Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Marginal Gains

First of all a few numbers.

Total distance cycled = 1564 km
Longest Ride = 110 km
Total distance climbed = 11285 m

Total distance swam = 28.4 km

Whilst the furthest distance cycled has not increased, this has been intentional as I have been doing some regular 75 km rides together with a range of other rides as determined by the plan. My intention is not to exceed the 110 km distance for a while yet ( it is 68% of total challenge distance ) but to work on building up other aspects of my cycling fitness.

This brings me on to my attempts to improve by aggregating some Marginal Gains.
Weight kills on a bike, especially when you are having to lug all those extra kilograms up hills and Box Hill lies in wait for me like a tiger stalking its lunch.
I currently weigh in at 73.5 kg but  the total whole system weight includes not only me but also my bike, tools, spare bits and provisions. So something needs to be done.

Step 1. Lose weight and I have made a start by having my hair cut. This seemed to me to be a cost effective way to proceed but in the event the improvement in performance has been very marginal indeed :-() It would appear therefore that personal weight loss will be insufficient.  Other things  need to be addressed!

Step 2 The Brooks 17 saddle and I have a love-hate relationship.  It loves tormenting my butt whilst I hate the pain that can ensue. It also tips the scales at 574 gms. So, riding to the rescue has come a Fizik Arione which not only looks smart and sleek but also comes in at 225 gms, a huge saving and must be worth loads of haircuts .An Italian saddle to go with my Italian Nitto stem, a perfect match and as I explained to my non-cycling wife, things have to be coordinated don't they ?  In addition I acquired it at a bargain price :-)

Step 3  Having successfully explained to my wife the need for full coordination, I thought it  would be worthwhile explaining to her the principles of Rotational Mass and the benefits to be had from steel spokes with aerodynamic shape and aluminium nipples using a  laced pattern with 20 radial spokes on the front wheel and 24 spokes on the rear,  16 being  double crossed at the drive side with 8 radial on the left side.

This Campagnola Neutron wheel set, and being Italian obviously complements the saddle and the seat post. Naturally, they are only to be used in summer so I still need my hand made Mavic wheels with Miche RC2  racing hubs
Of course rotational mass is all about something

 called the moment of inertia and is
I = 0.5 m r2
ω is the rate of rotation, expressed is radians/second:
ω = 2 π rev/sec
rev/sec = v / circumference = v / (2 π r)
ω = 2 π (v / (2 π r)) = v / r
Erotating = 0.5 (0.5 m r2) (v2/r2)
        = 0.25 m v2
That is, the rotating energy is 1/2 the linear (translational) energy.

I looked up at this point to see if wife thought a diagram might assist but she had fallen asleep!  Can you believe it!

When fitted my Mercian Vincitore Special looks like this :

Well, I think it will give me a load of marginal gains, and is far easier than actually dieting.
I am sure wife will agree when she wakes up :-)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Upping The Level

Following my last report a few people have been in touch offering both support and advice and I am really grateful to all those who get in touch. When the weather is arctic, the fog thick and the hills seem to be getting ever steeper then it is good to know that you have people out there rooting for you.  My level of effort has increased over the last couple of weeks with a further two 100km+ rides completed and a new record set for  the maximum distance on a single ride , 110km.
I have also , as recommended by the plan, started some interval training. Not much and not severe I will admit, but 20 second full gas bursts every 5 minutes irrespective whether on the  flat or climbing.
I was told that every training ride must have a purpose and this dictum I have also adopted. One aim is to increase my average cadence ( it was ~73rpm ) and use the gears to help achieve this as a higher cadence / lower gear combination is probably putting less strain on my knees and conserving some energy.
I am not sure how I can tell if I really am getting fitter but my average pace is slowly increasing whilst my heart rate is slowly decreasing.

The latest statistics show

Total distance cycled this year = 1252km
Height climbed  = 9331 m
Longest ride = 110 km
Calories burnt = 29578

Total distance swam = 24.15 km

I am using swimming as my Rest Day exercise but generally restrict it to about 1 km a session

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