Yesterday was my last ‘over distance’ ride pre Taupo. I’d been getting a little nervous that since Epic Camp I’d done no big rides. I’ve been riding strong but not really got out and ridden for longer than 6 hours. I felt yesterday was my last chance. With the weather superb and Jo having a big ride scheduled I took the opportunity. This picture above outlines the route a took. The only difference really was that I turned round at Little River to ride back and meet Jo who had started the day with a swim at Corsair Bay.
The weather was gorgeous and I took it steady for the first couple of hours. A coffee and YoYo biscuit at Little River before we headed up the first big climb – 476m to Hill Top. Then down and round the lumpy coastline to Akaroa. Jo had felt pretty jaded going up Hill Top but after some food and a sit in Akaroa was on for the climb up to the Summit Road. We’d been told this was the toughest climb in the area. It took me 40 minutes to climb the 660m and given the way I was puffing and blowing in my bottom gear I would guess significant chunks of it was 20%. Once on The Summit Road it was superb going. Much better this way round (we did it the other way on Christmas Day ) as there are numerous thrilling vast twisty descents. Back in Little River we had a super healthy snap stop … as I remember Diet sprite, banana, (here we go) crisps, king size picnic, cream egg and a caramel chew bar. Food of champions.
Now the 2+ hour flat ride back probably in to a headwind. 6 hours in to a ride and I was down on the aero bars belting out 40 km/h – very pleased. Confirming what I’d hoped. I still can ride long ! The wind picked up as we turned back towards Christchurch and it was tough going. We chatted with a german couple. We weren’t having it tough – they’d cycled back from Akaroa – she on a mountain bike with full panniers (two front, two rear, top of rack, bar bag), he on a mountain bike with nearly full panniers plus two kids in a trailer ! This was easy compared to the previous day when they’d gone over Port Levy (big climb), along dirt road to Little River then summit road to Akaroa. Jo concluded they were german uber cyclists and if they’d been on road bikes we wouldn’t have seen them for dust. I couldn’t disagree.
Ended up with 8.5hrs riding for 215km with (I’m guessing) about 2,000m ascent.
I’ve been really quite undecided about my taper for Taupo. My indecision started once I’d needed so much recovery from Epic. I wanted a reasonable block of training and have found that with the volume and intensity of Epic I’m finding that since my training stress balance (TSB) has hardly been negative. This feels like I don’t have a huge amount to taper from. This is particularly the case with riding. The chart here shows this year (thick) and last year (thin) TSB (yellow) with chronic (blue) and acute (red) training load. The Epic peak can be seen clearly but since then, once I’d recovered, TSB has been hovering positive.
Each week I’ve been doing about 300 miles made up of: a hilly ride, an interval session, a hard IM distance ride and a shorter social group ride. The graph would suggest that this is well within my current fitness and I am reasonably fresh. What I’m seeing during my rides confirms this. Whenever I want to I can really turn it on. When I’m really pushing the bike training this is not always the case.
I feel I have to be careful about tapering too sharply for the bike. As such I’m going to maintain a reasonable training regime this week. Same sessions as the past few weeks but not quite so long.
I’m in a similar position with my swimming (left diagram) largely because post Epic I was so tired that I missed a lot of squad sessions in favour of sleep. Many were made up on my own but the intensity is never as much. Normally I don’t taper massively for my swim and this needs to be more the case this time. This next week my swim hours is planned to be less but the plan is for all sessions to be with the squad which will mean higher load.
Running is another story (right diagram) since my running base is so low. Epic Camp really opened my eyes to the fact my foot was probably more recovered than I realised and since then I’ve managed to push it along. TSB for running has hardly been positive all year and I’m planning a full taper for running. In fact, following last weeks final long run I’ve already started. I’m hoping with a decent taper I’ll be able to run well despite so little running over the last 6 months.
Pulling this all together means that this week will still be pretty high volume – probably about 30 hours with most of that in the first 5 days. From next weekend I will rest heavily. This is very similar to Busselton and partly is due to necessity since our travel arrangements up to Taupo will make systematic training after Monday of race week tricky. I must admit I do like the approach of serious resting up in the week of the race. It feels like the right thing to do.
For completeness here’s what I’ve done since the last entry:
- SATURDAY – Jog to gym. 2.5hr gym. 9k swim session (incl 5k steady paddle and buoy), 8 mile run
- SUNDAY – 4.5 hour group ride. 60 min 14km fast run
- MONDAY – 6.3k squad swim. 2.5hr gym, 4.5 hour hilly ride
- TUESDAY – REST
- WEDNESDAY – 34k 2h55 run (final long run). 6k run to pool with Jo then 4.7k swim session.
- THURSDAY – 6.5k squad swim, 3hr gym. 12k run. Tired so postponed bike intervals
- FRIDAY – 180k 5h50 ride (with intervals in 2nd half), 10k (52 min) transition run
- YESTERDAY – 215k, 8.5hr hilly ride.
Plan for today is a 3-4 hour ride, ~1 hr run and possibly (unlikely) a swim !