Recovery in Sport: From Compression clothing to ice baths

Recovery is the 4th discipline in Triathlon, and it is the secret to building muscle mass. Knowledge about Recovery is growing in amateur sport. There is readily available information in Endurance Sport magazines and websites.

I am changing my Sport participation from Ironman training to playing Football, Tennis and Cycling all in a weekend. These sports are explosive, and power based, rather than pure endurance training.

I know my body will go through a period of readjustment to these sports. Avoiding injury will be important. My goal is to use my knowledge and experience of recovery to enable me to compete in three sports over one weekend, on a regular basis. I want to have enough energy to play each sport, but also get stronger and prevent injury.

Recovery is a key to this plan. I want to recover faster, be stronger and perform at my best. I want to avoid cramp and muscle injuries.

I have divided Recovery in areas; 1. Compression clothing 2. Rehydration 3. Recovery nutrition 4. Ice baths 5. Cool Down

  1. Compression Clothing

My interest in Recovery has started with Compression clothing. I used these in Ironman training and found them very beneficial. I wore them overnight and when I woke up in the morning my legs felt “fresher” and less painful.

I did an online search of compression clothing. There is a large range of brands to consider. I decided to look at the original compression garment Skins and, a brand I used in Ironman, 2XU. Website reviews of compression garments showed these two brands rated highly.

 

Best Compression Gear Review – Triathlon Plus | TriRadar.com

http://www.triradar.com/gear/best-compression-gear-review/
Best Compression Gear Review – Triathlon Plus | TriRadar…

We test some of the best compression gear on the market in our best compression gear review – 25/10/2012

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Product Review: 2XU Compression Gear

http://breakingmuscle.com/clothing-shoes/product-review-2xu-compression-gear
Product Review: 2XU Compression Gear

The world of compression gear has become filled with numerous brands, but 2XU stands out as a quality brand that actually makes a difference in performance and re…

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2XU Compression Tights review | road.cc

2XU Compression Tights review | road.cc

road.cc – the website for pedal powered people. Road cycling news, Bike reviews, Commuting, Leisure riding, Sportives and more

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2XU Elite compression tights review – BikeRadar

http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/category/clothing/tights-longs-and-leggings/product/review-elite-elite-compression-tights-10-35682/
2XU Elite compression tights review – BikeRadar

There’s a common edict in cycling: don’t stand when you can sit, don’t sit when you can lie down, and if you lie down put your legs up

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The 2XU brand of compression leggings had been researched by the Australian Institute of Sport.

http://www.2xu.co.uk/compression/

I decided to test 2XU. 2XU had several models to choose from; performance (MCS), recovery and hybrid models. Each model differed by the compression quality of the material each used. The performance leggings were designed to reduce muscle vibration and damage.

I decided to test the performance and recovery leggings.

  1. Rehydration

The body requires electrolytes for normal body function. Read below for facts on recovery by Australian Institute of Sport on Nutrition

http://www.ausport.gov.au/ais/nutrition/factsheets/competition_and_training/recovery_nutrition

The key electrolyte is Sodium

http://www.ausport.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/594173/CORP_33413_SSF_Electrolyte_FS.PDF

Other important electrolytes are Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium. When we sweat we lose these electrolytes in our body. Sweat cools our body down. When we lose Sodium we retain less water and lose our feeling of thirst. Hence, dehydration is a serious problem. Drinking water is not enough.

When we sweat we lose these electrolytes in our body. Sweat cools our body down. When we lose Sodium we retain less water and lose our feeling of thirst. Hence, dehydration is a serious problem. Drinking water is not enough.

It appears that some electrolyte products do not contain enough Sodium. Coconut water is currently trending as a natural electrolyte replacement. However, It appears commercially sold coconut water is too low in Sodium to be used as an electrolyte replacement drink.

http://healthandwellness.kaplan.edu/articles/nutrition/Coconut%20water%20-%20Is%20it%20really%20natures%20sport%20drink.html

I searched online for the best electrolyte replacement drink for my needs. I came across Nuun (pronounced Noon). Nuun has excellent concentrations of Sodium, K, Mg, and Ca. It also contained Sodium Bicarbonate. Sodium Bicarbonate can, apparently, neutralise some of the effects of Lactic acid. It is low calorie and contains only electrolytes (allowing me to choose my own source of carbohydrate). There are no artificial additives and has natural flavouring.

https://nuun.com/blog/electrolytes-hydration

Another electrolyte product I discovered in my local bike shop (Wild Bikes) was OTE (original owners of SIS nutritional products). OTE also has no artificial flavours and is low in calories, but does not have the Sodium Bicarbonate content, when compared to Nuun.

