Spinning the Hamster Wheel

So last Night and today both I elected to spin the Hamster Wheel to get some Cycle training done rather than venture outside. Todays Weather whilst very wet was also quite mild so I could have gone out and been reasonably comfortable in the conditions but there was some professional cycling on the tellybox that I wanted to watch. Rather than record it and watch it back later I decided to watch it live and do an interval session on the turbo trainer.

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Nocturnal Scrabo Loop

This Evening commuting home was another of those lovely dry roads kinda evenings, but with a storm rolling in I knew it wouldn’t stay that way for long, so I had to choose to either man up and get out there on the Bicycle or do a training session on the Hamster Wheel.

I have had a few, minor but annoying issues with the Winter Bike recently so I opted to venture out to see if all the issues were now resolved after my recent twiddling with the allen keys. As it turned out I have now fixed all the issues 🙂 it was a joy to just be riding along on a nice evening in the twilight, watching the light levels fade to darkness. My route initially took me along the traffic free Comber Greenway trying to avoid the suicidal Rabbits coming out at dark, and the Black Dogs running loose.

Through Comber and climbing up towards Scrabo, the Bike was running smoothly and the legs were feeling good, all was good with the World. Even the Cars were giving me more room in the darkness than they do during the day. But by this time the Rain had arrived as forecasted, so rather than stay out on the longer route that I had planned I shortened my route and headed back for home down the Ballyrainey road crossing the Comber road in to Hillhead road and back to Dundonald.

An enjoyable short 17 miles to keep the Legs turning.

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When it just doesn’t happen

Tonight I had planned a training session spinning the Hamster Wheel. As soon as I started I realised I was struggling for power in my Legs, even low power efforts felt like a real hard effort 🙁 Maybe last Night’s Hill reps have fatigued the Legs much more than I had realised. I gave in and knocked the training session on the head, tomorrow is a new day. Hopefully I will be better rested and recovered tomorrow to go again.

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Nocturnal Hill Reps

Commuting home from Work I could not help but notice how dry and clean the roads were, a perfect Evening to get out a short spin on the Summer Bike!

They say you should train your weaknesses rather than shy away from them, cycling weight weenies agonise over every little ounce of extra weight on their bikes, kit and person. Never mind excess Ounces I have excess Kilos so ascending Hills at anything other than a Snail’s pace is always a challenge for me. Tonight I set off in the falling light for the Hills behind Stormont to do some Hill repeats.

As the dusk turned to darkness the Belfast City Lights became more and more noticeable. It is just a shame the rubbish Camera built in to my Phone couldn’t capture it properly, I should have brought my little pocket Camera with me… but that would mean extra weight for gravity to hold me back on my climbing.

The big smoke #cyclingni #cycling #roadcycling #fromwhereiride #belfast

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I chose a quiet, traffic free Hill just off the main road for my Hill reps. Only the sound of my heavy breathing and my Tyres on the road for company. I set a new personal best time for the Hill on my Sixth ascent. After the Ninth rep I rewarded myself with the fast descent down the main road back in to the hustle n bustle of Belfast Traffic and my Evening Meal.

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Childrens Cancer Charity Sportive

This Morning saw me Ride my first Cycle Sportive of 2017 when I and approx., 250 other Cyclists entered local cycling Club VC Glendale’s ride to raise funds for a Childrens Cancer Charity where collectively we raised over 4,000 pounds for a very worthy cause.

Myself and a number of colleagues from my Phoenix Cycling Club met up at the House of Sport and then cycled over to the Balmoral Hotel to sign on and await the mass start. But I had a bit of a drama before I left the House.

My Winter Bike has had a rear puncture this past two times that I have ventured outside but punctures are part and parcel of Cycling so I thought no more about it. I went to leave the House this Morning and I had another rear flat despite it being a new tube and not having been ridden on yet. I will need to investigate further but it could be an issue with the Wheel.

As a result I had to quickly prep my Cannondale Synapse aka the Summer Bike. That Bike has Carbon Wheels which don’t brake very well in the Wet road conditions like we had this Morning so I changed the front wheel to an Aluminium one and changed the brake pads to suit. I was soon on my way and the bike felt so much better than the normal Winter Bike.

