Thursday, March 15, 2012

Enthusiasm

Here is a nice image from my workmate Grant Kellett's partner, Jude. They are both part of the Place Recruitment Cycling team that has been really getting into it big-time since their enthusiastic sponsor Mike Stewart got the bug.

Grant has been TTing for less than a year and he has broken the magical 60 mins barrier 3 times now, in fact, each time he has attempted it; his latest time a 57:47. That's impressive. Like me, Grant was a mountainbiker who drfited to the dark side.

Grant says the enthusiasm of his Team Leader Mike, is what drives him at the moment. Enthusiam is most definitely contagious. During a water-cooler conversation yesterday I found that another of my workmates had experienced one of the RPM classes that Grant runs at Les Mills and he swears he is going to the gym now at least 3, maybe 5 times a week for the rest of the year.

I had a pretty good time trial on Sunday at the WVCC's open event. The "National Veterans TT Champs". Its an historical event that I don't think has any true national status, but in the past has pulled in some very good riders. It was my first 40km since 2007, and I managed to slash my old PB set in 2003 by 19 seconds down to 57:30. We were very lucky with the weather. In my many years of time trialling I have probably only had three "optimal" weather days, and they all resulted in records, two of which still stand. Its a bit like doing the Karapoti. If there is a fast year and you are not there, then its your bad luck.The old saying of to finish first, first you must finish should also say, but even before that you have to turn up!

Lee, Grant, Jude and Mike warming up. Two sub 58's in there.
There has been plenty written on why you don't necessarily have to go slower as you get older. I tend to think that most people get slower because over time their motivation wanes and they tend not to hammer as much. In other words, they don't do the intensity any more, and settle for long slow distance rides.

There is one obvious way to counter this. Enthusiasm for new types of riding.

Can you imagine discovering Cyclo-cross and not getting some intensity in your week? Can you imagine discovering Bike-packing or Randonnuering and not getting a massive base?

Garry Humpherson uber-vet - Image from PNP site
There are so many different kinds of things you can do on a bike these days, and they needn't all be competitive.

Many people fail to see the symbiotic relationship between riding buddies and how it can really lift both their games. Maybe you are not enthusiastic one day, but chances are your buddy will be.

Inspiration is another motivator. When I see 75 year old Gary Humpherson smashing the world pursuit record, and 65 + rider Alan Luff breaking 60 mins for 40kms its hard not to be impressed.

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TT geekage below - do not go past here if you are not a tester/tt-geek
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There are probably more rules to time trialling than there are to pursuiting, which only has the 5 rules.

1. Dont start to fast.
2. Dont start to fast.
3. Dont start to fast.
4. Dont start to fast.
5. and dont start to fast.

Having said that, it's the main rule I always tell people to adhere to in TTing, especially when they are new to it.  I also say "knowledge is power" and have a raft of electrical devices giving me more feedback than I know what to do with. Sometimes its a good distraction from the pain of TTing, and can give you a good idea of where you are in relation to your goals.

Funny then that I mostly ignored it on sunday and rode by feel.

Funny also that when you look down at the Power Tap CPU you are always doing "god-like watts". I was so worried by this phenomena that at the top turnaround I checked my average watts, (a very un-aero three-button press) and while it was way higher than I would have normally done, it was nothing like I was imagining from my casual glances. Note to self - You are not a god.

To cut a long story short, the watts declined over the course of the race, (not ideal) but to dress it up a bit, if I divided the race into 4 quarters, my second quarter's watts were the same as my last, which is what I try to maintain if ever doing intervals.

I was using my Power tap (with disc covers) and another speedo, so at a glance I had:
Power
Speed
Distance
Time
Average speed

I had an aim of averaging 42kmh, I don't know why. It was just a target. I had no reason to think I was going to do a PB, considering the usual conditions we get to race in, and the lumpy unfriendly nature of the Kahutara course which I always struggle with. In the past I have ridden the outward leg a bit conservatively (evenly) and found that I couldn't make up the speed elsewhere on the course. This time I was not going to do that again. It had nothing to do with Peter James placing a bet with my minute man Pat Evers that I would catch him inside 3kms.

On the final return leg, after dealing with the hammer blow of the initial head wind I was able to knuckle down and use up every last piece of energy still lurking in my cells. When I noticed 5kms come up on one of my computers , I thought cripes. 5kms, that's not even one lap of Liverton road, I can do that with my eyes closed, and I  probably did.

There was 1 watt difference between my average and normalised power on that last leg so I had it pretty much pegged. In leg 3 you can see the difficulty I had maintaining power with the only slightly downhill part of the course. This is always a challenge for me, and a good place for a power meter. Its relatively easy to make "big watts" going up hill, but try doing it downhill. Its hard.

For more inane anorak wearing wattage stuff, see below:
4 splits 8.7km the first two, 11.3km the next two. Two turns.
Watts    av/np       rpm  kmh
              315/317     87   41.7
              289/293     90   41.7
              275/278     87   43.9
              281/282     90   40.2

Overall  289/292     89 41.9
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Results here: http://www.sportsground.co.nz/files/Site/867/5/Pdf/120311214359GPGTOGXC.pdf

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