Bars should fit me to a 3T

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Best bar none: Ex-display, but now these drops are mine, all mine

Map reference: home, on the spinning bike, 50k

Carbs and caffeine: slice of homemade bread with Marmite, large cup of coffee afterwards

I shan’t bore you with the details, but today’s turbo challenge was aerobic endurance. Briefly, 95rpm sections; 5mins, 10mins, 15mins, 10mins, 5mins, with between 1 to 3min active recovery in between. I do find it helps to follow a programme and I’m quite pleased with my 50k in 92 mins, although I shall work on dropping the last two minutes next time.

Of course the main reason for blogging today is to introduce my handlebars which arrived today… in an oddly unhandlebar-shaped box. Finally I shall have a fully carbon bike and I can’t wait to see how that feels. They are light of course (208g on my kitchen scales), but I’m told it’s the lack of vibrations that I will enjoy. It’s another Ebay purchase. Here’s a link to their five-star review on bike radar http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/category/components/handlebars/handlebars-road/product/review-3t-ergonova-team-handlebar-11-44789/

Husband managed to bag them at half price as they are 38cm wide, which is narrower than most people would be looking for. Despite having wide profile shoulders, this is what I measure at on the bones. The LaPierre currently has 42cm and I have noticed the difference with my Giant which has 40cms bars.

And anything which makes me more aerodynamic must be a good thing.

Note to self: Husband doing Flanders this weekend, must buy Genoa cake for the back pocket

Out of zip

Map reference: at home with sick child

Carbs and caffeine: usual trawl through kitchen cupboard

What a difference a day makes. Yesterday blithely congratulating myself on feeling great; today I can barely turn my legs. Yesterday’s ride and a lost night’s sleep have completely taken the zip out of my zing. I have tried, I really have. I sat on the bike for 45 minutes willing my legs to go round as I watched Netflix rubbish, but it was simply awful.

I have also been trying to think of a simple name for your riding partner after a chap yesterday ended up referring to Neil as my colleague (see yesterday’s blog), but the brain is also on strike. I thought I had had some ideas in the night, but this morning over breakfast I realised they were too poor to share. I will get there.

Note to self: Vitamin C… got to be worth a go

Triple turbo tremble

Map reference: home and hereabouts

Carbs and caffeine: lemon drizzle cake a la maison, and reheated suppers

Three days of freezing weather with flurries of snow have kept me inside. To shake it up a bit I have hosted a couple of spin sessions with friends and laboured through one session by myself. Beastly Beasleys turbo printouts are beginning to look a bit ragged.

On Tuesday, Jacqui and I set ourselves up here, with Radio 6 to distract us. We elected to do some classic intervals, 4 minutes on, one minute off. It was tough, with Jacqui gasping the time in ever smaller degrees. Sometimes 5 seconds can seems a long time.

On Wednesday I pedalled away by myself, so when it became obvious we weren’t going to get out today for our normal ride, I invited myself round to Jen’s. We were going to just pedal like mad, but I have got used to timing myself and setting challenges, so I ended up bossily instructing three minute sessions of various things with one minute active recovery. It was a sort of hybrid session of climbing and cadence. The dog was very excited by two lots of spinning legs at first, but fell asleep after a while. We were passing out in a different way… but there you go, job done.

Note to Husband: take it easy coming home, red wine and Osso Bucco tonight.

Unveiling my new friend

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View from the saddle: got to love those stripes

Map reference: Lucy’s kitchen, she’s rebuilding her whole house with our turbo sessions in mind, it seems. Sweet.

Carbs and caffeine: Had to dash from session, but took a bucket of coffee to the bath

Another turbo session with Beastly Beasley http://www.bespoke-velo.co.uk/. It’s the fear that gets us, I think. We were doing three minute repeats – with 90 seconds active recovery – in an ever increasing gear, but slower cadence. So starting with three or four repeats at 105, we were unable to talk and that’s when the fear kicks in. Gradually we upped the gear and lowered the cadence, through 100 down to 75 in the end. We then had a fairly long comfortable spin at the end to relieve some very heavy legs. It’s definitely true that as the cadence came down, the breathing eased; and even as the legs felt worse, the panicky feeling went away. I could see that on the others’ faces too. Rachel’s had a bit of a layoff with sick children and I think she was suffering the most. She has got some major challenges inked in for this year, from marathon to half iron man, so she got straight off the turbo, threw on layers and pedalled off to swim. Kudos to her, I say…

