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Dan Henchy

Dan Henchy

Friday, 13 February 2015 00:00

Pre Etape du Tour training plans

Pre Etape du Tour, 8 weeks ($49.99 or £30 for pdf)

Pre Etape du Tour, 10 weeks ($59.99 or £35 for pdf)

Pre Etape du Tour, 12 weeks ($69.99 or £40 for pdf)

The most critical period of training for the Etape is the specific work you do in the 8-12 weeks immediately prior to the event. However, in order to make the most of that crucial final window, it is essential to have a comprehensive build up that prepares you to complete the hardest sessions and highest training load in those last weeks. This plan serves that purpose, by increasing the amount of training load you can handle and starting to lift your fitness in the areas that are crucial to Etape success. This must be done in such a way that you leave a little extra in the tank for the final build - it is important not to peak too soon so this plan offers a steady, progressive increase that will offer a solid and long lasting platform upon which to add your race specific fitness. If you're looking for a plan for the final 8-12 then check out our Etape du Tour training plans.

The aims of this plan are to:

  1. Build your long ride endurance ready to complete an event as long as the Etape.
  2. Increase work capacity and sustainable climbing power by including extended riding in zone 3
  3. Include some high intensity training to prepare for event specific training following this build

It is expected that this plan will typically be preceded by 2-8 weeks of base endurance training, or more experienced riders can drop straight into this after a short break following their previous target event.

The plan is based around 3 training blocks, each with a slightly different aim. The time commitment is no greater than 8 hours per week, typically with a longer ride on the weekend and 2 or 3 shorter midweek rides. There is also an optional ride included where appropriate, so that you can tailor the routine if you have more/less time available than expected. This optional session is scheduled for a Saturday but can be completed on any day, provided the extra fatigue does not detract from the other sessions.

The plan contains instruction for using power, heart rate and/or feel to guide the training. Using a power meter will undoubtedly give you an edge when completing the plan but if this is not an option then heart rate and feel (rating of perceived exertion or RPE) are perfectly adequate. Many of the workouts also benefit from use of a home trainer but all can be done on the road if necessary.

Our Pre Etape training plans are for sale through the Training Peaks platform by following the links below. We have used Training Peaks for our coaching since 2008 and believe to offer the best and most user friendly software on the market. However, we understand that many athletes prefer to use other systems such as Strava, Garmin Connect (NB - Training Peaks can easily be set to autosync with these other platforms) or a traditional paper diary so please contact Dan if you would prefer to purchase a pdf copy of the plan. The only downside to Training Peaks for our European based customers is that transactions are in US dollars but with a favourable exchange rate at the moment we hope that is not too onerous!

Pre Etape du Tour, 8 weeks ($49.99 or £30 for pdf)

Pre Etape du Tour, 10 weeks ($59.99 or £35 for pdf)

Pre Etape du Tour, 12 weeks ($69.99 or £40 for pdf)

Thursday, 08 January 2015 00:00

Early season time trial build

Early season time trial build, 8 weeks ($49.99 or £30 for pdf)

Early season time trial build, 10 weeks ($59.99 or £35 for pdf)

Early season time trial build, 12 weeks ($69.99 or £40 for pdf)

The most critical period of training for race performance is the specific work you do in the 8-12 weeks immediately prior to your target race. However, in order to make the most of that crucial final window, it is essential to have a comprehensive build up that prepares you to complete the hardest sessions and highest training load in those last weeks. This plan serves that purpose, by increasing the amount of training load you can handle and starting to lift your fitness in the areas that are crucial to time trial success. This means a focus on pushing up your Functional Threshold Power (FTP, or MLSS, lactate turn point etc if you are used to other terminology). This must be done in such a way that you leave a little extra in the tank for the final build - it is important not to peak too soon so this plan offers a steady, progressive increase that will offer a solid and long lasting platform upon which to add your race specific fitness. This plan is the ideal preparation for one our time trial training plans to complete the preparation for your target race or races.

