Power Data – Why you should never talk about it

I have been a cyclist for a long time now and it amazes me how many fellow cyclists love to talk about their power numbers to whoever cares to listen.  But let me tell you a litttle secret.  First, the vast majority of the population will not know what you are talking about, let alone care, and second, if you do decide to share “your numbers” there is never a good outcome.

Let me explain what happens when you decide to talk about to power data in a couple of different scenarios.

The first and most likely scenario is that your friends don’t know about power training.  They will think you’re a nerd.  They will lose respect for you.  And they will think you are boring.

The second scenario is that your friends know about power training.  They will compare themselves to you as similar weight athletes (or using a simple power to weight ratio comparion because you will have definitely bragged about your less than impressive FTP results and your weight) but due to you lack of racing success, either conclude that you are weak, tactically stupid or a combination of both.  They will also lose respect for you.  And they will also think that you are boring.

So whichever way you look at it, discussing power data with anyone is a bad idea and will ultimately lead to people thinking you are boring!

2018 – Resolutions and Rules

My resolutions and rules for 2018 are as follows:

Give 2 units of blood (best thing that I can do given that I am O Neg).  (One donation made on 3 January, so one more to go later in the year).

Be meat free for the month of January.  This is now complete, but we have decided, as a family, to consume less meat from now on and will do Meatless Mondays from hence forth.

Run at least once a week with my wonderful daughter.

Beat last year’s Personal Best (PB) at my local 10 mile time trial on my Brompton bicycle.

Everest my Brompton bicycle.

Complete a 30 day yoga streak (completed in January but continuing with yoga, as I really enjoyed it).

Abide by my 3 pillars of health.

Simple!

I’ve been online dating and I love it!

I’ve been online dating for the whole month of January and it’s been fantastic.  Let me add a bit of context.  It is not the online dating that you are probably thinking about.  It has also been fully supported by my wife and daughter.  In fact, they have even been fully engaged in the activity too!

Our online date has been with Adrienne, the YouTube Yoga teacher.  Adrienne has provided us all with a lovely 31 day yoga challenge over the month of January.  If you haven’t seen her videos, I thoroughly recommend that you have a quick look.  The Guardian journalist, Rebecca Nicholson described her as her ‘goofy online yoga teacher’ but she is so much more than this.  Adrienne is so enthusiastic, encouraging and engaging and genuinely makes you feel special for even turning up on the yoga mat.  She also has a pretty cool dog with the same name as my dog, so that gives her even more points in my book!  My little family have all become converts and yoga is definitely going to become a part of our daily routine.

And for the sceptics out there, don’t dismiss it until you have tried it.  I am a keen sports person (cycling, running, skiing and outdoor pursuits in general).  However, I dislike stretching and am particularly bad at doing core work, even though I know how beneficial it is.  Now, with Adrienne and yoga in my life, my core stability and flexibility are all taken care off in one nice relaxing session.  Thank you, Adrienne, we love you.

p.s.  we are also doing a ‘no meat’ January, but that isn’t nearly as much fun!

If you want to get in touch, please follow and message me on Twitter.

The Cycling Monuments – Dates for the 2018 editions

The Cycling Monuments

Yes, I love cycling.  I have spent more hours than I care to think about following the Grand Tours (the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana).  However, if you don’t have that desire to dedidcate 3 weeks at a time to followership, then you could do worse than just spend 5 days following the oldest, longest, toughest and most prestigious one-day professional road races in cycling.  These are known as The Monuments.  (Five days versus 63 day sounds much more palatable).

Each of the five races has its own special character, whether it be the savage length, the sharp climbs or the weather (Europe in early spring or late autumn).

The dates for the 2018 editions of the Monuments are as follows:

Milan San Remo.  Also know as La Primavera or The Sprinters’ Classic and takes place in Italy on  Saturday 17 March 2018.

Tour of Flanders.  Also know as De Ronde or Ronde van Vlannnderen and takes place in Belgium on Sunday 1 April 2018.

Paris Roubaix.  Also know as Hell of the North, Queen of Classics or La Pascale and takes place in France  on Sunday 8 April 2018.

Liege Bastogne Liege.  Also known as La Doyenne and takes place in Belgium on Sunday 22 April 2018.

