Sunday, 25 September 2011

Now then where's my threshold...


Hey everyone hope this finds you well.

I am not sure where to start this week after the emotion of last week.  It has carried through this week with Stew’s funeral on Wednesday.  The funeral was very well put together and had some nice anecdotes from close friends.  The family also produced a lovely booklet with pictures of Stew and some facts that we didn’t know.  It was a testament to how well Stew was liked and respected that there where 300 people maybe more there.  The hardest part of the service for me is always seeing the relatives after the service.  It always brings me to tears or very close to them.  I hate seeing people hurting.  It is especially difficult and awkward if you do not know the family very well which in this case I didn’t.  I said something to the girls but not much.

I am going to try not to dwell on this to much this blog I think I have said all I need to.  I have been on a fat fighter’s mission this week.  I started off the week with a threshold set on the wattbikes, which comprised of 5 x 5min sets of 240watts with 2 minutes rest in between.  Then just to make sure it was as hard as i thought i did another one on Saturday...it was hard i can confirm!  It was hard, I expected it to be but I managed it.  I have hit the gym twice and went out for a long cycle ride with Ted and Andy on Thursday morning for 3 hours.  The hills are still killing me but the more I think about it the more I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  After all I am currently carrying excess baggage and once this is removed then I will be a lot more efficient. 

As far as food goes I have started on a regime which stipulates I am allowed no more then 10g of fat per meal and gain points from meals and points for exercise.  It is quite encouraging to have a target set and a goal to achieve week by week rather then looking bleakly into the months ahead.  I am determined I will not diet as such and want to keep the weight loss healthy and sustainable.

I have also put together a four week training programme now that winter is nearly upon us and will be undertaking a couple of sessions with Kelly Strickland Personal Trainer at Stretford Leisure Centre (www.traffordleisure.co.uk) to devise a core strength and flexibility program as mine is currently well below par.  Another session with Marek (www.mhcpt.co.uk) has just about sorted my shoulder out and as normal we had a very interesting discussion about the world and the way of things.  It is one of the things I enjoy about the physio sessions along with the pain obviously!

Exercise Totals;

Cycling Commuting;  43.5km 
‘Leisure’ Cycling;       95.18 km (Including 2 x 35min threshold workouts)
2 x Gym Session;         30 minutes cardio (Crosstraining and rowing)
                                    Various weights
                                    15minutes stretching


I would just like to say thank you to people for the emotional support they have given me the last few weeks and for putting up with my more quiet reflective moods.  It has been very much appreciated and noted for the future. 

Also Mark Cavendish World Champion well done all involved superb stuff.  Very inspirational!!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

A weird week

On Monday I received some shocking news.  I was already melancholic from 9/11 tributes and documentaries when I was told that our Operations Manager had passed away on the Sunday whilst out cycling with his club.  I can’t really describe how I feel about it accurately.  We were not friends in work we had a colleague relationship but  we had some great conversations about cycling from carb gels to Tour De France and we always managed to find some sort of laughter in this.  I remember first telling him I was going to be doing some ‘proper’ cycling and he signed off the email “take it easy Contador”.  I feel shocked and deeply gutted about his passing especially as he was a fit guy.  Life is very unfair sometimes.  I would like to express my heartfelt sadness to Stewart’s family and hope that Stewart himself rests in peace.  I would also like to dedicate the following to Stewart something I found on the internet and found quite fitting really;

A ride through time.

I ride through time,
Stretching it out with surreal distortion,
I ride for freedom,
I am immortal, freedom from the fear of death,
I push myself to the limit of my mortal frame,
then transcend that human pain,
enter into that fourth dimension.


My wheels no longer touch the ground,
they’re floating on passionate effort,
a whole hearted single minded effort,
the rhythm of a perfect circle,
a pulsing rhythm that rises above the worlds woes.


Movement brings freedom.
Unfettered yet fitting in perfectly,
unconventionally conventional,
an independent form of movement.

I know exactly how far I have travelled,
I can feel how far I have moved.


