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Johnmcl7
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Postby Johnmcl7 » 08 Aug 2019, 21:44

I have to laugh at the optimism on my last post as to put it mildly, that didn't go to plan. I decided on my setup for my LEJOG attempt and bought what I needed then started work on my route and booking my overnight stays but started to have cold feet when I was pricing it all up as it was going to be a big chunk of money on top of the rail travel costs. I went out for a ride with a friend to a cafe when it was around 24 degrees celsuis and even though it was a short 30 mile ride, I was surprised how much it was sapping my energy so I took the mountain bike out for another ride with a big hill climb on a 20 mile ride and I was surprised how little energy had for it.

Then to really bury the idea I had a big crash on the road bike when just going across town, the person behind me said I clipped the kerb but I think I was going too fast on the corner, had to lean the bike right over and pedalled so it lifted the rear wheel off the ground, rotated the bike on the front wheel until the rear wheel landed again at which point the bike fell over. From my point of view the bike just suddenly tipped over and I had no time to try and land a bit better so hit my hip hard and got a massive graze on my elbow. Luckily I didn't break anything but was off the bike for a few weeks.

When it came to when I should have left the weather was heatwave was starting and I was finding it hard work even just walking the dog but instead planned a couple of long rides instead. However I've been feeling more and more tired which I was blaming the heat on which clearly wasn't the cause, I thought I might just be unfit so went out on a mountain bike ride which aside from being painfully slow I felt terrible after and got worse each day which ended in a trip to the hospital last night. Thankfully it's nothing bad and they've found the issue is an overactive thyroid which I've started medication for and been able to get out of bed but suspect I won't be doing any decent cycles for a while now if at all this year.
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Postby Replicant » 09 Aug 2019, 06:28

Ahhh crap John. It seems we’re all having some bad cycling luck. At least your issue is known and being sorted now.

Onwards and upwards...
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Postby Johnmcl7 » 10 Aug 2019, 03:11

I agree as I'm relieved that it's nothing bad and that I know what it is as initially when I phoned for my results I was told by someone that a GP had checked the results and marked them as ok which made me feel total despair as I was desperate for how to proceed and now I had nothing. Thankfully the GP phoned a couple of hours later and was puzzled at why I'd been told that and sorted everything out promptly. I'm terrible with needles and blood tests as this was the first blood test I've had done since I was 12 so the monthly blood tests are not going to be fun but maybe they will help me deal with needles better, I'll be happy if I'm feeling better.

Kind of annoying my poor summer MTB will likely get pretty much no time out this year as by the time I'm recovered and back to riding fitness it will probably be back to conditions for the fat bike. My friends are planning their annual off road trip round Loch Ness which is a brutal one although I'm thinking now maybe it's a good target to give me something to aim for as I suspect I'm going to have to do a lot of work to get my fitness back.
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Postby Johnmcl7 » 03 Dec 2020, 03:23

Interesting to look back at my last reply here. It was a bit of a rollercoaster ride with my thyroid since around three weeks after the diagnosis I managed to get back on the bike although slow then had my first scheduled blood test and my thyroid level went from over the double the amount it should be to a value so low it couldn't be measured. So I had to change my drugs from thyroid reduction to boosting and the doctor warned me I'd have the same symptoms again with tiredness but this time feeling cold rather than hot. I asked him if it was ok to keep cycling but he said not which I queried but he said he'd never seen someone with such a low value capable of exercising. Needless to say it was a bit of a hammer blow but my smart watch came in handy because it showed the doctor was correct and my resting heartrate had dropped below my original resting HR but it had done so a couple of weeks before so I knew it wasn't going to get worse. Around this time last year my results were approaching normal so wanted to get a big cycle done, just before Christmas Eve I headed on a 100 mile round trip to get a Christmas present on an ideal day with not much wind, not too cold and not too warm:

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I was originally scheduled for a follow up blood test in April and an appointment with the specialist but I couldn't have that and instead a phone call which was a bit odd, I decided to try and do a virtual LEJOG during lockdown and when I had my appointment my Vo2 max figures were looking good. However the specialist told me he didn't think I was back to normal and it's a shame I couldn't get a blood test which I thought was a bit weird when I'd explained the level of performance I had on the bike but he caught me off guard so I never really asked why. I think it's maybe because it's unusual to have a full recovery that quick but I'm very grateful for it.

Anyway, I managed my virtual LEJOG and enjoyed the quiet roads being able to take major roads with better surfaces plus it was great seeing so many others out on their bikes as well.

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Unfortunately towards the end of lockdown there was a huge increase in traffic and less patience, after several really near misses (I had a car overtake me at 65mph barely moving over followed by a motorbike who didn't move over at all pass at 85mph measured by radar) it was really off putting so took to cycling at night. I did have an awesome loop round Loch Ness at night but a bit disappointed with myself as I haven't done any big miles since:

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I'm not doing much mountain biking at the moment as we're not allowed to ride in groups so I've done the unthinkable:

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I thought I'd made a terrible mistake going for rollers because in reviews it looks really easy but when I first rode on it I really struggled. However after a few rides I'm now able to balance fairly well and almost able to ride one handed, I'm really getting into Zwift even though the short intense rides the rollers force are the complete opposite of how I normally ride. I was worried I wouldn't ride for long since I'd have the temptation to hop off but I'm finding myself keen to finish routes and take on segment challenges, I think the improved technique for keeping on the rollers will help with actual road riding. I've also fitted a power meter which I'm wary of because there are no excuses for a lack of power but curious to see how it changes, I'm getting better numbers on the rollers but I think that's because I'm getting better at them and able to put more power down without crashing. I was fancying a wee spin last night so just popped out the rollers, hopped on the bike and did a sprint round the UCI circuit at Richmond and done.

