vive le france…

8 07 2009

Well im back a week now from France. It was my 3rd trip there and we almost had the crew from the original trip. We were staying in http://www.skideuxalps.com/lolypme.htm

and i think we would all recommend it. It fitted 4 people perfectly. One or two more would be a push but for 300euro for the week between 4 people it was a bargain! Perfectly located at the top of Les deux alpes which takes anywhere from 27mins (anto) to 40mins+ to climb at the end of each day.

Preparing for the trip to alpe d'heuz. The jacket was for the descent but wasnt neccesary at all!!

Preparing for the trip to alpe d'heuz. The jacket was for the descent but wasnt neccesary at all!!

This was obviously a bit daunting considering you would usually of done one or 2 cols already and would be fairly shattered but it always made you have a dang at your time. The climb has 10 switchbacks and is pretty steep too. Avg speed up it is about 15km so its reasonably fast compared to the Alpe d’Heuz and Sarenne.

Pantani holds the record up in from 1998 and there is a statue in his honour up there commemorating it.

Il pirato the record holder. (not me sadly!)

Il pirato the record holder. (not me sadly!)

Its a great climb as if your not doing it in the middle of the day it can be sheltered with some trees but if its in the midday sun its a scorcher! no where to hide!!!

In this video Anto and Colin are coming back from a dirt road ride up to an altitude above 2500m. We were late picking them up from the bottom of the alp and got them with 3 switchbacks to go. They were flying! It gives you a good idea of the gradient and the look of the area. It doesnt look that steep but this would be a flatter section at about 6% some of it is about 9% id say with avg about 7.5%? Colin had to do the Marmotte (190km) the next day so was not impressed (he rarely is!). It was 9pm at this point so not much sun but its easier to go hard whens its not as hot thats for sure.

Coming up next we will take a look at our trip up the Alpe D’Heuz. A day that had 3 punctures, one person blew up and another got stranded! A real treat!





puncture!

19 06 2009

Whats worse than cycling for an hour to the club race only to get a puncture 5 mins before it starts and you 5 mins away due to your warm up! yeah well at least it was a lovely night for fixing a puncture! I ended up riding home which was a bit of a disappointment as i haven’t done much since Sundays epic race!

Im saving my UCD gear for the France trip on Tuesday so i threw on the old black ones and looking at the pics i cant believe how fred-like they are! Need to pick up a few more pairs of shorts but i wont be going for the standard black ones.

But you also cant wear pro-team shorts as thats a no-no. You cant wear white shorts as although you look cool for the first week they will be covered in multicoloured gels and oil stains forever. So whats the solution?

Seth happy as larry

Seth happy as larry

total fred shorts

total fred shorts





what to do???

17 06 2009

SO what is the advice when you have just done a hard overload week and you ready to do the same again but your starting to get a sore throat and a bit wheezy???

I was thinking of going on the turbo for an hour tonight?

I was thinking of going to jacuzziand swim and relax the legs?

or will i just relax and go to bed early hoping to be better to cycle 120km round trip to the club race after work???

Seth doing a good early session

Seth doing a good early session

Yesterday mornings lovely recovery spin seems miles away now!!!





Dog day afternoon…

16 06 2009

Sunday was a long day in the saddle as they say. I knew the Meath GP was going to be the longest race id ever done. It was scheduled for 146km but on my clock i had 160km at the end. I wasn’t too nervous going into it as i didn’t really have anything to lose. I looked back at my winter training and realised i hadn’t done anything over 135km at all as i was preparing for the C races ahead. These are on average about 70km and i was doing usually 100km days so id be ok in the combined races. I never could have imagined doing a race this long with A/B riders only a few months later!

The yank looking smart as always

The yank looking smart as always

We drove out the LONG way (never listen to foreigners directions) and got changed etc pretty quickly. About 15 mins before roll out it starts lashing rain which all of a sudden made the sun cream i just applied fairly unnecessary. I stayed in the car while Seth warmed up. I immediately thought back to last weekends rainfest in Wicklow and thought this just isnt going to be my day. I HATE RAIN. I especially HATE THE COLD RAIN!

This seemed to be different though as it was still reasonably warm out. Through the rain lashing on the window i could see Seth waiving at me furiously. (imagine think American accent) “they are F**kin gone man, get out of the car”. At first i thought he was joking but, NO they actually had gone. I jumped on the bike and had visions of me chasing back through the cars at the start of a terribly long day.

Luckily enough i found a group of lads tipping out to the start so i knew id be ok. After that the rain died off and all was fine. I asked one of the A’s if this was the same course that we did at start of season and he said yes it was. This scared me as i found it very hard first time round still finding my fitness. He could probably see my fear so he tried to cheer me up with “don’t worry though its only one extra lap this time”. I didnt know whether i should tell him that last time in the C race it was only 2 laps making this double the distance!

