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Everything posted by Alan_Thew

  1. Alan_Thew

    2014 - A Year To Be Thankful

    Nicely put Andy, thanks for taking the time to sum up the year.
  2. Alan_Thew

    Trek - 6 Madone - Project One with Ultegra Di2

    Liking that stealthy look... Before anyone else points it out check The Rules on photographing your loved one...
  3. Alan_Thew

    2013 - A Pretty Good Year!

    A great year Andy, nicely summarised. Hopefully Sam's done you another plan!!
  4. Alan_Thew

    Titanium magic

    Litespeed with Ultegra.
  5. Alan_Thew

    #1 bike following smallest of upgrades

    Upgraded to Di2 with external cable routing
  6. Alan_Thew

    Fred Whitton 2013

    Sounds epic Gavin. Fully expecting some nutters to give this a go following your write-up. Well done for getting round.
  7. Alan_Thew

    Cervelo R5vwd

    My winter bike build, well didn't take me all winter but may have to wait a few months to ride it...
  8. Alan_Thew

    Where Do I Start?

    One pedal rotation at a time Kent, on the very positive side you do still want to ride the bike. Hope to see you out a lot more once the contract is secured and you don't have to do any more work
  9. Alan_Thew

    Top Left Hand Corner Of Wales!

    i rode in this area pre-Dragon ride last year, it was great (and wet)
  10. Alan_Thew

    Sunburnt Chilblains - The Pyrenees!

    Sounds like a great time...
  11. It's coming to that time of the winter when I am thinking about upping the intensity of the training, and that is after the i-Team winter training camp at the end of January!! The winter has been all about the base for me, a combination of rollers, turbo and club rides with the emphasis on controlled work. For each week between November and February has been... 1 roller session - 65% ftp power session, 5 x 15 minute efforts 1 turbo session - CTS Hill Repeats session 1 track session at Mountbatten - high intensity session 1 or 2 road rides at the weekend and out on the road if I have a day off Since Christmas I have also added a Monday night circuit training session in the local village hall, I used to do this a couple of years ago and I have been really pleased with my fitness improvement since the and can feel the benefit of doing this 'off-bike' training too And the next phase to the clock change at the end of March... With the upcoming Sportive and racing season it's time for me to increase the intensity and with 2 winters of base in place I think this will be ok. I have started on the following... 1 turbo session - CTS cycling for fitness or criterium training (for variety) 1 roller session - 85% ftp power session 1 circuit training session 1 Mountbatten track session (weather permitting), I know rule #5 and all that... Weekend - try to get in two rides each weekend, The increase on last years is the phased increase in the Saturday club rides to riding to and from home to them (an additional 40 or 50 miles depending on meet point), I already ride to and from Rowlands which means a metric century every other weekend and am riding home from the Cowplain ride (using the train to get almost there in the morning), thanks to all who have kept me company on the return... There is also a pretty busy looking Sportive and racing program in place so it's looking like a very busy spring!!
  12. Alan_Thew

    Winter option

    Boardman Team with SRAM Force brake upgrade (the Tekro's wouldn't stop me )

    © © i-Team

  13. Alan_Thew

    My favorite bike

    Boardman Team Carbon with Shimano RS80 wheel upgrade, standard chainset and FSA Wing Pro Compact bar and stem

    © © i-Team

  14. Alan_Thew

    Number 1 Racing bike

    Complete with upgrades to Corima wheels, Zipp Course SL bar and stem

    © © i-Team

  15. Alan_Thew

    A Review Of 2011 In Numbers

    My 2011 in numbers… 5299 miles ridden + 229 miles for January not on Garmin 122 miles, longest single ride (Dragon Sportive) 193544 calories burnt 200 approximately the number of times I got on the bike 1 European sportive 3 rides over 100 miles 15 rides between 50 and 99 miles 8 BC race points earned 45.6 mph, max speed Harting Hill 25.2 mph highest average speed for race 182 bpm max heart rate 96 km total climbing – seems unlikely but that is what the Garmin claims 4981 metres, most climbing in a single day at La Marmotte 1 competition won (it was a biggie though) :D 4 bikes in the garage, well over "n" except 2 were free 1000 on a scale of 1 to 10 the enjoyment I have had on the bike in 2011 Thanks everyone for making 2011 a really great year for me on the bike. :D
  16. Alan_Thew

