Tuesday, April 27, 2010

more on the TTT

whatever the cause of such a bad day, it is clear from the HR track that the pace of the first lap was unsustainable for me:
- first lap: 23'46"... average HR 178bpm, which is a level for me unsustainable for more then 15-20min.
- other 3 laps: maybe around 27-28'/lap, and the HR drops down at 167, which is around my anaerobic threshold on the bike, so it makes sense.

Overall it has been a huge effort of 1h40' @170bpm...

Monday, April 26, 2010

TTT Report... good, but really bad too

Yesterday I closed my cycling season with a Team Time Trial Race...
The race was a gruelling 60km TT with 4 loops of a very hilly course.
I still wonder the logic for HKCA of holding the TT on a 60km hilly course, while all the local races are maybe 20-40km on flat circuits... they also allowed junior and youth to compete in which would be a huge effort for a 14 years old..

The good: our team (colossi.cc) got a 2nd place which is extraordinary result for a team just set-up few months ago. We are also missing our best TT rider, so we come up with someone from the benches (me....).

The bad: I totally underperformed and my contribution to the team results was very minimal.
I did not felt too well in the past few days for a strange twinge in the left leg, so that I had the feeling of pedalling only with the right leg. I totally lacked strength on the left side.
I must probably see if the pelvis got out of alignment or some of the usual problems with my ill-fated lower legs.
Anyway, no point to find excuses because I got dropped simply because my team members were too fast.. their pace (below 24'/loop) was too hot for me.
Once I got dropped by our "train" I finished the race beside/beyond the team SCAA2 (which started 2 minutes behind us) and I felt their pace very "comfortable" for my level: their pace on the climbs was easy for my level and I did get well along also on the flat...
Since their final result was 3' behind "us", I would say that my level was ok for 25'/lap but totally not up to the 23'-24'/loop game...

Official Result:

1./ Champion Systems 1.32.57

2./ Colossi 1.35.26
3./ Racing Force 1.37.09
4./ SCAA 1.38.44
5./ Vigor 1.39.10

My congratulations to our team members.
I hope to find some pics in action.. for the time being, above a pic of the start (note to myself and to the club committee: we need some aero gear... the winning team was supercool in skinsuits, aerohelmets and TT bike...)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Criterium Race Report

Race #5 of the Road Calendar, at the usual loop in Science Park.
It was pouring rain all the early morning and I got a good dose when I rode from home to the start point... (luckily only 15min...).

Basically I would have been more then happy to just survive the race without crashes, but it come out a very nice day for our team and also for myself...

We (team Colossi.cc) set up a strong pace right from the start and our rider "Laz" was very daring to go for a solo attack with 4 laps to go.
It was a great effort and he went straight to the finish line to claim a well deserved overall victory. Well done, man !!

So we were back in what was left of the group to stop all the attacks

and it was very quickly time for a sprint...

I am not that good as a sprinter, but I managed a 2nd place of the bunch and also 2nd of the M40 category... (It should not be difficult to recognize that I am the one on the left end, with blue helmet). Pic was taken right after the finish line...

All pics are taken from a great photo album from Stanley Luk which covers also the other races of the day (youth, junior, woman, MTB, Point race, etc, etc, etc, etc...).
So overall I felt very good, I "did the race" and just a bit disappointment for the sprint lost...
The small local races are real fun because they do not require a huge effort and long training, but is a pity that there are only 5-6 races in a whole year...

Lastly a well deserved tribute to the man of the day, in full effort for his solo win

Thursday, April 15, 2010

up and downs

my mid-week summary...
(probably I should do like most of the other running blogs which are offering a more logical end-of-week summary, but at present I do not keep any real mileage or effort log... )

- SATURDAY: Bike. A "reality check".... We were rehearsing the Team Time trial with my club for the incoming race and I really got TRASHED... those guys are really far better than my level..
We hit a medium-gradient climb after 7km of flat-out effort and while I usually climb up at 20-22kmh (which is already quite good, since most of cyclists would do 16kmh there), we were going up at 26kmh and I simply got dropped...
I always train alone so I do not have any capability to switch gears if someone else push the pace beyond my limits... anyway it was a moral blow...

- SUN: mentally recovering from yesterday's trashing....I did not want to train
- MON (Hong Kong): went for a run, 45' @ good pace
- TUE (Dongguan): cycling... I took the X-cross bike for the first time in a while and I did not feel too confortable on the saddle.. I headed for the long climb in the forest, but whatever the reason/excuse (poor sleep, very hot and humid, bad position on the bike), I felt like crap... after 20' climb, I gave up and turn back (total 1h15')
- lunch time: 20' easy run on the treadmill, tested new "treadmill shoes"
- WED (Hong Kong): strong monsoon wind and rain. Gave up immediately the idea of cycling and went instead for a nice run (45' @4'15" pace with steep climb)
- THU (Dongguan): took my road bike over here... raining and chilly temperature. I put my nose out of the building in the early morning and realized that I did not need to be Macho-man, so I come back and worse winter jacket, shoe cover and gloves... very smart idea because I got 1h30' of rain.. good workout, with 8x3' fast with 2' recovery + 4/5 sprints. It was quite pleasant that I could keep 40-42kmh on the flat

Sunday I will be racing in the usual local criterium (18km...)