  1. Recovery Nutrition

Interms of recovery drink I have used SIS recovery drink in the past. Current versions have 50% more protein, carbohydrates and electrolytes. I compared this product to Sun Warrior protein powder (Vegan). Sun Warrior has significant amounts of protein and very small amounts of carbohydrates. I can see this as a great source of protein I could use after gym training, but not a recovery drink.

My nutritional needs in recovery are 75-105g carbohydrate 15-25g protein

I can see SIS repid recovery drink does not have enough protein. I will therefore look to supplement this drink with a carbohydrate bar/ shot and eat wholefoods at a later date.

http://www.scienceinsport.com/sis-rego-range/sis-rego-rapid-recovery/sis-rego-recovery-protein-1-6kg/#prod-tab-2

4. Ice Baths

There seems to be a debate about the benefits of ice baths. I have seen ice baths used at Wimbledon, professional football and in the Tour De France

There was an interesting article in cyclenews – “cold baths key to Etixx-QuickStep’s Tour de France success”

The bath temperature used by cyclists was 10-12 degrees. They could sit comfortably in them and even fell asleep. Other benefits listed included pain relief, improved lymphatic drainage and cooling of the body.

Andy Murray (professional tennis player) described his routine after his Wimbledon matches. He rehydrated, ate whole foods, got a massage and then had an ice bath.

  1. Cool down

The other elements of recovery would be active recovery (cooling down with exercise), and stretching. I do light general stretches post match and do more serious stretching 2-3 days after performance. Ballistic stretches before a match is best. I cool down with gradual reduction in activity in the sport I am playing. I could do a light run or cycle.

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Etape du Tour 2011: The real story

This is the official website entry for Act 2 of the Etape du tour 2011.

WHAT A GRUELLING SECOND PART

This 2011 second act will certainly deserves a place on the podium of the most difficult edition.

The roughly 4,000-man amateur peloton set off from the start line at Issoire this morning.

The stage profile already had everything in place to daunt the participants, with constant ups and downs which made it difficult to find one’s pace.

The drenching rain, strong headwinds and cold temperatures (hardly 7°C on the route) did not accompany the riders throughout the entire day, but they did stay with them the whole morning. Typical March weather!

Finally, there were only 1982 finishers in Saint-Flour. Congratulations to all those who completed this freezing adventure!

 

This hardly describes what really happened…..

I got to Clermont Ferrand on a hot summers day. My bike was in transit from London and I met the lovely Iona from Ronan Pensac Tours who drove me to our starting destination and the Hotel d’Tourisme. I was to rest here for two days, register, and prepare for the race.

In my transit to the hotel Iona picked up three other cyclists. Jono (Australian with a love for Pro cyclist Gilbert..Jono had to add that one in), Mark (very aggressive  English cyclist trying to crack 8.40 hours and get a medal) and Jatin (English scientist who loves putting his bike together with meticulous care and wearing plastic bags on his feet when it rains). We were a hit team and on the way to the hotel we  discussed our training regimes and predictions for bad weather on the race. Our predictions about the weather were not bad enough…

On the first two days I hung out with my new cycling mates. We were all excited about the race and went to the village to register. Mark wanted to spend some money and with a snipers eye for race memorabilia soon found a new race top, arm warmers, and cycle cap to buy. He is as aggressive shopping as he is cycling. We picked up our official “man” bags (small white shoulder bags with blue, purple and pink strips) from the race organisers. Mark and Jatin were great company and as with the camaraderie of cycling we shared many jokes. Jono wasn’t with us on the first day. He had flown in from Miami and had jet lag.  I had lunch with him the next day to find out he Captains a 150 foot  yacht around Miami and the Caribbean. He constantly follows the sun and never experiences winter. No wonder he looked so tanned and  relaxed. I had no sympathy for his jet lag.