With the assistance of the PSNI halting the traffic, the Sportive got underway with us all rolling out en masse, our club started off near the back of the group but it quickly became apparent that it was more dangerous at the rear and we moved on up towards mid-pack. Even that was a bit sketchy for my liking so I put the hammer down and embedded myself a couple of rows back from the front and settled in to a nice rythm.

The route took us through Lambeg in to Lisburn then Blaris, Culcavy, a loop of the various lanes between Lisburn and Moira then back to the Maze past Down Royal Racecourse up the Lissue road and on to the Ballinderry road and along Boomers road back to the Balmoral Hotel for Tea and Buns.

With such a nice mild day for so early in the Year and the Rain staying away I was enjoying being back on my good Bike and wasn’t ready to return home yet so I set off again returning to Belfast via the Malone road and Stranmillis then out the Newtownards road through Dundonald and down in to Newtownards looping around by Scrabo before descending down in to Comber and returning home via the Greenway for a nice comfortable 68 miles and a Bicycle covered in Mud such was the state of the roads.

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Bitterly cold, windy, wet and a puncture

Out before Breakfast for what was intended to be a gentle spin but the strong, bitterly cold wind turned this in to a tougher effort than what I had planned.

Cold temperatures overnight and that chilling wind had left Ice and frost at the side of the roads but the roads themselves were dry so no real threat of hitting a slippy patch and coming down. I set off along the Comber Greenway then Cycled through Comber Town across the dual carriageway to Island Hill and a short stop for a couple of quick Photographs.

Leaving Island Hill then on to the dual Carriageway and along the Ballydrain road to Castle Espie before turning inland and climbing up to Lisbane. By now the moody sky had started leaking and a mix of Snow, Sleet and Rain started falling. It was time to head for home before conditions deteriorated further so I took the direct hit back to Comber along the main road.

From Comber I kept to the main road then turned in to the Hillhead road and somewhere between there and Dundonald I felt something wasn’t quite right with the rear of the Bike. A slow puncture was the culprit leaving me a dilema; stop and replace the tube in the bitter cold or risk destroying the rear tyre by riding home and fixing all in the warmth. I opted for the latter!

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Hamster Wheel Intervals

Another Evening of indoor training on the Bicycle, another good solid one hour session on the Turbo trainer aka the Hamster Wheel knocking out a set of five, five minute intervals 😯 with three minutes of rest and recovery in between each interval 🙂

Data analysis #nerd #goldencheetah #intervals #turbotrainer #nopainnogain #cycling

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Spinning the Hamster Wheel

With thick Fog and Frost outside the sensible option today was to stay indoors and throw the leg over the Bicycle which was hooked up to the Turbo trainer aka the Hamster Wheel and with the Laptop beside me running Zwift.

I had Zwift running on the Laptop and watching the Professional Cyclists on my Television racing in the Jayco Herald Sun Tour in Australia, the time flew in. A good two hour steady tempo workout and loads of sweat, my cooling fan is not up to the job of keeping me cool.

This Mornings turbo session #cycling #turbotrainer #nopainnogain

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Since October my Bike fitness has plummeted, but a lot of hard work from December onwards mostly on the Hamster Wheel but also some outdoors work has stalled the downward spiral and it is now starting to trend upwards again. Hopefully Spring will arrive early so that I can get back out on the lighter, faster, Summer Bike and get some longer Cycles in without first having to wrap up in big Winter Jackets.

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Looks can be deceptive

Looking out at the Sunshine and Blue Sky it looked like a nice mild day for a spin on the Bicycle, but looks can be deceptive!

I sorted out the Winter Bike and got myself layered up for what I thought was a mild Morning and set off along part of the Comber Greenway then through the Housing Estates and over to Stormont.

The steep climb up to Carson’s Statue at Stormont is never easy but today my Legs felt strong and I was only three seconds slower than my personal best time, not bad considering the heavy Winter Bike, clothing and colder air. Leaving Stormont by Massey Avenue and along the Old Holywood Road to Holywood I decided to climb up Creightons Green road with the intention of doing five or six hill repeats.

Gasping in cold air deep in to my Lungs on the first climb rapidly had me rethinking my plan and shivering on the descent as the cold Wind made me realise very quickly I had got my layering wrong and was under-dressed for the Wind chill 🙁 . At least the view across Belfast Lough was good.

Rather than risk a cold or a chest infection I quickly changed the plan to just descend to Holywood and return home via the Airport road and Greenway and some Lunch with only 16 miles clocked up.

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