Friday, 14 December 2007

Nag, Nag, Nag!!

Some people are so impatient. (yes, I mean you Mr Sloth)

Contrary to popular belief, I have been busy, not consoling myself on the lack of weight loss this week by eating lots of pies.

Weight this week 101kg (ON TARGET! HAH!!)
Loss this week 1.3kg
Body Fat 30.7%
Body Water 51%
BMI 31.2

Miles last week 174, ahead of target by 4 whole miles at last.

Unfortunately, it cannot last.

Last Sunday's 134 mile ride almost killed both me and my bike. The poor thing (bike not me) has had to have a bottom bracket transplant, new rear gear cable, new brakes, and a full service (if only......)

Since then the 12.5 hours in the howling wind (which spun round a whole 180 degrees at lunchtime to be in our faces ALL day) and rain have meant a head cold has taken root, and so far this week (Friday) I have done the sum total of nil miles, and zero dieting.

On the up side, a trip to the doctor has resulted in a signed-off medical certificate for the Etape, so its all-systems-go from hereon in. Additionally, he wondered where the 36 lbs I took with me last time have disappeared, and advised against losing too much weight. That sounds like encouragement to lower my weight loss targets I think........

With luck, a following wind, and a clear frosty morning, Sunday may see another 100km ride, this time out over Cannock Chase, one of my particular favourites.

Friday, 7 December 2007

It's Official(ish)

It seems that the route is now known in a bit more detail.

According to the Etape du Tour website yesterday (the french version, the English is not yet updated) the route , pending confirmation by the police etc, will be:

Start: Pau (Racecourse Area)
Rebenacq (via Gan)
Cote de Labatmale (small climb)
Cote de Loucrup (small climb)
Bagneres de Bigorre
Col de Tourmalet (another 'little' climb)
Luz Saint Saveur
Montee vers Hautacam (Grimpe up Hautacam)

which should look something like this......

View Larger Map

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Milestone Week

Weight 102.3kg (No change)
Target weight 102kg
Body lard percentage 30.9 (No change)
Body water 50.5% (No change)
BMI 31.6 (No change)

I suppose I should be satisfied that I didn't put any weight on last week...........

Miles last week 90, now 100 behind target.

So I may be 100 miles behind my own target, but there was a milestone this week. On 10th July 2006, I arrived home with a Peugeot Road Bike rescued from the tip, and puffed around 5 miles in about 24 minutes (some of it was uphill, honest).

This week, I clocked up my 5,000th mile since then, in which time I have done Audaxes, Sportives, and reduced my time for the 5 mile home circuit to 17 minutes (there's still some uphill bits).

Big "Tinsel and Lanes" Audax (213km) on Sunday, if I stay fit (cold threatening) the deficit will go this week.

Monday, 26 November 2007

and now just 32 weeks.......

I won't pretend to understand my metabolism..............ever.

Exactly the same behaviour as last week, fewer miles than last week, and this week weight falls off.

Weight 102.3kg (loss of 2.6kg in the week!)
Target weight 103kg
Body lard percentage 30.9
Body water 50.5% (going up, does that mean it will take longer before dehdration, anyone?)
BMI 31.6 (still obese)

Miles last week 98 (now 'just' 120 behind my target.)

In more ways than one, I'm looking forward to the next couple of weeks. By the end of the next fortnight, I will have completed only my second 200km Audax, and in so doing extinguished the deficit in my miles-to-date target.

At that point I will be able to dispense with some of the longer Zone 2 fat burning miles, and replace them with either interval training or hill climbing on the Turbo. I'm guessing that a little of both might be beneficial, since I haven't seen any news items recently about the Col de Tourmalet eroding at record rates. I suppose I'll have to resign myself to the fact that it will still be there next summer, though secretly I may even admit to be looking forward to that bit. (This is the point where any readers who have actually seen a Pyrennean climb may be excused for sniggering quietly.)

