Cycling and Training News on our Team
Sunday July 18 - 1 day to go Phil Drops Out, as Wayne & Dan Start Pedalling !
Just hours to go before departure and Phil sends an email dropping out because he has not received a new passport.
Same happened last year and the exact same explanation. Oh well I've been let down many times before and for sure it wont be the last time - just got to get on and do our best.
Took out an insurance policy this week with a triple chain ring. Didn't manage to get a new bike but made lots of adjustments. Arm injury has healed so hopefully should be in fairly good shape come Tuesday morning when its Alpe d'Huez revisited once more.Rightly or wrongly my plans are to really have a go at it this time. If I cant break 2 hours this year I will be totally gutted after all the effort I have put in and I know I'm in better shape this time.
Col Du Galibier Wednesday and Mont Vontoux Thursday will have to be at a more leisurely pace as I venture into the unknown.
Hope to be back with you next weekend - and in one piece !
Thanks to everyone who has pledged sponsorship for charity and many thanks to all the well wishers from all over the world.
Monday July 12 - 1 week to go Learning Curve
Just a mere 7 days to the big adventure and tension mounts.
Tour completes its first week although it really starts Saturday when the sorting commences at the Pyrenees mountain stages. Last week perhaps you thought me disrespectful to the sprinters. Well Chippo and Petacchi are home with feet up looking beautiful and this pathetic spectacle taints the 3 week race in my opinion.
Respect to Eric Zabel and the others who stick it out to the end as surely the event it totally about finishing whether first or last. To even finish is a remarkable achievement, to pack in needlessly just because you are unlikely to win a stage is totally pathetic !
A mystery arm injury apart which is annoying rather than disastrous, its been another good week training mixing hill climbing and weights.
Tonight I did the 14% Morley hill climb 6 times taking 40 minutes. Particularly notice the difference between riding on a smooth surface and bumping up rough terrain which disrupts the rhythm of climbing and whilst it was nothing like as bad as the French cobblestones we have seen on the tour this week, it is a factor to look a out for.
Terrain talk brings me nice to the good news Brian gave me yesterday that he has just come back from Alpe d'Huez and it has been resurfaced specifically to try and help me break the 2 hour barrier next Tuesday 20th.
Back to this evenings training and the 6th and last climb of the session I decided to gear up from 35 inch gear to approximately a 40 inch gear. This was a big mistake as the lungs soon began to say no thanks early and I immediately reverted to sitting and turning 35 as always planned. This was a very useful learning curve and confirmed my long term plans to think Tyler Hamilton and sit still and spin the wheels - not to stand on the pedals at all unless just for a brief change or in an emergency.
Dan confirmed yesterday that he has decided to take his mountain bike as opposed to his road bike because of the gearing which is 42 X 25. This I think is a totally sensible decision despite extra weight to propel. Whilst 42 x 25 bike gearing may be fine for the likes of superman Phil for those mere mortals it is a recipe for disaster should we encounter some of the weather we have seen on the tour and as I found last week.
I desperately need to fit a triple as 39 x 30 is OK in nice conditions but common sense tells me to get insurance of an inner 30 chain ring.
More climbing the Derbyshire hills tomorrow and its a gradual wind down.
Wednesday July 7 TV Interview for Central News
I have just finished filming a TV interview for Central News.
The interview was broadcasted on Central News on 7th July 2004
Monday July 5 - 2 weeks to go Blown Away
Well here we go again the 101st Tour gets under way. Please don't fall asleep watching bike racing on the flat. Sprinters can go home soon before they are humiliated on the mountain climbs and let the real men take over.
Saddened to hear the nonsense surrounding David Millar as yet another cycling fool turns out to be a drug cheat and to think I gave him my support last year on bend 6. Is anyone clean they say ? well lets just hope some are.
I put in a good week of mixed training with one mishap. Monday was five times up Morley hill which I guess 13% Tuesday was up in Wirksworth with the 14% Bullsbridge Wednesday weights in gym and Thursday mountain bike. Friday jumped on the horse in a competition and then on Saturday I felt the urge to tackle Winnets Pass once more.
First part of the climb - easy peasy on 39 x 30 to the bend and then after the turn the wind hit me with such force it felt like it was blowing about 70 mph straight at me. About 200 yards from the top I had to stop - out of breath. Couple of minutes later I remounted and was immediately blown over with feet still fixed in those wretched SPD clips.