I hope you've been able to get out on the bike Chris as it's been so good to have that release here and escape everything else.
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Postby Replicant » 30 Dec 2020, 19:03

Why did you choose the rollers over a smart turbo trainer?

I bought a Wahoo Kickr Snap which is the 'wheel on' variety. I used it for a while but fed up of having to pump the tyre up to a certain PSI and then riding it for 10 minutes to calibrate it before actually doing a ride. I managed to sell it at the start of lockdown for more than I had bought it for.

I am now considering buying the Wahoo Kickr but £999 is a lot to pay out.
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Postby Johnmcl7 » 07 Jan 2021, 16:51

I've always liked the idea of rollers because you have to actually ride the bike rather than it being static and when I found there were smart rollers I wanted to give them a go but just not in stock. I was going to buy a fixed trainer but I found there were issues with the brake caliper and derailleur on this frame catching the trainer, Trek don't recommend using this frame with a trainer (although admittedly at my power levels it probably wouldn't be an issue) and since I didn't have anywhere permanent to set it up, swapping the bike on and off the trainer would be a pain.

The rollers have the advantage they can be easily set up and removed and the bike doesn't need anything done to it, I can just lift it on and off. There are a lot of downsides, I had to fit a power meter to the bike since the measurement through the rollers isn't accurate although I don't mind since I can now get comparative readings when out on the road. You have to keep a reasonably high cadence to keep the bike balanced and there's no coasting at all nor can you really stand on the pedals either which can make for a tender rear end.

I managed to do 320 miles over Christmas to complete the Rapha Festive 500 including a single 100 mile ride and it's really helped me get on better with the rollers, I thought my balance was fairly good but it's noticeably better now so I can quite easily drink and wipe sweat which previously I was needing to step off for and I'm finding it a lot more comfortable I think because I'm not tensing up at all and more relaxed on it. In turn those improvements should carry over riding on the road with smoother power delivery and better at sustaining pace since I'm quite bad for stamping on the pedals and coasting the road bike.

I've been surprised how much I enjoy using it and today it's cold and wet so I'm looking forward to hopping onto the rollers for a bit of exercise. I am badly missing group rides especially at the moment as they're a good incentive to get out and you don't focus on the negative parts but I think it's going to be a long time before I can be doing that again so it's good to have the trainer as an alternative.
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Postby Replicant » 21 Jan 2021, 13:56

Well I have been doing a bit of match betting and earned myself a couple of grand. Takes a bit of effort but is non-risk unlike mug betting.

Decided to use this to buy the brand new Wahoo KICKR V5. The best thing about this trainer is that it auto-calibrates which I love.
As I have done very little cycling since September I decided to follow the Pebble Pounder training plan on Zwift. Four rides in so far. They aren't particularly long at the moment but they are definitely pushing me fairly hard and I will feel the benefit.

Have you started using Zwift or are you using something else?
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Postby Johnmcl7 » 15 Feb 2021, 23:06

I went with Zwift, I did consider bkool but it didn't officially support my trainer and I didn't like that I had to give them my CC details just to sign up.

I mostly like it although I find connectivity can be a bit rubbish at times which can get really irritating. Even though every other device can see all the parts including the PC running Zwift, sometimes Zwift just flat out refuses to see the devices usually just before a race start. It was misbehaving chronically last night refusing to join events then eventually joined, worked fine for the warm up but the moment the race started the power meter was showing as connected and working but with 0w so had to watch the rest of the field power off dropping me from 7th to 73rd. Other times it works absolutely fine with no issue.

After Christmas I decided to try and do shorter more intense rides since the noise of the rollers can be annoying to those in the house to I started racing. I quite fancied crit racing since it's similar to CX races with short fast laps and tried a cat B race but they wiped the floor with me and the leaders lapped me. I checked after and found they were all riding well out with cat B power limits which apparently the game doesn't care about. I tried another crit race with the Zwift anti cheat system and since it was longer went down to cat C instead and had the floor wiped with me again. The anti-cheat system is supposed to flag users who are going too fast with a cone of shame and kick them out if they keep doing it but the winners in this race were riding at power levels well into cat A and way above cat C. I had a long argument with someone claiming they can't enforce these rules and that it's not fair to riders like him if they enforce them but eventually admitted he intentionally rides below his proper category as it's more fun to race with the leaders than at the back and as it's for fun, he can do as he wants. Sadly a lot of people seem to share that attitude.

Someone recommended a group ride instead which I thought was a paced ride but they're not at all, they're more like normal road events with a load of people riding at once and you can see your place. I did one around Central Park and then one last night with laps around London and really enjoyed them since there's a lot of riders you can find a group your sort of speed then try and hang with them to go faster than you would on your own. The one in London had normal riders on the roads as well but you could tell the racers since we all had the TdZ top on (which is forced by the race), it felt fun storming through the streets amongst all the other riders.

I've just been looking up your trainer and that looks a great machine and I hope you're getting on well with it, have you been trying any other activities?

I'm not seeing much improvement in my FTP but then I'm not a powerful rider and think as long as I'm doing regular riders that's what matters. The other night here there was heavy snow after midnight and I decided even though I'd raced earlier on and had work, I'd grab the fat bike and head up the hills into a snowy forest. It's hard to tell if there's is an improvement as it might be in my head but I felt I could sit and spin the pedals better and I just enjoyed not even having the garmin out so no idea what power or speed it was. I've been trying to find out if I can use the rollers on a concrete floor so I can take them out to the garage for longer rides where they are out of the way since I think it will be a long time before we can safely do endurance rides outside.
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