Despite the weight loss, and the fact that I hope to have a lighter bike by next summer, I don't intend to tell the turbo trainer that I'm lighter yet, since that will prolong the requirement to chuck out lots of watts to keep the wheel turning.

Things must be improving, though, Zone 2 heart rates will now allow almost 180watts for over an hour, and a small increase in heart rate has allowed a 2hour 45 minute effort at over 200 watts average, something I was utterly incapable of just 3 months ago.

Yesterday was a pleasant outing on real roads for a change, with Mrs Datameister and Peter (work colleague and chef d'equipe next summer) along for a very leisurely 28 miles ride. Cafe lunch was enjoyed by all, as was the journey home culminating in a 30kmh blast over a (small) hill that used to require much downchanging.

Things may actually be falling into place.

p.s. The bike light is purchased for the 200km finish-in-the-dark Audax. I have splurged on the double LED Cateye singleshot (doesn't that make it a double-shot?) which has pretensions of being a WWII searchlight. Methinks I should be able to see where I'm going with that.

p.p.s I still intend to post a google maps track, with a few pictures, from the Cheshire Safari Audax, but if anyone can tell me where and how to host the .kmz file, I'd be most grateful.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Deep Depression crossing the Midlands

Weight 104.9kg (up 0.9kg this week)
Target 104kg (ultimate target of 75kg seems an awful long way off)

Miles last week 113, now 148 behind my target.

Desperate times, desperate measures. New scales in the Datameister household, since the old one's wouldn't give the same answer twice running.

I have eventually got fed up of measuring my weight 10 times and taking an average. Couple that with an exercise filled week, reasonable food intake close to the requirements of my diet, and a weight increase, and you can see that something had to change.

The extra-fancy new Weightwatchers scales tell me:
My weight is 104.9kg (EVERY time, though whether this is a true increase or not I do not know)
My Body fat percentage is an overly unimpressive 31.4%
My BMI is now 32.4 (Obese, but no longer morbidly obese)
Body water/beer content 50.1%

So, thats the stake in the sand to aim for next week. I'll keep the pressure on by not changing the original weight loss target, so I'm 0.9kg over at the moment.

This weeks aim is over 100 miles, mostly on the Tacx Fortius which saw all of last weeks 113 miles (that's how I keep the miles up when the weather's horrible)

I'm off to fit a nice new Specialised Avatar saddle now, hopefully to ease the increasing discomfort in the human-bicycle interface

Monday, 12 November 2007

34 weeks to go

And not a good week last week.

Weight stalled at 104kg

Target 105 kg (knew I needed a good start for these occasions)

Miles last week 92 (now 191 behind)

Must have a good week this week, but hopefully there will be fewer distractions (looking at the diary this may be a forlorn hope)

100 miles would be good, as would a week stuck rigidly to a sensible low-fat diet. Right now neither of those options look attractive. I had imagined that it wouldn't feel this hard this soon.

Perhaps I should plan a route to Pau, book a ferry or something, to help focus on where this is eventually going.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

You can choose your friends...

As they say. Then of course, there's family. In my case, in-laws. Not my own, you understand, but those imposed upon me by my sisters taste in husbands.

Don't get me wrong, he's a fine chap, even down to ridiculing me for my choice in football teams (we can't all support clubs that have been European Champions, can we), but when you give him a camera he doesn't seem to know the bounds of good taste.

This week's offering arrived on an e-mail entitled "I dare you to put this on your blog". Now, not being one to shy away from a challenge, this could not go un-met. However, Mr Stu Cann, this is going to cost you a very generous click on the JustGiving link when it appears on this blog next year.

The offending article may be found on the right (with Beatles ripped off copyright title) and at Stu's suggestion should be viewed as the "before" photo or, as I prefer it, a 'work-in-progress'.

Monday is weigh in day (and this week may not be good), I'm off to console myself with lard.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

35 weeks to go.....

