Too fat to be a cyclist. Too skinny to be a weightlifter.

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Re: Too fat to be a cyclist. Too skinny to be a weightlifter

Postby VeganGraham » Wed Aug 11, 2010 7:28 pm

Sleepless in the Saddle 24 hour mountain bike race, Catton Park, Derbyshire. 2pm Saturday 7th to 2pm Sunday 8th.

Only my second 24 hour solo race.
I knew riding 24 hours nearly non-stop was out of the question for me, but I still hadn't decided on a plan right up until about midnight.
I didn't know whether to go for a medium break after every lap or lots of short breaks and one long one overnight.
In the end I sort of compromised with my longest break being about 2:15

37th/92 solo male.
16 laps. The winner did 30.
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Re: Too fat to be a cyclist. Too skinny to be a weightlifter

Postby VeganGraham » Wed Aug 11, 2010 7:30 pm

Image

Image

Image


Not me, but a great photo from the race.
Steep rooty drop with a sharp left hander at the bottom. Best taken a bit slower than this guy tried.

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Re: Too fat to be a cyclist. Too skinny to be a weightlifter

Postby downhillingdemon » Tue Aug 17, 2010 7:00 pm

Another great result mate!

That's a super crash piccy someone caught there!
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Re: Too fat to be a cyclist. Too skinny to be a weightlifter

Postby VeganGraham » Mon Aug 23, 2010 6:43 pm

Sunday 22nd.
3 hour trailquest around Suckley, Worcestershire.
Suckley is just North of Malvern, with the Suckley Hills being a continuation of the Malvern Hills, so I knew this was going to be a steep one.
I've pretty much settled on using a fully rigid 29er for trailquests now. It's about as close to a cyclocross bike as you can get while still being a mountain bike and ideally suited to the usual mixture of lanes and bridleways.
There wasn't all that much off road riding, but I still only managed 36km in three hours when I usually ride over 50km. It was pretty steep.

Provisional results;
6th overall, 3rd in age category, although it never feels right claiming that when two of the guys who beat me were in an older age category. :oops:
About 780 league points, which was about my average score in the last series, so another top ten result looks like a realistic goal.
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Re: Too fat to be a cyclist. Too skinny to be a weightlifter

Postby VeganGraham » Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:23 pm

I keep thinking I ought to expand on my very brief report from Sleepless in the Saddle.
Trouble is, I don't know what's going on half the time while I'm riding, I've got no chance of remembering it and writing it up clearly afterwards.
I went in to the race with no set strategy. I sort of intended to ride slowly and have a short break after every lap, while keeping the option of a longer overnight break.
The riding slowly part of the plan went perfectly.
I had a break and some food after almost every lap, with the breaks getting longer overnight. I dozed off in a deckchair, but never actually went to sleep properly.

The memory of one lap blurs in to another, but some time on Sunday morning, I found myself about 3/4 of the way round a lap, riding across a flat field and I just couldn't go on. It was a strange feeling, having ridden that far and being unable to ride any further.
A few riders going past asked me if I was OK. I guess I must have looked pretty bad just standing at the side of the course for no apparent reason.
I had some Torq energy drink in my bottle, so I stopped and gulped down all that was left. That put a bit more back in my legs and I plodded on round for the rest of the lap.
I got back and stuffed my face with bread and hummus, sat down for a bit, then went back out.

I think it was the lap after that that my chain came off. It had been getting slacker as it wore throughout the race. although I thought it would last the distance. I finished the lap and adjusted it. This is one of the disadvantages of a singlespeed or Rohloff with no tensioner on a long distance event.

On my 15th lap I could feel something odd and hear a clicking noise from the cranks. I stopped to have a look and found my right hand pedal loose. I'd had the left hand metal threaded insert come loose in the carbon crank before, so I guessed it was the same again on the other side.
As I got to the last woods before the finish there was a group of riders sitting down chatting.
The rules of the 24 hour race are that riders have to finish the lap they are on when the time is up. Finishing before the 24 hours is technically a DNF, so a lot of riders will hang around on their last lap and cross the line at 24:01
I'd recovered from my earlier near failure and was having none of it. I was determined to do as many laps as I could.
I got back at 23:49, got my spare bike out of the back of the Land Rover and went out for my 16th and final lap to shouts of encouragement from the crowd at the start/finish line.

It was nice to do a lap with suspension forks after all that time riding fully rigid. :D

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/45843979
The battery went flat after about 12 hours. I did another 4 laps while it was recharging, so add another third on to those figures.
So, about 190km and about 12 000Kcal in total.
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Re: Too fat to be a cyclist. Too skinny to be a weightlifter

Postby VeganGraham » Sun Sep 05, 2010 7:56 pm

The results are up from the last trailquest.
5th overall, 780 league points.

Another trailquest today, 3 hours around Southwell, Nottinghamshire.
55km in 3:01
Provisional results 4th overall, about 980 league points.
That's by far my best result so far in a very close competition. There were only 11 points between the top five.

My route.
http://connect.garmin.com/activity/47712389
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Re: Too fat to be a cyclist. Too skinny to be a weightlifter

Postby VeganGraham » Tue Sep 07, 2010 5:24 pm

Results from Sunday.

