October 21, 2008

This is a classic example of overtraining. My fitness has improved markedly with the engagement of my cycling coach, Ruth Eyles. I had a five hour ride planned last Thursday which I duly went on.

I decided to go a new route as I was becoming a bit jaded with my usual route for my long rides. I started around 8.30am after waking up a 6.00am for a large, hearty breakfast – cold rice or pasta, I forget which now.

It was a typical Korean autumn morning – cold (maybe 5 degrees), foggy, dank. I did not really warm up during the first three hours. I realised at that time that the ride would turn out to be much longer than anticipated as well. I had underestimated the distance and time.

However, at virtually the same moment, the sun came through the clouds spreading warmth throughout my body. The fog cleared to reveal stunning scenery. It was probably one of the most beautiful rides I had been on in Korea, or anywhere.

The ride was well over 100 miles and it took me over six hours. It involved over 2,000m of vertical ascent. I felt tired when I got back but not wasted.

Friday was a rest day but I had a two hour training session on Saturday. It involves keeping my heart rate between 70-75% of max. It is a hard, challenging ride. I was sort of ok for the first hour but I just could not keep my heart rate up in the second hour. Indeed, I quit after an hour and thirty minutes. It and I were just no good.

The long ride on Sunday did not go as planned. I felt tired and demotivated. My legs had no power. I quit after an hour. I thought my coach would be disappointed in me but she was actually very encouraging.

I am becomin more experienced now. I know the signs of overtraining. I will monitor them closely in the future and try not to do more than is in the training plan.

Today, I did a really hard ‘threshold’ ride. I felt great. It was my best threshold ride so far. Sometimes, not training is a good thing.



October 20, 2008


October 20, 2008
Sok jun and me

Sok jun and me

The New Bike

October 20, 2008
New Bike

New Bike

Serenity in Traffic

August 27, 2008

I tracked Lee Sok Jun back to his shop. It was an object lesson in cycling serenely, without aggression, through Seoul traffic. Should I try to become less aggressive?

Impromptu Training Ride

August 27, 2008

I had a brilliant day today. I have become friends with the CEO of the local Cannondale dealership. I ride a Cannondale and he has been massively supportive in terms of B2B.

I went to return some cleats he had lent me this morning prior to going on my ‘long ride’. I had shoe problems a couple of weeks ago and he gave me the cleats from his shoes!

Anyway, we went on a ‘long’ 15 mile ride across the Hangang River to Namsan Mountain, a shortish but rather steep climb of about 1,000 feet.

He is a perverse cyclist. He is very timid in traffic and goes along the flat ridiculously slowly. He gets to an incline and off he goes. He steams ahead of me on the steep bits as I have no low gears. He does that and he also has a GBP6,000 bike and weighs 20kg less than me as well!

He then runs out of said steam and gets off and walks! I, on the other hand, power slowly, Ullrich like, up the mountain.

The last section, is particularly steep and lasts about 100m at 20% gradient. I have to sprint to get up. The pain in the thighs is indescribable. I got off at the top, sat and winced in pain for a minute or so.

After a prolonged cafe stop – there are fantastic views of Seoul from the top – we started our return journey to the bike shop.

We went along the river path and he asked whether I would like to watch the wake boarders. I secretly thought that I would rather have a go than watch.

We watched for a few minutes and he suggested we have a go! I smiled. We stripped off our cycling gear and jumped in the river!

It has been sixteen years since I last water skied. I remembered half the advice from back then i.e. let the rope pull you and do not try to stand up.

I could not remember the other half i.e. keep your knees bent when the boat starts. The instructions barked in Korean were lost on me!

As soon as I had a translation, I was off but it bloody hurt my back and forearms. I had forgotten that pain also. My long ride did not materialise but it was a brilliant day. I just wish Katie was with me now. M

US Military

August 26, 2008

There are large numbers of US military in the Republic of South Korea to protect it from the apparent threat from its northern brothers.

I heard (possibly anecdotally) that the majority of lower ranking military men were recruited from ‘trailer parks’.

I met a GI tonight who was heavily tattooed with baseball cap perched on his head at a peculiar angle conjuring images of Eminem. He could not read vey well either. My pre-existing stereotype was confirmed.

The US military does have a certain reputation for heavy drinking and causing trouble in one of the expat areas in Seoul.

However, he came over to me and we spoke about British slang. He was kind and friendly and had a quite charming Texan accent.

He spoke later two or three times. He alluded briefly to his experiences in Iraq. He did not need to do more than simply allude to them. His lack of verbal eloquence was more than made up by his tacit non verbal communication and honesty.

Of course, it is only a very small proportion of the US Military that cause trouble. We are so quick to form stereotypes. Likewise, I realised that my GI friend and I had a lot in common.