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Having fun, writing about the stuff I like

Epic Training: Week 12

Oscar Foulkes November 27, 2016 Cape Epic No comments
This week took a little step up. Whereas the regular Tuesday recovery ride used to be an hour, billed as an easy spin, it has now become 90 minutes, with the slightly ominous instruction not to exceed zone 4 heart rate.

Even though the trails on the front of Table Mountain are steep and often loose, one can go pretty fast without exceeding zone 4. This is not your regular “easy ride”. I suppose it’s an indication of how my fitness has improved since the early days, when I’d sound like Darth Vader after riding a couple of hundred metres up the road.

I’ve ridden these trails too many times to have threatened a Strava PR without riding in the red zone all the way, but I let my Yeti do what it does best on the long descent from the big tree to Deer Park, taking more than half a minute off a segment that used to take more than three minutes.

This bike is a dream – and those extra-wide rims are a huge benefit on trails that have lots of loose stuff to deal with.

Thursday’s interval session involved ten repeats of two minutes in zone 4, which was a step up on the usual five or six repeats. It may be an indication of how much of an exercise nerd I’ve become that I got excited by the symmetry of the graph (see alongside). All good.

The weekend’s two rides of two hours each have slightly fallen by the wayside. Yesterday, I did a one-on-one skills session with Daniel Dobinson. Today I’m driving to the Cederberg, where I’ll do a couple of rides on Monday and Tuesday, and then very little prior to next weekend’s Origin of Trails.

I was connected with Daniel by top mountain biker Oli Munnik, which is a pretty solid commendation of his instruction. Daniel focuses on a few basics related to body position, particularly how and when to shift, both side to side and front to back. Mastering his handful of skills will get one around just about any course.

Key focus areas yesterday were riding downhill switchbacks and drop-offs. Daniel tossed in some great guidance for high-speed cornering, which is also useful for off-camber turns.

Typing this now makes me realise I forgot to address really steep descents. However, having had the basics of “attack position” drilled into me, I can imagine what he would have said to me if I’d asked him.

I’d put a skills session with Daniel onto the to-do list of all mountain bikers, even for those who feel confident in technical sections.

Origin of Trails may comprise just 60-ish kilometres per day, but climbing is in the vicinity of 2000m per day. That’s a decent step up on Wines2Whales. The new normal is getting closer.

My heart rate during an interval session - does my excitement about the symmetry of the graph say anything about what an exercise nerd I've become?

My heart rate during an interval session – does my excitement about the symmetry of the graph say anything about what an exercise nerd I’ve become?

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