Ride: Mildenhall Festival 200k

The somewhat nebulous training ideas* for the next 12 months include doing a 200k ride each month as part of a block weekend, with the second part of the block increasing in length each month. So I dragged myself up at stupid o’clock to drive 70 miles in order to ride 125 miles (then drive back 70 miles). Read more

Not cycling, coffee (so pretty close to cycling)

I’ve been running an informal and hardly scientific experiment in trying to find a decent portable coffee cup/container (to reduce waste etc from disposables etc, even though Charlie uses recyclable cups) over the last couple of years or so, and I think I may have found the optimum one (for me. Your mileage is highly likely to vary). I’ve tried the following:

  • Klean Kanteen – no idea of the name, but it looks like a coffee cup with a lid. Pluses: right size (8oz – I don’t like buckets of coffee), aesthetically pleasing, keeps coffee warm. Minuses: leaks all over the place as there’s no way to plug the drinking hole. This minus kills the cup for me because I need to be able to put it into my backpack when I’ve finished my coffee. No matter how much you drain it, there will always be dregs of coffee that leak out onto papers/phones/computers/bag lining/etc
  • Random thermos-type. Pluses: keeps coffee warm, can usually be sealed so it doesn’t leak dregs. Minuses: take up too much space in bag (my backpacks/bags mostly do not have external bottle pockets – which is a flaw and the “one true bag/backpack” search continues)

Current winner seems to be the Stojo – lid seals, so no leaks (so far …) and it collapses down so fits in bags without taking up too much space. It’s also pretty light, being silicon. It’s nothing like as aesthetically pleasing as the Klean Kanteen, and 12oz not 8oz, but I’ll live with it. It took me an embarrassing amount of time to work out that the name isn’t some trendy Scandi thing but essentially “stow joe” (“joe” as in coffee). I think. Maybe I’m overthinking and it is just a trendy Scandi-type name.

As usual: not an ad, it’s stuff I’ve bought and tried out. No-one’s paying me for this.

Update: the Stojo didn’t survive an accident (silicon does tear under stress, it turns out). Now using a Frank Green coffee cup (gratuitous cycling connection: it’s the Rapha version) which is working well. It’s also a lot more aesthetically pleasing and smaller. It doesn’t scrunch up, but doesn’t take up a lot of space and is proving (so far) not to leak when empty.

Still not an ad.

Update 2: for days when I need more coffee than will fit in the Frank Green option, I’m now using an rCup – all recycled and, a bit like the Frank Green, a useful pop-up top to allow drinking with limited/minimal leaking.

Still not an ad.

Ride: StP3

Third time out for Cascade’s Seattle to Portland ride – the one day version (stopping halfway and making it a two day ride always seemed more hassle than just riding through. This might say something about me – but then, check the title of this blog …)

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Thursday random stuff

Gym continues – possibly my longest streak of gym attendance for a while. The Fitbod app continues to be useful (again, not an ad. Just stuff I use), which may be part of it. Things I like: the ability to change exercises on the fly – the gym was busy the other evening and there were no weights benches free, so I changed the seated stuff to standing variations. If something doesn’t appeal, I can change it to something else that is more interesting/less uncomfortable (Supermans hurt my leg, for example). I also like that I can check what muscle groups I’m covering in the workout vs what muscle groups are relatively fresh (not my quads. Never my quads!) and make sure that I’m getting a reasonable spread of exercises. I’m not doing upper vs lower and so on – I’m looking for all-round fitness and, frankly, my legs (other than hamstrings) get a fair workout just from riding. The app is a bit like having a personal trainer on tap, to mix things up.

I’m watching what I eat again, with a bit more discipline. Eating lower carb, for various health-related reasons. I should have done this some time ago, although it’s proving as awkward to get the balance right with cycling as you might think. Tentatively, I think I have to fuel rides from the outset (instead of taking on carbs after a couple of hours) – it worked ok last Sunday, for a given value of ok. I’m following another app for this, with a group thing – because I know I stick to things better if I think I’m accountable to someone else. I’m old enough to have given up trying to change my personality and instead focus on working with/around it.

20ok ride this weekend, since I figure I should get in a metric double century before reading for the imperial double in three weeks …

Random check in

Still here, still riding. I’m now experimenting with Zwift workouts again, as their plans have been updated to be somewhat more adaptive to real world issues, and are a bit more realistic in time commitments. Also re-starting gym workouts, as I’m finding Fitbod’s (also adaptive) workouts to be interesting (again, not sponsored, just something I like using).

Planning to ride StP again this year, and eyeing the remaining 5 weeks with a bit of trepidation.

Noodling on Zwift

I’m trying some experiments to change my approach to a few things, and one of those got me onto the turbo this morning for a little over an hour, noodling around “London” in a Zwift workout – London and Leith Hill and Richmond Park (deer! and being chased by Roger Rabbit) via the magic spacewarps that exist in Zwift.

It’s the first time I’ve tried out Leith Hill/Richmond Park – I usually stick to the flat bits of London because I’ve been using TrainerRoad workouts in conjunction with Zwift, and I want points … more on that in a minute.

Zwift and TrainerRoad works well as a combination – I prefer the TR workouts/plans, not least because TR acknowledges that not everyone has a couple of hours at a time for a workout, which Zwift’s workouts assume (at least, I can’t find a Zwift plan with weekday rides all under 1.5 hrs or so). TR has low volume training plans for those of us with chaotic diaries, which tend towards a hour twice in the week plus 1.5 hrs at the weekend. That is a decidedly more achievable fit. Read more

General musing

The hip, it hurteth. Again. This is unamusing, but most likely the result of not quite enough exercise and so on (too much work, not enough energy and so on and so on). Circling back around to “what can I do that I actually will do”? Read more

Achievement unlocked

Finally managed to drag myself out of sleep (or at least off the sofa) and onto the turbo – 30 minutes done, via Jon’s Short Mix on Strava. I wasn’t really intending to do a workout; I had decided I would noodle about on Strava for 30 minutes, just to get my system started on the idea of morning workouts again. But, bah, plans. I logged on to find a 30 minute event about to start, in the ‘E’ category (aka, stick within a specific % of FTP and you all ride together no matter what your watts are), so I joined. Why not? Read more

Food for thought (and other cliches)

Not feeling great – and have been feeling lousy for a couple of days. It doesn’t seem to be the viral crud going around, to any great degree. I’m wondering whether it’s related to an increase in exercise whilst still restricting calories. Read more

Winter kit check

48km at zero C was a useful test of the winter kit that I bought in the sales, in the hope that it would get me outside. Not sure if it was the kit so much as the responsibility of being second leader on a club run that got me out, but the kit got tested either way. Read more