4th overall, yet still beaten by two guys in an older age category. :oops:
http://www.midlandtrailquests.co.uk/eve ... .php?e=116

Currently 2nd in the league. :shock: This can't last.
http://www.midlandtrailquests.co.uk/eve ... s.php?l=11
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Re: Too fat to be a cyclist. Too skinny to be a weightlifter

Postby VeganGraham » Mon Sep 13, 2010 7:35 am

Brecon Beast 100km mountain bike race.
http://www.breconbeast.co.uk

There was a choice of a 60km or 100km route. I went for the longer option.
It was a bit unusual in that the split was only about 15km in. Normally the split is near the end of the short route so that I have already ridden most of the distance before I have to decide whether to do the extra loop of the long route or cut back on the short route.
With the split so near the start I had to commit to the long route almost straight away.

It was typical Welsh trails. Quite a bit on narrow tarmac lanes, joined up by either soggy wet grass or rocky tracks and mostly either steep up or steep down.
Perfect weather for a ride in the Brecon Beacons as well. A few spots of rain at one point, but mostly sunny and clear without being too hot.

I got to the first feed station and the guy running it said the leaders had gone through about an hour ago. Most of us looked at each other in disbelief. He kept telling us there was plenty of fruit and to take some with us. It was funny watching everyone stuffing their faces with apples and bananas then watching them ride off with bananas poking out of every available pocket.

I saw about 20 riders with punctures on the rocky sections, presumably all pinch flats.
If you allow ten minutes to mend a puncture, that means I only saw the ones who were up to ten minutes ahead of me at the time they got the puncture. If you add in all the ones who were further ahead, or behind, there must have been hundreds of punctures throughout the day.
I called out to one guy as I rode past "Are you alright ?" and he said "Yes, it's my fourth puncture" :shock:
At my weight, on a fully rigid, I see tubeless at 45psi as the only option.

Highlights of the race for me were;
The first couple of km through Brecon. Flat out, mostly downhill, in a bunch of over 600 bikes with all the junctions and roundabouts closed to other traffic by the police and marshals, using the full width of the road for the corners.
About half way round I had one guy drafting me. There were another three a little way ahead. I made the effort and eventually caught them up and we rode as a bunch of five for a few km along narrow twisty lanes. We were a long way off the leaders pace, but it felt good to have someone making me work to keep up, while at the same time making someone else work to keep up with me.

The last 15km or so was on tarmac. I made up a few places here as there seemed to be a lot of riders who had almost given up and were plodding back slowly. There were also a few who had paced themselves better and I had a sprint finish with one of them. He beat me to the gate, but obviously hadn't read the race instructions which explained that the finish line was at the pavilion, not the gate, so I beat him by crossing the line while he stopped 100m short. :P

103km in 6:52, of which, 6:35 riding time or only 17 minutes stationary. Average speed 15km/h
2300m of climbing, 6100Kcal
http://connect.garmin.com/activity/48814572
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Re: Too fat to be a cyclist. Too skinny to be a weightlifter

Postby downhillingdemon » Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:03 am

Question....did you ride up or down the Gap?

And if it was up, did you clean it.......or maybe that should say, is it possible to ride up all of it???
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Re: Too fat to be a cyclist. Too skinny to be a weightlifter

Postby VeganGraham » Thu Sep 16, 2010 9:14 am

We rode up the steep side with the big rocky steps, then down the gently sloping side.
I walked the last 400m or so, as did everyone else that I could see.
I would imagine a trials rider could have ridden to the top, there was nothing really impossible there, but you'd be going so slow trying to pick a line and balance that even if it was on a shorter faster XC course it would be quicker to get off and walk up.

The results are up now.
http://www.breconbeast.co.uk/Results.cfm?OrderBy=2
137th/282 for 100km
I don't know how many of those who entered, and got timed, for 100km actually did it or how many cut short on the 60km route.
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Re: Too fat to be a cyclist. Too skinny to be a weightlifter

Postby downhillingdemon » Thu Sep 16, 2010 9:25 am

I'm impressed you got up as far as 400 m from the steps myself. Especially on a rigid...was it the right choice in the end?
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Re: Too fat to be a cyclist. Too skinny to be a weightlifter

Postby VeganGraham » Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:31 am

I was only guessing at 400m.
If that sounds too good to be true it was probably 600m then. :D

It was survivable on a rigid, but I'm sure I would have been faster overall, and a lot more comfortable, with suspension forks.
I was really hanging back on some of the rocky descents because I simply couldn't control the bike as it got bounced from one rock to another.
I'm doing SPAM Biking September Blast next Sunday.
Fully rigid will be OK for that. There's a lot of tarmac, fast chalk farm tracks and twisty single track through the woods. Nothing too rough.
I've bought some 100mm Fox forks off ebay though.
The plan is to run rigid for trailquests and smoother marathons like the SPAM events on Salisbury Plain and swap to the suspension forks for more off road events.
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Re: Too fat to be a cyclist. Too skinny to be a weightlifter

Postby VeganGraham » Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:07 pm

SPAM Biking September Blast, Erlestoke, Wiltshire.
Choice of one, two or three laps of a 30km route.
I did three laps, although it turned out to be 78km in total.

