Monday, May 02, 2005


Ob. Weather Mention: What a glorious day on Sunday! 28, lots of sun and blue skies. Bliss. Of course, it's raining today.

I think the weather played havoc with the deep freeze at the supermarket, because when I got there today to restock on ice cream (one of the main pillars of my food pyramid), I found that all the shelves were empty! Oh, the humanity. There was a problem with the freezer and you couldn't even get frozen broccoli. Not that you'd want to. I knew I shouldn't have eaten all of my spare chocolate ice cream late last night when I was getting a bit peckish...

Test results

Got me numbers back from the Doc today, and he said I was OK to race. No funky heart rhythm disturbances, which is good (and expected). I also got a full rundown of myself in numbers:

Height: 183.1 cm
Weight: 75.4 kg (yeah right. I was 71 that morning on my special scales, although I did eat breakfast. I'll assign it to 73 kg for the record)
Sum of 10 skinfolds: 66.2 mm = 11.4% bodyfat. The doc said I could lose 2-3 kg to be in optimal shape. I've started my diet with half a tin of Pringles and a low-fat creme brulee. Watch the kilos fall off.
Resting heart rate: 61 bpm (it's really 48. I was nervous, OK?!!?)
Blood pressure: 125/80 mm
ECG: All normal

Test results

Max heart rate during test: 184 bpm (actual max is 197, but this can vary depending on a lot of things, not least a Tuesday night win!)
VO2 Max: 4.43 l/min
VO2max/weight: 60 ml/min/kg (using my 'adjusted' weight of 73:-))
Max. ventilation: 178.5 l/min
Max. power: 405 Watts
Max. lactate: 9.42 mmol/l


Aerobic threshold (2 mmol/l): 150 bpm
VO2: 3.39 l/min / 46 ml/min/kg = 77% of VO2max
Power output: 270 Watts

Anaerobic threshold (4 mmol/l): 167 bpm
VO2: 3.91 l/min /53.5 ml/min/kg = 88% of VO2max
Power output: 330 Watts

Recovery after max: 156 bpm after 1 minute, 132 bpm after 2 minutes.

The Doc said I was in good condition. I probably could have told him that for free. He said I had a good aerobic threshold/capacity, probably because I train a lot at 150 bpm. He said most riders ignore this and concentrate on low end and high end stuff, to their detriment. But I should be able to produce another 10 watts at these thresholds: I reckon that's partly to do with the fact that I had no cycling shoes on when I did the test.

The Doc also gave me some training advice, which I'll take on board but probably largely ignore unless I stop riding with the bunch. It's impossible to stick to a training plan if you're riding with other people. e.g. yesterday's five hour ride at Berchem was done at a higher than recommended intensity and for about 2 hours longer :-) I feel OK today though. But there were plenty of things of interest that I picked up, and I will incorporate them in future. Intense training or racing should only be done twice a week, he reckoned.

Berchem report

First Berchem ride for me since the 'Sluitingsprijs' last year and it was a pleasant change. We had a slightly bigger group than normal, including Luc Schiemsky but not Guido, who is still sick. All the usual suspects were there, with Snelle Eddy and The Kid (Piet Stevens) looking strong. I was a bit sore after Saturday, but that was expected. Eddy attacked with a couple of others before Mont St Aubert, but we were able to bring them back just before turning onto the main road to Tournai, and we still had a group of 15-20, including the ones that had taken a short cut around the Mont.

Then it was up the long, false flat between Tournai and Frasnes, and surprisingly, no-one attacked. The Kid did a big turn on the downhill with no-one willing to roll over. There was a guy (ex-racer) in Quick.Step colours who was principally responsible for the stopping action, as he simply refused to come through most of the time. And when he did, it was only for a couple of seconds. I think he was having an ongoing argument with one of the older guys there, who also doesn't do turns, but he has an excuse as he's not fit. It became comical later on.

I had a premonition that I would lose a bottle today (seriously, I had a dream about it) and it happened on the bump just before the little bridge over the freeway after about 40 km. There was no way I was riding another 90 km on half a bidon, so I turned around and picked it up, fully realising that I could end up alone for the rest of the day. Luckily, they didn't attack on the bridge and I was able to get back on after a couple of km. But as soon as I did, The Kid lit it up with Schiemsky on his wheel and that was a serious move. Being warmed up now, I didn't trust the others to chase - I remember Guido and Eddy went away there last year and it cost me a lot of bikkies to catch them.

Actually, the Quick.Step guy and his older nemesis did chase, but I caught them, because the Quick.Step guy refused to close the gap with the other guy on his wheel, so the other guy flipped him the bird. That cracked me up. I got onto The Kid and Luc, nearly crashed on the corner when The Kid used his brakes, and then the rest of the group came up, led by Geert d'Hondt and Eddy.

The attacks continued all the way to Frasnes-lez-Anvaing and then it settled down a bit before the climb up through the bos. Eddy led all the way up there, and at the top we were down to about six, although Luc went back and got his friend Johan, and Eddy dragged Geert d'Hondt back. The Quick.Step guy had started working now, mainly because his old rival was dropped! But when he came back, the cooperation stopped again.

We caught people who had taken shortcuts just before Flobecq, and commenced the final 20 km with 15 of us again. The breaking point was expected to be the climb up to 'La Chapelle', about 1 km long, gets steeper at the top, and nearly always causes the final selection [I'm writing this in race report style, because for all intents and purposes, the Sunday (and Saturday, and pretty much any other day) ride is ridden like a race]. Normally I've always paced myself up this climb and saved anything for the steep bit. But today I thought 'bugger it, I'll go from the bottom'.

The good thing is that you get a nice little descent just before the climb and can get a bit of speed up. Eddy, who had been very quiet since Frasnes, started attacking on the descent, and a few guys followed. I think I was doing 57 km/h at the bottom and I just kept it in the big was by far the quickest I've ever done that climb, and at the top, I wasn't surprised to be alone. That was the main object of the exercise. Then came the hard part :-) I think I only lasted 5 km before Eddy, Luc, The Kid, Mr Quick.Step, and another young guy caught me. It's hard to stay away from those guys!

Things were somewhat subdued leading up to the Hotonde, and when we got to the lights at the N60, The Kid turned off and the Quick.Step guy stopped. Well, he didn't follow us when we sneaked across at the lights. So I had another go on the Hotonde and started to blow halfway up, but this time only Luc came across. We caught the rest of the guys who had taken shortcuts on the short descent and rode up to the cafe, where Luc turned around and waited for Johan and I went off in search of a coke. Eventually found one (or two) at Oudenaarde, thanks to Luc and Johan!

This is ridiculous. I really need to start racing! Definitely keen now...

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