Thursday, 8 November 2012

Tabata, Exmoor Beast and Baines Racing

Well here we are again.  Many rounds with the Gorilla have been contested since I have last updated you.  Honest analysis shows that he may be winning but you should know that he cheats.  I also suspect he is in league with Jedi (coach extraordinaire).  Just when you think you are gaining the upper hand over that monkey the coach introduces a previously unheard of concept from Japan called Tabata.  Now whilst I have every admiration for the Japanese: their rich culture, the very cool approach of Zen and the glorious food not to mention the mind altering affects of Saki - Tabata stems back to a darker period in their history.

Tabata was clearly invented by some demented, torturous, evil, jumped up little Camp Commander deep in the Burmese jungle during WWII in order to break our troops.  I have no idea what they substituted for a Wattbike back then but clearly the invention of that loathsome device enabled them to perfect this particular method of sadistic endeavour.  Who knew that the simple phrase - 20" max, 10" rest x 8 (twice) - neatly slipped into the middle of a power session could reduce a fully grown man to a gibbering wreck. Who knew 10" could pass so quickly.  Or that 20" could last so long!

                               A 20" Tabata experience - facial expression sums it up nicely!

That said training is going very well.  The mixture of Wattbike, Road and MTB variously measured on heart rate, power and time is slowly working its magic.  It is amazing how much you can achieve in a short, quality hour indoors - here is a typical workout:

2' easy

5'@345w, 2'RBI (RBI = rest between intervals)
5'@314w, 2'RBI
5'@265w, 2'RBI
Tabata: 20"Max, 10"rest x8
Tabata:20"Max, 10"rest x8

WD: 5'easy (call medics as soon as able to speak)

Road sessions are focussed on riding particular blocks focussed on power zones, cadence and HR whilst MTB is focussed on staying in particular HR Zones whilst repeating hill climbs and long steady drags.  In addition Jay has hauled my chunky butt out on a couple of training rides which I have enjoyed immensely.  I have seen an enormous improvement and Jay has myself and Banksy absolutely on track.  This is evidenced by our efforts in a couple or races recently, namely the Trailbreak event at Hawkesbury and the Exmoor Beast.  And so to my first race reports:

Trailbreak Hawkesbury:  Now I appreciate that riding in HotChillee events such as the L2P and the Alpine Challenge may have set unreasonably high expectations of how a race should be run.  I have also ridden in Trailbreak events before and know what to expect.  This was however a shambles.  A lot of ground was covered on tarmac, some ok single track and then an awful lot of deep muddy crap that was unrideable! Verdict - crap route selection.

                                                             Very muddy athletes
Exmoor Beast:  Once again the rolling road closures experienced through HotChillee set a certain standard for road racing.  Whilst this was not the case with the Exmoor the race itself was well run, well catered (especially on route) and great fun.  Banksy and I did the 100 mile route (160km) and even though I suffered a front wheel blow out whilst descending the only 1 in 4 (25%) gradient and a further puncture only 10 miles later we still finished in a pretty respectable time.  As was to be expected it rained most of the time with occasional lapses so that the wind could blow that little bit harder.  Verdict: tough as hell but loved it!

                                                   It was a roadbike race - honest!

                                                               It was cold ok!

Now I need to mention my local bike shop, Baines Racing.  It is no secret that to enter, train for and ride the Cape Epic from the UK is a costly affair.  I have to buy numerous bits of equipment and every week as it gets colder and wetter I need more clothing, lights, tyres, overshoes and the list goes on.  Not to mention bikes, helmets and parts as training this hard and weighing in at 99kg (still!) results in stuff breaking.  I talk to lost of people about cycling and am pointed to different online stores every day.  I buy everything from Baines.  Between Jeff and his team (with help from Spence and Velotec of course) they keep me on the road or dirt and provide not only an excellent service but the best pricing bar none!  In this world were we are seeing local businesses squeezed out by large online retailers, Jeff has got exactly the right approach - the customer service at Baines is world class and this includes the advice from his team who are all competitive cyclists.  You guys rock and have gone beyond anything I expected in helping me on route to this race.

Finally, and I appreciate this is an awkward subject, at some stage we are going to need to address my use of training supplements, especially in light of the negative impact the accusations against Lance are having on our sport.  I only use one and if they ban it I am finished.  The following picture says it all:

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