I've been riding the bike fully rigid since I bought the frame and intended to leave it that way for this race.
The new (second hand off ebay) forks turned up on Friday, though, and I couldn't resist fitting them.
Well worth it as, although they are about 1kg heavier, I can ride over pretty much any type of terrain on an XC course without having to slow down just to be able to hang on.

My bike as it is now. I've tried a few different variations, but for me and the way I ride, it's just about spot on. The only things I intend to change are to mount the pump by the bottle cage and swap the position of the frame bag and GPS on the top tube.

Image

Lynskey Ridgeline 29 titanium frame
Fox F29 100mm RLC forks
Rohloff rear hub with 13t sprocket
Truvativ Noir carbon cranks
Renthal 34t chainring
Hope ceramic bottom bracket
Egg Beater pedals with ward Industries titanium spindles
Nokon cables
Rohloff chain
DT Swiss 470 rims
Fizik Gobi seat
Thomson seat post
Hope Mini Mono brakes


I've had a long term problem with pins and needles in my hands when riding and experimented with ergo style grips to help. They didn't make much difference, so I have gone back to regular round grips, but with a shorter, more angled stem to take some of the weight off my hands. That, combined with forcing myself to relax my shoulders since I learned that most of the problem was caused by tension in my neck and shoulders putting pressure on the nerves to my hands, has almost eliminated it.
The upright stem spoils the racy look a bit, but if combined with the stubby bar ends it means I can change my hand position and ride for 3+ hours non stop, it's worth it.

Anyway, back to race...

Only about 15 riders pre entered for 3 laps, so I knew it was going to get a bit lonely on the last lap.
The first lap was busy though, a long grassy track across fields to get everyone spread out, then in to the woods.
No traffic jams, everyone was holding a reasonable pace and it was fun being part of a long line of bikes snaking in between the trees.
The event starts at the base of an escarpment and the course generally goes up or down it or along the base or ridge. Lots of climbing and a bit windy up the top.
I managed to hit 66.9km/h down one chalk track. 8) I don't think I could have done that with rigid forks.

Only one crash, although it was a good one. High speed grassy descent and I got stuck in a rut hidden in the long grass.
I was off, sliding along the grass, up again and back on the bike within about 30 seconds. If that was on one of the chalk tracks it would have been a bit different, they're like concrete when they're dry.

I set off on my 3rd lap with no one in sight in front. there was one rider about 200m behind me and I held him there for the first half of the lap.
He eventually caught me up and passed me.
There was a bit of singletrack coming up and I didn't want to get stuck behind him, so I put a bit of a sprint on and got ahead again.
I left him behind, but then it seemed to be one long grassy climb after another and he got in front again.
I was soon on my own again with no other riders in sight until I saw him at the bottom of a dip mending a puncture. Probably a pinch flat from crossing the rock hard chalk ruts at speed. I'm glad I ride tubeless. :wink:

I caught up and overtook a couple of two lap stragglers and got back in 5:10.
16th/18 who did three laps, but there were quite a few who entered for three laps and only did two, so not so bad.
5547Kcal. Garmin's calorie counter is more of a novelty feature than a serious training aid, but this is the first time I've gone over 1000Kcal per hour on a long ride. :D
I also borrowed Mrs Wolf's HRM as mine doesn't seem to be working, so it's the first time I've got HR info for a long ride.
Average 150bpm for 5+ hours. I think the 211bpm peak at 0:03:00 must be an error.

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/49717711
http://www.spambiking.co.uk/downloads/m ... ESULTS.pdf
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Re: Too fat to be a cyclist. Too skinny to be a weightlifter

Postby VeganGraham » Wed Sep 22, 2010 8:48 pm

A picture from the Brecon event.
Nice and sunny up on the Beacons.

Image
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Re: Too fat to be a cyclist. Too skinny to be a weightlifter

Postby VeganGraham » Sun Sep 26, 2010 8:19 pm

Forest of Dean Enduro.
Four 14.5km laps.

We started at 10:30, the two lap race at 10:45 and the one lap race at 10:50.
Mrs Good Wolf was doing two laps and expected me to lap her. I caught up with a few two lap stragglers on my third lap, but didn't see her until I crossed the line and found her there ahead of me cheering me on as I started my fourth lap.

It was the best course I have ever raced on with a good mix of singletrack and overtaking opportunities.
It was almost entirely densely wooded, so it was hard to see more than a hundred metres in either direction most of the time.
I had some good races with other riders, but as always, I was getting left behind on the climbs and couldn't make it up on the descents and singletrack.
I was constantly swapping places with one guy on the last lap until we got to the last dragging climb up a stone road.
He came past me and I thought that was the end of it, but on the following short section of singletrack I was surprised at how much I gained on him, so as we exited on to the last 50m of fire road I sprinted, he saw me and sprinted too, and we crossed the line together at 4:08:35

58.2km in 4:08
38th/42 of those who completed four laps with
Or 38th/60 including those who retired.
http://connect.garmin.com/activity/50632052
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