My bike finally arrived with my riding buddy, Mungo. He had driven 4.5 hours from his house in France. He was tired but we got on our bikes to test them. I have noticed at other triathlon races the bike can often have problems after transportation. We both heard unusual noises from our bikes and took them to the Mavic bike tent for servicing.

I heard a clicking noise and slipping sensation whenever I pushed down with my left foot on the pedal. The bike mechanic said it was my bottom bracket and he could not do anything about it. I did not believe him and pushed for him to tighten up the left crank. He did it reluctantly and surprise it worked. I also had Garmin issues as it was not picking up cadence as I rode. I went to the Garmin tent and they discovered my Garmin was picking up too many bike sensors in the village and could not identify my own. I left the village and after changing the battery found the Garmin was back to full operation.

Our final dinner before race day served up pizza, stewed chicken and rice. It was not the normal pasta and a nice change. Mungo and I put our numbers on the bike and prepared our race kit before heading to bed. Jono, Mark and Jatin were in great spirits. The biggest decision Mark and Jatin had to make was which racing top they wanted to wear. Was it going to be the Kingston Wheelers or official Etape racing top?

At breakfast, 5am, on the morning of the race Mark and Jatin appeared in their full Kinsgton Wheeler race tops. They looked proud to represent their club and actually looked like quality cyclists. They proved they were quality cyclists by the end of the day.

Jono, Mungo and I put arm warmers, gillets and shower proof jackets on because it was raining. The clouds were covering the sky and it was dark. We felt warm in our gear and as we headed to the start line we absorbed the atmosphere. Mungo and I decided to put plastic bags over our socks to test Jatin’s theory of keeping the feet dry in wet conditions. This year they organised 4000 riders into 11 groups  and started each group with a 3minute interval between them. The three of us started in group 7 and we waited about 60 minutes before crossing the start line. The system worked well and there was plenty of space for everyone to ride safely.

I had brought my Oakley Iridium cycle glasses for a bright summers ride in July. They didn’t work well in the dark, wet and steamy conditions we were encountering as we started the race. In the first 35kms the rain picked up but we were sheltered from the wind and it was getting brighter as the morning progressed. Jono rode at a good steady speed as he knew this was a long race. Mungo and I followed suit and we were always with in touch of each other as we rode. The rain got heavier and Jatin’s plastic bag over the feet theory started to back fire. The bags were actually filling up with water and not draining. I could feel my feet swimming in my shoes. At first it was quite nice as the water got slightly warmer as we rode.

After the first hill climb at 40kms we were  riding along open plains and totally exposed to heavy crosswinds, sheets of rain, and the plummeting temperatures. We were in our easiest gear and riding at the same speed we would climb an 8% gradient. Most cyclists formed small paletons to protect each other from the head wins. My glasses were too dark at this point so I took them off and my face took the wind and hail coming at me straight on.

I remember riding and thinking  I had over 150kms to go and at the speed I was riding and how cold I was getting this was going to be a very long day. I was not the only one thinking like this as Mungo and Jono were exactly the same. We even saw many cyclists who were riding in the opposite direction to return to the start line. They had given up and ambulances were giving space blankets to some cyclists stranded on the side of the road. We saw many cycles abandoned along the way waiting for the truck to pick them up.

We finally got to the top of the first small climb. I could feel my body soaked to the core and my legs were starting to shake. The temperature had dropped to below 2-5 degrees as were riding. We started to descend down the hill to the first aid station. The wind picked up and my hands were freezing. I could not reach behind my back to get food and braking was very unsafe. On the way down the hill the temperature must have dropped to zero if not sub zero. Every cyclist going down the hill was braking all the way. I had never seen so many cyclist descend so slowly. My calf muscles started to shake uncontrollably and to stop them I purposely pushed them down against the pedal. It got colder and colder as we descended and it was painful.