The aims of this plan are to:

1) Continue to build work capacity by including extended riding in zone 3

2) Begin to lift your sustainable riding power by including a large volume of sub-FTP riding

3) Include some high intensity training to prepare for event specific training following this build

It is expected that this plan will typically be preceded by a minimum of 6-8 weeks of base endurance training, or more experienced riders can drop straight into this after a short break following their previous target event.

The plan is based around 3 training blocks, each with a slightly different aim. The time commitment is no greater than 8 hours per week, typically with a longer ride on the weekend and 2 or 3 shorter midweek rides. There is also an optional ride included where appropriate, so that you can tailor the routine if you have more/less time available than expected. This optional session is scheduled for a Saturday but can be completed on any day, provided the extra fatigue does not detract from the other sessions.

The plan contains instruction for using power, heart rate and/or feel to guide the training. Using a power meter will undoubtedly give you an edge when completing the plan but if this is not an option then heart rate and feel (rating of perceived exertion or RPE) are perfectly adequate. Many of the workouts also benefit from use of a home trainer but all can be done on the road if necessary.

The training plans

Our 'Early season time trial build' training plans are for sale through the Training Peaks platform by following the links below. We have used Training Peaks for our coaching since 2008 and believe it to offer the best and most user friendly software on the market. However, we understand that many athletes prefer to use other systems such as Strava, Garmin Connect (NB - Training Peaks can easily be set to autosync with these other platforms) or a traditional paper diary so please contact Dan if you would prefer to purchase a pdf copy of the plan. The only downside to Training Peaks for our European based customers is that transactions are in US dollars but with a favourable exchange rate at the moment we hope that is not too onerous!

Early season time trial build, 8 weeks ($49.99 or £30 for pdf)

Early season time trial build, 10 weeks ($59.99 or £35 for pdf)

Early season time trial build, 12 weeks ($69.99 or £40 for pdf)

Friday, 26 December 2014 00:00

Time trial training plans

Time trial, 8 weeks ($49.99 or £30 for pdf)

Time trial, 10 weeks ($59.99 or £35 for pdf)

Time trial, 12 weeks ($69.99 or £40 for pdf)

The Race of Truth, or Contre la Montre for the francophiles, is a cycling discpline close to our hearts at PBscience. Helen, Oli and myself (Dan) all have extensive experience of racing time trials, we have worked with a large number of time triallists from beginners to National Champions and from distances from 10 miles up to 24 hours. The time trial is an event that really sits well with our training philosophy: the physiology of a maximum sustainable effort is well researched and fairly easily quantified, the aerodynamics and pacing required to make best use of that fitness can also be quanitified and optimised and as such it's a discipline that offers the potential for huge improvements to those prepared to look at a logical and all-encompassing approach to their preparation.

The subtleties and nuances of riding the perfect time trial are beyond the scope of an off the peg training plan but for some athletes, a structured training plan targeted at preparing you for the physical demands of a TT is a good first step to getting the most out of your racing against the clock. The following plans have that in mind and are aimed at preparing you to race a typical short distance TT of 10-25 miles (16-40km). For most riders this equates to an effort of 20-75 minutes, we make no effort to distinguish the training in this plan for events at either end of this spectrum. The event demands for an event of 20-minutes are almost identical to those of an event lasting ~75-minutes but if you are interested in a more bespoke approach taking account of your individual requirements then please contact Dan.

The final 8-12 weeks of training before your target event are those that will have the biggest effect on your race performance. These plans are aimed at that key phase and as such the training aims to prepare you for the specific demands on racing a time trial. You cannot hope to complete the training within these plans without some prior preparation. You should have a reasonably high level of general cycling fitness before beginning this plan: 4 sessions per week including a long ride of 3hrs+ and some exposure to more intense riding than simple base endurance riding is expected. Our Early season time trial build plans are a better alternative if you need a more conservative starting point. However, if you meet these requirements then each plan is based around two key blocks...

Functional threshold builder

The key determinant of time trial performance is your sustainable power output. Dr Andrew Coggan and Hunter Allen coined the phrase 'functional threshold power' (FTP) for the power you can hold for 1 hour and we will use that terminology throughout the plan. We could easily have chosen the maximal lactate steady state or lactate turnpoint or second threshold if you are more familiar with another name. The jargon is not important but the concept is! This first training phase is aimed at lifting your functional threshold power, or in other words the power output you can maintain for one hour. A proven strategy for achieving this is to train in a tightly controlled region from 90%-110% of your functional threshold (power (or HR of RPE).

