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
Sok jun and me

Sok jun and me

The New Bike

October 20, 2008
New Bike

New Bike

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

Korean idiot drivers

August 15, 2008

I cycled home yesterday along a mile and a half stretch of road between the Olympic Stadium and where I live. I peered into cars as I was cycling. At least half the drivers were either talking on their cell phones (not hands free) and or simultaneously watching TV on monitors in their cars.

Is it any wonder that Korea tops the pedestrian accident rate and comes in second to Hungary in motoring accidents in all OECD countries? Apparently it is illegal to drive with a cell phone here in Korea. The police do not enforce the law, an indicator of a third world country. What will it take to change this selfish people’s minds? M

Training Plan

August 15, 2008

I recently engaged UK based cycling coach Ruth Eyles. As the clock ticks, it is dawning on me the enormity of the task ahead.

To cycle 100 miles in a day is easy but to do it consistently days at a time requires a certain degree of dedication, planning and training.

The miles covered in the last two weeks:-

Week 1

Sunday – Hike up Cheonggeysan (3 hours) + 20 mile recovery ride.                                                                   

Monday – 58 miles

Tuesday – 70 miles

Thursday – 101.2 miles

Total – 249.2 miles

Week 2 (so far)

Sunday – 70 miles

Tuesday – 34.2 miles (Zone 2 ride)

Wednesay – 14.4 miles (Recovery ride)

Thursday – 101 miles (Long ride)

Saturday – 20 miles (planned Zone 3 ride)

Fourth Century

August 15, 2008

I completed my fourth century ride since I had my bike shipped over from the UK at the end of May yesterday. I have upped my training miles. 70s and 80s are now mere jaunts.

I had decided to go on what I thought would be a fairly flat route. It looked flat on the map anyway. It actually involved one kilometer of verticial climbing which I suppose is not that much when it is broken down over the total distance. 

The ride was easy enough and I completed it in just under six hours. I did have a couple of breaks, the first at 47 miles and the second at 65 miles. I am only able to carry one banana, two energy gels and a total of 1.5 litres of drink stuffed variously into my cycling jersey or onto my bike.

It was not particularly pleasant either. The majority of the route was on dual carriageway and there was a lot of fast moving traffic. I keep my iPod on loud to prevent me from hearing or getting paranoid about what is coming from behind.

The highlight of the ride was a five mile stretch a few miles north of Yangpyeong (a name reversal of the North Korean capital city, Pyeongyang) alongside the Han River. I cycled along a raise roadway and to the west, the river, flat as a mill pond, looked serene and tranquil. The backdrop was punctuated by dramatic mountains rising steeply covered in lush green pine and acer.

I completed the ride comfortably but my big toes were killing me from my new and probably slightly small cycling shoes. The pain in the outside of my left foot also persists.