Weight 104kg (loss of 1.5kg last week)

Target 106kg (making room for Christmas)

Miles last week 164 (now 213 miles behind target)

A big week last week, two 25 mile turbo sessions, a day out with the family round Carsington Water (their website doesn't mention the short but nasty 1 in 4 hills), and the Cheshire Safari Audax on Sunday.

That's the biggest weekly total for a long time, and unlikely to be matched this week as real life is scheduled to get in the way of training.

35 weeks still doesn't sound very much, but at least I was able to cycle well for most of the Audax route on Sunday, including holding onto my mate Mark's rear wheel up all but one of the climbs. 106 miles at an average of 16.4 mph (excluding the inevitable cafe stops) was pleasing, especially since the intention was not to slipstream one another. More on that tomorrow.

Cheerful members of the local cycling club have discovered that I'm doing next years Etape and are helping out with useful anecdotes such as "My left leg fell off on the Hautacam it's that steep" and "Its the worst climb in the Pyrennees, you'll need lots left after the Tourmalet". Time will tell, but thanks guys.

Next Audax will be a big 200km effort in December starting and finishing about 1km from home, so when I finish in the dark I won't be too far away from a hot bath. Note to Bank Account "prepare to buy better lights".

Monday, 29 October 2007

36 weeks to go....

Weight 105.5kg (loss of 1.5kg last week)
Target 107kg
Miles last week 92 (307 behind target)

92 miles maybe, but it did get a bit desperate with 62 of those coming after 2:30 on the Sunday afternoon. This real life stuff can really get in the way of training.

This week will at least be a bit more certain, the Cheshire Safari Audax next Sunday will at least guarantee 102 miles, and with a couple of nights on the turbo, 150 should be possible.

Can it really only be 36 weeks (yesterday) to next years Etape? It does bring the requirement to lose another 30.5kg, and train up ready into perspective. At least I'm not going at it from a standing start, and will at least have a base of miles to build on. This weeks miles should see me go through 4,500 miles since July of last year, some easy some harder. Should be OK as long as I don't get eaten by elephants when we pass through Chester Zoo.

It's a shame we don't have any 1,500m climbs in the Midlands, but I guess that with the Tourmalet being the highest road pass in the Pyrennees, that would be a bit much to ask. I imagine that we will have to settle for going up and down the same hill several times in North Wales to compensate, but thats for next year.

For now, its back to the Turbo, and some long Zone 2 miles to burn the fat. OK, some VERY long Zone 2 miles.

Friday, 26 October 2007


Entry sorted
Accomodation sorted
Weight - unsorted
Training - unsorted

Only 30 miles so far this week (5 days), looks like a heavy weekend after a Saturday that looks distinctly diy-ridden.

I'm beginning to be suspicious of next years etape route. What's the catch compared to 2007?

Sure, the Tourmalet is indeed a 'bad detour' and will be, if not the 'mother of all killer climbs', at least a very close relative. Hautacam should probably be renamed Hurtacam but, if that is all, we seem to be getting off lightly compared to the attempted murder to which this years etappers were subjected.

Would I be right in assuming that there will be a reduced time allocation next year, and that the broom wagons will come hurtling after us piloted by Lewis Hamilton? Are the climbs hiding something their profiles don't show? Is there no oxygen at those altitudes? Time will tell.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

It could have been worse

Much worse.

This years stage is described as 'short and intense' and will be stage 10 from Pau to Hautacam in the Pyrennees. At about 165km (officially 154km with a roll-out start, I imagine) with two major climbs, the Tourmalet and Hautacam itself, it initially seems a bit kinder than this year. More a classic stage than an epic one.

Certainly, the 2,300 metres of climbing in the two climbs is a lot less than the 4,000+ in the 5 climbs of 2007. Perhaps they're taking pity on fat blokes after the attrition rates shown this year.

I'm being glad its not the stage to Jausiers, over the 'roof' of this years tour on the Col de la Bonnette (at 2,802m as opposed to the Tourmalet at 'just' 2,115). Or even Embrun to Alpe d'Huez the long way round over the Galibier and the Croix de Fer.

