Monday, 21 January 2013

Mac super slow and annoying?

Just a quick post.. recently my desktop and laptop Macs have become so irritating to use - every time I tried to do anything it seemed like it would freeze and give me the spinning beach ball of doom for ages. Really computer-smashingly annoying.

BUT! The fixes I found on this web page... have really worked and fixed them both back to useable computer status. I ignored the preferences fix but did the repair permissions and delete cache fixes. Worked like a charm!

Saturday, 19 January 2013


Today I went out and made my cycling target for the week, which was 30 miles. This month I'm aiming for 100, which looks possible. What I'm trying to do at the moment is build up a selection of routes which I can come back to in the coming months to monitor progress. I've been looking back over my riding history from 2007 - 2010, and I am quite surprised how infrequently I repeated a route! There are a couple which I can use to see some progress with my fitness, but it would of course be easier if there was at least one route I did regularly with the same equipment.

Likewise there aren't many routes from previously that I can use now to gauge where I am compared to then. On the road bike, many of the routes I did before are too long or go up roads I don't think I could muscle my way up at the moment. On the mountain bike, many of the routes go on trails that I don't feel my ankle would like very much at the moment. Although I could try some of them, I suppose.

Hence why I'm trying to be more systematic now. I guess before I was just riding purely for fun, with no specific target in mind, whereas now I want to get back to being able to do the longer rides, races and cyclosportives I feel I need some kind of programme.

Last week I did however repeat a route that I did once before, on February 15 2009. This was the Chinley Loop, out from the house via Thornsett, left at Birch Vale, right at Hayfield, over Peep O' Day, right into Chinley, through Buxworth, onto the A6 and home. It's 11.7 miles. In 2009, moving time was 50 minutes, last week it was 1h 3m. Most of the difference was in the climb up to Peep O' Day, which isn't that bad really, but I'm quite unfit at the moment! It is quite a long steady climb, good for training. In 2009 my average heart rate for this ride was 168, last week it was 177. I've been doing a bit of investigating into this with my historical data, and it definitely seems that my average heart rate goes down when I've been training. I guess this is all well-known stuff to coaches and so on, but I found it quite fascinating to be looking at that in my own data. The program I use to record my rides, myTourbook, lets you see a histogram of your heart rate with time for each ride, colour-coded by heart rate zone. So I can compare my heart rate in zones between these two rides:

Last week.

Compare with 2009.
On the face of it they look quite similar, but if you look at the distribution through the zones, you see that in 2009 the percentage of the ride I spent in zones 3:4:5 was about 21:43:29. Last week it was 4:49:45. That looks quite significant to me. Hopefully I'll be able to revisit this route over the next few months and compare some more!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Back in the Saddle

So far this week I've ridden 24 miles in two rides. Last week I did one ride of 12 miles. This week my target is to do 30 miles and this month, 100. The weather in December was really awful - lots of rain - so I didn't get out much. But now it feels like the training has started properly. I'm really unfit of course - it feels like there's nothing in my thighs at all, especially the left one. The right one I get a burn in quite quickly, but so far I haven't felt much in the left. I'm swapping between my road bike and my newly modified mountain bike, depending on what route I choose to do. There are some hills around here which I doubt I could get up on my road bike at the moment!
With these leggings on you can barely tell there's been anything wrong!
It's been snowing this week and is trying to lay down a covering right now but hopefully I'll be able to complete my weekly target tomorrow afternoon or Saturday morning with a short-ish ride. I'm trying to establish some routes that I can come back to every month to see any improvements.
My physio thinks I'm crazy because I like measuring and recording everything. But she is very good - I'm seeing her once a week now and she's working mostly on my foot, ankle and calf, trying to get some mobility back in my ankle and loosening up the muscles in my foot and calf, which apparently have been very very knotted up. It is really helping - I always feel much looser and better after my appointment there. I guess I'll be seeing her for the forseeable future!
At the moment I can readily believe that I will get back to where I was before on the bike. There's an issue with my ankle - every time I change gear or go over any kind of bump, it hurts. So I think proper off-road riding is off the cards for the time being. After the rides my ankle is very sore and I am hobbling around worse than usual for the next day, but I hope that will subside and in any case I can tolerate that if it means I can ride properly again. It will take time, but I can see building up the strength in my quads and calves and achieving my target of being able to do a 'proper' ride of 90 miles or so around the Peak District by June/July. Then the plan will be to enter the Bradley Wiggins Sportive on August 18, for my return to 'competition'.

Where I will end up walking-wise though, I really can't say. I knew a long time ago that I'd be cycling again way before I was able to walk, and so it is proving. I can manage a short walk to the shops without crutches, but by the time I'm back my walking pattern has deteriorated a lot because of fatigue. It's going to take a long time and a lot of work before I can go up Kinder Scout again unaided... Right now, weather not-withstanding, I could probably take the Glossop bus up onto the hill and walk across the moor with one stick. I should do that soon because I really miss the moors! Maybe I should look into getting a walking pole - something I swore I'd never ever have, but now maybe it would help. Or I could get a more traditional walking stick - how cool would I look then?!