The aid station appeared in front of us and I had never seen so many cyclists stopping for help. The aid station was so full I could not see where to continue riding as the road was blocked. Hundreds and hundreds of bikes were in reserved bays to be taken to the finish line. Cyclists were trying to find places to warm up. A gym nearby was open to cover cyclists from the wind. Mungo and I found a small house opened by its kind owners to help provide  shelter, hot drinks, blankets, and food. They cared for us all and were extremely generous. For 1 hour Mungo and I stood shaking violently and I mean violently.  We couldn’t hold our cups still and we sheltered in the corners of the room. We called our driver to come and pick us up.

40 minutes later Mungo’s car arrived to pick us up. The aid station was now deserted and buses had transported probably over 1000 cyclist back to the start line. The bikes were being packed on trucks. I could not believe this was the middle of summer and we were standing in temperatures reminiscent of the middle of winter in London. We got in the car and drove 30 minutes to the hotel at finish line in Saint Flour. I found out later Jono had also thrown in the towel at the aid station and caught the bus to the hotel.

I had a hot shower for 20 minutes and warmed up then realised I was starving. Being so cold and shaking for so long had burnt up serious calories. In the space of 1 hour I ate the following; banger and mash, apricot cereal bar, apple, cupcake, bag of crisps, soup and bread, coq au vin, fries, coke zero, 2 power bars and several biscuits and hot drinks. I was still hungry even after eating all that but I stopped incase I made myself sick.

We got back to the hotel to find out the Gendarmerie had stopped the race at one of the mountain climbs. The visibility was as low as 2 meters and the cold weather was making descending very dangerous. 2000 cyclists did get through before they closed of the road and I waited to see who from our tour party finished the race.

I knew when I finished the race I could not go on. It was too dangerous not only from a riding perspective but also from catching hypothermia. At the time I did not know how anyone could continue the race. I was in awe of those that did continue and even more in awe of those that finished.

There were 4 of our tour party who finished in times ranging from 9-11 hours. They said it was the hardest Etape they had done because of the weather conditions. Several pushed on only because they did not know how to get home. Mark and Jatin had not finished yet and the cut of time was 12 hours. Their bags were the only two left in the foyer of the hotel. I was intrigued to know had they got through the Gendarmerie blockade and had they missed the cut off time.

Sitting at the finish line Jatin appeared from know where and then Mark followed with a medal around his neck. It was a great sight to see these two battlers had completed the distance. They had both been caught by the broom wagon but both had continued the race. They were chasing the broom wagon at stages and Mark describes a yo-yo relationship with the drivers of the buses. He would overtake the bus and the bus would over take Mark. To beat the bus he rode past the last two aid stations straight onto the finish line. He made the cut by minutes and even though the official did not like the line across his race number indicating he had been caught by the broom wagon gave him a medal. Marks aggressive riding and shear anger at being eliminated from the race too early (race organisers shortened the elimination times) got him to the finish line.

Jatin on the other hand thought his race was over. He decided to finish the race anyway and along his journey stopped to take photos, video and have a pee. He was asked 5 times if he wanted to be picked up and 5 times he refused. He did descend the hills very fast and as he crossed the finish line the last timing mat was being picked up. There was no one giving out medals and even though he crossed the finish line he missed out on getting one. Jatin was in good spirits  because he knew he had completed all the climbs. He is a real champion and I congratulate both Mark and Jatin for pushing on through the cold and completing the distance.

I could see Act 2 was a beautiful course and had the weather been better the race had the potential to be magnificent. I did not finish the race but I had a blast thanks to Jono, Mark and Jatin. I am happy I stopped and I enjoyed the entire experience. I have become an avid fan of the Tour De France, been to some amazing places, and met some incredibly funny characters. Cycling is a fantastic sport and I recommend anyone to try it. I am having a good rest from training and will review my plans in October when the next Etape entries come out.

 

 

 

Final day of training at Delucci Retreat and stll learning new skills

It’s my last day at the Delluci Retreat and Gary, my coach, planned a two hour climbing ride. The mountain we climbed twisted and turned and all I could see around each corner was another never-ending incline. I was getting used to this demoralising sight ahead and focussed on my climbing technique. I had to keep my head up so oxygen got into my lungs. I used my pacing and recovery skills when the climb got tough. It was by no means a fast climb but I did it smoothly and still had strength in my legs at the top. This is important to practice because the Etape is 208km long and having the endurance and strength is important.

