Thursday, October 28, 2010

Autumn Blue Skies

Thursday 28th October 2010

Back out on the road bike today for the first time since the 10th. The surrounding mountains are white with snow, but the lack of wind, clear blue skies and sunshine meant that conditions were prefect for getting the road bike out.

Long windproof leggings, windproof shoe covers, thicker socks and a windproof polar jacket were essential to make the ride enjoyable. The weather was so nice though that the jacket went around my waist for climbing and only a cycling tee shirt was needed. The sun was low in the sky giving rich Autumn light. This light and the lack of wind in the late afternoon/evenings is what makes Autumn my favourite time of year - but until now it seemed that we had jumped straight into winter instead. The only downside with the low sun is that car drivers climbing the mountain behind you might not see you as they have the sun straight in their face.

My legs were a bit tired due to having done indoors workouts on both Monday and Tuesday. On Monday I did a really hard workout - with an intense and enjoyable (if virtual) climb. Then on Tuesday raced against this recorded time! Wow that was hard, but it did push me to work harder and to get a higher power output. Currently I'm sustaining a power output of 252 watts on the 30 minute climb - but that's with an average heart rate of around 148bpm - well short of my 160 anaerobic threshold. With a current weight of 69kg this gives a power output of 3.65 Watts/kg. To win a Tour de France You are looking at 6.8 Watts/kg at anaerobic threshold - sustainable for 30 minutes (at A.T.). Well that's why those guys are fast - they are almost twice as powerful as me. Apparently they are more likely to be around 4 or 5 during the Tour because of fatigue.

Only a few corners, in the shade throughout the day, remained wet - but on one of those I encountered a herd of cattle - as you often do in this part of the world. The cattle were perfect citizens and left a space for me to pass on one side of the road. It was a bit worrying though because they all had horns and could easily have lunged at a passing cyclist. The real danger however is not there - it is in the inevitable and unavoidable trail of cow poo spread all over the already wet road. That's not really a direct hazard, but it is like acid glue and very tough to get off the bike afterwards. Left too long it will eat into the paint or metal - so cleaning is obligatory.

Interestingly I noticed that the Virtual Reality trainer actually makes you work harder than real life - because there is always a competitor and there is no distracting scenery to enjoy - just a towel on the floor below you collecting a river of sweat.

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