Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Boot Camp begins.

This week is the beginning of the 11-week plan. Day 1 went perfectly - rest. Day 2 was meant to be speed work - 4x5 minute intervals at 90% intensity. Instead, I spent the evening lugging breeze blocks from the pavement up to the back of the garden which left me feeling exercised, even if it wasn't very speedy.

Tonight called for a long easy ride; 3hrs with 3x10 minute sessions at 80% intensity and hills at the end. Dave and I head for the Pentlands. I spend all day expecting/hoping for a text to say "Weather too pish. Not going" but it doesn't arrive so I get changed and head across to Currie to meet Dave. I've got a sore back from the breeze block "speed work" and I'm doped up on ibuprofen. And it's raining and windy. The ride starts with a nice warm up through the trees to Balerno but before long it heads up onto Exponential Hill and my heart rate is too high even in a very low gear. The training plan counsels "back off from the burn", but to do that I'd have to get off the bike and sit down for a while. It seems to take me ages to get properly warmed up and we're up the Red Road and onto Hare Hill before the strong wind is at our backs and I'm starting to feel comfortable.

The climb out of Green Cleugh is as hard as ever and I make the usual mistake of going at it in too low a gear so that I can't generate enough torque and my back wheel spins out. The fast descent down the side of Black Hill is pretty sketchy with a thin film of mud in places which causes some barely-controlled high speed drifts. When we reach the road at Glencorse we've only been on the move for 1hr 20 so we turn right up the road and into the wind, battling past Loganlea Reservoir and back towards Green Cleugh. The wind is being funneled through the narrow defile and we take 15 seconds each at the front to spread the workload. By the time we make it back to Exponential Hill, the "3x10 mins @ 80%" plan has gone right out the window so we enjoy the singletrack descent down beside the road and a quick return to the cars via Harlaw and the Poet's Glen. We're soaked to the skin and the bikes look like they've been on a typical winter ride. Boot Camp takes no prisoners.

I felt strong at the end of the ride, despite taking an age to warm up. Average HR - 159bpm. Dave's - 129bpm! I must have some hummingbird DNA.

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