Thursday, July 19, 2007

Day 12 : Stage 11

Another flat stage today plus cooler temperatures and RAIN!!!!! Hurrah!!!! never thought I'd wish for a cold day and rain on the bike but so grateful for some let up in the heat wave. In the early 70's at the start of the ride with some light rain and wet road/ paths all giving a nice cooling effect. In fact the drinks bottles I'd frozen overnight took an hour to defrost at all before I could drink from them.

Took just 1 hr 50 to cover the 35 miles at 18 mph average which given the stop lights and twisty course was very pleasing. Heartrate was super stable today helped by the cooler air but also I am noticing a slight drop in HR at certain power outputs plus (which is always a good sign for me) I am also seeing that the HR does not rise when I stand up and ride. The form is coming.

I am really surprised how great my legs are feeling - last night was a BADDDD nights sleep as my brain was really active until 2am and when I finally hauled myself out of bed at 9am I felt dreadful. But once on the bike the legs were great instantly. So that's 200 miles in the past 5 days straight with 4 more days of riding ahead before a rest day. Also heading for the hills tomorrow and a short but violent Time Trial on saturday followed by hills on Sunday and more hills on Monday.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Day 11 : Stage 10

Funny how 45 miles of bike riding is an easy day now! stayed flat and mostly uneventful apart from when a lunatic cyclist coming the opposite way on the bike path forced me off the trail on to the gravel - luckily I kept it upright and continued unscathed. Legs felt great today despite me being out of the door at the ungoldly hour of 6.48 am!!! anyone who knows me knows that that is a full 2 hrs earlier than I normally wake up!!! it was well worth it though as it was cool (75 degrees at start) and on ly go to 87 degrees by the end of the ride. Averaged 18 mph & a gentle 155 watts.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Day 10 : Stage 9 ; More Hills!

This was "the ride" of the Tour so far with 2 major climbs. I am getting used to the feeling now of starting a ride with tight legs and have them loosen up about 20 mins in. Legs were very good today. I rode the lookout mountain climb twice in close succession. The climb is 4.5 miles long and I hit it after 18 miles of warm-up riding. It was 100 degrees at the start so I did my usual "head soaking" to cool me off then started.

Climb #1: I took it as easy on the first climb trying to keep the heartrate sub 170 bpm : 29 mins 20 secs - average 212 watts - Hr did nip above 170 right near the end but that was expected

On the descent I was joined by a local pro rider and we basically raced down - I love doing this - my HR was 172 at points as we absolutely flew down the switchbacks - not for the faint hearted!!

Climb #2: Plan was to try to PR this one so I started aggressively but was soon hurting and at 10 mins in I was at 176 bpm and getting hotter by the second!! So I backed off some and really suffered my way up BUT at the top was 1 minute faster than the 1st climb - go figure??? av 214 w & 173 bpm but up in 28:40 - enjoyed the descent again but took it easy as Danielle was following and I didn't want to freak her out! This photo is from the top of the climb.

Total 2 hrs 30 mins & 37 miles.

So I am through the Alps (in style!!) and ready for 2 flat easy days.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Day 9 : Stage 8

Logistics are getting to me. I simply don't have the time to drive 1 hr + to find a new ride then do 3 hrs and then drive 1 hr home. I am getting really bored with the same routes. When you ride 3 days a week the riding is great here but when its everyday and not over 40 miles it hard to get to new routes and hills. I may actually combine 2 days in to one soon to get a super long ride in. It's also really hot every day it seems - 97 degrees this morning at 9am when I left. Anyone who knows me knows that getting up earlier to ride is a crazy idea (I don't do mornings!!) - perhaps some night rides are a good idea. Anyway, enough of the moaning.......

Rode 34 miles today as hilly as I could get to riding from home which meant doing a few hill repeats on the one main hill I could find - legs were really lazy and limp at the start of the ride but once the climbs began and I'd stopped moaning to myself, the legs felt great. HR was for sure higher today than it should have been but that's the heat and at least the HR is coming up showing that I am not too fatigued. Pushed 250-300 watts on the climbs (5 mins x 3) and then rode strong tempo home.

So tomorrow I am hoping to have some company for a really hilly ride. On Wed and Thurs another cyclist friend has offered to ride with me - these are the easy flat stages - bloody chicken!!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Day 8 ; Stage 7 Mountains

I had to do saturdays TDF stage on sunday as saturday for me was just slammed with work and travel. This makes my whole tour much tougher as all the initial mountain stages for me have no rest days between them - ouch!!

Today was really interesting and very tough mentally. To start with it was very hot and my first day back at altitude after 4 days at sea level. After 15 mins of riding I was ready to quit - I pulled over and turned around heading back for home. It was in 90's and I was just not in to it. Then I thought, OK I 'll just ride an easy hour - luckily a breeze picked up and I rode out to the town of Golden (15 miles away from home) and realised that my legs were feeling pretty good. So the question was "do the lookout mountain climb and stay in the Tour or just ride home?" 102 degrees now BUT I was already there so I figured I'd go for it.

Stopped and soaked my head with cold water then hit the climb - rode a PR in 27.30 averaging 237 watts for the 4.5 miles climb. really really happy with this one - it's a pretty serious climb from 6000' in Golden up to Buffalo Bills Grave at around 9000'. No one passed me and I passed plenty of people - heartrate was through the roof with the heat - hit 189 bpm at one point!! In comparison to the TDF obviously the pace is slower but the type of climb is the same and to be honest I think that climbing to 9000' in 102 degrees is harder than to 6000' in 85 degrees which is what the TDF stage was.

From this photo you can see the town of Golden down below and some of the switchback roads up to the summit.

On the ride home I hooked up with one rider who tried to drop me but I stuck with him then led him back in town and made him hurt for being a jerk. I averaged 31 mph (slight downhill) for 5 mins up in the 270 watt range until the traffic lights saved him!

FYI...... a couple of friends and I are toying with the stupid idea of actually doing the full, complete TDF in 2009!! stay tuned for that one.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Day 7 : Stage 6

Hi everyone,

I like these sprinters days - gives me a chance to rest up. I did a "Vino" today and went easy "sitting on the back of the pack" saving my legs for tomorrows nasty ride. Another day complete.

Made sure I am in perfect balance with a visit to my chiropractor, Dr. Ken Gee who is "The Good Chiropractor" in Santa Monica. He is actually "The Best Chiropractor" - I've seen many over the years and this guy is easily the best - confident, knowledgeable and focused.

It's no secret that Lance Armstrong had chiro every day of his 7 years TDF reign and the top teams have a chiro with them every day of the TDF. I think it's vital to maintan balance and function - I am expecting great legs on saturday's climbs!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Day 6 ; Stage 5

What a day today in the real TDF - attacking riding, crazy crashes and action all the way. My big favorite andreas Kloden crashed and may be out with a broken tailbone though he did finish the day and lose no time so he's still in 2nd. Then big favorite alexander vinokourov crashed very badly yet still managed to ride with sheer class back to finish 1.20 down on the day - he may have lost some time BUT he showed his form and power as he passed and dropped everyone who faded on the last climb.

My day was much safer and limited to a brief spin bike session at TRIFIT - I spiced it up with some intervals & watched the tour at the same time so managed to make the time pass more quickly - I hate indoor riding. Tried out an aero helmet that I was given from the US postal team tour stock from a couple of years ago - it has no protection at all and is just an aero-shell so the only time I'll ever use it was indoors today - not sure I had it on the right way around though!!!