A starting field of about 45 rolled out and the first 10 mins was pretty hard going. Considering i was sitting in a warm car only a few moments ago its not surprising i found it a shock but it soon settled down when a break got away. My plan from step one was to just sit in all day and survive. I hadn’t ridden this far in a long time never mind raced it!

I felt bad sitting in and letting everyone else do the work but more and more people tried to bridge to the breakaway so it began to get strung out and eventually it came together. Whoever told me before the race that this was flat was clearly born in the alps as it was very draggy in places and some of these would last a good few minutes. Now i may have exaggerated about the hilliness of the race but let me just clarify that it wasn’t flat!!!

Once the counter attack break stayed away things settled down nicely and although i didn’t hear any time checks i can only imagine that it was quite sizable considering when we arrived to the finish line 4 hours after starting i saw the leading group eating tea and sandwiches.

I have to admit i have found an endurance food like no other mid ride. I made a nutella and banana sandwich at home and had it during the ride to break up the monotony of 7 gels and 4 nutrigrains. I promised myself i wouldn’t fail in this race due to bonking.

Because of this it must have looked like i was just coming off a fast due to the amount of food i was eating every few minutes.

Wondering why i dont feel hungry after 7gels and 4 bars?

The ride went well for me (seeing as i only did one turn on the front) and i was happy the legs were ok for that distance. I dont think i could have done much work and finished the race and i think the lads who were up at the front riding hard all day deserve a medal but hopefully someday il be able to contribute to a race of that distance. The group up the road had 13 in it i was told after the race and there was a small sprint for prizes in the main bunch (which was only about 20 riders by now). I got 4th in that and missed out on a prize but with the little amount of work i did i wouldnt have deserved one and was just glad to finish the race. I dont think il be doing too many races that long for a while but at least i know what it feels like. 4 hours racing a bike without talking to anyone goes pretty slowly…





problem after problem!

10 06 2009

Yesterday i set out to Dunboyne with the sun shining and a good days work behind me. It really went downhill from there!

The trip out to the race in Meath was perfect. I rode alone and got there in about 45mins. The race was a bit delayed so it involved sitting around for about 30mins which wasnt too bad as the sun was really shinning now and was quite warm. 

The C vets and Juniors had a 3 min lead and the B’s and A’s headed off together the attackes started reasonably early but it wasnt tough going really. One group finally got a good gap and a few lads kept bridging accross. This is where i dropped my only water bottle of the day. I did one small attempt to bridge accross but afterwards my mouth was dry as the sahara so i decided to sit in a pick up my bottle off the roadside on 2nd lap of 3. When i stopped and got it it was smashed to pieces by a car so i bridged through the cars (much tot the help of Gay Howard) and sat back in the bunch thirsty and thus hungry as i couldnt eat a gel or bar without water. This lasted for 90mins and at this stage i was just waiting for the race to end. 

With nothing to race for and i could focus more of my attention on the noise coming from my rear wheel. It was a noise i hadnt heard before and sounded like a mixture of a whirring, a rattle and a grinding? I soon realised that my cassette had actually come loose and was shaking about. Looking back on it i should have stopped to avoid further damage but with my recent run of DNFs i had to plough on. When i stopped at the finish line and took out the wheel the cassette actually just fell apart. Lucky i did stop so! I was delighted that one of the cars had a cassette tool and i tightened it up but the noise still continued on way home. If i just leave it alone maybe it wont get any worse…???

Couldnt download the powerfiles as my PC decided to stop working! but the race was 90mins with avg power of 230 (i think)? so pretty tame.

For the day i did 5h with another effort of 60mins at 240 on way home so pretty hard going. My aim of racing on wednesday too ended when i only got in at 1045pm. 

 

A quick pick from Howth Summit

A quick pick from Howth Summit

 

 

One hour up Howth this morn and the club race tomorrow should make for a good testing week.





a day on the sofa

8 06 2009

Well after saturdays exploits i tried to do nothing yesterday but a gym workout and my muscles feel like i havent done one for about 4 months. Thats because i havent done one in 4 months and im sore all over. So much for a rest day. 

I did however spend some time with the bike on sunday. I cleaned every little bit of it after the wicklow wipeout of the day before. All my training wheels are even cleaned and greased now. 

Tomorrow il do the Leinster 3 day and the club race on Thursday too. Lets hope the legs work again!!





The transport of the future

6 06 2009

 

Ushers Mobile changing room

Ushers Mobile changing room

One bright spot of the day was the van parked beside us with fitted leather couch, bottle holders, Carpet, bikerack etc etc…

The Usher lads are lucky with this purpose built pimp my bike wagon.

I would have got dropped even faster if i knew i had this to come back to!

Wheres the female masseuse?