    Winter Targets

    Nice list of objectives for the year Rob. Don't forget the most important one, enjoy being on the bike Good luck
  17. Alan_Thew

    The Unadulterated Final Article For Cycling Plus

    cheers Paul, kind words...
  18. We were asked to pen a few words for the last Cycling Plus Article that was published in December 2011. Needless to say it has had some serious editing, so here is the article I submitted to them... It only seems like yesterday that we received the initial email from Cycling Plus telling us that we had won the lottery (well the cycling equivalent at any rate). So what has gone since May? My objectives for the year have been pretty much met. I completed the Marmotte, not the greatest time but that has given me ample excuse to return in 2012. I have earned points in a BC ratified circuit race, not only points but a second place. My final objective of being able to keep up with the big boys at I-Team is almost complete, I can beat some, keep up with others and arrive at the top whilst the fastest are still actually taking a drink. I can see that there has been some performance improvement which must be down to the work on the bike and to the advice from Joe Beer. My max heart rate is up from 161bpm at the Claremont tests to 174bpm (I have a 184bpm on the Garmin but think this is an error since I am still alive to write this, my weight is pretty much static but my clothes are all much too big now and my latest performance test are an improvement on the Claremont tests earlier in the year. Highlights for me were firstly the visit to Halfords, thanks to Louise Iles for her support and generosity on the day and secondly the days at Claremont Sports Medical and Performance Centre in Sheffield. Thanks to Tony Barrett and his team for three exceptional days. Thanks too to the team at Cycling Plus for picking me at of the metaphoric hat, I know it has been a challenging year for you all. To my team mates at I-Team who have shown great interest and a lot of support during my time on the Cycling Plus reader team and I must not forget Andy at AD Cycles in Horsham, if he had not given me the right gearing on my first bike I wouldn’t have made it past month two. The great thing is that, because I have been on the team I go into my second complete cycling year fully armed with the tools I need to meet my aims for 2012 (and I’m not just talking bikes). A sub 10 hour Marmotte, a CAT3 racing license and keeping up with the big boys at I-Team. Oh and it goes without saying enjoying being out on the bike!!
  19. Alan_Thew

    Choosing Your Sportive For 2012

    And this is my first post Cycling Plus blog... I am now fully geared up for winter training with the memories of sportive and race successes fading away and the prospect of 4 months of either indoor or cold and wet training. Already the sportive marketeers are filling our minds with the promise of greater challenges to come. And those marketeers have been busy. It seems when giving a name to you sportive it is essential that it has a name that fills the prospective riders with fear and dread. The Jurassic Beast, the Hell of Ashdown, the Hell of The East. But my experience of the past year is that those names are somewhat misleading. Whilst I have not ridden the Fred Whitton Challenge, it sounds like the sort of ride to do on a Sunday afternoon and that Fred would rather be sat on a bench overlooking the Lake District, so how come many riders end up pushing up some of the steeper climbs. Well it turns our, of course, that Fred was hardcore biking material who rode wound the Lakes with a passion. La Marmotte, that elusive furry Alp dwelling critter that those who spend time on a ski lift crane their necks to see, it turns out this is over 100 miles and 5000 metres of climbing. And my toughest sportive this year (partly because my back was in spasm) was the Falling Leaves Sportive. Conjures up images of a gentle pootle through the New Forest with the light wind blowing the golden coloured leaves across your path? This turned out to be a real bitch. Basically there were fast descents, sharp turns and murderous climbs combined with long alpine style ascents, wind and rain. So when choosing your sportive next year don’t just go by the name. It looks good in the right ups but, remember Fred and the cuddly marmotte. The Dragon though, hard by name and hard by nature so no mistaken identity there.
  20. Who knows, they haven't told us... Blog 14th November 2011 Last week was my first attendance at winter circuit training at The Mountbatten Centre in Portsmouth. The idea is that it is a one hour threshold ride of through and off. In reality it is around 45 minutes of the above and 15 minutes of riders showing how strong they are and trying the blow the field apart. I first rode this around a year ago but do not have the stats for the ride, my first Garmin stats come from January this year and when compared to last week make interesting reading. But before I get to the stats this is what I feel happened. In January I started on the front so I could get my lead lap in early, then spend then next 15 or so laps recovering (not sure I did much recovery to be honest) before spending a second lap on the front before failing to get back on the end of the train and having to wait till it came around again. Last week though was a different story. The large group was split into two smaller groups (not on ability or fitness just on who arrived at the start line after a warm up). I was in the second group but it failed to get organised so at the first opportunity I jumped onto the other. I then rode comfortably in the group doing 4 or 5 turns on the front and even managed to pull things together when the rider in front of me decided he did not want to take his turn (it could have been me last year ) and left me a bike length short of the first wheel. The stats for the January ride were 21 miles at an average of 20.5mph, avg HR 144 bpm and avg cadence of 87 rpm. For last week the stats were 22 miles at an average of 23.1 mph, avg HR 149 and avg cadence 90rpm. The numbers are an improvement but the real satisfaction is the comfort with which I completed the ride. Roll on next Wednesday!!
  21. Alan_Thew