The descent down the mountain went badly. Gary followed my descent and wanted me to practice the skills he had taught me. I went too fast and braked too late around a corner. The back wheel skidded out and I slid across the opposite side of the road towards the mountain wall and a large ditch. Thank goodness I stayed upright and as I neared the ditch I was able to play with the brakes to tip the bike away from the ditch at the very last minute. I got a stern verbal reminder of what I was doing wrong from Gary.

My confidence was knocked from the skid and I followed Gary down the rest of the mountain. We analysed what happened all the way home. I learnt on sharper descents I can not go as fast and I must break at the right time. I can use 70% on the front brake and stick my bottom backwards over the seat to spread my body weight along the length of the bike when braking. In the Etape I would have taken 100 riders out of the race with a skid like the one I just had. In the Etape other riders could make the same mistakes. In the race I plan to slow down and take corners wide so I don’t get caught in any accidents caused by others.

There was a big learning curve with my skid today and even though I made a mistake I have sharpened my downhill riding skills even more. Back at home Gary looked at my back tire. I had completely stripped the tread down to it’s base lining in two places. I was fortunate not to have blown it.

On leaving the Delluci Retreat Gary showed me how to replace my brake pads. Even more valuable information to take back to London. It has been a very worthwhile experience being with a coach and cycling proper mountains. It has helped me learn faster before the Etape. The Reteat is very relaxing and Gary and Sussie were alot of fun. They catered for all my needs. The rooms were fantastic and so was the food. I will be adding the Delluci Retreat to my recommended places to train for cyclists and triathletes.

Thank you Gary and Sussie for a wonderful time.

First day in Portugal training. What did I learn?

Got into accommodation at 3am last night due to flight delays. Up at 9am for breakfast and riding by 11.30am. 6 hours sleep not enough but felt good. Took duo’s oil, mamnitech sports products to boost endurance, and multivitamin. Hydrated well as the heat was going to pick up on the ride.

Hired a bike and had my own pedals and handle bar adjuster put on. The seat height was adjusted and we started the ride. I had lots of questions to ask Gary the coach with my main aims to learn how to hill climb and descend safely.

Gary knew we had 4 days of riding so today was a steady 4 hour ride. There were 3 climbs from 45 mins to 1 hour long. I had never ridden this long on hills before so I was looking forward to testing my body.

I have come to realise training is about preparing your body. When you go out to train you can consciously tell your body what to do and it will respond depending on the training it has had. I did not know how my legs would respond to hill climbing so just waited to find out. The goal of today was to get distance in my legs with hill climbing and riding a steady pace.

We took on the first hour climb and I could feel I wad getting sore between the legs on the saddle. Gary looked from behind and could see my saddle was too high and each down stroke of my leg put pressure on my groin. We adjusted the seat and the pain eased. A loo stop also helped. Gary get me in the easiest gearing and high cadence and we chatted all the way up the hill. This was a good sign my VO2 max was good. This was the type of condition I was too sustain through the entire ride.

I could feel the pave I was maintaining up the hill and as we took on more hills my body was reacting well. My legs felt strong and even though my heart rate elevated I was comfortable. On one ride my legs were starting to fatigue and I was looking for the top of the hill but as soon as we hit flatter sections of road I recovered quickly.

Gary taught me to get out of the saddle and pedal to give my back a break and vary the load on my body. It actually felt very comfortable and helped me climb better. I usually dropped the gear two down to make pedalling out of the saddle smoother.  I definitely was eating and drinking more on these rides.

Going downhills has been a great learning curve today. On the first long decent I was leaning the wrong way around each corner and I was finding the line of my turning made me break too much. I was less confident turning corners to my left.

Gary told me to turn and aim for the apex of bend. Break before the apex but not at the apex as the back wheel can skid out and this is a common problem when cyclist break with the rear breaks. He told me to lean with the bike and relax. I followed his lines of biking down the hills and could feel the turns better. It was best to choose safety over speed when descending so I did break if I felt unsure.

By the end of the day I was staying closer to Garys bike when descending and I was beginning to know the lines to take leading into the bends.

