Wednesday, 30 January 2013

You only Board when it's snowing... only board when it's SSnnnowwiiinnnggg!

We (me and the Giddy Blonde) went to Glenshee this weekend and it was ACE.  Like proper snow and everything. I can say, after 3 years of beginner lessons I have not only mastered the turn, but also the Poma's and am down on the ski lifts too. So very pleased with myself as I know think I can say 'I'm a boarder.'  Not a very fast boarder but I'm going for style not speed.

We stayed in Braemar Lodge Hotel ran by what I can describe as very attentive but long suffering man and wife, and their Slovakian 'man-who-does'.  The decoration was very 'Highland Retreat' with a herd of dead animals adorning the bar and hallway.   Right on the edge of the village Braemar, 200 yards away from the snow gate so we had a prime view when they opened the Snow Gate - which isn't half as impressive as it sounds, more of a mud covered cattle gate - and convoyed the folk in the cars waiting by means of council gritter.

Once on the slopes I was amazing!  Astounding! Magical!  I was shooting pixies and unicorns out of my snowboarding wake (not really).  And I only had a face full of snow once!  And unlike the first time I went snowboarding, I didn't come back covered in gaffa tape!

That assides, on the way back the cyclist were out en masse.  We ended up following (by accident, we're not psychos) a couple of guys, who judging by the way they kept rising from the saddle, and doing that odd little half wiggle that you do when your @rse nips and there's only so many places you can park your bum, hadn't been on their bikes in  some time.  I expect that will be me this weekend.

I am going forth with the turbo training and trying to do the whole heart rate zone thing.  I've found it a bit complicated, and a bit tiresome to be honest.  I was trying to do intervals in zone 5 (or 100%) then go down to zone 2.  But it takes me ages to get down to zone 2.  Like, aaggeeesss.  And the purpose of the Heart Rate zone thing was to make it targeted and mibbies cut some time out so I wasn't thumping away needlessly.   I've asked for some advice from some lovely forum people in how I can continue, so the plan is to re-group and include that at some point.


Sunday, 20 January 2013

You only Spin when it's snowing...


I really don't know what's happened to me. I used to go out in all kinds of stupid weather conditions and am still rather enamoured with that idea. Though currently I'm all like, Oooooo... It's a bit icy, lets just stay in...' or '..the wind's horrendous lets not bother.'  Something's changed... I think it's because I'm feeling older - and I definitely have been feeling older these past couple of weeks.  My 34th birthday is looming.  There's so many things I didn't expect to be at this age, like still allergic to chocolate, eczema prone, and still having to work for a living.  I wanted to live in a commune where writing was my part time task for the day, and other people did sh!t in fields that made stuff grow that we could all eat.

Really didn't expect to do this cycling lark - but that's a good thing.  A house near the beach is another, and a nice wee dug to walk.  I'm in two minds on whether to count the Giddy Blonde as a good thing - he's having some kind of silent man tantrum because he's decided to put up those sodding shelves I've been passively aggressively raging about, and I've not helped him. I instead have sat on my arse and worked out how to use the 'Advanced Workout' function on Garry Garmin, made the tin whistle screech and dossed about. He seems to have forgotten the 2 days I spent getting the house ready for his family for Christmas while he melched on the couch, his clean towels and bed linen aren't achieved through the medium of pixies, and his whole 'I'm not going to put shelves up today, what I'll do is I'll unwrap the parts and then leave them out on the couch for 2 weeks so that no one can sit on it and then complain when I loose the screws,' as well as 'My size 13 shoes don't live in the cupboard, they live under the coffee table in the living room, like, all of them, together.'

Ach well, if he wants to spend his weekend in a silent rage I might as well give him something to rage about... which will be a session on the turbo trainer.  I've done three of these now.  I want to make them more structured, so I've learned how to program the Garmin on the heart rate zones.  I'm doing 2 mins sessions in zone 5 which is 90-100% of my heart rate with trying to get my heart rate in zone 2 for the 'resting sessions'.  I've also managed to get the wheel pedometer to work so I should see how far I go.  It doesn't exactly match road miles but I like being able to see how many miles I've covered.  I might set one up with cadence because, as you know, I want to work on that element as well, but I'll see if it works with the heart rate first.

Or I might go for a nap.  What would make him angrier..?


Monday, 7 January 2013

Lets Ride, or lie in, or Ride!... Or lie in....

So… First 30 miles of the year!  Really didn’t think I’d make it when I stepped out.  And whilst I was trying to think, having not been on the bike for the past 2 months really – except for that 1 tt session, and the odd glide to work I really have done nothing – I didn’t want to put any pressure on myself but, you know what it’s like when you’re away for while, the brain gets to thinking, ‘wouldn’t it be fab if my average milage went up 3 miles… wouldn’t it be fab if this was stupidly easy…’ which of course it never is.

I set off from our new digs just after 11 but then foolishly went up the back of old town and through Aberdeen Uni (one of the oldest Uni’s in the world – with the cobbled streets that go with it).  The shake on my arms was soo bad I ended up getting off the bike and walking for more than half of it, and then p!ssing off the Students trying to use the tiny pavements as I salmoned up them.   After some reflection (and been sworn at by a posh man in a scarf) I decided trying to find a better route through town would be much better and ended up picking my way through the Sunday traffic on the more usual route, along King Street and through Union Street.  