Peaking and race execution

The second phase is aimed at preparing to race. We include some workouts above race pace to become 'sharper', reduce the training load to eliminate fatigue and allow your form to show and perhaps most importantly include some practice race(s) and simulation workouts to prepare to perform at your best in your target race.

The training plans

Our Time Trial plans are for sale through the Training Peaks platform by following the links below. We have used Training Peaks for our coaching since 2008 and believe to offer the best and most user friendly software on the market. However, we understand that many athletes prefer to use other systems such as Strava, Garmin Connect (NB - Training Peaks can easily be set to autosync with these other platforms) or a traditional paper diary so please contact Dan if you would prefer to purchase a pdf copy of the plan. The only downside to Training Peaks for our European based customers is that transactions are in US dollars but with a favourable exchange rate at the moment we hope that is not too onerous! 

Time trial, 8 weeks ($49.99 or £30 for pdf)

Time trial, 10 weeks ($59.99 or £35 for pdf)

Time trial, 12 weeks ($69.99 or £40 for pdf)

Thursday, 01 September 2011 00:00

Haute Route 2011

This year saw the inaugural running of the Haute Route, billed as Europe's highest cyclosportive. Certainly not one for the faint hearted, the route would see riders cover 730km with 17000m of climbing (15 cols) over 7 days. Add in the competitive element of fighting for the leaders jersey or a high placing in your respective age group and you have all the ingredients for a fantastic event. Never one to shirk a challenge, Tony signed himself up. Here is a collection of his daily text message updates, a brilliant insight into the ups and downs of multi-stage events. For a more comprehensive race report (best race report ever?), a link to Tony's novella is provided at the bottom.

Haute Route Stage One: 107km, two climbs, 2500m ascent

Well I felt ballistic today. I struggled a little on the first flat 50km as it got rather fast in a big bunch, but once the Col de la Colombière appeared I seemed to just go past everyone. I had to hold back thinking of the next 6 days but just felt like superman (climbs were 275W and 270W pegged back from 290W). Anyhow it seems I was 7th overall - I finished with a 22 year old Dutch boy who beat me in the last 1 km. I have a feeling that was a few places higher than Alain Prost. I've not seen any official results so I might be quite wrong. I'm now very afraid that tomorrow I'll feel that I badly overcooked it today. Time for a nap - see www.hauteroute.org for official results. Team Tony

PS. Ah ha not quite as nice - 27th not 7th (sanity rules) but 3rd in age group and as it happens 8 minutes in front of Prost!

Stage 2: Megève to Les Arcs 102km, 2800m ascent. 3 Cols, middle one a bit mega

Well I woke up thinking that getting to reception would be a challenge as it was upstairs from my room. On start line I thought this is hopeless I'm so tired. Got going and missed a break of what seemed like 50 riders, so thought I'd have an easy day - well that went through my mind. Needless to say some sort of red mist came over me and come the 3 climbs I went as fast as I could (275W, 260W, 255W). Ended up 31st overall and 3rd again in my group. Amazing, although I put in some big efforts today and was in a right state at the finish. My descending is poor and I'm losing a fair bit of time here but it's not hopeless. Tomorrow is a huge day, 100 miles and mega climbs. Gulp. Team Tony

Stage 3: 169km, 4000m ascent. Huge climbs.

Man I'm totally exhausted. 29th overall today, but last hour was rather plodding. There was a howling head wind the whole way, really bad in sections. It's one thing going up these mountains, it's another with 20mph of wind in your face. Anyhow still 3rd in my group and about 20th in general classification. Time trial tomorrow if I can get out of bed. Team Tony. Col de la Madeleine 275W, Col du Télégraphe 245W, Col du Galibier 215W (!).

