Well, less than 2 weeks to go and I'm beginning to get excited / nervous about the race. I've now completed the peak phase of my training and I'm now officially in taper :-)
The last 2 weeks have been pretty full on and I'm looking forward to the reduced workload in the run up to the race.
The first week of July was my biggest training week to date: 21 hours 48 minutes, covering 332km and burning 10,729 kCalories. Last week was less intense, only 15 hours and 55 minutes, covering 177km burning 9,044 kCalories in the process. This week I'll cut down to 11 hours or so and only 5 in the week running up to the Outlaw. All this time on my hands, what will I get up to?! (N6 Physics - woohoo)
We've been using Pinkston Watersports centre in central Glasgow for our open water swimming sessions. It's a 140m x 28m bowl, around 1.7m deep with really clean water just minutes off junction 16 of the M8 - i.e. really easy to get to.
From the Garmin GPS trace it looks like I spent most of the time crawling around the edges of the centre rather than in the water... I know my technique isn't that great but I promise I spent all the time in the water! Hopefully the overall distance I covered was pretty close to the real value - if so I may be able to shave a little time off last year's swim time...
Had a couple of good long runs last week, covering 29km in 2:31:15 on one occasion, having covered 30km in 3:01:00 the week before... oh to be able to hold that pace for a marathon!
The Tour de France came to Yorkshire and the first 2 days were spectacular. Amazing crowds, great scenery and excellent racing. Unfortunately Cav dislocated his shoulder on the final sprint on Stage 1 so no fairytale ending for him. Jens Voigt won the King of the Mountains stage - not bad for a 42 year old (there may be hope for me yet!). I watched the first stage on my turbo trainer, pedalling away for 150 minutes - less than half the time the pros were riding and easily less than half the power they produce.
I spent Sunday 6th as my last long ride, around 4.5 hours battering into headwinds and dealing with the changeable weather conditions (horizontal rain / sun splitting sky) that is the Scottish summer. It's so much easier cycling with other people and that is one of the great reasons to be part of the ATHelite team but there's no drafting in the Outlaw so I rode on my own to build up mental stamina as well as physical. Most folk would say I'm mental enough already...
|Boil in the bag wet weather gear... just as the sun splits the sky!|
|At the base of Tinto hill|
I've been struggling for comfort on my new TT bike - unable to hold the aero position for any longer than 5 minutes before my neck and shoulders seized up. Sam (from Sam's massage therapy - 07818 477858) has been doing a great job keeping my muscles from knotting like a kitten with a ball of wool, but given the race is going to be in excess of 5 hours I knew I needed a second opinion on the bike fit.
I booked in to see John Dargie at Dales Cycles for a Specialized Body Geometry fit session. Now, I've had a couple of RETUL fits previously and I know what a difference a good bike fit can make. This was the best fitting session to date. The first hour was spent looking at physiological testing i.e. my flexibility and strength and then this provided the data for my bike fit to be truly personalised. I've changed saddle which has stopped my hips rocking - a cause of lower back and hip flexor pain and sorted out a couple of issues with my shoes. It turned out that my aero bars were way too close together, causing the pain in my shoulders and deltoids. The good news was Zipp make extenders to move the bars apart - the bad news was the lead-time was 90 days!
After much searching on t'internet I managed to buy a second hand pair on eBay. Now fitted and the bike is a total revelation! I tried these out yesterday on a long cycle and they were great - no shoulder pain and much easier to hold aero position (= less air resistance = more speed for the same power). Unfortunately I had 2 punctures in the front wheel (and only one spare tubular tyre) so my ride was cut short and I had a taxi ride home from East Kilbride! As long as this doesn't happen in the race I'm happy. Michael has pointed me towards some (hopefully) indestructible tyres that I'll fit prior to race day to minimise the risk of puncturing - although I'll still probably carry everything (including the kitchen sink) to fix any mechanicals on the day.
|Moving the bars out an additional 20mm meant bike has moved from an instrument of torture to a speed weapon!|
On the 9th of July I found out my Outlaw number: 625
Now, I'm in no way superstitious and I don't normally get overly excited about numbers but it turns out that 625 was my Dad's squadron during WW2. He was a navigator in Lancaster bombers and was in 625 before moving to 550 squadron late in 1944. I performed a quick Google search and found this photo of him (second from the left) that I'd never seen before:
Amazing what you can find online these days. :-)
One of my friends came up with a lovely idea to draw a wee RAF roundel on my hand so I could use it for an energy boost during the race - thanks Angela! I've already added a roundel to my bike name tag:
Hopefully I'll be flying on this on race day. :-)
The Outlaw medal this year is especially cool... I'm looking forward to the first beer opened after finishing with this...