Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Towards the Duo Normand (and Grumpy Bob's dubious turbo training soundtrack)

Grumpy Bob has blogged a preview of this year's Duo Normand two-up team time trial (2010 Duo Normand Preview) - and about a week or two ago, began thinking about ramping up the training for the event.  GrumpyBob's been something of an afficionado of Pete Read's turbo training manual - The Annual Manual a.k.a. The Black Book. This presents a straightforward and progressive month by month training programme.  It's safe to say this was behind Grumpy Bob's (and indeed "Grumpy" Art Vanderlay's) time trialling successes of 2000-2003.  Since then, as he's written, his ability to stick to a programme of training has been compromised by the demands of the day job.  Over the time GrumpyBob was following the programme, he was able to fine-tune and tweak the programme to suit his strengths and weaknesses.  this was made easier by the collection of turbo training sessions that Pete Read presented in The White Book. [Apologies for the lack of web links to Pete Read, but last time Team Grumpy looked, his web presence had vanished]

So the programme Grumpy Bob has adopted fits in some turbo sessions of short hard intervals around longer low intensity road rides and some time trials (Grumpy Bob has a '50' on 5/9/10 and a '10' on 12/9/10, the two weekends before the Duo Normand itself.  This morning's session was a set of 10 x 1 minute intervals at slightly higher than race pace, with 1 minute recoveries.  Quite a difficult session, albeit quite brief.  This, coupled with another variant, are progressive as the Duo looms on the horizon: in one case by doing more intervals, in the other by extending from 1' to 2' to 3' (and so forth) intervals.  Grumpy Bob thinks these, together with the remaining time trials will be enough to peak for the Duo, ideally with a few days easy beforehand.

This morning's music accompaniment was provided by Acid Mothers Temple and the Melting Paraiso UFO.  This unlikely sounding mob are a Japanese psychedelic inprovisational group, and the album in question was Absolutely Freak Out (Zap Your Mind!).

Even more unlikely than its applicability to an interval session is its cover, pictured right (click to link to Amazon).  Still, it provided an amusing distraction as Grumpy Bob pounded away in the garage at 6am this morning!  (The music, not the cover).  It's something of a celebration that the iPod is now behaving itself, and scrobbling to

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

BTTC COURSE - another two-up disaster

Well, I've just returned from another ride around the course for the British TT Champs. This time I rode it as a two-up TTT with Arwel Davies. But the main purpose of this 'recce' was to video the entire course for the website. This was going pretty well until about half way around the first lap when the canera jumped out of its holder and crashed to the ground. Thinking that this would provide excellent footage in its own right, I picked it off the road and replaced it in the holder.

On we went - doing a reasonable speed too. Then, I heard a loud 'crack' and looking down could see the camera flapping about in an uncontrolled manner. I tried to tighten the holder 'on the fly' but it was obviously more serious and needed proper atention. I stopped. Unaware of what was happening, Arwel carried on at pace. I fixed the bracket - although now the camera was being held at an odd angle, which I couldn't rectify no matter what I did. I could see Arwel up ahead on the climb into Llandeilo and eventualy caught up with him in the zig-zag section of the course. He was waiting for me (well, there's no way I could actually catch him given our relative abilities).

We rode on to the end of lap one where we stopped and I switched off the camera. Closer inspection revealed that the bracket had snapped and a glimpse of the footage suggests that vibration had been a major issue from the very start of the recording, which is probably unusable as a result.

What was clear, though, is that the climb up through Llandeilo is very tough and will certainly sort out the race. For the senior men, the second ascent is going to be very hard indeed. As for the rest of the course, there are some real energy-sapping drags and this is going to be a good test for all concerned. I'm pleased with the new finish. I'll ride it again as a TT to get another 'time' for myself. I am actually quite upset that I can't ride the event myself. But I feel that it would not be the responsible thing to do.

It wasn't until driving home that it occured to me that this was yet another UK-based two-up disaster. I should have known better.

Friday, 6 August 2010

British TT Champs - the best ever TT field?

With one day still to go before entries close for the British TT championships, the list of confirmed competitors reads like a hall of fame of British cycling.

If a field of greater quality than this has ever been assembled in the UK before, then I'm unaware of it. The Tour de France prologue TT in 2007 (in London) might make a claim to that accolade, but given that this was an all male affair with no women's event I still think we can edge it. In fact, the depth of genuine quality in our women's race shows just how far women have come in the sport in Britain.

I'm sure it's going to be a great day. The climb through the town of Llandeilo will catch a few out I suspect. It doesn't look much but it really does require a carefully measured effort. This is where the race will be won or lost and will also provide a real spectacle for those of us who don't have to ride.

I have a crate of Leffe ready for the post-race 'relax'.