PS. I really think the wind did for me on the 15km before the Télégraphe. I should have waited for a group. I'm really stuffed but I think everyone is. Done the cold bath, drinks, massage, some of the stretches, foam roller to go, am wearing compression tights and hope to sleep, have BCAAs. Anything more I can do?

Stage 4: time trial, 12km and 1100m ascent

Went well but decided half way up to hold back. Burying myself may have got me 2 minutes better time but blowing up tomorrow could lose an hour. So 38th today but remain 29th overall and 3rd in my group. Tony. 1st 6km 285W, 2nd 6km 262W, 275W for the climb, 55:54 total time.

Stage 5: 112km 2600m ascent, 4h20

Bad day today. I couldn't keep up a high pace and mis-read things. A big group went away on the first 5km but as the climb progressed I passed so many I thought I was beginning to do okay. No one passed me on the descents and come the second climb I dropped a group of 15 riders. Utterly shattered at the finish and disappointed to find I'd finished 37th. I'm now 30th overall and 3rd in age group, but I must perform tomorrow! This event is well, er, challenging. Team Tony. 258W, 240W, 252W for 3 climbs.

PS. It's a shame because I'm still kicking out a good deal more power then in the Etape, but maybe it's just calibration. I've reached the stage of the walking dead. My heart rate is now suppressed and in every way I'm tired. Still just one day to go and a short much easier stage. Tony

PPS. Hmm just seen the results. I can see I lost pretty much 4 minutes on the descent (I whizzed past the female yellow jersey and her team with about 10km of the climb but they whizzed past me about 10km down the descent - she finished 3 mins ahead). Anyhow still clinging on to 30th but gained time to consolidate 3rd in age group. Pretty good really. There is no doubt I'm climbing rather well. Shame I'm not 20 years younger! Tony

Stage 6: 2300m ascent but just 79km today. 2h20

A new sensation of uber-fatigue has descended upon me. Still it's amazing just how much abuse one's body can take. I played an amateur game today not realising where the neutralised section ended and the race began. This meant I was outside the lead group going up the enormous 25km, 1600m ascent of the Cime de la Bonette - the highest pass in Europe so they told us. There was a strong headwind but no worry as I just overtook folks the whole way up. There was a nasty crash in front of me on a very windy descent, which made me particularly cautious and I lost about 6 of the places I had gained. No worry as I finished 40th and am hanging on to 30th overall. Third in my group looks, dare I say it, fairly safe as I gained time on the folks behind me. One day to go! Team Tony. Climbing average 258W

Stage 7: 140km 1000m ascent

Today was different, a one hour climb followed by an incredible 60km more or less downhill. I don't think I've ever been at such a sustained high speed. Frightening and a buzz. Finished 58th today behind a big bunch of riders but didn't lose much time. Strangely, lost time on the climb - not steep enough and a massive tailwind (273W). Overall came 31st*, 3rd in my age group which was the main objective, and 2nd best Brit. This was the best sports thing I've ever done by miles. Entering Nice with a police convoy and everyone hooting and cheering was quite a buzz. Life at the limit - fab. Team Tony

*Tony's overall placing included a number of teams above him so he was in fact the 18th solo rider!

For a full write up on his preparation and a more detailed run down on the event check out Tony's race report - La Haute Route story. It really is worth sitting down with a coffee to read, if only to discover how 'Team Tony' came to be born...

Wednesday, 13 July 2011 00:00

The longest day

Last month I had the pleasure of supporting Peter Moon as he took to the roads of Sussex for the East Sussex Cycling Association's promotion of the RTTC National 24hr Championship Race. Peter has been kind enough to share his story, so here's part one of a two part post. First up we have the build up to the big day and stay tuned for a blow by blow account of the race itself. Over to Peter...

The Longest Day

My preparation for the 2011 RTTC National 24 Hour Time Trial

I always planned to ride a 24 but had been putting it off because the training involved would ruin what I had become to recognise as a normal racing season. When it was announced that Mike Hayler and Esther Carpenter were planning to promote a 24 hour event here in East Sussex I had no excuses – being right on my doorstep – it was an opportunity not to be missed. When I told Ann that I was going to enter, but would have to ride that year’s 2010 Mersey Roads 24 hour as a practice run she said “No way, you haven’t done the training”, but after a chat with Tim Carpenter, I think he convinced her it would be beneficial.