Note to self: need to read the ‘taming the chimp’ stuff again. Head stuff is going to be important

Dijon bike takes the mustard

On tour: Team FDJ.fr have been riding Lapierre bikes, which are built in Dijon, for 13 years

Map reference: home, -3 out, no amount of layers will counteract that and it’s a turbo day on my programme anyway. 32.5k in 62 minutes

Carbs and caffeine: caffeine fix before hopping on bike. Sneaky buttery ginger biscuit once off

If my 62 minute turbo session seems strange, this is because Barclaycard called to check an odd payment to Wiggle.co.uk. Yes, Husband, after weeks of research has chosen a bike for me. It’s a 2014 Lapierre Xelius EFI 100 Compact. I am, of course, beside myself with excitement and have been researching its history.

Wikipedia tells me that Team FDJ.fr’s Thibaut Pinaut rode his Lapierre Aircode to third place and best young rider on the Tour de France last year. The Aircode is the new bike the team started riding last year. Before that they were riding the Xelius EFI, hang on, that’s my bike. Chapeau, indeed.

I am practising my French, to welcome my new partner. I do hope we get on

Note to self: It’s not about the bike?… Bah, today it is

My Waterloo…

IWM

Map reference: Turbo session at home, 23.5k, 45 minutes

Carbs and Caffeine: managed to get first caffeine hit at Waterloo, on way to Tate Britain. No cake, none whatsoever

I’ll admit the picture above is fairly random, bear with me. My mission today was to get through one of Bealsey’s turbo sessions and then get to Waterloo by 11. I just about made it. It meant jumping on the bike straight after the school run, and then jumping in the bath – briefly – and running out of the house to get to the station. In fact I ran most of way to the station.

It was worth it though. My friend Helen and I went to see Conflict Time Photography at Tate Britain. Here the picture of the Army Cyclist Corps comes in, just about. In the exhibition there was a picture of the cycle corp of HMS Hermes. Unfortunately I was too chicken to take a snap, so the picture above is of the Army Cyclist corp in 1917 (from the Imperial War Museum collection, I hope they forgive me for borrowing the image). The pictures are similar. The bikes heavily loaded and uniformed men chatting idly. It looks like the sort of convivial meeting you see at Roehampton Cafe in Richmond Park, until you remember these men were in the middle of a bloody war.

Sort of puts my worries about ‘battling’ the Alps into perspective.

Note to self: Out tomorrow, fresh air. Cold, fresh air. Layers, layers, layers …

Birthday blog

My birthday cake, baked by Cathy

My birthday cake, baked by Cathy

Map reference: Lucy’s house

Carbs and Caffeine: Lucy’s super healthy banana cake

I so wanted to get out on the bike today. Ignoring all the weather warnings, I dressed for a bike outing and did my school car park duty top to toe in Lycra. When I could finally look at my phone – headmistress was under an umbrella next to me, I  didn’t dare sneak a peak until my duty was over – my fears were confirmed, we had been driven indoors by monsoon weather again.

This gave me time to go home, get a caffeine fix, shock the cleaning woman (very young) with the truth about my age, and be on the bike in Lucy’s kitchen by 10. Bealsey http://www.bespoke-velo.co.uk/blog/ was in charge as usual. The only other attendee was Jen, super fit… and super drunk when I last saw her on New Year’s Eve at midnight on a Wimbledon hill watching the fireworks. Actually, in fairness, she was just a bit giggly and wobbly (on New Years Eve, not today, no giggling today) but I couldn’t resist the literary play on super (too much English revision).

To get back today, it was the usual painful hour. Sweat was sweated, even Bealsey sweated which makes me think he also let his hair down over the festive season. And I felt much better by the end, even if the only fresh air was washed in by rain through the French doors in Lucy’s kitchen.

A good day. And a friend baked me a cake too. Picture of the cake will be posted when she has passed on the picture to me. My phone storage is full.

Note to self: sort out the storage… maybe kill some of the kids’ gaming apps, and my 3000 emails.