Allow the spirit of your surroundings feed your movement,
the harder I push the more I merge with my surroundings,
my aim is to reach that point of effortless movement,
turbo boosted blood pumping round my muscles,
my spirit is one with my body,
brain, muscles and spirit in total harmony,
producing a pure single minded effort,
human body, trees, mountains rivers, spirits and bike.


Carlo Castelvecchi. May 2002

Stewart’s passing has raised some thoughts in my head about my cycling future.  This combined with the numb groin, which was not pleasant, had brought me to thinking about quitting the bike altogether.  I suppose the introspection is natural after such a set of events but it has scared me.  I am not even a quarter as fit on the bike as him and who’s to say I won’t have something like that happen to me.  I am younger then Stewart by some 15 years but it has worried me considerably.  I am reasonably sure that I will keep going after all if I don’t cycle I could just as easily die from something else tomorrow so I suppose I'm thinking of carpe diem (seize the day) is necessary.  I know I’m quoting a lot today but here’s another

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
Buddha

The week itself has not been a good one exercise wise.  I have been suffering with a cough and heavy cold (man flu!), which has meant a couple of days off work no gym and hardly anytime on the bike.  Sad times indeed.  It is my intention to start off on a winter training schedule, which I am working out at the moment.  It is going to involve swimming, wattbikes and the gym.  If I get chance to get out on the bike I will take it but those days seem to be few and far between at the moment.  I will post something next week on what the schedule is going to look like.

Had a great time at Chris and Ste Law’s 30th bash last night.  Lots of lovely people and booze.  To cap the night Chris decided to get a ambulance taxi home!

Ending on a massively positive note I found out this week that 2 sets of my friends are going to have babies.  This has cheered me up no end towards the end of the week and as you can probably tell I have been writing the blog all week and not just on the Sunday as normal.  I have also received my picture through from the Manchester 100 Miler.  I know I look bad ass…more like a numb ass!



Have a safe week and take every opportunity you can.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

That day again.


It is a solemn day today.  September the 11th always makes me sad and I always reflect on the events on that day.  My overwhelming memory of it was watching people covered in dust like grey ghosts emerging from the direction of the fallen towers.  A lot of people who didn’t actually die in the initial collisions or the collapses have died from inhaling the dust from the fallen towers.  I still cannot believe it's ten years ago time seems to fly by.  I will never forget that day playing out on the news my thoughts are with the families of the victims and the brave emergency services who died along with them.

So I am having a quiet week this week after last week’s excitement.  I got back on the bike on Thursday after the ‘numb groin’ had disappated by Wednesday.  Damn it was painful I am going to have to look at solutions for long rides as I don’t fancy having that again!

A few people are thinking about doing the Manchester to Blackpool night ride on the 17th September (http://www.bhf.org.uk/get-involved/events/bike-rides/city-to-coast-bike-rides/manchester-to-blackpool-night.aspx) so I am going to see what I am working and maybe attempt it.  I’m not sure if it’s for me as country lanes on a night will probably equal a number of punctures for me!  Also my lights are not the best so I would have to upgrade them to something a little more powerful.

I just want to talk generally about food again this week as its something that started off as quite a prominent part of the blog but then the cycling addiction has taken over somewhat.  I am struggling to get anything going for consistency on food as I am stuck in a ‘reward’ phase.  By this I mean I will go out and complete a ride of 30 miles plus then either the same day or the next I will think well I did that ride so I can eat anything I like now.   It then means either a takeaway or some sort of dessert.  Don’t get me wrong I am still losing weight but I think this could be going more quickly then it is and I think I could be eating a lot more healthily.   My fruit and veg intake is a lot more then it was which is pleasing but I need to tighten up on what’s going in! 

This week I have received a care package from a friend of mine who works with a company called BSc (http://www.bodyscience.com.au/) this company produces compression wear for athletes and also produces nutritional supplements.  I have some bits and bobs to try so I will let you know how I get on!

Well the gym again I have been slacking the last two weeks.  Partly because of the physio treatment on my shoulder as I don’t want to irritate it and have a relapse but it’s been a busy couple of weeks for me also.  I had another physio appointment with Marek (www.mhcpt.co.uk) the other night and he thinks that the injury is getting a lot better so I will probably only need a few more sessions.  Last nights session was particularly painful but on the opposing lat muscle, and trapezius muscle to the injury which was strange.  It may well have been to do with the cycle ride.