So off to Cheshire I go with my mate Geoff Smith… Geoff, a seasoned 24 hour rider, takes it all in his stride, while I seem to be building too much pressure on myself and start to feel quite unwell during the journey north. With very little sleep the night before, I started the event feeling somewhat unprepared to say the least. To cut a long story short, after suffering sickness and diarrhoea during the ride I finished a miserable 4th from last. All I can say is that I learnt a great deal that day, and was determined to use that knowledge to help me in the East Sussex Cycling Association 24 Hour event the following year.

It is now October 2010 and it has been playing on my mind – I considered that if I were to do well in the ESCA 24, I would need a coach. Then out of the blue I received an email from Dan Henchy of PBscience regarding coaching packages they had to offer. As I know head coach Helen, a former Eastbourne Rover, and Dan, a local competitive cyclist, with PBscience based in Eastbourne their tagline ‘be the best you can be’, it had to be fate – so I signed up.

In November I went to the PBscience ‘Winter Workshop’ seminar in which Helen and Dan gave us all great insight to what training would be expected of us over the winter months. I took great heart in what Helen explained as a journey over the ensuing months of training which was not going to be just about me – it was about Ann too. Ann and I sat down to talk through the 7 months ahead, acknowledging it would be hard on us both, if I’m not at work I would be training, eating or sleeping.

During December I had a lab test with Dan to establish my current fitness and to establish the parameters that I would be training at over the coming months. Dan told me “we want to gain an extra 40 - 50 watts on my lactate threshold by June”; this would put me in a good position to reach my goal of a top 12 finish in the National event.

Over the winter months I spent hours upon hours on the turbo trainer, I also spent time in the gym and at the weekends long steady rides on the road. Dan had me enter the early season races (where I had good results) then finish racing in April so I could increase my training miles at the weekends. With my employers agreement we planned for me to book one or two holiday days off work each week so I could increase my weekly training hours.

In May my training rides seemed to be going wrong, I was having lots of bad luck and my confidence of competing in the 24 was dwindling. Dan suggested I enter the SCA 50, a good result would boost my confidence; I raced quite fatigued at the end of a big week of training but rode a course PB – Dan was right, my confidence shot straight back up.

June, the month of the National 24, I had two weeks of big training miles and then two weeks of tapering down to the event. In training I had ridden every inch of the course over and over again, I knew every pothole, practised the fastest lines through corners and roundabouts. We had logistics meetings; practised nutrition, hydration, Dan and I also rode the night circuit through the ‘night’ to ensure the equipment I would be using was OK. After everything we had done surely I would be ready now?

In the fortnight proceeding the event I had gradually changed my sleep pattern so on the day I would not wake at my normal time of 04:30, ready for an early morning training session, but to wake at 09:30. This would be less than three and a half hours before my starting time of 12:56. Long suffering Ann was packed off for the three nights prior to the event to ensure that I would get decent nights sleep.

On Saturday morning the day of the event I woke as planned had a large breakfast and calmly prepared myself. At 10:30 my mates and helpers Ross and Steve arrived, after yet another brief on plans and going through my boxes of spare kit, food and drinks, we set off to Berwick Village Hall. Arriving at the HQ the whole place was buzzing with excitement, with so many people it would have been easy to get overly involved in the chit-chat and use precious energy that I would need later.

I signed on, collected my race number, had a quick chat with my team-mates Richard and Geoff before finding a quiet place to change into my race kit. Dan had since arrived and we were going over our race strategy – don’t go over 220 watts or 140 heart rate, I would start steady and finish strong, surely that would be easy!

Steve then drove me from the HQ to the start at Mitchelham Priory where I assembled my time trial bike, put on my aero helmet and gloves, and it was time to ride to the start! Approaching the starting area I could see masses of people lining the road and cheering each rider off the start line. My number ’56’ is called and I roll to the start line, following brief pleasantries with Mick Kilby (head timekeeper) and Mike Anton (pusher off), I am given my 30-second countdown. I sit there astride my Cervelo P3, my bike, my pride and joy ready to start and think of the seven months of hard work and sacrifice for Ann and I is over, today is my reward, today ‘I will be the best I can be’.

