Monday, February 27, 2012

The return of the pox and other news

I thought things could not get much worse after the illnesses at the start of February, but I was wrong.  Despite that, it was not shaping up to be a bad month training-wise.  In fact, it was one of the best in terms of distance in over a year so I was keen to finish the month with a couple of big spins before taking it handy for a week or so.

However, nothing goes to plan and in the middle of last week when my son began throwing up I did get a little worried.  But by Friday that seemed to have stopped and he was on his way back.  But the following day things starting going downhill for me, cumulating in plenty of worshipping in front of the porcelain throne.  Sunday was a total write off and today, despite my big (pre-Friday) plans, was spent doing very little.

Just to help me get a picture of the races I plan (and you know what they say about those) on doing... here's the list:

Dublin Wheelers Grand Prix  - Race cancelled
St. Paddy's day race - 17th March - maybe nope....
Newbridge GP - 18th March - gone!  Christening that day...
Des Hanlon - 25th March
Lough Derg Challenge - 21st/22nd April
NPS Round 2 - 29th April
NPS Round 4 - 27th May
NPS Round 5 - 10th June (maybe)
NPS Round 6 - 25th June (longshot)
XC Champs - 15th July
Marathon Series - 5th August
Marathon Champs - 26th August

The Cooley Thriller will be in there too I'm sure and hopefully the Bull Raid.  Won't be doing Bontrager this year unfortunately.  Its looking to be pretty quite after June race-wise, so hopefully some one off events will appear in the calendar.

Ned Flannagan Memorial

I was trying to decide whether to go to to the Biking Blitz in Ballinastoe or Ned Flannagan Memorial.  I went with the former as it was handier to get to, and less chance of having to much bike cleaning.

So I checked in with Gene, and after a bit of encouragement we were on the way down to Monasterevin.  The weather was cold but dry, so ideal for a road race.  As it was the first road race of the season, it was sure to have a big turn out and it did with 120+ riders across all categories.

The race was to be run as a handicap, A4's got 2 minutes head start on us A3, with I think 1 minute between us and the A1/A2 group.  As we rolled out the pace was up straight away.  I had no warm up, but it seemed the A3's were keen to get the legs warmed up.  As usual I was hanging on down the back.  We had a headwind on the way down to Portlaoise, so in some ways it was not bad to be stuck down the back.  After just over 10 minutes we caught the A4's.  But the pace stayed constant.  Also at this point I started to feel like I was able to ride a bike again and worked by way up to the front as we were hitting the rolling hills just before Portlaoise.

I kept the pace up and was starting to run out of steam when a lad jumped off the front and gained a decent gap.  A few lads went off after him, but it was never going to last and it all came back.  We hung a left towards Stradbally and the pace picked up again.  A few more guys went off the front but again they were brought back.  As we descended down to Stradbally the A1/A2 group came through, with the top guys slicing through us like butter.

I understand they pushed on as we got out the far side of Stradbally, but the pace stayed high and it started to take its toll on me and soon I was on the back again.  I grabbed a wheel and was just focussing on holding that - head down thinking happy thoughts :) .  Unfortunately by not looking up I did not realise that the wheel I was on had detached from the main group.  And with that I was in no man's land.  I was still 4 km's or so from Athy, so I decided now I was on my own I would push as hard as I could and if I did not make it back, I was going to just tap along back to the finish.

I did not connect back up, but as we hung a sharp left, I took a look back to see a large group coming up.  I did not realise that the race had split up that much.  Another plus was these guys were keen on making it back to the lead group.  So I tucked in and did a few turns on the front.  And with about 5km to Kildangen, we got back on.

After that there race finally started to slow down due to a few km's of rolling roads and I start to feel a little better.    We were unsure of the situation in the race- there could have been 20 guys out front for all I knew, so I was not planning on contesting a sprint finish.  Although in hindsight, I probably should have had a pop with a few km's to go and see if anyone wanted to join in.  But I didn't, and came in with the main but a couple of minutes behind Robin Kelly and Ryan Sherlock (1st and 2nd respectively).

