I was a little constipated with the posts over the last week and I apologise. I had plenty to say but I just kept running out of day, what with trying to dredge up Chemistry knowledge that has been untouched since 1984, and also chaperoning a series of groups of first year students around campus. But I’m back… well as much as I was ever here in the first place.
Today is New Years Revolution update day.
Actually, it was yesterday but I was um… well I can’t remember, but it seemed like I was busy. Grocery shopping, swimming with the kids in mum’s pool (it was 29°C/84°F at 10am), cleaning my desk off ready for the proper start of university today (this was by far the biggest job).
I was doing good with the Revolution. Really I was. Right up until the bit where my days got full. Not over full, just full. And then my time management skills kicked in and it all went out the window.
Mutton Chop time?
Sorry to disappoint. I’m still alive in the avoid-the-mutton-chops-stakes, but only just. 16 points. And this week every single missing point was a missing bike ride.
Weight Gain time?
Sorry to disappoint. But again it was close with only a 0.3kg (0.7lb) loss. That brings to 2006 loss total to 7.8kg (17.1lb). I’m still ahead of the goal of 1kg per week. Just. 7.8kg in 7 weeks is OK until you look at the graph of my progress and it looks a lot like I’m tapering towards a new equilibrium (9 months and over 30kgs early). I’m going to have to do some actual exercise this week which is fine because I have a slightly more open schedule now that the regular semester has started.
Bike Riding time?
I went into the garage to mount my trusty stead this afternoon and the red beast responded with a heartfelt “who the hell are you?” It has taken a backseat to all the other more immediate but far less important things going on around me recently. Evidenced by my grand total mileage for the week… 48km (28mi). But I caught myself in time and I’m making a conscious effort not to morph backwards from bike rider to bike owner. It’s happened before and I don’t like the resulting physiological issues it brings with it.
Hence, thus and therefore, today I pedalled a route that took me temptingly close to one of the nasty little 10% climbs I talked about a few weeks ago. Gladly for my heart rate monitor, but sadly for my ego, I chickened out and took the avoidance route around the bottom of the monolith. It was a self preservation move as I was riding a gear equal to my fixie gearing (don’t ask) and attempting to maintain or exceed a 90 rpm cadence. That equates to 27kph (17mph) which is fine on the flat but the climb I was aiming for gets served up after a 2.3km (1.4mi) false flat. At the moment when I had to decide whether to turn left or turn skyward my heart rate monitor had been fluttering around 172-175bpm for close to 5 solid minutes. I was very dubious about my ability to grunt and sweat and heave and swear my way up a 650 metre (0.4mi) 10% climb yet.
All those in favour say I. “I.” It’s unanimous then, the I’s have it. Turn left and achieve a tidy 69.7kph (43.3mph) maximum speed washing off the altitude gained by the false flat.
I Wanna be a trackie.
I was a trackie. In my stable, the only bike that has spare wheels is the track bike. Truth be known, at the time that I was spending money hand over fist on all my cycling equipment, each pair of wheels for the track bike were worth about the same amount as my entire road bike. It was necessary at the time because anything less would probably have just collapsed from the strain I put on them. It was also justified because I was competing with people who were spending more (or having more spent on them) and I was getting my fair share of good results. To this day I still own all of that equipment. It certainly isn’t cutting edge any longer, but it sure as hell is strong and reliable and under the dust, shiny. And I want to get my moneys worth out of it.
My plan to become a trackie again is simple. I already have the muscle bulk. It never really went away. But I’m working against the immutable laws of physiology and physics. Physiology: without getting too technical (and I’m open to correction here) “use it or lose it”. Pretty simple. And for the most part it ain’t been used for 18 years. Physics is also a pretty fundamental issue which needs little explanation. I have to move a much larger lump of meat these days. What is the prime reason a sports car accelerates faster than a semi-trailer? It sure isn’t power because the big, smelly old diesel has most sports cars beaten on power. But a sports car weights 2000 or 3000 pounds. A semi weighs in at over 13,000 pounds when it’s empty. I’m already well on the way to dumping the weight… close to 8kg gone from a planned total of 45kg, that’s near enough to 20% and still moving.
Putting the strength back in the legs is a slightly longer journey. Sitting on the bike for hours every week will eventually do the job but I have a truncated timetable. I want to be ready to race in October this year. So each ride is punctuated with pain. The pain comes from POWER. I’m doing my best to break the chain and shred the rear tyre. At least once, often more and sometimes as much as 7 or 8 times during a ride, I will select a gear similar to the track bike: 52×15. Then after a couple of deep breaths, I get out of the seat and accelerate as hard as possible until my legs won’t spin any faster, then sit down and try to squeeze out another 10 or 15 rpm. Starting at around 50-55 rpm, I go quickly to 100rpm and then to a touch over 110rpm most times. Those revs in that gear returns a speed of 47kph (29mph). Encouraging against recent benchmarks, but appalling when overlaid with the speed of yesteryear.
A Change of Season.
As the days get shorter, the rides will get longer and the sprints will get longer and faster and more frequent. There will be 2 marker posts on the way to “race ready”. The first will be the achievement of 150rpm in that gear (62.5kph/38.8mph). The second (first and second is the appearance order in this post only) will be the successful drafting behind a cement truck at a sustained 70kph (43.5mph) with no gearing limit.
I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again.