Fortunately I suffered only a bump on right the fore arm. Damn ! that mother of all slopes has done me yet again. I will conquer this beast one day - but sadly not today. Sunday did another hour and 20 minutes with good hills.
Many thanks to Raleigh my local bicycle manufacturer for stepping in and sponsoring some parts and accessories.
Monday June 28 - 3 weeks to go Rain, Rain and More Rain
Last weeks training plans went out the window as forecasters got it wrong it seemed everyday Tuesday Thursday and Saturday my training days the heavens opened and water water everywhere.
No to be deterred it was back to the gym air bike and put in good work on all three training sessions. Good to hear that Dan and Phil are both training well.
Tonight at last I did manage to get out on the road for a 75 minute session including 5 times up Morley hill. This is not a crippler but as steep as any Alpe d'Huez straight and it felt like a useful workout for all parts.
On the 5 mile ride back to Ilkeston it put my foot down. About 30 mph (flying by my standards) to get back and watch the end of the Tim Henman tennis match.Although the roads looked nice and straight it was just like riding a bucking bronco bouncing everywhere. Whilst I love this part of Derbyshire it must be the old mining subsidence plus the gas pipe repairs that make the road some what of an assault course on a bicycle.
Rather than alternating with weights as I usually do tomorrow I'm going up to Wirksworth for another ride to see how the old body stands up to 2 days consecutive.
This Saturday weather permitting I may re visit my lungs they are no doubt still on the roadside near the top of Winnetts Pass the highest peak in the East Midlands and the crippler of all cripplers for cycling in this area.
Finally, many thanks to Kev & Sam Roberts for donating the prizes for the raffle held at The Royal Regency, Ilkeston on Friday night. We raised £60 for Cancer Research UK.
Thanks also to everyone who contributed by buying a ticket. The money raised has been added to our online sponsorship page
Monday June 21 - 4 weeks to go What Time Is It ?
Just got back from Oregon on the west coast USA.
Time change is a nightmare when its 8 hours or more. Feel dozy - constantly sleepy with the usual jet lag.
Checked out several nice bikes over the last 2 weeks, but not yet got the right tool for the job of climbing.
Good to see that Dan from Oxford has joined the team (although he looks like another one who will have lots of time at the top of mountains waiting for me to finish !)
When I finally get my head back together its full focus on the challenge as we enter the last months training
Monday June 7 - 6 weeks to go Back In Shape - Hope To Keep It Up
Feel back in good shape again after being run down and its back to the states again for yet more jet lag.
A jet setting job most see as glamorous loses appeal after over 20 years of backwards and forwards to the USA particularly in the current climate of airport hassle. However shouldn't moan - there are harder occupations. Hope to pick up the right tool for the job with a new bike.
Had two good sessions this week one indoor and one out. Lost another pound or so in weight and although I feel fine don't want to drop below my current 13 stone 1lb (183 lbs) as I will lose plenty more on the three mountains challenge. Phil tells me he is in great shape and recently came second in his very first triathlon which is really quite an achievement.
Please to hear that he has also sorted out the accommodation for us so thankfully we will not be sleeping under the stars like many I saw in Bourg Oisans last year before Alpe d'Huez stage.
No update next week as I shall be in California and then Oregon.
Monday May 31 - 7 weeks to go No respect these young guys !
After 2 weeks of like watching paint dry on the Giro, which allows sprinters glory before they are trounced, at last we finally get into the real big mountain stages.
All set up a very nicely for favourite Gilberto Simoni, number 1, reigning champion and Saeco team leader. However the final week did not go according to script.
New kid on the block and former world junior champion Damiano Cunego had other ideas and spoiled the party.
Whilst Lance will not be too worried by my achievements, he will surely be keeping an eye on the new wonder kid.
As you can probably tell I have no time for pure sprinters. Petacchi's total of 9 stage wins in one Giro is commendable and credit to Brad McGee for his big climbing improvement.
Most interesting comment of the 3 weeks was by Sean KellyI rode the Alps for fun last year and used a triple chain ring. Anyone who thinks that they can easily get up these climbs on just the 53 ring and the 39 ring is kidding themselves.
