1) Our phone doesn't work. I blame TalkTalk or the damp.
2) I know we're not done with winter yet but thankfully the second half seems a lot better than the first half. There's been precious little sun in February, so much so that when you do see it you really appreciate it. However it hasn't really got below zero that often and we've been snow-free in the UK's southern quarters.
That means no more early morning roller sessions :-) Instead I've been able to get out on the road for a few hours in the mornings prior to striking a blow for BikeRadar and beyond. This is more than I'd normally do at this time of year (erm, riding wise), however that's what El Coach says and it's easy once someone else takes on that responsibility.
Things appear to be going in the right direction, although it's not quite time to start hitting power PBs in training, it's about doing the work to set things up down the track. I'll make another assessment in about a month (first race in a couple of weeks), but it's Nationals time in June when I'd like to be going well.
I have to go back to the start of '08 for a similar pre-season training load. Then I did a bit of intensity but it was mostly a case of getting the miles in. It took until May before I really started to fire, then did another big mileage block in June and had a really good July-September - definitely the fittest I've been in the last four years, just not as fast because of positional and bike improvements. If I can regain that level of fitness this year, I'll be really quick.
Speaking of the bike, I'm still riding a Spesh Transition but will graduate to a Shiv once the weather gets nice enough :-) To be honest I don't think it'll make a huge amount of difference, but it'll be fun riding it. There will be some reportage on BikeRadar once I get it up and running.
And speaking of equipment, I managed a spate of five punctures in one week a couple of weeks ago. Quelle bad luck, 'cos I was riding four different wheels/tyres. The worst was puncturing at the turnaround of a 65km ride, having a spare with a hole in it and having to ride home on the flat. Most of them were new tyres too, which was annoying. So I scrounged a Panaracer Extreme Duro from a tyre test and so far it's up to scratch. Grippy, rolls pretty well and (fingers crossed) I haven't punctured on it. My other tyres are Hutchinson Fusion IIs, but you can't get these easily any more, so I'll have to upgrade to Fusion IIIs. These are awesome tyres.
What else? For the dark mornings I'm using an Exposure Flare rear light that I bought off the basis of a Cycling Plus lights test. It's a brilliant light, pardon the pun. At 75 lumens it's way brighter than most LED lights, although the technology is improving across the board. On the front I've got a Light and Motion Stella 200, which is not the brightest front light you can get but it's fine for road use. What I like about both these lights is that they'll strap to anywhere on your bike - no mounts required.
Finally I've been using a CycleOps Joule 2.0 for recording power data (and a Garmin Edge 705 on my road bike). The Joule gives you a lot of on-board data during the ride, the most useful being normalised power. But no maps unfortunately. The Garmin leads the way here and the Edge 800 is the new must have toy.