Wednesday, 20 January 2010

The daily grind

Balancing work with any kind of activity other than basic living is tricky at the best of times. So finding the time to train properly for the upcoming challenge is a bit like finding the eye of a needle and passing Giant Haystacks through it.

So it was pleasing to finally get back on the turbo trainer tonight for an hour's blast. After a five minute warm-up, I slapped the chain on to the big chainring, shifted down to the 16-tooth cog and ground it out for 10 minutes. For the next 20 minutes, I moved down to the 15-tooth, then the 14-tooth cog, before going back to the 16-tooth for a further 15 minutes, all at as high a cadence as I could manage. I shifted down again for five minutes, then had a five-minute warm down on the small chainring. If that was as interesting for you to read as it was for me to type, you'll be on your way to empathising with the monotony of turbo training.

My guess is that I simulated grinding away up a reasonably long but not particularly steep hill, but I've no real way of knowing. It's certainly the kind of thing I'll have to be doing more regularly and for much longer than I did today. What will be almost as difficult as the physical effort is the mental strain of being on a non-moving bike for periods of more than an hour. It really is deathly dull stuff. I've set the trainer up in front of the telly and had the football on this evening, but even then it was a struggle keeping the interest levels up.

Still, I'll need to crack that and keep pushing on. In the first three weeks of training, I've been on the bike three times. It's not good enough. By contrast, I've read thousands of words about cycling, looked at countless routes to try out, pored over a million permutations of frame/wheels/groupset that will help me in my quest to conquer La Marmotte and even bought a heart rate monitor to target my training better. Pretty much everything I can do except put in the actual hours in the saddle. This needs to change soon, which will either mean bunking off work earlier or, more worryingly, getting up a couple of hours before breakfast and doing a pre-work stint. Neither option is particularly appealing, but I guess both are preferable to blowing up on the first climb and having to limp back down the mountain and wait for the broom wagon.


  1. C'mon chap - 3 sessions in 3 weeks isn't going to be enough!

    Let's have a look at the training schedule you plan to follow :-)

  2. That's four sessions. I did one yesterday without telling anyone.

    Training schedule, you say?