Saturday, 04 October 2014 00:00

Free training plans

If you've never followed a training plan before and would like to give structured training a go then feel free to choose one of the plans below that best suits your cirumstances. These plans are also a good introduction to using the Training Peaks online diary.

FREE 8 week introductory training plan - COMING SOON!

FREE Introduction to training with power - COMING SOON!

FREE My first high intensity interval program - COMING SOON!

Saturday, 04 October 2014 00:00

Off-season base builder

Another plan that does exactly what it says on the tin! At PBscience we believe that building a solid foundation of basic endurance is the key to having a successful season on the bike. This plan is written to start on day one of your off-season training period. As such the plan will typically be preceded by 1-2 weeks of time off the bike, or unstructured cross-training. You can read the rationale behind this plan in the PBscience fact sheet series. Of particular interest should be:

The plan is based around 4 training blocks, each with a specific aim that builds progressively on the previous few weeks riding. The length of each block depends on the length of plan you purchase. Email Dan if you would like advice on how long to spend on base training.

Foundation

The first block is dedicated to simply establishing a regular training routine with primarily easy riding. There is minimal progression in this first block, the idea is to finish week 3 ready to start increasing the load in the second block.

Basic endurance

The second block is entitled basic endurance. The aim is to increase your training volume and accumulating as much time in the upper half of training zone 2.

Quality endurance 1

Block 3 is dedicated to building endurance. Progression in this block (and the remainder of the plan) comes from beginning to incorporate blocks of riding in zone 3. The focus remains on accumulating steady riding but some extra intensity will help to increase you power at lactate threshold and futher develop your work capacity.

Quality endurance 2

We end with quality endurance 2. This is the most demanding block of the plan with a combination of volume and moderate intensity. The end of this block should see you with the condition to handle an event specific training plan.

The training plans

Our off-season base builder is for sale through the Training Peaks platform by following the links below. We have used Training Peaks for our coaching since 2008 and believe to offer the best and most user friendly software on the market. However, we understand that many athletes prefer to use other systems such as Strava, Garmin Connect or a traditional paper diary so please contact Dan if you would prefer to purchase a pdf copy of the plan. The only downside to Training Peaks for our European based customers is that transactions are in US dollars but with a favourable exchange rate at the moment we hope that is not too onerous! 

8 week off-season base builder ($39.99 or £25 for pdf)

12 week off-season base builder ($49.99 or £30) COMING SOON!

16 week off-season base builder ($59.99 or £35) COMING SOON!

 

Thursday, 01 September 2011 00:00

Haute Route 2011

This year saw the inaugural running of the Haute Route, billed as Europe's highest cyclosportive. Certainly not one for the faint hearted, the route would see riders cover 730km with 17000m of climbing (15 cols) over 7 days. Add in the competitive element of fighting for the leaders jersey or a high placing in your respective age group and you have all the ingredients for a fantastic event. Never one to shirk a challenge, Tony signed himself up. Here is a collection of his daily text message updates, a brilliant insight into the ups and downs of multi-stage events. For a more comprehensive race report (best race report ever?), a link to Tony's novella is provided at the bottom.

 

Haute Route Stage One: 107km, two climbs, 2500m ascent

Well I felt ballistic today. I struggled a little on the first flat 50km as it got rather fast in a big bunch, but once the Col de la Colombière appeared I seemed to just go past everyone. I had to hold back thinking of the next 6 days but just felt like superman (climbs were 275W and 270W pegged back from 290W). Anyhow it seems I was 7th overall - I finished with a 22 year old Dutch boy who beat me in the last 1 km. I have a feeling that was a few places higher than Alain Prost. I've not seen any official results so I might be quite wrong. I'm now very afraid that tomorrow I'll feel that I badly overcooked it today. Time for a nap - see www.hauteroute.org for official results. Team Tony

PS. Ah ha not quite as nice - 27th not 7th (sanity rules) but 3rd in age group and as it happens 8 minutes in front of Prost!

