If You Do The Same Things…

…You’ll get the same results. Is a sporting trueism. It basically means that whilst performing to a certain level, you cannot just expect to improve consistently based on the same inputs.

For example, my best year on the bike was 2006. 3 or 4 good placings in road races and all on hard courses. 5th fastest in the Fred, good rides on Etape Du Dales, Polka Dot Challenge and the Marmotte and some good Hill Climb showings too. Those successes were based on training a 14 hour week minimum, commuting to and from work 3 days a week (thats a 40 mile round trip) and 2 long rides at the weekend. My only interval training came from Road Racing and Time Trialling and I bumbled through the season at a constant level and I was pretty pleased with the results. I can’t do that any more due to not being single and having a job that requires me to move around between sites, so I had to change it.

2007, 2008 and 2009 were not what I hoped and now it’s time to change again. One of the hardest things anyone can do is take themselves out of a comfort zone and risking a new approach. This year I’m planning to take in structured gym work (which seems to have worked miracles for Honister 92’s very own Schleck brothers) and approach my goals in a different fashion.

I’ve always picked out individual events and said “that one” building up to a peak for one day and then beating myself up if I didn’t measure up. I think this year I’m going to pick periods of a few weeks with decent races I can do well in and aim to perform right across them. Hedging my bets, if you will. I’m going to prepare differently too, by breaking my goals down in to physical characteristics required giving me something to hang my hat on while I’m training.

Likewise I need to amend my mental approach. I havbe a tendancy to think myself out of a race before I’ve left the house. I don’t know what it is, but I need to address it all the same.

Anyway, will update this later on following my first gym session and my goalsetting session with Coach Sam!

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Where The Magic Happens…

I know you’re all dying to see just where PD Malcolm spends his winter so here it is!

You will note the MP3 player rigged through inappropriately loud speakers… The DVD player also perched perilously atop the Black and Decker work bench.

The connisseur will also notice the motivational Ikurrina on the wall. Just out of shot is a framed print from the Champs Elysees stage of the 1973 Tour de France and a Girls Aloud Calender.

The eagle eyed amongst you will also observe the comedy Reindeer antlers on the floor… hemhem

…And We’re Back!

Sorry for the six month intermission folks… Lot’s of reasons, none very interesting. Another season in the books… no success to report. Not a single goal accomplished!

Anyway, i’m getting ready for another go-round with winter training starting on Saturday and I’ve a couple of new tricks up my sleeve to get me up to a level I’m happy with after 3 weeks off the bike drinking beer and eating crap.

Firstly, the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine. It’s a turbo trainer, sure, but I prefer to think of it as the Turbo Trainer. It’s quieter than any I’ve ever heard and the feel of it is fantastic. The resistance on it is, apparantly, so accurate that they give you a calcualtion (based on a “normal” rider and bike) to enable you to work out your average power. I don’t know how good that is… But I do know I’ve been turning a 53 x 21 at about 90rpm for 30kph, which is real enough for PD Malcolm.

My second change for the year is Sam Ayers, my new coach.

I began working with Sam back in July in preparation for the Whinlatter Hill Climb and she’s been gradually convincing me that 10 years of headbanging and pushing myself hard 5 times a week aren’t whats required. I was making good improvements over the late season from following her advice and reckon I can only improve further by continuing with it.

The way I look at it, if you keep doing the same things, you keep getting the same results and sometimes you have to take yourself out of your comfort zone to move forward. That’s my challenge this year. I haven’t set any specific goals yet but my planning session for the winter is next Monday, so I should know more by then… First marker is a Max HR test on Saturday. Bring it on!

Twitter Ye Not!

Back to thinking about training today. I stress “Thinking” as today is a rest day, which I am most grateful for after yesterdays exertions. Essentially, I’m back to counting calories today(how many in a piece of malteaser cake?). I’ve also fitted the “Sportif Cassette” to my race wheels. It must be serious.

Today I’m pondering on the many lessons I’ve learned in the 2 short weeks since I set this blog up to finally give the world a window on my cycling (I know, finally, you wanted it you got it etc etc). Here are just some.

1) Traffic for blogs is a lot lighter than I thought. And I don’t know whether it’s touching or depressing that out of the billion or so internet users out there, I consider I’ve done well if 40 take the time to read what I write.

2) People are much more reluctant to leave comments and engage than I thought, although maybe thats the writing more than anything. My thanks to all those who’ve given feedback though.

3) Whilst the good folk of the bike radar forums keep the clicks coming in, I got 150 in 2 hours after shamelessly plugging the blog on a Guardian comment piece about cycling nutrition. National newspaper websites= clicks beyond your wildest dreams.

4) And this follows on from 3). No plug is too shameless.

5) You guys seem to like the race write ups more than anything else and I always give em what they want!

As part of this pondering I’ve been wondering about Twitter. Now, Twitter has always seemed the worlds most pointless thing to me. More pointless than facebook. More pointless than myspace. More pointless than any number of social network tools. But to give the blog a “live” feel, it could be interesting. Imagine if I could update the site from thetop of the Tourmalet in June…

With this in mind i’ve set up an account and I’ll see how we go, whether anyone reads it, whether I can be bothered updating it and so on. If we get nothing out of it other than todays title, it will have been a fun experiment! As ever let me know your thoughts.

Washing Machine Repair and Cappuchino

I hate rest days, they make me feel like the laziest fattest man alive. I especially hate them when they coincide with a day off work, this gives me the paranoid notion that I can actually feel my fitness slipping away.

So with this in mind, I need to keep busy, and I need to feel like I’m achieving something bike-wise! Step one yesterday was to do some more sorting out in the garage. Having just moved into our new house, it’s full of what my other half won’t thank me for calling ‘junk’. It’s also the space I’ve been promised for all my bike gear, so I set up the workstand, hung up my retro jerseys (she’s thrilled to get them out of the house!) And hammered some nails into the wall to hang wheels from.

Next up was dismantling and cleaning my chainset. My first ultra-torque chainset perished due to lack of care and, given the winter we’ve had, I’m determined not to make the same mistake on my new bike. Now, I am not only the CDNW 3/4 leagues premier Jackie Durand impersonator, I’m also a mechanical dunce. However, the acquisition of a work-stand has made life easier and this ended up being a 45 minute task in the sun. Much rework and cursing were still required though (I find swearing at inanimate objects to be vital to the process).

This done, I retired to wait for a washing machine repair man who never arrived, passing the time by watching 2 hours of John Hurt as Caligula in “I, Claudius”. Is it me or is he chanelling Kenneth Williams in “Carry On Cleo”? Then i gave up and went for a coffee.

Let me know how you guys pass the tedium of rest days.

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