Il Lombardia.  Also know as Giro di Lombardia or Race of the Falling Leaves (as it takes place in autumn rather than spring like the rest of the Monuments).  It takes place in Italy on Saturday 13 October 2018.

Action packed and very entertaining, I will certainly be following them all.

 

Everesting on my Brompton Bicycle – my 2018 physical challenge

Mount Everest – 8848 metres (almost 30,000ft) high

Mount Everest has always fascinated me. I would love to see it in all its beauty, one day.  In the mean time, I intend to celebrate the 65th Anniversary of Hillary and Tenzing’s famous ascent by doing something Everest related. So the date is set – 29 May 2018, 65 years after the first successful assault of Mt Everest.  (I do add a caveat, going along with my climbing theme, and I can move the date a day or two each side to pick the best weather window for my challenge).

So what is the challenge, I hear you cry? It’s called Everesting. For those of you that don’t know, Everesting on a bicycle involves riding up and down the same hill as many times as necessary to get the cumulative height of Mount Everest which is 8848m (29000 ft) of ascent on a single ride.  For those non cyclists readers, that is a big day of climbing, especially when consider that the hardest mountain stages of the Tour de France sometimes accumulate 4000m of ascent, and my three ascents of Mont Ventoux only accumlated 4400m of height gain!

If you are interested in the rules, have a look at Hells500 rules here.   By my calculations, on the hill that I have picked, it is a 210km day with half of it riding uphill! So a tough day by any stretch of the imagination. I am going to make it tougher by riding my lovely Brompton instead of my race ready road bike.

Brompton in action.

So, like all things, I am setting myself up for success by doing some training. My Summit Attempt in May, so I have time on my side (as I write this in November 2017).   I have targeted a date to fit in with my Everest obsession – 29th May 2018, which will be exactly 65 years after Hillary and Tenzing stood on the world’s highest summit. I will share my key training sessions running up to my Everesting attempt in my blog.

Thanks for reading.  If you would like to get in touch, please follow me on Twitter and contact me via this social media channel.  If I am mentioned in your Tweet, I will always get back to you.  Thank you for taking time out to read my post.

Riding up Mt Teide on my Brompton

I make no secret of the fact that I am a big fan of my Brompton Bicycle.  So I was delighted that this year, the family holiday destination was to be Tenerife (one of the Canary Islands).  Tenerife is also home to Mt Teide, the volcano made famous in cycling circles by the likes of Team Sky, Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and a whole host of other professional cycling teams who take advantage of the mountain’s altitude and the training possibilities that it provides.

I was fortunate enough to be staying on the north of the island in Puerto de la Cruz by the sea.  This meant that I had a 40km uphill ride from sea level to 2300 metres before free wheeling for another 40km downhill back to my hotel.

It goes without saying that my Brompton performed faultlessly.  This bike really can do it all.  This is link to my Stava file if you are interested.

And some photos to record the memories…..

Mt Teide – view from the plane
The start of my ride at sea level – Puerto de la Cruz
Mt Teide National Park
Views form 2300 metres above sea level

Thanks for reading.  If you would like to get in touch, please follow me on Twitter and contact me via this social media channel.  If I am mentioned in your Tweet, I will always get back to you.  Thank you for taking time out to read my post.

 

10 things that I learnt from riding my bike early morning every day for 40 days

This year for Lent I gave up 90 minutes of time spent in bed and got up at 5am every day (even at the weekend). Instead of wasting this time, I used it constructively by heading out of the house and getting in some riding time, on my Brompton, of course.
So what did I learn from my 40 consecutive days of cycling?

1st – It confirmed that I still love the sport, hobby, activity as much as I did when I took it up all those years ago.

Riding my bike
Looking pretty stylish on my bike in 1976

2nd – Early morning is where it is at for me. I love the tranquillity and the pre-dawn chill, and the treat of seeing the sky brighten in the east as dawn approached. #bestpartoftheday

The pre-dawn glow in the East.

3rd – Knowing that I was getting up at 5am, my evening routine was more focused and structured. No messing, faffing, watching pointless TV, surfing the net. Post supper chores were a breeze.

