Random review

Torq have brought out a line of flapjacks (called Explore) – apparently launched in April, so I’m surprisingly up to date. I found them in a running store near to work and decided that they looked potentially bike-worthy.

For some background – I lose my appetite on long rides and also get flavour fatigue on those long rides. Not a good combination. So I tend to keep an eye out for possible on-bike foodstuffs to be able to have a selection of things on a given ride (and preferably not always the same selection of things).

The apple-strudel flapjack makes the cut – it’s not dry, but not too damp; not dripping butter/oil/random goo; it’s easy to chomp off a bite and the flavour is good. Not bland, not weird. It tastes reasonably home-made, in fact.

One bar = 263 cals, 43g carbs. That’s reasonable, overall. I try to aim for 60g if carbs per hour, with about 1/3 from hypotonic hydration. I don’t eat a full bar of the flapjack per hour, as I mix it with other food (babybel, mini pepperami, skratch bars, Veloforte bites, random sweet things etc etc).

Generally recommended – the apple-strudel flavour, anyway. I’ve tried the carrot cake as well, but that was less successful. Whatever spices are in there don’t work with my tastebuds; the texture etc is all fine (similar to the apple flapjacks) but I would have difficulty persuading myself to eat the carrot cake version mid-ride.

(As usual, no-one’s paying me to say this. I bought the bars myself).


Puttering around North Oxfordshire this morning, checking in for the Rapha Women’s 100 (which has been moved from July because … who knows?) Read more

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

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

Thunderbirds are go

… or something like that. 56 miles yesterday, not particularly flat (not massively hilly either). Tiring, unsurprisingly – it was always going to be something of a stretch to go from a few turbo sessions to 90 km or so. Plodded up the hills mostly – ran out of energy when I ran out of momentum on one particular hill, but so be it.

Part of that is, I think, that I need to practice eating while I ride: I ran out of easy-access energy. Plan for the next few rides is to chop up nakd bars into bites & set a timer to eat and drink every 20 minutes. Also plan to be a bit less ambitious on distance, but ride twice each weekend.

In the plus side, some of the worst of the hip issue seems to have been subdued. Possibly just from being worked … who knows. No particular issues riding, although quads & hamstrings had unsurprising moments of unhappiness.

London to Southend off-road

37 miles, on bike paths and bridle ways, mostly – no power readings, but average heart rate was 150bpm. 

This was a nice route, winding across country: not particularly technical until we got near the end, where a forest track was a bit steep (down) and bumpy. I ended up walking down, as I wasn’t confident I’d manage the descent without a fall. 

I’d already had one fall earlier, having failed to unclip in time on a tight right hand turn. I’m noticeably more uncertain on tight right turns, so should practice as I suspect the same is true on the road bike. It’s just that road bike routes tend not to involve tight turns. The fall was more embarrassing than anything else, although I discovered quite a bit of bruising when I got home (I seem to have landed thigh-side first, which would also explain why my quad wasn’t too happy in the second half). 

Need to watch the food intake more closely; the ice-cream halfway was nice (was a warm, if cloudy, day) but I really should have eaten slower release stuff. Ran out of glycogen on a hill about three miles from the finish, and had to munch through a fig roll. 

Bike was good – gear issue sorted out by a mechanic at the halfway point. I was right, it was the hanger. Probably got bent when the bike fell a couple of weeks ago when I was closing a farm gate. I need to be more careful! And buy a spare hanger. But this does explain why I couldn’t dial in the indexing on Saturday. 

I’ve planned out a couple more off-road rides, and am looking at MTB skills courses. Off-road is a fun alternative for steady rides, and should work well to build some power as it takes quite a bit more work to push the bike, even on the road. 

Turbo – setting up the power meter

As I couldn’t get the power meter to set the install angles whilst riding on Sunday, I put the bike on the turbo to sort it out (easier to pedal at a particular cadence when you don’t have to negotiate junctions and traffic!). Sorted in a few seconds this time, helpfully. I’ve also set up a page on the Garmin to monitor L/R balance to be able to check if one of the pods drops out again (it didn’t). 

An hour touring Zwift Island passed rather more quickly than I recall before – absence makes the heart grow fonder? I think I’ll stick to riding outside anyway, though. It was a steady ride, nothing particularly hard. I was less tired yesterday, probably because I’d got enough sleep for a couple of nights and had caught up with food a bit better. 

Tired this morning though – awake for a couple of hours in the early morning. I must keep up with work and not let deadlines loom because the hamsters take over my brain at 2am. I was also short on calories yesterday, which won’t help either. 

Eat right. Sleep properly. That’s part of training as much as anything else is.