Power Zones and Comfort Zones

Eish! Haibo! Bliksem!

If I could use proudly and traditionally South African words to express where I am at now with regards to my 2016 Absa Cape Epic training (Follow the links on the words of you are not a South African to find out what it means). I knew when my rubber arm(s) were bent and I buckled under peer pressure to ride the Cape Epic again that it would take a lot of hard work, dedication and training.

The training in the off season on Castle Lite with my mate Ev did not put me in the light weight category of cycling and in the greatest of shape once this monstrous decision was made (We had to finish the free cases of beer). But hey, I’ve done it before so I can do it again and this time from a stronger base and less weight to lose (until I got on the scale and it told me a different Fairy Tale – “Mr Adventure Whale, you have reached baby whale status again and I weighed in at 118kg in October, as per my previous post – WTF!)

The benefits of being out early mornings in Beautiful Cape Town #Sunrise

The benefits of being out early mornings in Beautiful Cape Town #Sunrise

The good news is that yesterday when getting my doctor to verify that I am medically fit (note: not mentally fit) to ride the event, I weighed in at 112kg. Progress made or does the Virgin Active scale add those extra kg’s to make us train harder, who knows but I feel progress are being made. Talking of ‘made’, going for that much needed sports massage made my, and all my aching muscles’ day. One must not under estimate the value of a good quality sports massage on a regular basis. Thanks Nicole (Advanced Massage Therapy) for sorting out all my niggles and also sorting out those stubborn muscles in need of stretching. My calves thank you, so does my hamstrings and my quads and my back and my shoulders and my…every aching muscle in my body.

 

Enough of being zoned out on the torture chamber and back to the other zones. Normally I get on my bike and ride and that was my training, but with what coach Alasdair Garnett (from The Practice) has thrown in, it has been very focussed. We are in the base building phase and phase one included endurance and speed skill, and base building phase 2 started this week that includes Endurance, Force, Speed skill and Muscular Endurance.

I was really starving on this ride and for some reason no one wanted to feed me

I was really starving on this ride and for some reason no one wanted to feed me

Well let me go back a week when I had looked at the 30min gym training scheduled for me post doing the Pennypinchers Origin of Trails (Which was tough but awesome by the way):  10 Burpees, 25 Vertical Jumps, 10 Push-ups, 25 Squats, 20 Mountain Climbers (WTH is this any way I thought!?), 10 Alternating lunges, 100 Jump Ropes, Rest for 1 min AND REPEAT! Haibo! Eish! How will this body ever be able to do that went through my head? Of the exercises that I have done before, those were probably done in the previous millennium and the ones I didn’t know how to do was just too daunting – Bliksem!

At first I was looking at the option to do this at home but then realised it won’t work, my duplex ceiling is just too low and there will be

Good to have had Pieter du Plessis from Iqela Events and KTM Ambassador out riding Origin of Trails

Good to have had Pieter du Plessis from Iqela Events and KTM Ambassador out riding Origin of Trails

jumping involved (not that I jump very high). So after some correspondence with the coach and some encouraging words that it will only be daunting the first time round, I did some research and saw that the studio 1 at my gym is not in use early mornings. The perfect place to hide away from providing the general gym members with some comic relief in my attempts at doing this routine, and it has all the equipment one needs – an exercise mat and a high enough ceiling. Fortunately no one was around to video tape my first attempts at these exercises. When last did you do Burpees or do mountain climbers and jump in the air 25 consecutive times – eish! The gym has no skip rope so fortunately I did 100 jump ropes with an imaginary rope and not once did the rope get caught in my feet, my perfect exercise from the list above.

Surfs up! The one thing I haven't attempted yet is surfing. Maybe my mates Ev, Matt and Toby could take me sometime (Would I fit in a wet suit?)

Surfs up! The one thing I haven’t attempted yet is surfing. Maybe my mates Ev, Matt and Toby could take me sometime (Would I fit in a wet suit?)

For the next couple of days, my muscles not pampered, stiffened up and my quads felt like after stage 1 of the 2014 Absa Cape Epic – don’t touch me or make any attempt to move at all – stiffness galore. But did I listen – No! The training goes on and onto the bike we went again, knowing that a second session of these functional exercises was around the corner. Doing this exercises that I felt daunting at first makes one belief you can actually do it if you apply your mind,  it does  totally push you out of your comfort zone but by just doing it, it does become easier and one realised when things look daunting just go out and do it, it might not be as bad as you think. Having broken through this comfort zone I do realise the benefits of these exercise in explosive power and total functionality and the benefits for me, so I’ll keep on doing it when required, but always in studio 1 away from the public. (The tremors experienced in the Westlake area recently is due to a jumping whale)

 

Last week I had to do 1 hour spin ups on the Watt Bike (just after the burpee episode) which really tested character to push on and keep going at the relevant cadence and heart rate. Up next on the Watt bike was Zone 2 to 4 with Single Leg drills, with the exercise broken down into the relevant Power Zones and not Heart Rate Zone. This was a first for me, I just always got on the Watt Bike and pedalled at whatever I felt comfortable at and at the required heart rate, no focus on power whatsoever.  Apparently the biggest advantage of training with power is that it is like lifting weights, it gives you a distinct workload or total amount of work done. So yesterday’s power zone exercise I think was to assist in getting that peddling stroke symmetric, thus the single leg drills as well as having to focus on staying within a certain power zone whilst at a certain cadence. Not as easy as it sounds and eish, it takes focus and endurance to stick within those parameters.

I like to be outside on the bike but the Watt Bike has it benefits and that is that it can help you get the specific training you need done in a relatively short amount of time each week, certainly less than riding on the road and more focussed. But Haibo! I have had to dig deep at times to keep up to the required cadence and Power Zones. Still though, hard as it has been with getting up early mornings, trying to eat less and right, going out and doing the daily exercise and also put aside some time for work, the journey thus far has been fun and knowing my riding partner is going through the same as what I am, helps a little bit in keeping that discipline and determination of not taking the easy road.

 

All I can say is that when you commit to training for a specific endurance event, know these words, Eish, Haibo and Bliksem – you might be uttering them at numerous time as you push yourself towards your goal!

Now that functional 30 minute training routine is waiting for me again this Friday – Bliksem!

Messing around on Table Mountain with the Flying Pharaoh (Eben Nel) before he leaves for Egypt and Willie du Plooy our pro athlete to keep us in check

Messing around on Table Mountain with the Flying Pharaoh (Eben Nel) before he leaves for Egypt and Willie du Plooy our pro athlete to keep us in check

Playing photographer to give Eben some memories before he departs SA

Playing photographer to give Eben some memories before he departs SA

Glad I am still able to lift my bike above my head. Love my KTM Scarp Prestige

Glad I am still able to lift my bike above my head. Love my KTM Scarp Prestige

The Orange brand dominating Table Mountain at the Blockhouse

The Orange brand dominating Table Mountain at the Blockhouse

Willie just showing off

Willie just showing off

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