 

Stage 2: Megève to Les Arcs 102km, 2800m ascent. 3 Cols, middle one a bit mega

Well I woke up thinking that getting to reception would be a challenge as it was upstairs from my room. On start line I thought this is hopeless I'm so tired. Got going and missed a break of what seemed like 50 riders, so thought I'd have an easy day - well that went through my mind. Needless to say some sort of red mist came over me and come the 3 climbs I went as fast as I could (275W, 260W, 255W). Ended up 31st overall and 3rd again in my group. Amazing, although I put in some big efforts today and was in a right state at the finish. My descending is poor and I'm losing a fair bit of time here but it's not hopeless. Tomorrow is a huge day, 100 miles and mega climbs. Gulp. Team Tony

 

Stage 3: 169km, 4000m ascent. Huge climbs.

Man I'm totally exhausted. 29th overall today, but last hour was rather plodding. There was a howling head wind the whole way, really bad in sections. It's one thing going up these mountains, it's another with 20mph of wind in your face. Anyhow still 3rd in my group and about 20th in general classification. Time trial tomorrow if I can get out of bed. Team Tony. Col de la Madeleine 275W, Col du Télégraphe 245W, Col du Galibier 215W (!).

PS. I really think the wind did for me on the 15km before the Télégraphe. I should have waited for a group. I'm really stuffed but I think everyone is. Done the cold bath, drinks, massage, some of the stretches, foam roller to go, am wearing compression tights and hope to sleep, have BCAAs. Anything more I can do?

 

Stage 4: time trial, 12km and 1100m ascent

Went well but decided half way up to hold back. Burying myself may have got me 2 minutes better time but blowing up tomorrow could lose an hour. So 38th today but remain 29th overall and 3rd in my group. Tony. 1st 6km 285W, 2nd 6km 262W, 275W for the climb, 55:54 total time.

 

Stage 5: 112km 2600m ascent, 4h20

Bad day today. I couldn't keep up a high pace and mis-read things. A big group went away on the first 5km but as the climb progressed I passed so many I thought I was beginning to do okay. No one passed me on the descents and come the second climb I dropped a group of 15 riders. Utterly shattered at the finish and disappointed to find I'd finished 37th. I'm now 30th overall and 3rd in age group, but I must perform tomorrow! This event is well, er, challenging. Team Tony. 258W, 240W, 252W for 3 climbs.

PS. It's a shame because I'm still kicking out a good deal more power then in the Etape, but maybe it's just calibration. I've reached the stage of the walking dead. My heart rate is now suppressed and in every way I'm tired. Still just one day to go and a short much easier stage. Tony

PPS. Hmm just seen the results. I can see I lost pretty much 4 minutes on the descent (I whizzed past the female yellow jersey and her team with about 10km of the climb but they whizzed past me about 10km down the descent - she finished 3 mins ahead). Anyhow still clinging on to 30th but gained time to consolidate 3rd in age group. Pretty good really. There is no doubt I'm climbing rather well. Shame I'm not 20 years younger! Tony

 

Stage 6: 2300m ascent but just 79km today. 2h20

A new sensation of uber-fatigue has descended upon me. Still it's amazing just how much abuse one's body can take. I played an amateur game today not realising where the neutralised section ended and the race began. This meant I was outside the lead group going up the enormous 25km, 1600m ascent of the Cime de la Bonette - the highest pass in Europe so they told us. There was a strong headwind but no worry as I just overtook folks the whole way up. There was a nasty crash in front of me on a very windy descent, which made me particularly cautious and I lost about 6 of the places I had gained. No worry as I finished 40th and am hanging on to 30th overall. Third in my group looks, dare I say it, fairly safe as I gained time on the folks behind me. One day to go! Team Tony. Climbing average 258W

 

Stage 7: 140km 1000m ascent

Today was different, a one hour climb followed by an incredible 60km more or less downhill. I don't think I've ever been at such a sustained high speed. Frightening and a buzz. Finished 58th today behind a big bunch of riders but didn't lose much time. Strangely,  lost time on the climb - not steep enough and a massive tailwind (273W). Overall came 31st*, 3rd in my age group which was the main objective, and 2nd best Brit. This was the best sports thing I've ever done by miles. Entering Nice with a police convoy and everyone hooting and cheering was quite a buzz. Life at the limit - fab. Team Tony

*Tony's overall placing included a number of teams above him so he was in fact the 18th solo rider!