I was pleased to hear that one of the truly all time greats who surprisingly is almost three years younger than myself, having the common sense to state a seemingly uncool fact that unless you are in peak racing shape - a triple is a good tool if you wish to attempt the massive European mountains.
After last years fiasco - it will be my main purchase for sure !
Monday May 24 - 8 weeks to go Golden Web Award
Good news is that our site has won an award See the Golden Web Award icon on the left
Bad news is that since my return from the USA I have been struggling and had a streaming cold. My body is run down and not back in sync yet although I hope to return to full fitness soon. I did manage to tackle the Wirksworth hills and will be back there again for more climbs this week and although they are not long its the best we have within 10 miles drive.
Monday May 17 - 9 weeks to go Sick in The States
Working away last week and checked out Guys bicycles near Philadelphia They had the new 2005 Cannondale Saeco as used by Simoni in Giro 2003 Wow what a beautiful piece of machinery and almost as light as a feather Dare not ask how much this carbon fibre beauty costs - aint cheap !
Saturday felt great then ate something which caused me to be rather ill. Spent Saturday evening - not partying but vomiting throughout the night. Lost over 5lbs in a week which is a little concerning but feel OK now. Got back and put in 2 good sessions Thursday and Saturday on the road.
I will try to really pick it up now on the road with as many hills as possible
Monday May 3 - 11 weeks to go TV feature
Got a call from a TV producer this week and hopefully there will be a feature on the 3 mountains challenge which will be aired prior to the event in early July Steady week on the bike one session indoor one out. No report next week as I shall be working in New York
Monday April 26 -12 weeks to go Here comes summer !
After a winter of what I consider useful gym work I feel in better shape than this time last year. Out on the bike for the first time since last summer. Just a nice simple ride in the sun and it felt good. From now on in over the next 12 weeks I shall try and get out 3 times a week on the road to train. However my philosophy differs from many cycling friends.
Whilst most say just get out on the road and do miles, I personally think this is almost a total waste of time. Riding big French mountains the likes of Alpe d'Huez is constant tension on the legs at a very slow pace, so what is the point in riding fast with no leg tension ?
PS - my idea of fast also radically differs to theirs !!!
Monday April 19 -13 weeks to go Superman Is Back - Or Is He ?
After resting Sunday and Monday felt quite good Tuesday morning did some dressage on the horse but that night fancied a crack at breaking the hour on the gym air bike on the maximum 25 resistance. My mate Martin had been out on the road earlier but said he would also try and do the hour too.
Felt quite good at the 10k although concerned that 28.45 was too fast as I had been here before a few weeks ago and had to abort later.
As the 15k sign came up the clock said 43.15 Oh dear I had speeded up - but I still feel OK.
Decided all I had to do was not to go crazy, just relax and can even afford to slow down.
Hey 55 minutes gone and my body's in tact.
Right this is it - no one can stop me now.
Turn on the gas - what's left of it and bingo 20k mark is reached at an amazing 57.35
Martin pats me on the back - well done.
Blowing more kisses than Richard Virenque I am totally elated - and still feel fine.
Cool down for a while and take more water and then go to walk on the running machine for another few minutes and still feel OK
That's it then - Superman - easy really.
Just do my stretches and I'm all done.
Bent my knees - and fell on the floor.
Apparently according to the physio Abductor muscles had gone kaput !
Tuesday night was very uncomfortable but after 3 days back to normal - I hope.
Was it really worth it - you bet it was !!!
Monday April 5 - 15 weeks to go Phil's plans for the "3 Mountains"
After a disappointing 2003 season on the bike, I decided to take a couple of months of unstructured easy riding to get my enthusiasm back and focus on 2004.
After stumbling upon Wayne's website and signing up in December I spent a couple of months doing light training in order to build a good aerobic base. Of course, another advantage of this sort of work in the English winter is that it helps to instil the endurance and tolerance of suffering required to get on in cycling! A nasty cold and bike trouble has caused me to take most of March off the bike but the last seven days have seen me back with a vengeance!
After setting my goals for the July trip I have been working on five three hour rides a week, including lots of climbing. I have also been making a conscious effort to really work hard on every hill, no slacking off until I'm over the crest, shifting into the big ring on the last 100m, all the sorts of things that can shave seconds off a long climb.