Hope you all have a cracking week!

Monday, 5 September 2011

Manchester 100


Hey folks.  Sorry for the late blog again down to cycling fanaticism.   Another good week for me on the bike.  A couple of firsts to talk about and a bit of an issue after the 100 miles :-))

So to the main event.  07:20 on Sunday morning saw about 50 cyclists set off from Wythenshawe Park for the Manchester 100 miles cycle.  There where around 3000 people signed up and staggered start times ensured that I would be passed on a number of occasions by the cycling supermen of Manchester.  The weather held nicely all day for us which was good as I didn’t fancy a stretch getting pissed on like last time!  I was cycling on my own this time as my compatriots had other commitments on the day and I found this to be very difficult.  It wasn’t so much from a physical perspective although there where a few miles between 70-80 where I was idling along struggling to maintain 14mph.  Mentally however it was hard as there where a lot of groups going past at speed and a fair few people singly overtaking me which was not good for me.  There was a headwind all the way out to the half way point where we turned around and came back and this proved troublesome.  I was getting draughted (where you sit behind someone to reduce your effort and maintain speed) a lot by other people but having little chance to do this myself.  The kindly organisers had thrown in some hills to, some of which had sharp little gradients in.  To be honest though I mostly flew up these even the two which the organisers had saved for the last 5 miles…thanks for that!  So I stopped twice for food once at halfway and at the last stop on the way back.  I spoke to quite a few people all doing great things for charity and others who where doing it for ‘fun’.  The social aspect of cycling is really difficult to describe even on a normal ride people smile, nod shout hello it’s a very close community in that respect.  So the final time I achieved was 6hrs and 36mins at an average of 15.5mph.  I am pleased with that considering it’s the first time I’ve done it.  I have my certificate to prove it also!

This was by far the longest ride I have ever done and the most time I have spent on the bike.  Apart from the normal aches and pains in the muscles there seems to be something a little more sinister going on, which I feel it necessary (though slightly embarrassed) to talk about to raise awareness slightly as I didn’t know about it and it scared me a bit.  I injured my perineum…this is the part basically that you sit on whilst riding.  It controls the blood flow to your private parts.  So basically you can damage it whilst riding long distances by restricting the blood flow to that area.  The symptom I am suffering with due to this is like weeing razorblades it’s very painful and can take a few days to subside (Tram for me until that point then).  I have been fine whilst doing up to 50miles but as it was the first time I have gone longer it has affected this area.  The other main symptom of which I am glad to say I haven’t suffered is erectile disfunction…I can’t remember signing up to that when I started cycling lol.  Basically its 100% treatable through rest and I will get over it but it has scared me somewhat!  Groin Numbness fantastic!

So about the rest of the work and my second ‘first’ on a bike.  On Thursday evening Rich and myself went for a ride up to the Brickworks…I had thought he had said the Printworks so I was sorely disappointed to find myself climbing up hills when I thought a pint of lager was on the cards.  The Brickworks is one of the bigger climbs in the area and known to many cyclists around the country.  It did take me a lot to get up it and I have to say I suffered on the way home but Rich was very patient with me as usual and we got back after 55miles and 3hrs 25mins of riding.  I was slightly worried it would affect the 100miler but it didn’t thankfully.  I think it actually helped with the climbs on the day!

On Friday evening I went for a session at Stretford Leisure Centre on the Wattbikes with Tony Jolly for Manchester Triathalon.  We did some 3 minute tests to exhaustion to see what avg watts I was putting out and it was 300.  I think I could do a bit more as I was still sore from Thursdays ride (#goodexcuse)

In other news no gym sessions this week.  A great physio session on Wednesday from Marek (http://www.mhcpt.co.uk/ ).  My shoulder is feeling near to 85% now just a little pain now and then and some small issues with the movement but (100) miles better then it was (see what I did there :-)).

This week then I have accumulated a massive 267.55km (166miles) well pleased with that best weekly total ever and I also gained a numb groin!! 

On that note have a good week and sorry for the long and late blog this week!