Day 40 of #lockdownlife and at least another 63 to go for our pregnant household until we can emerge to the outside world (if of course we are capable at that point)!
What has this meant for training and bike racing?! Well the latter is obviously off the cards for the time being but it’s been a period where I’ve strangely had more opportunity for some focused quality training.
This is where having a coach comes into its own. They can keep you motivated within your limitations, which lets face it, for non professionals we all have at the best of times let alone in the current situation.
To give you an insight, a lot of my weekly on bike hours are commuting for 90 mins 4 days a week. This also involves hauling a 13kg weight on the back for the first/last 20 minutes each way via childcare. Lee at Transition MTB coaching sets my weekly training plan the Thursday before the week ahead to accommodate my week plans including the commuting by bike. We figure out what’s possible on the commute to make the most of it whether it be a high cadence recovery spin or some hard gear efforts (easy with the extra weight!). Equally important are rest days but when I still need to go in to work and the only easy choice is bike enter the e-bike! It’s been an incredible training tool for making rest days actually resting.
Commuting wrapped around other sessions makes my training week. Although I get a reasonable amount of volume it can be hard to get quality sessions in as part of the commute given traffic and other limitations.
Now throw in the current context where a successful day looks like achieving enough work to keep me in employment, avoiding getting slapped around the face by your offspring and balancing panic imminent baby 2 DIY with some riding/ training time. Fortunately Rory is a pretty decent weight to do squats and kettle bell swings with and is also partial for a bit of peppa pig whilst sat on the turbo so it’s not all incompatible if you get creative!
Making the most of it
So what’s changed now then? Well since lockdown I’ve been working from home balancing childcare like many. So although I have slightly less time we have been using the turbo a lot more to get some focused quality sessions in the bag. For me personally I don’t feel comfortable going out on 4-5 hour big rides at the moment (we won’t go in to that), but I’ve been combining my ‘not far’ outdoor time with indoor top ups and the odd run as well to mix it up. So combined I can get a decent overall TSS in the bank without the guilt of riding miles from home. I’ve also topped up with a few micro missions with Rory to various local locations to get him out and about which is nice so long as you don’t under-clothe him and it gets cold (ooops). Those missions alongside regular chocolate intake and occasional beer zooms have helped keep our household sane.
Lee has been super adaptable to the week on week changes and having some structure to something has been a good consistent base to otherwise challenging times. Just having one less thing to think about at the moment is really welcome. I can imagine feeling extremely lost given the inevitable lack of focus otherwise .
I’ve had a chunk of time off the bike after hand surgery in February but some specific turbo sessions have helped build the fitness back up relatively quickly. So what better way to test it with a LONG session on the turbo. My mate Alan was doing a double virtual everest so I said I’d join him to support on the second half of his effort which happened to be overnight on a friday. I guessed at about 12-13 hours so finishing by breakfast the next day with Alan who was raising funds for Mind Charity.
After some horrible news recently that a riding buddy of mine had been diagnosed with terminal cancer with only a few months to live, his mates had organised ‘le tour de fran’ involving loads of people clocking miles indoor and out over a weekend to raise funds to support his family in this difficult time. I therefore did the ride for Fran which spurred me on to tackle the inevitable pain cave not the friday night rave cave I would have preferred in years past!
So far over £26k has been raised to help them out you can donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/le-tour-de-fran
Massive thanks to everyone who has donated if I haven’t sent you an individual message sorry I missed you.
So I rode non stop overnight to complete the challenge which after a busy day was quite tough! Plus I’m not exactly a mountain goat at the best of times. I made it unintentionally a bit harder by choosing a virtual mountain bike for the first few hours thinking it was the cool thing to do until I noticed I was putting out more watts for the comparative speed of others! So it’s fair to say I burned some matches early doors! I really didn’t know what I was doing in this virtual world and made a few errors to add to the agony.
It was a pretty gruelling mental and physical challenge but I just had in mind my buddy which encouraged me on. I was having to change hand position quite a lot which may have been in part to my still recovering post hand op. Even setting up a time trial type position with towels at one point! This was a hard effort and I was sweating A LOT going through pretty much every head band I own and changing tops regularly and applying lots of Squirt chamois cream.
On the downhill bits it was very odd being able to wander round the house at 3am whilst the virtual me rolled to the bottom of the hill to start it all again! It was surreal waiting for the kettle to boil hoping I wouldn’t miss the turnaround at the bottom of the hill. The virtuall cycling software Zwift shat itself after a few hours so I didn’t get the full effort in one go but ended up over 9000m of climbing in 14 hours on the bike. I recorded on my gps unit as a backup anyway.
- 14 gels (1 caffeine), 3 bananas, 3 rice pudding, 13 litres torq energy drink, 4 cups of tea
- 9404m height
- 13 hour 51 riding (including the descents), can’t be arsed to work out the actual exact everest time.
- 9256 calories
- 707 TSS
- N.power 181
- Average heart rate 148
Rory was quite confused when reappearing in the morning to see daddy still on his bike! I challenged Alan to race up the final climb and amazingly he had more beans in the tank than me due to his climbing goat skills! Big things to come from that boy watch this space!
So we’ve got many more weeks of lockdown before the baby is due where I’ll be chipping away at the fitness in hope that some events may be on again this year but at worst having some focus in at least one part of life is something I’d recommend. Hit up Transition Endurance Group for all your MTB, Road and Triathlon needs, they are very approachable and happy to have a chat about supporting you during this time.
Stay safe and well everyone.