, the plan for this week is:
Monday - spinning class
Tuesday - weather permitting a spin into work
Wednesday - maybe a night spin or TT
Thursday - sit on my ass
Friday - nothing!
Saturday - If the weather is ok, I'll do the Newbridge race
Sunday - Djouce Challenge

If I'm stuck for time over the weekend, I'll just go for the Djouce Challenge on Sunday. While its not a race officially, it is unofficially, so will be good to go head-to-head with people off road for the first time this year.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

happenings for the week

On the training front I took Tuesday off and work kept me off the bike on Wednesday. I had planned to cycle into work today but snow and a nasty frost put a stop to that. This extended winter is a pain in the butt from a training point of view. Tonight I did 45 mins on the turbo trainer and kept the average heart rate (excluding warm up and warm down) at 158 bpm, which is not too bad. Tomorrow I'm going to try to cycle into work if the roads are ok - if not, more of the same on the TT.

Saturday I'm doing a bit of trail building. But I'll bring the bike along for a quick blast somewhere afterwards. I'm still in two minds about the race on Sunday - the weather is the issue. So I'll play it by ear. I do have every intention of going...well, kinda.

Apart from that, I have all the parts for the Cube back. Picked up the rear wheel - with new freehub today - happy days. And I dropped in the XTC and Cube forks to OC Tuning for a service. James did a super job on the forks, and picked them up and dropped them off too. Awesome - cannot reccomend the guy enough. They can be contacted by emailing or call James 085-7280614. So with all the bits back, the plan will be to get them back on the bike tomorrow evening for a Blast on Saturday.

Monday, March 2, 2009


Had the HR monitor on again tonight, and despite a definite increase in effort, my average HR for the 60 mins was 147 bmp - exactly the same as last week - very odd. However, I did increase my time in the 90%+ from 2 mins to 10 - rockin'.

As I mentioned in a previous post, my average heart rate during a race is about 160. The chart below is from the national champs last year - I'm surprised I did not just keel over after completing it:

Should it be the case that after a training program, you'll find it harder to hit max hr? If so that's good for me based on the numbers over the past month - if its not, I'm fecked.

I've been thinking about the road race on Saturday - I'm still going to do it (weather permitting), but will probably just use it purely as training, so that means no breaks from the usual routine where possible leading up to it - including a fast xc or road spin on Saturday.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


So here it is - the 2009 race bike!Its a carbon Giant xtc frame with the following bits:
  • Fox RL80
  • 9spd KMC gold chain
  • XTR 12-34t cassette
  • Shimano XTR r mech (medium cage)
  • Shimano XT fr mech
  • XT shifters
  • WTB silverado Saddle
  • ODI Rogue grips
The wheels are Hope Pro 2 hubs (blue) with Sapim Race spokes (black), Bontrager Race X lite tubeless rims (32hole), and Specialized Fastrak Control Tyres (2.0).

The rotors are Gusset superlight with 180 front and 160mm back

Hmmm, I'm pretty sure when I was planning on getting next years bike I said I should not have to do any upgrading of components... well, that went out the window with the Giant. Initially I was just going to upgrade the brake and crank... but it got a little out of control - namely:
However, I have kept well under my budget so that's ok :). There may be changes still to the bike - I'm looking at a few other bits (headset, saddle), but happy with it.

Today, I brought it out for a spin to Glending - a wet and rooty spot near where I live. First thing I noticed was a acceleration and speed. I spent the first 15 minutes in the big ring and did not even realise it. Its really easy on the climbs and descents. Because its a slightly longer bike than the Cube, I'm going to need some practice on the tight twisty stuff.

Before today I was not too impressed with the look of the Specialized Fastrak Control Tyres. But after a couple of laps, they felt as good as the Crossmarks - and I was running them with a lot of pressure. The Silverado saddle is bloody hard, and will take some getting used to.

After the spin I've noticed a few things which will need to be seen to:
  • Fork needs a service - and possibly the headset replaced.
  • The brakes - well, the rear brake needs a bit more adjustment
  • A little bit of gear tuning
Otherwise, its the best bike I've ever owned!

Weekly wrap up

So, it started as usual with spinning on Monday - it was not too hard, as I mentioned in a previous post, its time to start cranking up the resistance on the bike.

Tuesday I took off, and Wednesday I was supposed to head out for interval training, but got stuck in work so it was another day off.

Thursday was a spin into and out of work - great tail wind on the way in, horrible head wind on the way home. Over 10 minutes difference in times!

Friday I cycled into work, but and emergency at home meant I had to skip the trip back.

Saturday, myself and Gene did the Wicklow Gap/Sally Gap spin. Just a touch under 100km's with 760 metres of climbing. T'was a nice spin - it was more getting a couple of nice climbs in than breaking any land speed records - as you can see from the heart rate graph:And today I was out for an hour in Glending for a blast on the new bike - very impressed, but I'll stick a separate post up on that. I just concentrated on keeping the heart rate as high as possible. It averaged out to be around 150 bpm for the spin. Looking at some of the races last year, my averages were in the region of 160, so a bit to go yet. With the first MTB race in 3 weeks, I'll be concentrating on longer (about 2 hour) spins with the heart rate as high as possible - the road spins will be taking a back seat from now on.

Looking at the year so far - well the weather has not helped. January had been pretty frosty, so it kept me off the road bike a lot. Over the course of the month I only managed 445 kms. February got worse with the snow, but managed to make up for that in the last 2 weeks, getting to 662km's. My goal was to be closer to about 800km's a month, but apart from going to Spain for winter training, you just have to suck it up.

The Newbridge road race is happening next Sunday, and I'm looking forward to that. I expect it to be full on for the 80-odd mins it'll take to complete the 48 km's, but I'll take it handy as don't want to end up getting hurt right before the race season starts!

This week will be a little different. Monday will be the spinning class, Tuesday may be the work spin, but the weather is looking bad. Wednesday will be interval training with the club possibly, and that will be it. I'll just take it easy in the build up to the race.