Tag Archives: biking

Gran Canaria (Iain)

Last week I went on vacation to Gran Canaria. I did some biking, running and swimming.

Some athletes would claim this is winter weather training but why train in the sun when 90% of Scottish races are in the cold and rain?

If I want to race faster I should go somewhere I can train in weather worse than my planned events. Then, on race day, I’d wake up, see the bad weather but be relieved that it’s not as bad as the time I trained in hailstones and a gale in the the Arctic circle.

So last week wasn’t winter weather training, it was a holiday!

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Gran Canaria is very hilly! Be prepared for long ascents. The road surface is great because they don’t get frosts that break up the concrete.

http://www.free-motion.com/en/gran-canaria/ is a great place to hire a bike.  Although, minutes after receiving one, I accidentally dropped it against a concrete column. I spent the rest of the hire period worried I’d damaged it! Thankfully it was OK.

At home I use a 11-25 cassette. On vacation I used 11-32. What a difference it made to climbing hills. I’ve now ordered an 11-28 for my own bike so that I can change it depending on the event.

Electric bikes are amazing! I set a speed and then started cycling. The bike takes my pedalling speed and then then gives the bike a boost to get the speed up to what I’d set. I wasn’t aware of the boost whilst cycling on the flat but as soon as I reached a hill I could feel it kick in. It meant I could race up hills without breaking a sweat. If you’ve ever worried about getting sweaty biking to work then get an electric bike. You’ll never sweat again!

Spanish roundabouts are lethal! You go round them on the right but cars seem to come onto them at high speed. I found it easier to stop and let the cars clear before crossing when it was empty.

Spanish pedestrian crossings are even worse than roundabouts. They don’t have traffic lights so you step out onto the road and the cars will stop. That’s the theory but in practice I ended up eyeing up the driver hurtling towards me and only starting crossing if they registered they’d seen the fear in my eyes. A number of cars didn’t and failed to stop.

Once I’d left the main town the roads were very quiet and I’d hardly see any cars.

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By the end of the week I’d cycled, ran and swam further than any other week this year! So this week I’ve done bugger all. Training is all about balance!

How to get hot and sweaty! (Iain)

Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs credited his long career to afternoons getting into awkward sweaty positions. He claims he was talking about yoga but the super-injunction he raised in the High Court said it was hotel romps with Imogen Thomas.

I too would like to extend my fitness “career” as long as possible. Unfortunately. Imogen Thomas has not replied to any of my tweets, letters, or standing outside her house holding a Boombox playing the song “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”

So, instead I do yoga (occasionally)

I first tried yoga ten years ago. It was in Edinburgh and I signed up for a ten week course. The tutor handed me an A4 bit of paper on the way into the class listing all the positions I’d need. As I attempted each position she would come over and tell me I was doing it wrong. I wasn’t interested in spending 10 weeks getting told I was wrong so I never went back for the other nine lessons.

It was years later that I returned to a class. This time the tutor went through the moves at the front of the class and all I had to do was copy her. There was no A4 paper and no telling me I was wrong.

Since then I’ve tried different teachers/classes with varying levels of success.

One tutor was so hungover he did the whole class leaning on a wall and sitting on a block.

Another tutor got us all to shut our eyes at the end of the lesson and then went round massaging everyone head! At least I hope she did everyone else and not just me! On second thoughts, I also hope it was her and not some phantom head groper who saw an opportunity.

But, the strangest experience was hot yoga. A sessions runs for exactly 90 minutes and consist of a set series of 26 postures (performed twice each). It takes place in a room heated to 40C with a humidity of 40%.

It’s so hot all I needed to wear was a pair of shorts. I stripped off. At this point I got confused as I could see a fat man in the mirror looking at me but I didn’t see him when I turned around. He must have left.

A fellow middle-aged man nods in my direction. If that happened in a pub we might become “mates” or “friends” but here it feels sordid because we’re the only men in a room of scantily clad young student girls. I think I’ve just joined his “ring” and you only ever hear that phrase when men get busted by the police. A hot yoga “ring” was arrested today….

The poses start easily enough. I lie on my back and breathe. Which is so easy I could do it in my sleep. Actually that is how I sleep. As the poses get harder the sweat runs off my body like rats from a sweaty ship. It pools on the floor all around me.

Is everyone else this sweaty? The instructor says we can finish with some more lying down exercises but this time face down. I have to lie down and put my face into a pool of my own sweat. If he was an interrogator and this was a torture scenario then I would confess anything.

At the end of the class I lie in darkness and contemplate what I have just achieved. The instructor said take as long as I need. It takes me two seconds to think – if I leave now then I’ll get into the showers before anyone else. I’m away and out before you can say “Sa Ta Na Ma Shanti

Jan 17th (Iain) – SPRIIIIIIIINNNNNNTTTTT!

I once had a job interview where I was asked “what type of manager do you like?”

I wanted to say “one who lets me do as little as possible!” but instead replied “One who I’m scared of. I perform better when someone is shouting at me than one someone is being very nice.”

I remembered this whilst doing a Spin Class. The normal instructor was away. She’s a nice girl who gives very clear and easy to follow instructions. I enjoy her class and always get a good workout.

This week a man turned up. He was shaven headed, covered in tattoo’s and looked like he’d just left prison. Not the type of man who be released from prison but the type of man who would broken out!

He took one look at us and immediately shouted “Level 19 and a cadence of 100!”

This was going to be hard. The girl normally says “Level 12 but take it at your own pace”

“Level 20!” F**k – I’d only just got used to level 19

“LEVEL 21! I’ll Know if you’re slacking!” How does he know? Can he tell that sometime I put my hand over the switch to turn it up but only pretend to move it?

“LEVEL 22!!!” There’s sweat everywhere. In my eyes, matting my hair and dripping on the floor. I hope my bike floats as the pool of sweat is going to be deep.

“LEVEL 23!!!” I’m dying.

“LEVEL 24!!!” The man next to me can no longer turn his pedals. I can barely move mine. This can’t get any harder

“NOW SPRINT!!!!” It got harder.

At the end of the class I hated the instructor but he did make me work harder and better than I ever have in any other class.

So for Norseman I will adopt the shout at Andrew approach! “SPRIIIIIIIIINNNNTTTT!”