There are some 'howevers' however, two climbs of over 14km at an average of over 7% will not be easy, especially if the weight is not lost, but it at least seems do-able compared to this year. Certainly, there have been sportives this year of up to 90% of the etape requirements, albeit with oxygen at lower altitudes (more on those later).

Back to the exercise bike.

Monday, 22 October 2007

?? weeks to go

Weight 107kg
Target 108kg (2kgs off last week)
Miles last week 101, (three hundred and something behind target year to date)

Hallelujah! Weight loss at last, helped no doubt by a few extra miles last week.

It's perhaps worth explaining where the 300+ behind target has come from. I hadn't cycled much at all until July 2006, when colleagues at work decided that it might be a good way of keeping fit, and getting out of the office at lunchtime.

A trip to the local tip followed (together with it's charity shop) and I exited with an aged Peugeot 10 speed in need of some TLC, at a cost of just a tenner. Bargain!

Miles followed, together with the realisation that I quite enjoyed cycling, even on a steel-framed monster with equally steel rims that brought you to a halt when THEY felt like it. Thus a target of 70 miles a week came into being. This far I am averaging over 65 miles a week, but not the full 70, hence the shortfall. I still hope to make it up by Christmas.

The Peugeot has long since departed back to the charity shop from whence it came, but not before it escaped from under me on a corner breaking a toe in the process, severely undermining my confidence in any tyre who's tread pattern doesn't suggest it came off a tractor.

I'm now riding a Halfords Carrera, doctored with an 11-34 rear cassette (much to the amusement of 'real' cyclists) which at least gives me the chance of getting most of the way up most of the hills.

I suppose its now a case of "same again next week" and wait until Thursdays announcement.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

T minus 7 and counting........

Seven days to go, and then we will find out the location of next year's pain.

Whatever, I'm hoping for a recognisable (in)famous Tour stage. The Alps will be great, Pyrenees too. I'd even be 'happy' with Mont Ventoux, though I'll admit that a stage in the massif central I would find mildly disappointing, even if it did mean I was more likely to finish.

Even better would be the Etape taking place on the Monday, thus making it the 14th July, Bastille Day. Where better than an Etape going through rural France with all its Bastille Day fetes? Answers on a postcard please............

To all the investors out there, sell your shares in McDonalds and KFC now, the diet is in full swing and even being stuck to (for now). Someone even asked yesterday if I was dieting, so it must be working.

Training progresses, but the thought of running as part of the training has caused my knees to seize up just thinking about it. I think that has something to do with the size of my stomach exceeding the design tolerance of my knee joints. Perhaps that can wait for the 100kg point.

Back to the Fortius to burn some more miles, and then real road on 4th November for the "Cheshire Safari" 160km Audax. Perhaps we should phone ahead to the Eureka! cafe to make sure they get more food in...........

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Starting Out

Bear with me, I've never tried this blogging mularkey before, but I figure its a good way of recording thoughts and progress for myself, even if no-one else ever reads it.

Well, the clue's in the title. I'm counting down to the Etape du Tour 2008, even if no-one knows when or where it's going to be yet.

I doubt that it will be that easy, given that I'm currently 109kgs, with a BMI of about 35. I'm unsure whether thats Obese, Clinically Obese or Morbidly Obese, but you get the picture....

At least I'm not going at it from a standing start, having done a few Audaxes, and a Sportive cycle ride here and there this year (2007), of course nothing approaching an Etape.

Target weight loss, 1 kg per week through until 75kgs, that will be about the end of May. Training target 70 miles per week up to the end of 2007. I'm currently about 350 miles down on that for 2007 as a whole, but I aim to make that up by Christmas.

Time to get on the Turbo trainer and burn a few calories. I've purchased a Tacx Fortius, which is currently plugged into the PC and raring to go. I think that the Alpe d'Huez program can wait for now, I'll try something flatter to build the miles first. No point peaking too early, is there?