I almost made up my mind that after May 1st and the "Tour of Hong Kong", I will definitely switch to running mode.

Probably next week I will decide if/when to tackle the next marathon and resume serious running training.

Friday, April 9, 2010



This is the "Polar Running Index" in my 2 last runs this week...
This is a considerable step-ahead from the mid-high 60s of when I resumed running in January.
When I was in top form, I was consistently around 85+, but 77 is already a very good level which was similar to when I run 2h42' @Boston Marathon.
Clearly I am not anyway near to run a marathon because my range of autonomy is about 15km at most and my legs are still too bulky and stiff from the cycling. I feel very good general stamina, but the stride needs a lot of work...

for more about keeping track of the form using the Polar Running Index, check this older post

Train so far this week:
- Mon: great bike ride with E. along the Shenzhen coastline... very hilly and we hammered down from start to end... 100km in 3h20' (drizzle, slippery roads...). In the last 10km I was really dead.. since the ride was far beyond my usual range.
- Tue: 11km very easy run @4'40"/k pace (in HK)... I felt dead after the long bike ride, but I was pleased that the HR was low and kept steady (Polar Index 77)
- Wed (evening): my first time ever to try to run in Dongguan around my neighbourhood, and most of all in the evening. Somehow I carved a star-shaped loop around the blocks and it was very quiet...
It was drizzling and I felt super good... pace around 4'10" and HR very low, Polar Index 77
- Thu (am): bike ride in Dongguan... legs tired because of the run the evening before. But I was still ok to ride at 32kmh average speed until a thunderstorm came so I cut short... total 55'
- Fri (am): overslept, so I just hurried for a quick run.... air was incredibly crispy and fresh (for our standards), so I tried to make a mini tempo run... only 3k in 10'25" (3'28"/k pace): The fastest I have ever run since november 2008... I could have sustained that pace for some other km but I did not want to push too much... total 8k

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cycling Orthotics

those who have been following this blog for a while, now that I have "bow legs", which is the root cause of all my injuries during the past 25 years and also a huge limiting factor.

So I am amazed to have found a huge improvement in my cycling stroke after adding a pair of specific cycling orthotics to my shoes

It is not easy to explain in words, but let's try:

Before: since my legs are not straight, the feet reached the pedal not perpendicular to the pedal.
So the knees were working not in a vertical axis and the ankles were tilting inwards to accommodate the foot on the pedal. A lot of pushing force was lost in "unuseful" directions and the cleats were fixed in a very awkward position because it was the only way to arrange the all system.
In practice, in 25+ years of cycling practice, I have never been able to feel fully happy of my cleats positions and really pushing the pedals with full force.

Now: the orthotics are made by a thin layer of carbon fiber and they are custom moulded on my feet. They have a 13 degrees tilting angle (huge...), so that my feet/ankles/legs are actually in a straight line and the tilt of the legs is compensated by the orthotics...
The knees can not work in a vertical axle.

The sensation is amazing... much better power transmission and pedal stroke.
I wished those kind of jewels would have been invented 25 years ago...
Now I need to readjust the cleats in a "normal" position since the overall biomechanics are totally changed...
I feel some muscles working in a different way and still need some time to adapt (for example, the external side of the calves is not stretched much more then before and is a bit sore..)

I have always been very sceptical about orthotics in general, but after this tendinitis I totally gave in. For persons with skeleton problems which can not be fixed by strengthening/stretching, etc, they are a real saviour. Best investment in cycling gear I have ever made...
I feel some muscles working in a different way and still need some time to

Here a picture of this marvels...

in the pic below, you can appreciate the huge tilting angle of the orthotics...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

ENG: choices

(same rant as yesterday's but in English.....)

After Sunday, I'm really undecided on what to do: continue cycling or return to run?
(Which is' a sort of misnaming ... because in reality I "returned" to cycling which was the sport of my youth ..).

In my head various considerations overlap, totally contradictory to each other and without yet a conclusion

A) I am decently competitive in both sports ...
B) HK cycling races are ridiculous (16km in 18 laps around a factory at 6.30 am, or time trial of 2.4Km ...), while Running races in my opinion are many and well organized
C) cycling training is '10 times more' pleasant than running... (I know that all runners will revolt, but probably they have never experienced what is the real feeling of being "cycling" fit), but it also much harder ...
D) the bike requires a bigger time commitment, both for training and for all ancillary activities such as maintenance, etc, etc.
E) all the bicycle races in China and Asia are out of my reach because they are well over 120km and I can not train for that...
F) for me, since I live/work in a shuttle between China and HK, training on the bike is really complicated ...
G) I would do everything to join the South China Tour (local cycling stage race), because for years I always had this dream (or rather, mirage ... since I had not touched a bike for years ...) , so trying to give it a shot would be nice...

and so?

still undecided...