 

For a full write up on his preparation and a more detailed run down on the event check out Tony's race report - La Haute Route story. It really is worth sitting down with a coffee to read, if only to discover how 'Team Tony' came to be born...

 

 

Thursday, 13 October 2011 00:00

Girona camp reccie

Helen has previously blogged about her reccie of a venue in Girona as a potential for a future PBscience camp. Well... we've decided to host the 2012 PBscience Spring camp at Gironacycling.com, so I decided it was only fair that Oli and I got to take a look too! Here is my report on what we've all got to look forward to.

The venue

IMG_0385 Gareth and Fiona are now well established in 'Mas Pelegri' and have a few years of running and hosting camps under their belts. The accomodation is absolutely first rate and I really can't fault it. Sleeping 26* in total, each room has en suite bathroom facilities as well as a number of lounge areas and a huge dining area. My personal favourite was the view (opposite) from one of the upstairs reclining areas. Stunning - the picture off my iPhone (alas not yet a 4S) really does not do it justice. All food is prepared freshly on site and again I can't fault the cooking! The 2 ft thick concrete walls keep the rooms cool during the day and warm at night, but under floor heating is provided in case the temperature drops at night time. The house is located in a very quiet area so noise at night is not a problem but I hazard a guess that with the thickness of the walls, any noise wouldn't get far anyway!

*The student in me thinks that were this a halls of residence (if only) it could comfortably sleep 100.

 

Training

There's a reason this area is home to so many pros, the variety and quality of training routes and the dependable weather makes it flippin' fantastic! Oli and I managed to sneak in 3 rides while we were there, the routes are visible courtesy of Garmin connect below. The eagle eyed among you may notice that the Day 1 ride does not start and finish in the same place and took a few 'detours'. Evidently suffering the after-effects of an ungodly start time for our flight. We became 'geographically embarrased' (despite having been within a mile from home at one point...) and with fading light (okay, it was dark) Gareth came to the rescue. The second day saw us cover ~80km on the Volcano loop, before a flatter 100km on the final day to scout out the roads towards the coast. All well surfaced, with light or non-existent traffic and with Oli riding hard enough to see me grimacing on his wheel and chucking SiS gels down my neck at an unhealthy rate of knots.

Easy ride

Volcano Loop

Coastal Loop

Veterans of previous PBscience camps will be familiar with test day. For the last few years this has involved a TT up to the Lluc monastery in Mallorca, towards the back end of the camp. Part of our trip was to identify a suitable Catalan equivalent. Enter the infamous climb of Roccacorba... For Bradley Wiggins it was holding 6.1W/kg during a pre-Tour test on Rocacorba with his then Garmin team that first hinted at his breakthrough 2009 performance. For a sneak preview check out Ryder Hesjedal's ascent on youtube.

Rocacorba_sign Rocacorba_view

 

Banyoles_coffee

In many ways a return to Mallorca next year would have been the easier option, the roads around Port Pollensa have become very familiar to us as coaches but also to the riders who have supported previous PBscience camps. Part of the attraction of a training camp is the chance to visit another location and I think Girona offers an exciting prospect. The big plus points for me include the greater variety of routes on offer and the more dependable weather. We were incredibly lucky in Mallorca this year, but we only have to cast our minds back to the snow of 2010 for a reminder of how changeable the island weather can be. Although this will be a very bike focussed camp, Girona has the added benefit that swimming facilities, and an abundance of trails for running sessions are readily available to help cater for our growing multisport community. Finally no PBscience blog would be complete without the obligatory coffee stop photo - Banyoles is ideal for that post-ride caffeine shot!

I for one am very excited about the camp and hope as many of you as possible can join us for what promises to be a great week. Roll on February!

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