4th – Preparation is everything. Each evening, before going to bed, I’d prepare everything for the next morning so that I could get up, get dressed and get out without disturbing the rest of the family.

5th – The early start meant that there was minimum disruption to family life. I replaced my morning tea making duties with a Teas Maid (one of those machines that makes your partner’s tea and were very popular in the 1970s. They are still available today). I was usually back for the normal morning routine before I was even missed.

6th – Riding early meant that some days I even got to ride twice, which in my book is an added bonus.

Ride number two of the day. Out with the big wheels.

7th – Once I got into work, I felt good that I had already run some oxygen through the lungs. I love my exercise and sometimes get a bit grumpy if events take over and prevent me from doing some. Exercising early in the morning meant that this could never happen and it was always within my control.

8th – Good nutrition helps massively to ensure that the body recovers and adapts to what you throw at it.

Banana powered.

9th – Ride a bike that it low maintenance and makes you smile – that’s why I ride my Brompton.

Low maintenance and lots of fun – the Brompton really can do it all.

10th – Just do it. I used to check the forecast and find the nicest part of the day to ride. Not anymore. 5.15 was departure time, whatever the weather. No procrastinating, no waiting for the rain to ease, the wind to drop, the rush hour to finish. Taking the procrastination option out of the equation make it so easy. I’m sure that I can learn more from that point alone.

The Monuments: Cycling’s five biggest one-day races

Five of the oldest, longest, toughest and most prestigious one-day professional road races in cycling are known under the heading of The Monuments.

For me, I find The Monuments almost as exciting as the Grand Tours (the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana).

Each of the five races has its own special character, whether it be the savage length (291km for Milan San Remo last year in 2016), cobbles, the sharp climbs or the weather.

The dates for the 2017 editions of the Monuments are as follows:

Milan San Remo.  Also know as La Primavera or The Sprinters’ Classic and takes place in Italy on  Saturday 18 March 2017.

Tour of Flanders.  Also know as De Ronde or Ronde van Vlannnderen and takes place in Belgium on Sunday 2 April 2017.

Paris Roubaix.  Also know as Hell of the North, Queen of Classics or La Pascale and takes place in France  on Sunday 9 April 2017.

Liege Bastogne Liege.  Also known as La Doyenne and takes place in Belgium on Sunday 23 April 2017.

Il Lombardia.  Also know as Giro di Lombardia or Race of the Falling Leaves (as it takes place in autumn rather than spring like the rest of the Monuments).  It takes place in Italy on Saturday 7 October 2017.

Action packed and very entertaining, I will certainly be following them all.

 

How to Die in the Mountains

How to Die in the Mountains

So I was clearing through some of my things and came across this poem.  I must have scribbled it down whilst I was doing some course (I used to do a lot of mountain walking and navigation courses, back in the day).

Anyway, I share it now on my blog, so that I have a record of it.

Seek no wisdom, leave no word

Common sense is too absurd.

 

Take no extra food or gear,

You’ll not need them, have no fear.

 

Do not fret if you’ve got no skill,

People like you are hard to kill.

 

We beg of you, before you die,

Pick a place that’s not too high.

Lent – what are you going to give up?

Lent runs from Wednesday 1 March to Saturday 15 April this year (2017).   By observing Lent, Christians are remembering the sacrifice of Jesus, who withdrew into the wilderness and fasted for 40 days before his crucifixion.  Traditionally, people have given up certain luxuries as a form of penance.

So for me, I’m going to give up the luxury of sleeping in until at least 6.30am each morning and set my alarm for 5.00am instead (in effect, I am giving up 90 minutes of warm bed action).

Giving up some sleep for Lent

Added to that, I am going to drag my sorry butt out of the front door and ride up the local hill, all before I normally surface.  Hopefully, I will see some nice pre-dawn scenes and even some sunrises as we progress towards spring in the northern hemisphere.

Finally, I’m going to be doing all this early morning riding on my Brompton Bicycle – a bike that is one of my favourites and enjoys a mad challenge.

Thanks for reading.  If you would like to get in touch, please follow me on Twitter and contact me via this social media channel.  If I am mentioned in your Tweet, I will always get back to you.  Thank you for taking time out to read my post.


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