    My Training For The Marmotte

    Here is my blog for this weeks Cycling Plus website... It is coming to the time of year when we set our cycling objectives for the coming spring and summer, unlike New Years resolutions these can't wait until the last day of the year since there is vital training and preparation time between now and Christmas that will allow us to indulge a little more over the festive period safe in the knowledge that we put in those all important early weeks. My targets for next year include improving my time to complete the Marmotte by two hours and with this is in mind a dug out my training plan for last winter and it went as follows. Around about now I decided that I needed to train during the week and so invested (is this the right word) in a turbo trainer and, until the New Year I had no structure to my training other than few turbo session ideas that were in Cycling Plus around that time. After Christmas things really changed though when one of my fellow I-Team'ers gave me a low heart rate work out and suggested that I should try it at least twice a week. This workout happens to have dovetailed very nicely into the zone 1 sessions that Joes has been so keen on since May. The second was the loan of a DVD from the CTS climbing series, this is essentially a strength based session and I did that twice a week too. To by happenstance I think I hit a lucky training pattern that not only worked from a training perspective but which I enjoyed too. I ran these sessions right through 'till it was light enough to get out on the road but even then they formed the basis of my training rides. If I felt good I'd head for the hills if I felt I needed a rest I rode on the flat. By the turn of the year I had one 70 mile sportive under my belt so my sportive selection was specifically chosen to gain experience and confidence as quickly as I could. The idea being that I could introduce one new element at each sportive. The Hell of Ashdown is 100k, in freezing February, but is renowned for its use of the Surrey hills and especially "The Wall". In the spring I selected the New Forest Epic from the Wiggle Series, at 83 miles it would be my longest ride and would be described as flat to undulating rather than hilly. That all changed in May when the appropriately named Hampshire Hilly Hundred is scheduled. This is a great route around Hampshire, was my first century ride and qualified under "hilly" too. Off to my first sportive abroad in June, The Dragon ride in South Wales. This is allegedly one of the toughest UK sportives, my Garmin says it was 122 miles and over 8000 feet of climbing. What my mind knows is that the second climb up Rhigos had me on my knees emotionally but once I had completed that I new I was on track to complete the Marmotte. Fit into that schedule almost every Saturday club ride, two trips round the Isle of Wight (hilly!!) as well as the Thursday night jaunts around the Forestside circuit and that was the training that got me from sitting on the couch to the top of Alpe D'Huez in 14 months.
  22. This is the blog for C+ w/c 31st October 2011 As someone who has been taking this cycling pretty seriously for the past year or so I thought that I had my eating habits pretty much in order. No cakes (one or two per month), no fried food at all and an attempt to keep everything low-fat and high carb. Well all of those thoughts are up for reassessment as Dr Justin Roberts, Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Science (Nutrition) at the University of Hertfordshire, does his best to get my diet into proper order and give me a plan for how to eat effectively for training and competition. It all started with a simple four day diet sheet. Make sure for those four days are typical training, rest and competition days but do record everything. I don’t have a chocolate fetish, don’t drink much alchohol and as I have said no fried food so here goes on the things on the initial feedback … Protein : carbohydrate ratio too lowToo little protein at breakfastToo few calories at lunchtime, followed by evening training leading to too many calories after trainingLow GI foods need to be improvedImprove metabolic stability by having snacks and small interim mealsLow EFA intake (EFA = essential fatty acids apparently)Reduce Carbohydrate in the evening to improve glucagon to insulin ratioProtein intake before bed to maintain amino acid drive Now I am pretty sure that for most of you reading this it may as well be written in French, I understand most of the words and some of the meaning but I am not sure of how to implement the changes without blowing my world apart, and this is where Justin comes in. He is going to be helping me (and the others on the team) to develop a nutritional plan that works for us. Looking at the recommended food types I can see there are some things I love (bananas, sweet potatoes, chicken and fish) and some things that are more challenging (porridge, mackerel and tomatoes). Of course the list is extensive and even leafing through it for examples for the blog and my mouth is watering with the prospect of chicken and cashew stir-fry with buckwheat noodles. With all of this change it is great that some things are going to stay the same. My Sportive/Race feeding strategy is pretty good, as is my fluid intake for training and recovery. This can be put down to the work with Joe Beer earlier in the summer with his sportive planning sheet which helps to plan an event, mileage, climbing, feed stops, fuel intake requirement etc. What I do know is that what I shove in at one end is going to take a lot more thought than I give it at the moment but will help with training, events and recovery to ensure I stay as healthy and well nourished as possible.
