some image

Having fun, writing about the stuff I like

Epic Training: Week Three

Oscar Foulkes September 25, 2016 Cape Epic No comments
This week’s programme kicked off on Tuesday with an easy hour on the mountain. After two solid rides over the weekend, followed by dead lifts and more during Monday’s gym session, it was a relief to have a recovery ride.

Instead of the ride scheduled for Wednesday, I joined the Road2Vasco gang (see pic attached) for a Blockhouse Dash. It’s on Strava as The King’s Blockhouse IPA TT if you want to try it for yourself. The start point is the end of Pinoak Road in Vredehoek, and you climb at an average of 8% for 3.6km. The first part is above 16%, which will come back to bite you if you go out too quickly (as I did).

By the time I reached the Blockhouse my throat was on fire. My throat has given me all kinds of pain experiences, but this was a new one. I clearly shouldn’t be riding in the red zone for 23 minutes at a stretch!

Saturday’s ride was three hours on the mountain, with high cadence, and staying below zone four. The mountain routes around the City Bowl are fine for an hour to perhaps two hours – if you can put up with some steep sections that can easily push heart rate into zone four.

With the Table Mountain National Park in the middle of it, Cape Town makes for unique urban mountain biking. I love the way that people have found ways to link off-road sections, especially since parts of the Constantia green belt may now legally be ridden. So, for my three-hour ride on Saturday, I was able to get from Deer Park to Constantia without riding for more than a few kilometres on tar. There are also some enterprising single-track sections alongside Rhodes Drive.

Soon after setting off on Saturday, my phone rang. As I wasn’t (yet) out of breath I decided to answer, which I could do without stopping, because of the microphone on the Apple earphones.

At the end of the phone call, I expected the music I’d been listening to start playing again. Instead there was an unfamiliar rhythmical sound that I assumed was the intro to old-school Hip-Hop that my son loaded onto my phone. When the ‘intro’ didn’t morph into an actual piece of music I began to think of alternatives. Technically, I don’t know if this is possible, but the only explanation I could come up with is that somehow, via my Fitbit, which is connected to phone via Bluetooth, I was listening to the sound of my own pulse.

Just as I’d reached this deduction I caught up to the rider ahead of me, who asked me if I have asthma. It’s not the first time my laboured breathing has alarmed fellow riders, and it doesn’t get better when I try to explain to them that my lungs are just fine, because I generally produce an unintelligible croak while cycling.

It’s one thing to have my own pulse as soundtrack – it’s another thing altogether for other cyclists to be subjected to the apparent sounds of someone gasping for breath. Don’t worry, I’m fine, and thank you for caring.

Today’s ride should have been a relatively straightforward high cadence spin on the road, but having attended a 21st last night, my body was not entirely shipshape. ‘Nough said. At my age, training requires nocturnal moderation.

On a positive note, Strava tells me that yesterday’s ride was an improvement on the previous week’s ride along a similar route. While I’m a long way off where I was last year, I seem to be getting stronger. Perhaps I should start a new Strava account, so that I’m not tempted to make comparisons with 2015 and earlier!

The Road2Vasco gang at the Blockhouse

The Road2Vasco gang at the Blockhouse

Add your comment