Now what!?

It has been 5 tough weeks of getting up very early to get in a cycle and stay up to speed with the Virgin Active Epic Battle challenges. Seeing that I am not really partaking in any significant event other than the 109km Cape Town

This initiative by Virgin Active has been brilliant. When is the next one?

This initiative by Virgin Active has been brilliant. When is the next one?

Cycle Tour and 55km Cape Town Cycle Tour MTB, I grabbed the opportunity to follow some specific riding goals when Virgin Active announced their Cape Epic Strava / API based challenges and to stand a chance to win a 2018 Absa Cape Epic entry.

Or maybe I just missed coach Alasdair Garnett from The Practice telling me what to do each day in the lead up to the 2016 Absa Cape Epic. Perhaps I missed the suffering or got tired of aimlessly wondering / riding through the streets and trails of the Western Cape. Anyway, I think the concept is brilliant and it certainly helped me to get focused and sort of fitting into my clothes again. (PS: some feedback of the ‘fight’ with the Fashion Police at work – they are apparently slowly but surely getting my dress code

Fortunate to have the Table Mountain Trails & Greenbelt open for us for riding in Cape Town and played a part in getting that altitude required in the challenge

Fortunate to have the Table Mountain Trails & Greenbelt open for us for riding in Cape Town and played a part in getting that altitude required in the challenge

up to their standards).

 

Over the 5-week period there was a speed, 100km minimum, once off elevation, total distance and total altitude ride with different criteria in each to achieve to qualify for the draw of the 2018 Absa Cape Epic

Well done Dom. Conquering Chappies from Noordhoek side. Ready for the Cape Town Cycle Tour!

Well done Dom. Conquering Chappies from Noordhoek side. Ready for the Cape Town Cycle Tour!

entry. After 48.7 hours and 919km all these goals were achieved. Now we wait and see.

 

As a general aimless wanderer with most things in my life it great to have ‘someone’ tell me I need to achieve this and that and it just shows that when training it helps to have goals and plans. One is more focused to achieve something, well I am. Tell me what to do and I will go out and do it! (Probably in my own way)

Early morning in Camps Bay meeting Mr. Andrew Norman for what turned out to be an awesome ride in the rain.

Early morning in Camps Bay meeting Mr. Andrew Norman for what turned out to be an awesome ride in the rain.

 

What challenge is next, I’m not sure. This weekend I am doing the mountain bike leg of the Fedhealth XTERRA Grabouw Lite as part of the Drug Free Sport / I Play Fair team of South African Institute of Drug Free Sport CEO, Khalid Galant and prominent Drive Time KFM Radio Presenter Rob Vember. So, no pressure in me performing. Just kidding, we are out and out going to have some fun and create awareness for Drug Free Sport. Let see how my 14km MTB Sprint goes. Good luck Khalid with the swim and Rob with the run (hopefully you don’t wait too long for me). Thanks Nikki Ferreira for putting this all-in place, as they say: Just Add Milk (Let’s see that Social Media happening)

 

The Trainee - There will be no wind on the 12th of March and you will complete the Cape Town Cycle Tour Dominique

The Trainee – There will be no wind on the 12th of March and you will complete the Cape Town Cycle Tour Dominique

Now back to ‘student’ Dominique de Lauwere and her journey to her 1st Cape Town Cycle Tour. Over the last few weeks I took Dom on parts of the route for her to experience the different climbs and descents to realise that she can ride it. Riding the Cycle Tour does not have to be a sprint and one should manage your expectations and the goal of the 1st one is to finish and not worry about time, especially if training time has been limited and work interfered with the training program.

I’m sure Dom will be fine a she has shown the determination and will

The Riding Group, coach, trainee and Nairo Quintana (what are hills Jacky McClean?)

The Riding Group, coach, trainee and Nairo Quintana (what are hills Jacky McClean?)

to do it, whilst also enjoying the cycling (And we miss our other riding partner – you know who you are Jacky M). One day of grit for 109km and getting as much time as possible on the bike in the next two weeks before the ride on the 12th, whilst also not overdoing it with too much exertion of too long and tough rides. Now Dom has been keen for training rides no matter how hard the wind is blowing and or the daunting tasks of going up Chappies and Suikerbossie climbs for the first time. I believe this will and determination to do it will stand you in good stead Dom and get you to the finish line. (If not I will retire as a cycling adviser and go back to talking about front row play in rugby)

 

In a previous life at work we discussed targets and goals and Mr. Shane Colloty was always adamant that a target is something one hits and a goal is something you want to achieve.