It was at that point I noticed my Bike Computer wasn’t working so I stopped at Alpine Bikes (this bit's worth it, trust me!).  Normally I don’t go to these guys – they have a really good selection of ‘quality’ bike clothes (Endura etc, expensive stuff generally) but their folk aren’t brilliant at customer service – I ordered gloves once and never got the promised call back to go and get them, - and because they have a workshop they really don’t have encourage buying bits for yourself.  Never the less, I went in for one of those little magnets that make your bike computer work.  They don’t sell them so the guy suggested I check through in the workshop.  the guy behind the counter was all like ‘No we found this one the other day… just take it!’ They GAVE ME ONE FOR FREE!  I was expecting about £2 possibly. And then coming out of the bikeshop I saw someone going in and I was like ‘OOooo, I feel guilty… what if this was from his bike…’.  But that soon worn off. 

Eventually I hit the Deeside Railway Line.  Perfect day for it – the cloud cover was enough to project shadows across farm land and hills caressed by a gentle mist that took enough shine off the road for perfect visuals.   The Railway line did look like it’d taken a bit of a hit from the flooding though.  A couple of the banks where they’d built new buildings had collapsed and I ended up walking over a couple of rubble mounds.  A few of the areas where the tarmac ends and starts – where they’d put a sort of cement asphalt that get compacted – that had all been kicked up and was like cycling on chuckies (does every one know what I’m talking about there?).  I had noticed a couple of better established trails leading off down into the country side, where instead of broken fencing they’d put proper breaks and gateways with signs so that’s really good. Just hope they don’t stop there. 

The first 3rd of the journey up the railway – with the 3% rise for about 3 miles,  I’m sure I’ve complained about it before, so I’m going to again – was pretty horrendous. And I did have a crisis of confidence, and considered just turning back more than once or twice, or three times, especially at the end of the railway line.  When coming off the railway line you go down a really steep road into a hair pin bend, which is under a bridge, so you can’t see round it.  Then it’s a mile or two of slow increasingly upward rolling hills which are just murder.  I knew they were waiting for me and I really wasn’t arsed, but I stuck with it and kept my head down and I’m very glad I did.  After the food of athletes (Cullen Skink), I zoomed back hitting the beach at dusk.  

I really don’t know why going out’s so miserable.  Is it that I’m not warmed up? Haven’t eaten enough? The lack of company seems to suit me but I wonder I’d be more intune to it if someone else was there today… hrmmm…

The route:

The Stats:

29.4 mi
+ 1482 / - 1226 ft
Max Grade
15.0 %
Avg. Grade
0.6 %
Ascent time
Descent time
Moving Time:
Max Speed:
27.3 mph
Avg. Speed:
11.4 mph
Moving Pace:
Max Heartrate:
195 bpm
Min Heartrate:
105 bpm
Avg. Heartrate:
170.4 bpm
Heartrate zones:
Zone 1:
43 min
Zone 2:
59 min
Zone 3:
32 min
Zone 4:
1 hour 2 min
Zone 5:
53 min

As to my performance – I think I’ve gotten a smidgen faster.  Not much, but considering I spent 20 odd minutes faffing over cobble stones in Old Town, then another 5 picking my way across the rubble on the Deeside line, I recon I’m on the wrong side of two hours and back.  Which considering that it’s 30 miles – not bad.   Much better than the 10 miles per hour I usually do.  But, yes, there is work to do!

On that note – I went out on Luella yesterday, having taken the back carrier and basket off.  Now I didn’t feel any difference at all yesterday, but this morning I absolutely flew up a hill I normally struggle on.  Me and the Gids commuted this morning and he usually drops me at this low bowl like hill before we even warmed up and I was in his slipstream all the way up!  I was really chuffed with that.  It may be I’m still warm from yesterday (is that possible?) but taking the extra bits off and just carrying a back pack made a heck of a difference.

Have a pretty picture from my ride:


Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy Hogmanay!

Hello and a Happy New Year!!

What have I been up to... Well a couple of well deserved days off has and is (I've still got one day before I need to go back) wonderful.  Me and the Gids were round at his folks for Christmas Dinner and then they here for a spot of desert.

I have another stinking cold.  I had planned to spend these days around Hug-yer-granny night doing some proper road cycling but a swollen dangly bit in my throat means I'm taking it rather easy.

On the plus side I've managed to set up the new turbo trainer - though have lost my cycling shoes in the move, but bit the dust a couple of days ago (pre cold) and did the cycling dvd I purchased a while ago.  It's rather good. It's done one the pyramid method of keeping the same cadence over a harder and harder gear for a few minutes.  They have a couple of young guys doing it with a couple of old hands (I don't really recognize any of them).  They don't do the full hour but you do get about 50 minutes of turbo training, and the last 10 minute wind down is listening to the young guys picking the brains of one of the older guys.  Apparently he did some sort of route at a death defying speed behind a motorbike when he was in his prime but he doesn't want to say because the cameras are rolling and it wouldn't be responsible. There's also a couple of 10 minute stretching scenes thrown in which if you do a bit of yoga you'll find them fairly standard.

The fitness videos I usually purchased were often of some soap opera actress laughing because she used to be the weight I am now but is now a half pound from organ this gets 5 stars from me.

With any luck we'll be cycling to and from work when we go back, and I intend to kick off my training this Sunday coming with a 30 miler.  I'm wondering if I should perhaps try to build my distance early this year and then concentrate on speed. Hrmmm.


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