I got home and felt strong finishing with no bonking. I had paced myself well and Gary thought my cadence and speed up the hill was good.

I learnt a lot today and finishing the ride with a nice cup of tea and biscuits sitting in the sun was idyllic.I am looking forward to practicing what I have learnt tomorrow. Gary did live in London and is going to introduce me some guys who will show me the big hills in Surrey to ride to maintain my momentum when back in London.

Gary is a great coach and very entertaining. He had me laughing riding up the hills and  he is an uber experienced  professional triathlete, duathlete and cyclist. He has a new purpose built home and cycle workshop for athletes to stay and train. Could not have come across a better place to prepare for the Etape. I will be posting videos on YouTube soon. Garys business name is Delucci and can be found on the net. Until tomorrow it is time to put on the compression leggings, get in the nutrition and recover for tomorrow.

Hill climbing lessons, time trialling and post training fatigue

My coach wanted me to train three times this week. A few weeks ago I was getting too tired with work and life and decided I would make an effort to look after myself better. I therefore decided to train twice instead this week. My coach wanted to come out with me on the weekend and also take my good friend an ironman athlete. He wanted to push me up the hills and make it a hard training session.

Earlier in the week I had a decision to make between time trialling or hill climbing mid-week. I decided to do time trialling as I knew there would be hill climbing on the weekend. I rested with no weight training during the week.

The time trial was done in Richmond Park and in the past I knew I could do a round in just over 20 minutes. It is not a consistent time trial because the wind can blow at different speeds and the traffic can vary depending on what time of day you go. My main ambition was to set my stop watch and see that I done a round of Richmond Park in under 20 minutes.

I had two laps to do with a warm up lap at the start and half a lap cool down in between. I decided to go clockwise around the park for my first lap. I dropped the gears and started the push. In my mind I knew I had to pace myself to keep a consistent speed around the park but also knew I had to push harder and harder. I did not look at my watch at all during the lap. The traffic was building up and when I stopped at roundabouts I counted the seconds so as to subtract it from my final time. The wind was against me along the flats and it hit me on the final stretch of 400 meters. The flat was where I could really pick up my time but the wind had other ideas. I pushed right to the end of the lap and looked at my watch 20 minutes and 15 seconds. If I subtracted 10 -15 seconds off for traffic I think I would be in on 20 minutes but I really wanted to see the watch say 20minutes or less.

On the second lap I decided to ride anticlockwise to see if I could change the effect of the wind and hope the traffic lessened. I took aff again and as I was riding my fastest up the hill from Roehampton Gate to Richmond Gate another cyclist blew past me. He was sitting in his seat and probably travelling three times faster. I was absolutely amazed at his leg strength and as he pulled away into the distance I felt such a weak climber. I stuck my head down and pushed harder. The wind was assisting me along the flat but caught me on another section of the lap and the traffic held me up more. Coming in the final 400 metres I pushed and pushed and my right calf suddenly cramped. When I tried pushing hard with the right leg it cramped. I didn’t want an injury so eased off the pedal pressure. I crossed the line in 20 minutes and 30 seconds. If I did not have the cramp I think under 20 minute was a sure possibility. I  would wait until next time.

I have been focussed on getting my hill climbing stronger and all I want to do is climb hills. I get out of the seat of the bike more and maintain a better speed up the hills. On the weekend my coach and the ironman athlete took an alternative route out to Box Hill. This route had hills with 11 an 15% gradients with a variation of long and short distances. My coach told me to push hard on the first hill. I accelerated away and half way up totally blew up. My lungs were about to blow up and my heart could not pump any faster. I slowed right down and my coach blew past me. I told him I went to fast at the start and the lesson I got was to pace myself better for the entire hill. If I do not know how long the hill is I can underestimate its length , therefore, it is better to keep a steady pace and when I see the top push hard. I asked him why he could blow past me so easily and he explained my training had not included many hills and I was heavier that he was so it was easier for him to pedal up the hills. I wondered if my leg strength needed work and he thought they were ok. So it is lots of hill climbing and practice to get my technique correct.