The Virgin Active Challenge is finished, so now what!? What is next? (No Thinus! I am not doing a triathlon). The search is on for the next set of goals….

I rode the Fairtree Simonsberg Contour MTB stage race recently and realised that every extra kg on the bike makes a difference - no more Pistachio ice cream

I rode the Fairtree Simonsberg Contour MTB stage race recently and realised that every extra kg on the bike makes a difference – no more Pistachio ice cream

Just thought I'd share and early morning sunrise on my way to work

View 1: Just thought I’d share and early morning sunrise on my way to work

View 2: Always great scenery riding over Chapmans Peak, especially on a beautiful that like this one was

View 2: Always great scenery riding over Chapmans Peak, especially on a beautiful that like this one was

View 3: The view from behind of the R304 outside Stellenbosch

View 3: The view from behind of the R304 outside Stellenbosch

The facial expression says it all with nearly 1600m of climbing on the 55km route of which most was single track at the Simonsberg Contour Ride - eina!

The facial expression says it all with nearly 1600m of climbing on the 55km route of which most was single track at the Simonsberg Contour Ride – eina!

Sexy legs. Especially the one with...with the Wines2Whales socks on

Sexy legs. Especially the one with…with the Wines2Whales socks on

FTP or WTF!

IMG_8212Now those of you that know me, and perhaps have had loads of spare time and read one or two of my posts, will know that I ride for fun and to finish and sprinting or pushing myself too hard is not often (or ever) on the riding agenda. Waking up yesterday I was wary of the new experienced that lied ahead for me, see I have decided to get on board with a coach again and signed on with Alasdair Garnett from The Practise that came highly recommended. Him being in Johannesburg necessitated a FTP test being done on me in Cape Town for him to assess where my fitness levels are at. You might not know what FTP stands for yet, but I sure you know the meaning of WTF, but we will get to all this just now. My 2016 Absa Cape Epic partner, Thinus also signed on with Alasdair and had to do the FTP test a week or so ago and phoned me post his torture, thus my reluctance to go put my mind and body through anticipated pain.

 

Back to writing something meaningful in telling you what the FTP tests involve; let’s start with what FTP is (WTF will come later). FTP is Functional Threshold Power or quite simply put, a measure of fitness, FTP is the maximum wattage an athlete can sustain for 60 minutes and according to some the single greatest determinant of cycling performance. So back to WTF, I mean the FTP test, there are a couple of ways to establish your FTP: a blood lactate test, a sustained 60 minute effort, or a 20 minute field test. No one told me about the blood lactate test! So off to the most common and easily accessible 20 minute field test, conducted by Mr. Watt Bike in SA, Steve Saunders who after the Double Century stayed on to do the test on me for Alasdair, which also meant no hiding away on the bike with the watchful eye of Adel making sure I stick to the cadence and program.TCThe Test

 

First, warm up for 20 minutes starting with easy pedalling and progressively building to more zone 2 endurance pressure on the pedals and some insane maximum cadence rotations, eish! Then the fun started as you need to go for 20 minutes at your maximum pace or power output at the whatever resistance you prefer – Eina! (For my English speaking friends, that means ouch!). That really hurt as I had to dig deep to keep on going for the full time at a pace I probably never ever rode a bike at. As you grind through the lactic pain barrier and you try and keep mind focussed on that smooth pedal stroke and even cadence to keep going on and on, with time seeming to stand still – you think WTF! Told you we would get back to that – mind out of the gutter now and think positive training thoughts, you all knew I meant: Will Train Frequently to not ever suffer like that again. Now from this 20 minute test one apparently takes 95% of the average power and uses that as your FTP. It seems mine is 231.8 for whatever that means. (Isolated time of last 8.5 minutes of the 20 where my average was output was 244). 231 watts was the average over the 20 minutes, perhaps I can bribe my coach to use this number (231 x 0.95 = 219.45). Just kidding Alasdair, I am very worried that you are coaching my riding partner to be even quicker than what he already is, and he likes chasing the clock as for me I just want to make it to the finish line in time.

movescountAnyway, now that your head hurts after trying to decipher all that here is some links to perhaps clarify all this FTP stuff and how it impacts on your fitness and training program:

