Sunday, 17 April 2011

Team MK 2-up: Team Grumpy takes 3rd place. Out of three teams...

As the title should make obvious, the weekend's regrouping of Team Grumpy once again failed to set the world of team timetrialling aflame, with another rather under par performance.  Grumpy Bob would like to be able to place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the erstwhile Team Manager, who chose to spend the afternoon gardening rather that shouting requests for 400W at the team, but frankly it was down to the riders.

Having said that, both 'Grumpy' Art and Grumpy Bob rode pretty well together on the whole, and accommodated each other's strengths (few though they might have been on the day) and weaknesses (numerous though they may have been on the day).  Grumpy Bob had managed to forget his Garmin, so was riding without telemetry, which turned out to be rather a good thing, and (he says) quite liberating.

Ultimately, however, this performance really ranks among the many underwhelming 2-up performances Team Grumpy has delivered on the domestic time trialling scene in recent years.  Team Grumpy is looking for a further domestic 2-up before they leave for the Duo Normand in September, and both riders are looking at the Norlond '10' in early September.  Between now and then, Grumpy Bob imagines both riders will be exhorted by the Team Manager to train just that bit harder.  Actually the Team Manager has a disturbing tendency to refer to 'training' as 'practicing', which brings with it images of complete amateurishness on the part of the riders.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Team Grumpy regroup for Team MK 2-up

This weekend sees one of the all too infrequent Team Grumpy 2-up rides, at the Team MK 20 mile time trial over two laps of the sporting course near Milton Keynes at Astwood.

Recent outings at this event have not been great for Team Grumpy.  In the last year the event was run, 2009, 'Grumpy' Art was unable to ride, due to work commitments.  Accordingly, Grumpy Bob sent in a single entry form for the solo event, clearly labelled as such.  Grumpy Bob was therefore perplexed to find himself entered as a 2-up team, complete with 'Grumpy' Art!  He was even more perplexed to find that, even when this was pointed out to the organiser, he still found himself ineligible for inclusion in the solo event results.

Still, this year looks quite rosy, though a turn-out of only 30 solo riders and 3 two-up teams is disappointing for this event, which is on a really nice (if challenging) course, is always well organised (except as noted above) and usually has good weather (Team Grumpy suspects the organiser has some dodgy deal with the weather deities).

Team Grumpy look forward to the weekend, hope there will be no punctures (or other mechanical disasters), and expect to consume a decent quantity of energy drink.  Expect a sudden surge in Leffe share prices when the markets open on Monday.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Onwards and Upwards...maybe

Regular readers of this blog (if there are such people) could be forgiven for thinking that the Team Grumpy riders are a whiny set of underachievers, bossed around by a Team Manager who regularly (and ineffectually, it has to be said) demands the delivery of 400 Watts.

On the basis of this season's results, it may well be true that TG comprises a pair of underachievers, but Grumpy Bob and 'Grumpy' Art aren't particularly whiny.  Perhaps we drink too much energy drink*...

Team Grumpy are looking forward to their next 2-up race, which is the Team MK 20 mile event over two laps of the Astwood circuit near Milton Keynes on 16th April.  Past performance have been 'interesting', and have seen punctures cramp Team Grumpy's 'style'.  Bizarrely, in 2009's event which Grumpy Bob entered as a solo rider (because work commitments prevented 'Grumpy' Art from riding), the organiser included both Team Grumpy riders in a 2-up team.  This was despite only actually having one entry form!

This year, it's a bona fide Team Grumpy entry, and the Team Manager is already honing her encouraging 'verbals'.  It'll be interesting to see whether Team Grumpy can pull some kind of performance out of the collective underachievement of the 2011 season...

* apparently the bottles of energy drink that Grumpy Bob found in the fridge  (and one of which he is consuming as he writes this) was purchased by the Team Manager specifically for consumption by 'Grumpy' Art on the weekend of the Team MK 2-up.  Grumpy Bob has been roundly chastised...

Friday, 8 April 2011

No Quick Fix

So, the club 10 last night produced yet another embarrasing performance from yours truly. What was odd, though, was that I felt pretty good yet I was aware that I wasn't really going well. It's not a feeling that I am familiar with and is very hard to describe. It's as if I was riding well within myself but was unable to push into another level. Am I becoming soft? Probably. However, the main purpose of riding was to get some more quality miles - or kms in my case - into my legs and I can feel it today, so I guess that's worth something. I was also able to check that I had rectified a couple mechanical issues (hardly problems) that had emerged the previous weekend. On a less positive side I seem to have developed sciatica in my right leg now. I have almost permanent sciatica in my left leg, but this is new because I cannot recall ever experiencing it in my right leg. I am, therefore, wondering if my position needs tweaking again. But as usual I wil carry on and hope that it goes away. Next up is the Llandovery 25 on Sunday - could be interesting.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Missing Form - Bynea 30 mile TT

Well, on the bright side this was the longest ride I had completed since the Duo Normand in September. Prior to this my longest ride had been the PTW 2-up 25 - our first team outing of the year. Training has been consistent but short (never more than 75 mins) and fairly low intensity ever since returning from Normandy. Therefore, this rather mediocre result - 17th in 1h 17m 26s - was to be expected. In fact, I got it into my head that anything under 1h 20m would be acceptable on what seemed to me to be a windy day. However, the fact that the course record was broken and everyone else seemed to think it was a pretty good day for early season makes me think that I shouldn't be quite so unconcerned about my rather flat performance. And 'flat' is the word really. I only managed to get into my race level (HR) for 17 mins of that entire effort. What on earth was I doing for the other hour? I suspect that unconsciously I had held back simply because I was afraid of not lasting the distance. Certainly, my final lap (of two and a half laps) felt better and more committed than the rest of the race. But that still doesn't account for the whole 'missing' hour. Frankly, it's a mystery. Another mystery is where exactly has all my form gone to. The idea of my winter training was to keep ticking over. Therefore, no rest or break from training - just lower intensity throughout the winter. After that, well I was supposed to increase the intensity around February. But that simply didn't happen and now I find myself plodding along at my low intensity training pace even whilst racing. But the last two weeks have suggested that I am getting a little sharper and this 30 mile race will surely help to build that speed. I don't yet feel able to talk about top end speed, but as everything is relative then I am glad to take the perceived improvements in my training this week as a sign of better things to come. A club 10 tonight (Thursday) and another sporing course 25 on Sunday - where I will be up against many of the same riders as in the 30 - will not only help to bring on what form might linger underneath the veneer of mediocrity, but also give me a chance to gauge my progress (or otherwise) relative to others. Hopefully, this will not be the last word.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Aerodynamics, Camelbaks and Timetrialling

Team Grumpy is amused by the shock news that Leopard-Trek rider Fränk Schleck is to be investigated by the UCI in relation to allegations of irregular use of a Camelbak drinking pouch.  In complete contrast to other riders, Schleck appeared to need to take a drink along with him during a 7km time trial, and subsequently faced the ire of the UCI, who suspect the real motive was to use it as an aerodynamic aid.

Here at Team Grumpy HQ, this strategy has been noted, particularly in light of the problems Grumpy Bob has had in shedding the kilos gained during his injury-hit early season period.  In contrast to the ultra-skinny Schleck brothers, Grumpy Bob does not need Camelbak assistance to generate a pendulous belly.  The Team Grumpy manager observes that in Grumpy Bob's current state, he will need a mere 400W just to ascend a minor climb in anything resembling an appropriate speed.

No word has yet been received concerning the explanation for 'Grumpy' Art Vanderlay's lack of early season form, though there are suggestions it relates to overindulgence in energy drink.