So here we are just a few days away from this year’s edition of Le Tour.
It’s one of my favourite times of year. The anticipation, the excitement, who’s changed teams, who’s been on fire into the lead up, who are the favourites, and of course, how is Cadel?
I am unashamedly a huge Cadel fan and I would love to see him win this bloody thing. Without opening up a can of worms and a debate on who is the best, I believe he is one of the genuine good guys of the peloton. A guy who races clean and has earned all of his results through hard work, determination and sheer guts. As I say, I am a fan!
However, I have also been disappointed with the lead up to the 2011 edition of “Le Grande Boucle”. Once again, the event is clouded with the controversy surrounding drug cheats. Once again, last years winner is still technically not known given the current issues surrounding Contador. For mine (and yes I am completely biased against drug cheats), he should be banned. No if. No buts. No maybe’s. Gooooooone…….
The same goes for anyone who is tested positive for any illicit substance. There should be no second chances and the bans immediate and lifelong.
But anyway, that’s just my view and I’m sure plenty of others have their opinion as well. In the meantime, I look forward to the opening stage next Saturday. I look forward to the tiredness. I look forward to the middle of the night wind trainer sessions. I look forward to talking about the previous nights stage all of the next day. And hopefully, I look forward to seeing Cadel on the top step on the Champs-Elysees!!!
Anyway, my week got off to a good start with a sleep in on Monday morning. Absolutely no reason for it except that I couldn’t be stuffed getting out of bed to head out on the bike in the cold, so it was important to make sure I watched the diet for the rest of the day to make sure there were no mini blow-outs!
This week had a couple of key sessions scheduled again as it was the 3rd week of a build block, all in preparation for Run Melbourne, and the other running events I have scheduled through until October.
The main session for the week was Tuesday mornings run, which was to be 8 x 2km intervals @ 11.00 per interval, which is goal race pace for Run Melbourne. The session was to be conducted with race nutrition as well (ie, gels every 20/25mins). Tuesday saw me wake up to it being bitterly cold, windy and raining. No way was I going to run in that, so it was decided to head into work at 6.30, so I could knock off early and get it done that night.
Heading down to the track at 4pm, it was still cold (and I had the gloves at the ready) and the wind was blowing from the West. Got out on the track for a warm up and immediately noticed the difference heading down the back straight (tailwind) to the home straight – this was going to be interesting.
Warm up completed it was into the intervals. I was feeling good and I was needing to deliberately slow myself down to stay at goal pace (what a predicament!!). Intervals were completed in 10.57, 10.51, 10.51, 10.50, 10.47, 10.45, 10.44, 10.41.
Not only were they all below goal pace, but they got quicker as they progressed. This was a marked difference from 10 days earlier when I did 6 x 2km and they ranged from 10.47 to 11.04, each being slower than the last. I felt comfortable with all intervals this time, breathing was under control and I felt I still had some in the tank. Pleasingly, the dodgy leg was holding up and feeling ok too.
A total of 18km for the session in actual run time of 1.36, an average of 5.22 p/km including warm up and cool down. Nice.
Wednesday morning was a recovery swim of 1500m in a leisurely 32minutes, followed by close to an hour of alternating between the warm and cold spas for some leg recovery. I have found that between the spa sessions, compression gear and regular Myotherapy I am managing the pain that occurs in the leg. Hopefully that continues right through to race day.
Thursday morning was the next key session for the week – again a run session. As per the Coaches instructions, the aim was to do the normal Mooroopna loop consisting of 7.6km, approximately 4km out and 3.6km back, with the view to taking it easy on the way out and “absolutely tearing ass” on the way back. Not sure which coaching handbook that term has come from but anyway, I’m game.
Took off as a group of 8 and must admit the pace felt slow, but hard to tell when it is so friggin’ dark (bring on the longer days!). Got to the turning point and hit the lap button before commencing to “tear ass”. Quickly the group of 8 was down to 3 as I was able to sit on the heels of 2 of the girls (Melissa & Carmel??) who are training for City to Surf and who can both run.
They were having a great old time chatting away, whilst I was sitting back there attempting to blow their ears off with each exhale. I swear their hair was flying out in front of them with every breath!
Got to the end and hit the button for a 39.45, only a 5 second improvement on last week. What’s the go here?? Melissa showed me here GPS though and it revealed out to the turnaround was done at 5.25/km pace (goal pace – all good) and the return was done at 4.50/km (excellent). A nice gentle 2km to cool down. I feel like this running is starting to come together.