A couple of other new additions to my usual early season plan include a two hour gym session once a week (one hour circuit training, one hour weights) and the use of a bizarre contraption which will, apparently, permit me to "breath better". As far as I can tell this piece of kit works by making it harder to suck oxygen into my lungs and twenty minutes of asphyxiating myself everyday should assist me to shift more oxygen to my muscles in the thin air of the alps.
So on to my goals for the rides. After my time last year of 45:30 on Alpe d'Huez and the tragic death of Marco Pantani, I have set my sights on getting as near to Il Pirata's 37:35 as possible. Marco was one of the guys who I used to love to watch ride, indeed his battle with Lance Armstrong on the Ventoux was one of the things that got me in to riding bikes. The site of a memorial to another one of my heroes Tommy Simpson, makes the trip to the Ventoux all the more important to me and I will be looking to improve upon my 1:10:00 of 2002.
Monday Mar 29 - 16 weeks to go
Tiring trip to California and never made it down to San Diego for mountain biking.
Over the usual jet lag and its back in to training
Got on the scales the day I came back and thought they were broke - sadly not ! Weighing in at 13 stones 12 lbs (194 lbs) perhaps I should take up sumo wrestling !
Took just 2 lbs off this week and if possible would like to get down to 13 stones 2 lbs (184 lbs) by July.
By cutting down the eating and increasing the training in a sensible manner should achieve this.
Also began training on my horse for the outdoor show jumping season this week, which should help with fitness providing I don't have another bad fall before July.
Next week we will take a look at Phil's plans for The 3 Mountains in July and look at what shape he is in.
Monday Mar 8 - 19 weeks to go
Had 2 solid 10k sessions on the air bike this week.
Preparing for work in Los Angeles leaving Thursday (hey somebody's got to do it !) so there will be no up date Mon Mar 15 next 22.
Hope to take up George & Johns invitation to go mountain biking for a day in San Diego.
Also will hopefully be checking a few bike shops as I would like a new light hybrid for the challenge.
Monday Mar 1 - 20 weeks to go
Spent a lot of time on upgrading the website.Hope you like the extra features - let me know. Suggestions for other improvements welcome.
Phil has moved and settled in his new coaching job.Good news is that he is now based in Derbyshire. Bad news is that he has invited me to go on a ride !
Monday Feb 23 - 21 weeks to go " Wheels fall off "
I Have a best time of 61 minutes 51 seconds for 20 kms on the gym bike on maximum resistance. Tried to go under the hour for the first time this week. Felt good - started quite quick (for me) turning mid 50s. Got half way at 10 kms in 28 minutes 43 seconds and amazingly still felt quite reasonable and optimistic. At 11 kms - disaster - ran out of gas and had to abort.
Back to the drawing board yet again I'm afraid.
Friend in the gym recommends using a heart metre. Another simply shouts - slow down you fool !!!
Monday Feb 16 - 22 weeks to go "Addio Pirata"
Marco Pantani at the 1997 Tour de France - photo by David Lawrance. click for larger versionLe Tour
Marco Pantani found dead in Italian hotel room.
Tragic loss of a sporting great at just 34 years old.
The little man from Italy had given so much pleasure.
ONCE AGAIN THE DREADED CURSE OF DRUGS HAS STRUCK
His epic ascent of Alpe d'Huez in 37 minutes 35 seconds on stage 13 of the 1997 Tour De France stage from St Etienne remains one of the greatest achievements in sporting history.
20,000 people turn up for the funeral - we will miss you.
Monday Feb 9 - 23 weeks to go Sore Bottom !
Over the jet lag of my California trip and down to training again.
Set a personal endurance best by sitting on the bike in the gym. Turned over the maximum resistance of 25 for 1 hour 30 minutes.
Able to turn 54 rpm for the last few minutes - so quite pleased. Bottom a little sore though - must wear cycling shorts for long rides.
Monday Feb 2 - 24 weeks to go New Coach Joins Team
Phil Malcolm has joined the team and should be a great asset. With a time last year of 45 minutes 30 seconds for Alpe d'Huex, his coaching tips should help all riders on the three mountains. Has advantage of an hour + sleep waiting for Wayne to finish !