Our training ride on the weekend started in wet conditions and I have never seen so many riders on the side of the road with flat tires. My coach said it is because of the rain and the water lifts sharp objects to the surface of the road. I had just made this distinction when my front tire blew a flat. I pulled out my inner tube and it did not have a valve or a locking screw on it. I pulled them off the flat tire to use. Remember not all inner tubes come with valve and locking screw so check this out when you buy it. I pumped it up with one CO2 canister but it was not fully inflated. When I climbed the hills again I could feel the front tire compress and I was losing valuable energy and momentum and speed. I pulled out a second canister and inflated the tire more. It was much better and next time I  will leave the canister on the valve until I feel the tire is fully inflated.

In the same ride the traffic was awful as we were still riding t 1pm. My front wheel hit the curb when slowing up and because my foot was still clipped into the pedal I fell over. My right hip and hand took the brunt of the fall. Fortunately I had fallen badly once before and knew this was a minor one. I continued riding but I could certainly feel the stiffness come on that night.

I have woken up this morning and feel exhausted. I was going to get to work for 10am but I am still at home. I am going in at 12pm instead as my body is tired. These long fast rides need good recovery and I am feeding my body good food and resting. Still feel like I need more sleep but that will come with an early night tonight. I am not going to train today or tomorrow and when my body feels strong again I will hit the gym. I am learning how to get the best out of my body. I might be able to train tomorrow in the gym.

This coming week my coach wants me to do hill repeats in Richmond Park, gym session based on endurance and then a 6 hour bike ride. I plan to ride on saturday to allow my body to recover on Sunday before the week begins. I want to ride my  6hour ride by myself to go at the speed I want and to ride several hills. I think my strength is improving on the hills and I am certainly going to make the effort to get all the hill climbing I need completed.

Rain, flat tire and attempt to ride to Box Hill

Last week was unusual for several reasons. After the long ride two weekends ago my legs were very tight. I competed my gym session and the increase in reps made my legs even tighter. It got to Thursday and my fast riding session. I felt my legs were too tight to ride and then I got a throat infection. I cancelled the ride as I have learnt in the past training when I am ill is counterproductive.

I wore my compression leggings and this helped my legs recover faster. I even wore them in bed all night. It was amazing how comfortably  calves felt when they were on.

Sunday came along and I looked at the weather forecast. My iphone predicted rain but when I got up it looked a fine day. I met my coach in Richmond Park because we decided to ride to Box Hill. We had not navigated this ourselves yet so decided to gibe it a go as I had to start riding more hills and so did he.

I still wasn’t feeling 100% with my throat infection but went out anyway. We started out riding at a good speed. The first hill my coach accelerated away. He is much smaller than I am and he powered away despite my efforts to stay with him. I caught up again on the flats and we continued our ride towards Windsor and then Box Hill.

My coach had planned the route and new we had to turn at a specific roundabout to head towards Box Hill. We missed the roundabout and it started to rain heavily. We stopped checked where we were on my iphone and thought we would redirect ourselves back on track for Box Hill. The rain got heavier and heavier and I could feel the water running down my legs into my shoes. My gloves were saturated and when I squeezed my fist water drained from them.

We had been riding another hour and we were not much closer to Box Hill. By this stage it was cold and wet. We decided to turn back for home and learnt  riding in the rain and navigating to a new location does not work.

On the way home I got a flat tire. The week before I was told small chicks of stone lead to punctures. I carefully marked where the puncture was and I dug out the stone from the tire before putting in the inner tube. I had a gas cylinder and held it with my barehand. As I blasted air into the inner tube my hand got burnt by the instant cold of the canister. I will never forget to hold another part of the device. My hands were shaking format the cold but I got the tire changed and off we went for home.

My coach picked up the speed for home and some hills he accelerated again and again. My shins started to hurt from such sharp accelerations. They were not ready for this type of riding so once were in Richmond I let my coach ride on and made my own way home. I did not want an injury and when I got home a long shower never felt so good.

Even though this week was not the best training week I learnt several things. 1. Navigate for a new location when the weather is fine, 2. never hold the gas cylinder when inflating a tire 3. I need more hill climbing to train my legs

I spoke to a friend who did a weeks hill training with a coach in Portugal. He thought the week was very helpful for judging where he was in terms of hill climbing. I will join him on his next trip out.