·         Training Peaks

·         Watt Bikes

Check out the services offered by UCI Accredited coaching from The Practice that could assist you in your training goals. When training towards a goal in the form of a specific event or just for general fitness and health it does definitely help to have a structured plan to help you improve but also not losing the fun and enjoyment factor. (I believe a certain founder of a 8 day mountain bike race is also doing a FTP test this week, good luck KV, we can’t suffer alone)

 

One more tip to help with your core muscles and the ‘correct’ way to plank – check out this video

 

This week I am tackling the Pennypinchers Origin of Trails two day Mountain Bike event, really looking forward to it and be sure that when I start climbing the 1700m of climbing on each day, I will be saying, perhaps out loud – WTF!

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Great riding with the boys over the weekend Tygerberg trails and fortunately the photo was taken before the beers arrived. Miss my riding partner to take control of the hills as harsh words were spoken as two members of this group (one taking the photo) chased each other up a hill.

Watt Bike?

So this morning I stroll into Virgin Active at Steenberg with the plan of spending an hour on the Watt Bike, you know because it is raining AGAIN outside. Well, first of all I don’t quite enjoy going to gym at the moment because every time I visit Virgin Active the scale tells me that I am slightly heavier than last time. I am convinced that since the Super Moon phenomena a week or so ago gravity sucks down on me even more, fact!

Well after the disappointment and resulted brought on depression I head over to the Watt Bikes, well it turned out to be Watt Bike. The other two apparently weren’t functional, anyway the bike is occupied so I settle for second best and go back to what we all used to use before the appearance of the Watt Bike – the spinning bike! Still depressed about the increased suction power of gravity I start doing my bike setup and then the friendly lady on the Watt Bike asks if I don’t want to use the bike, she is nearly finished with only 2 minutes left. In my best Vik Norval impression I say SURE. If not why not, the bike will be available.

Half a shelfie when one could actually go out and ride - look mom, no rain :)

Half a shelfie when one could actually go out and ride – look mom, no rain 🙂

So as time is running down on the two minutes and not wanting to stand around I sit on the spin bike waiting and then I see him approach. Now this guy I have seen every time I have been in the gym (which is quite often as it never stops raining) and I know he is heading for the Watt Bike – that is what he does. I have even encountered him moving from bike to bike as he could get his heart rate monitor working, with no regard to everyone around him that could have been contemplating using the bikes. Anyway, that particular day I stayed on the spin bike.

So the 2 minutes is up and the friendly lady looks over at me on the spin bike and says she is done, and then I pounce and get onto the Watt Bike for that extra effort, dry, indoor training. Unfortunately for the other guy I was first in line and I took up my right. Now this is where it gets weird as he is obviously disappointed, since there is only one Watt Bike available (And it’s mine!) and starts asking the staff to check if the other bike has been charged. No they say, it is also, not functional, like the other one. He starts going off that this is unacceptable and that how long does it take to fix and so forth. Not happy at all that someone else is actually suing the bike and not him, he says that he is training according to a program and needs the bike – really, and I am not. Anyway then he asks when the staff member when the gym is not busy and she tell him about 9-9:30 after the classes are finished and then: “Ok, I’m going home, I will be back then”.

Now I wish I could have been in the gym at 9-9:30 to actually see if the Watt Bike was available, because uhm – there is no guarantee it will be free and if you could train whenever you can , why be there at 5:30 like us normal working people. Good for him that he aims to stick to his training program but there was perfectly useable spinning bikes right there. So I am sorry that as a paying gym member I was first in line to enjoy the pain in my legs on the Watt Bike.

The whole incident caused a hoo-ha as the staff and fellow gym members couldn’t quite believe the guys reaction and behaviour as if it was his right to have a bike available to him in the gym. Well at least I did my hour on the bike and got my exercise in for the day, that is before Poker evening tonight which could result in the Watt Bike being available at 05:30 tomorrow morning (Although I suspect he will be there at 5am).

Now to stay clear of those carbs that crawled back into my life, no more rusks, biscuits or sandwiches – I will be lying if I say no more beer because that is just silly. Till next time and I am aiming to be back on the Watt Bike on Thursday – so beware!

Besides the weight gain depression my team also got smashed over the weekend in the ABSA Currie Cup

Besides the weight gain depression my team also got smashed over the weekend in the ABSA Currie Cup