Jules Blog - Tri Fantasy
A Bang and a Whimper
Waaaahhhhhh what happened to all those winter plans?
Race Cyclo cross until Christmas, abstain from the choc and smash it in the National Vets Champs.
It all went tits-up after the Rapha Super Cross - work got a little too busy, there were a couple of trips away, I was ill again – properly ill, night sweats and all - if I wasn’t self-employed and Phil was not at Trek that week I wouldn’t have got out of bed - and then Christmas came along.
I tell you what I did do though, I had a little run about over the break; yes, the gimp managed to put one foot in front of the other for more than ten paces without pulling a muscle.
Taking heed from Dr. Dave I walked for half an hour at a time before doing any running and over the following weeks I increased the volume of running to walking, I could manage around two walk/runs a week of around 30 to 45 minutes by the end of January.
Dr. Dave’s considered and rational advice was based on the observation that most of us do not walk consistently for half an hour and we should therefore not expect our 21st Century physiology to be able to cope if we tried to run straight out of the armchair. Combine this with my dodgy left calf and you would a have a recipe for disaster.
Our feet are weak from being confined in shoes all our lives and we have lost the strength and control in our lower legs and feet which would normally give us the stability required to stand and walk unaided. There is an argument now from some parties about the benefits of barefoot running but I personally feel that attempting this after wearing shoes for forty years is a little naive. It is also a reason we advocate footbeds in cycling shoes. We will shortly be receiving pedals that can be pedalled on barefoot to see how the foot responds without any support and whether forefoot canting make any improvements and also to assess a more natural stance width and footflare; where will a riders feet finally rest if there are no restrictions from pedal axle length, cleat rotation and fore and aft position. We will also experiment to see if pedalling without any support but with good foot posture will improve control and technique. What it will definitely prevent is pulling on the upstroke - one of the biggest problems we see with riders at Cyclefit. We will keep you posted.
So I put my week feet in to some good quality trainers, with eSoles footbeds with some patience and this has allowed me to continue uninjured(ish). I stretch a lot and if any tight spots develop in the Soleus or Gastroc in the gimpy calf I get to work with my TPT rollers and Grid to break down any knotted tissue. Virtually all the running (actually jogging) is done off road to try and reduce any damage from impact.
I also installed a home gym (see above) and used free weights to improve upper body strength; as I approach fifty years old my arms are feeling weak and weedy. I would use the weights after a run and also include one legged squats to strengthen that old left-hand glute that likes to shut down should I ignore it too long. A few sit-ups are thrown in to get rid of the family pack, should I need to don a wetsuit.
A wetsuit? What’s he on about? Well if I can run a bit and throw in a few swims I might as well try a triathlon!
Yes, you ‘eard, I’m going to enter a few triathlons, actually I have already and the first is in May: The Mini Marshman, I had to enter it with a name like that, I hope I get a t-shirt.
This triathlon game is taking over a bit now, I’m reading all about it, planning my season and I’ve even had a Tri Fit with Uncle Phil.
I am also pestering Cyclefit’s power and triathlon guru Garth Fox for advice; Garth works with XTerra world champion Michi Weiss who can generate double the watts I can with only one of his legs, but the same training principles work for all of us, it jst depends how far we want to take them,
But it does make more sense for me, it fits better with my lifestyle and I can fit in short sessions around work and family. So this year I am going to work on building swimming endurance and technique, running not jogging and staying uninjured and riding a bike as fast as I can without backing off.
I do have some Triathlon worries though:
What to wear? Tri suit or two piece, which hides the belly best?
Not wearing socks with cycle shoes. I might wear mine in the swim just so when I look down at the chainrings on the bike I don’t dry wretch.
Grit on my feet. Grit in my cycle shoes.
Losing my personality
Those of you that follow Cyclefit or call in at Covent Garden may have noticed that I have been sporting a beard over the winter. Not something you see on many athletes the beard, it is more commonly associated with sheds and allotments; when I picked the kids up from school in Cyclefit’s Citroen Relay van it triggered a nationwide manhunt.
But I persevered, running was OK, nose juice on the bike tended to get smeared about by my winter gloves and I’d usually arrive at work with a bit of porridge stuck to a whisker.
It is all gone now though, swimming was Mr Beard’s downfall if I closed my eyes I couldn't tell if I was doing the breast stroke or muff diving. Neither of which should be considered in public baths.
It has to be time for a new road bike this year methinks; I’ll be riding a Guru Photon with Shimano Di2, custom of course. Matt laquer and satin black finish and finished with either Enve or Pro components (I haven't decided yet). I spent more time deciding on the head tube length than the paint finish though: 12.5 cm with 1.5cm of spacers or 12cm with 2cm. I had sleepless nights.
Having seen Lightweight's new wheels I'm going to have to try and get a set on for Majorca.
Now we all know if you want to run well in a triathlon it is important to keep the hip angle as open as possible so I’m also getting Guru’s new cr301 Tri frameset. It is not super expensive (I've just spent all my money on the Photon) and it is a stock geometry but it will get me in the right position for the 20km bike leg. Thee is no point in doing all that training and riding a touring bike. 165mm cranks will be fitted so there is more room at the top of the stroke and as I am a bit tight in my lower back I will move the cleats back to give me a bit more room.
As much as I hoped I would look like Tobjorn Sindballe on his bike (please ignore the bike reader, you’ll never fit on one) unfortunately my back does not bend in the middle (especially after a weekend of heavy gardening) so let’s not worry about that flat back fantasy let’s get comfortable and as aero as we can and still pedal, pedal fast and then run as fast as we can.
I'm done, more soon, it's bedtime, time to put my compression tights on.