Thursday night was also another key session, but swim this time – 2 x 1500m straight with Ruley wanting the second faster than the first. The first was done, albeit with a fair bit of traffic in the lane, upsetting my rhythm a bit in 31.30. After a 60 second breather, the second was started and finished in 31.42. Disappointed that I missed the goal as set by Ruley, but feedback tells me he was still pretty happy with the result given I have done a couple of key sessions in the last 48 hours. I’ll take his word for it.
Friday was scheduled to be a normal P&W circuit on the bike, but upon dragging my weary self out of bed at 5.15 and poking my head out the door to see the frost settling and hear the wind howling just a little, I decided to take the soft option and crawl back under the doona……..
As Friday wore on, the dodgy leg was hassling me with some aches and pains, so was taking some Nurofen to try and settle it down. Friday nights sleep was ordinary as the “Night Aches” were back. I haven’t had these for 6 to 8 weeks and no amount of Nurofen could get on top of it so I woke up still with the ache in the leg.
I dressed and headed down for the run anyway, as 16km (for me) was planned with the running group, all to be done at goal pace so the aim was to finish in 1.28. A large group greeted me there despite the cold and the dark. We quickly headed off on the initial 14km loop and immediately I could feel the leg was going to cooperate. I was sticking with the bunch at 5.10 pace, but was experiencing a fair bit of pain.
At the 5km mark, I just had to slow and give the leg a break and I found myself walking so I took the opportunity to turn the ipod on and was back running after a 60sec walk, albeit slower than to date. By this stage the bunch had disappeared off into the darkness and I was bale to settle into my own rhythm and make my way back. I was still determined to hit my goal pace and knew I had to be back at the start point by 1.17, so I was checking off against known km markers the whole way – it was going to be close.
I got back to the start point 40 seconds behind my goal pace, so I had to ramp it up for the last 2km loop around the lake to finish and I was able to get back to the start in 1.27.32, just sneaking in under my goal time, but the leg was sore……….
Home, shower and into compression then off to a meeting for the day. Sitting around for the day didn’t help much but I tried to move around every now and again.
Sunday was a long ride and the boys had convinced me to drag the TT machine out. The poor thing had been sitting there on the bike stand since Geelong 70.3 2010 – yes, 16 months since it had been ridden. Although, I have kept up with cleaning and servicing.
Got to the meeting point at 7am in the thickest of fog, and it was cold to boot. A total of 5 for the initial 30km loop, with another joining us at 8am for the 2 loop of 60km. Once the sun did eventually break through the fog it turned into quite a pleasant day, however there was still a bit of wind to contend with and by the end of the 90 odd km, the legs knew. After a quick breakfast and coffee at Friars it was straight to the pool for a recovery 2000m, done in 41mins flat. The obligatory time in the spas was completed as well.
A bit of a grocery shop on the way home, and then the slow cooker was put on and that was dinner sorted. Then for some serious couch time with the Blues looking to smash the Eagles back to the West. Sadly, the Eagles didn’t agree with this scenario and my interest quickly waned and I was soon off in the land of nod. Woke up just in time for dinner – beautiful.
Diet has been pretty good for the week, with no blowouts (and bugger all treats to be honest), so was expecting a good result on the scales on Monday morning. Fortunately (unlike the Blues) they didn’t disappoint and the number flashing back at me was 103.2kg, a loss of 1.6kg for the week and a total of 16.8kg in 15 weeks.
So, the training for the week was:
Monday Doona time
Tuesday Run total 18km (inc 8 x 2km int @ sub 11.00), 1.36.40
Wednesday Swim 1500m, 32mins, Spa recovery
Thursday Run total 9.5km, (inc “Tearing ass home”), 52mins
Swim 3000, (2 x 1500 @ 31.30 & 31.42), Total 1.03.12
Friday Doona time
Saturday Run 16km, 1.27.32 (5.30 race pace)
Sunday Bike 91km, 3.03, 30.0k avg
Swim 2000m, 41.00mins
So despite a couple of rest days, I think the training is becoming a bit more consistent and I am particularly pleased that the running is coming along so well. The leg is still of concern and I am back to Melbourne this week for the next stage of treatment so will see how that goes.
In the meantime, stock the pantry, get some extra sleep in because here comes Le Tour……………..