  23. absolutely, i should have missed saturdays ride or driven to the cafe at the very least. then on sunday focus more on the 30 minutes before the start on warming up rather than chatting. there was plenty of time for that afterwards.
  24. A weekend of learning… It’s been a long time since I had the chance to join the I-Team.cc Saturday club ride, the Etape-Cymru and Rollapaluza being only two of the reasons why. This week was scheduled as a “meet-up” week which means the development and faster riders ride together for the first hour or so before separating and meeting up again at the café in Rowlands Castle on the Hampshire/Sussex border. I had planned to drive over, ride with the development group then drive home. But a late forum post on Friday suggested a hilly end to the ride so, with a circuit race on Sunday, I opted to ride over then drop off and ride home before the team hit the South Downs and specifically The Trundle, where the 1982 World Championship Road Race finished. Except the plan was to go up the steep side!! Surprisingly you can watch highlights of the race on . For me it meant around 40 miles and, in what turned out to be windy conditions, to much effort expended during the ride to have a real crack on Sunday. That said, I loved being back out with team mates and had a great couple of hours moving up and down the line telling tales of daring doo’s and conversations with cycling legends (I think we can call Russ Downing a legend after his Giro performance) and catching up with other’s news. I did not realise how much I had missed this part of my cycling week. For the club ride I was on the Boardman Team my trusty training bike which is proving to be fantastically reliable and comfortable. Sunday’s race is enterprisingly entitled “Points Chaser” and, so legend has it, was setup to enable all categories to grab those elusive last points to stay in category or to escape the novice 4th cat’s. I very much fall into the latter camp needing 2 points to secure my 3rd Cat license, but with points being reset to zero on December 1st this was one of my last opportunities of the year. If the weather is bad expect less than 10 riders to brave the elements of an exposed track on the South Coast. As it happens the weather was great so a score of 4th cat riders were battling it out for the 10 points places. I set off at the front, determined to maintain a spot in the front third of the field. The yo-yo speed of the group meant this was really difficult and after 25 minutes of a 40 minute race I was dropped. It had only not happened earlier due the valiant efforts of my personal Domestique Matt Bone a new I-Teamer with youth very much on his side, he dragged me back to the group on two or three occassions. This last drop was one too far for me and I told Matt to leave me and get back into the race. After a lap on my own I noticed the gap was not getting any larger and if anything was reducing, so, with the encouragement of several I-Teamers circuit side I started to reel the main group back in, this is the first time I have succeeded in doing this and was thanks to the extra fitness from my training plan (in conjunction with Joe Beer) and the speed I can achieve on the Boardman AirFrame, this week the 53/39 chainset was a real asset. Around five laps before the end I finally re-joined and spent the next three laps trying to recover. During the final sprint though it was clear that there was little in my legs and with Matt on the inside of the circuit I was unable to get on a sensibly paced wheel so sat up. And for Matt? Well he bullied his way through to take the spoils, if only he had a race license then he would be out of the 4’s. As it is he’ll be back with me for next year (not for long though I would suggest). And the lessons learnt? If the performance in a race really matters then do not expend any more energy than is absolutely necessary in the lead up days. Warm up properly (probably on a turbo or rollers) and don’t drop off the back!! This weeks picture is from fellow I-Teamer Paul Webb, he has some fantastic shots from The Tour on www.pickledimages.co.uk, so take a look. I am on the front on the Boardman AirFrame with Matt behind and Warren Hannington third wheel (note everyone else sat very comfortably behind).
  25. Alan_Thew

    End Of Season Blues...................................?

    It's not that bad Paul, I am looking at the winter as the improvement time ready for more fun next summer...

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