Thursday, April 28, 2005

More crilge*

It's still cold, but it's getting to the point where shoe covers and long gloves are not necessary. At some stage next month, I expect to be wearing shorts. From June through August, I can pretty much guarantee that it'll be hot enough to wear shorts. By way of comparison, I think I've gone a whole year in Australia without wearing long pants, except for special occasions of course.

I just thought I'd get that in. But they reckon it's gunna be 26° on Sunday! Yeah baby!

Did a VO2max test earlier this week, which was fun. A heart checkup is compulsory if you want to get a licence here, but because I did it at UZ Gent, they also gave me a full VO2max test. First time I've done one actually. I couldn't use my cycling shoes but it was OK in normal shoes.

Basically, you ride on an ergometer while you're hooked up to a breathing mask and an ECG machine. I started at 120 Watts I think, and the load was increased by 40 W every three minutes, with a blood sample taken at the end of each block to measure lactate accumulation. But when I got to 360 W, the guy said it was the final burst so he just increased by 10 W every minute until I clagged out. I got to 405 W before my RPM dropped from about 100 to 80 very quickly, so I thought that was the time to stop. I was still 10 bpm off my max so I reckon I didn't try hard enough! Maybe another 10 W was possible.

Indurain did 573 W in a similar test, but I reckon that's because he's bigger than me. But I think Lance also is in that realm, and he's shorter than me. That's probably why he's won the Tour six times and I haven't.

I'll get the full results next Monday, which will be quite interesting for me. Then, hopefully I can get my racing licence. Dunno when I'll be able to use it though, 'cos the Giro starts fairly soon.

On a training theme, today was my first Schelde ride for a while, and it felt good to be able to go a bit quicker for a change. Bert De Waele (Landbouwkrediet) was with us, and whenever anyone attacked, he'd just get to the front and ride a few km/h faster until they came back. After one attack, I realised that it was futile trying again, so I just waited for the sprint as I sure as hell need the practice. We had a fairly good wind up and I got a good leadout to hit 62 km/h - definitely my quickest sprint for quite some time. I was even looking for an 11 cog! But there were three guys still ahead of me at the line, so that part obviously needs work :-)

I managed to have an all-Flemish conversation with one of the older guys in the bunch. Well, I use that term loosely as my Dutch is pretty ropey, maybe it qualifies as "Ned-Engels". I could get the words reasonably well, but my accent is apalling and I'm surprised that he understood me. Nevertheless, it was satisfying to explain that there was a green fern growing in the back of my Renault (sorry, that's a French joke). Het kan.

I think there was a female pro with us too, 'cos she was wearing a Let's Go Finland jersey. That team is now defunct so maybe she's an ex pro. I'll have to ask 'De Witte' who it was, as he took the responsibility (as he always does) of chatting to her. It was possibly Rebecca McConnell, as all the others from that team are either Italian or Finnish.

I'd planned to do a few hills afterwards, but just went up the Edelareberg and Eikenberg. 2'40 on the latter, which is 20 seconds quicker than previously. This bike is nice for climbing. And coming back home along the Schelde I could still average 41 (bit of a tailwind), so that was nice.

I ain't seen any movies at all because there is nothing much on of interest. Already seen Elektra, and I'm not that bored to see it again. I'm sure there will be good stuff on in June and July, which I tend to miss for some reason.

There is much to do.

*crilge = crud + bilge

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