I enjoyed the day, mainly because I stayed in the main group of a handicapped race (a first)!  Plus it was a fast one - for me averaging just under 40kph for 1 hour 45 mins.  So I'll be doing 2 or maybe 3 more road races before the mountain biking starts for me this year.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Febuary training & not crossing the N81

Well, post respiratory tract infection, things have not been too bad at all really.  Regular spins to work, and a couple of long steady weekend runs have helped get me back on track.  Well, a couple of months behind what would have been the normal schedule, but what can do you.

I managed a 4 hour road spin last week, but was in the horrors for the final hour, so definitely have a long way to go to get fit.  I used to do a 2 hour commute to work on occasion in the past - heading out around the lake a Blessington or up to Sally Gap, but even doing 1 hour 15 is a challenge.  But I plan to put a big effort in for the remaining 11 days of February and hope to be back up in the mountains at some unGodly hour of a Friday morning when all sane people are still tucked up in bed.

Racing starts tomorrow - both on and off road.  I'd like to do something but I think I'd be better off just getting some base kilometres in...still you can't beat the craic of race day so I've got the mountain bike and road bike ready to go :)

I'm pretty sure I'll sign up for the Lough Derg Challenge.  Its something to aim towards and a hard event to boot.  And its also sure to attract a strong field after the good reports from last year.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The G-Ride

A new race in a new venue coming up in March.  And since it was designed by Robin, no doubt it'll be hard on the climbs and fun on the descents...

Online registration for this event is now open HERE.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Ride the Giro - virtually

This is a nice way to preview stages of the 2012 Giro -, but you also get a view of all the main passes and also some of the 2011 world tour races... enjoy

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Pre-season kick off.. take 2

Mostly over this affliction now.  I've just 1 more day on the antibiotics and that should be that.  So today I decided to get out on the bike and see how things felt.

After a lot of humming and hawing I went on the road.  Mainly because I was feeling lazy and did not fancy the packing, driving, unpacking, riding, packing, driving, unpacking, cleaning that goes with the mountain bike.  The plan was to do a handy spin on the flat for a couple of hours to ease the body back.  But I ended up pushing things for most of the spin.  I did my best to stay on the flat, but somehow I ended up on the Newbridge GP loop.  And since I was there it would have been rude not to do a couple of laps.

Its a great little loop of about 17km.  There's less than 200 metres of climbing a lap, but most of them are crammed into a kicker about 1.5km long and a 3km drag.  There are some flat bits in there, but you feel most of your time is spent going up or down.

The first lap was hard going, but I felt better on the second and starting on the drag a group of lads from South Dublin CC passed me.  As they passed I resisted tagging on the back... for about 30 seconds.  Then as their group began to splinter I just had to push things on :) .  Its great having people faster than you to chase and I made the most of the lads in that respect.  I'm also glad I bumped into them because one of the lads spotted the QR on my rear wheel was flapping about, on the descent!  So with that fixed I finished off the lap and tootled home.

I was great to be back on the bike but I was cramping up on the way back, probably due to the time off and the extra effort I put in chasing the guys on the climb.  Anyway here's to more of that in the coming months!

I've lofty plans for the week - 2 hour spin into work on Tuesday and Friday, with the Wednesday night spin in there and maybe a TT session on Thursday, but if I managed half that I won't complain.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Had enough and went to the doctor on Monday.  So it turns out I've a Sinus infection and that means antibiotics and some other drugs to sort it out.  Its a nasty infection in that I've got stabbing pains in my right eye and tooth ache in my upper right jaw, but its not a patch on the infection I had 5ish years ago when I ended up in bed for 4 days with the symptoms on both sides of my head!

Apart from the pain, I'm also not getting much sleep so all in all, I'd say I'm right back to square 1 in terms of training.  But as I mentioned before, it's not like I have specific goals this side of June so there's no pressure on me.

If the antibiotics do their thing, I'd like to think I can get back on the bike on Friday with a handy spin into work, but will play it by ear.

Apart from that, I've just been doing some bike maintenance with the KTM rebuilt and looking lovely (and still for sale!) and some serious work done on cleaning up the Kinesis with was not getting much loving over the past month or so.

Looks like my first competitive race of the season will be a road race in Monasterevin in mid-February.  I'll be hopelessly unfit for that one, but will be performing domestique duties for Gene Ryan :)