Tabata Intervals

How the hell can 20 secs x 8 of work time produce improvement in V02 Max? That was certainly my first reaction when I heard about Tabata Intervals. Tried and tested by friends, I thought I’d give them a go, especially when I thought about my own personal needs in a race. Competing in cross country races, I need to re accelerate out of the corners and technical sections; chase other riders plus have a good turn of speed at the start. It makes sense for me especially as speed was on my ‘wanted list’ .
They can be completed on a turbo or on the road. Personally I favour the turbo, because for them to be successful, you must work absolutely flat out. In fact I put 8 pegs on the side, moving one for each interval, because my brain becomes that fuddled I can’t think straight!
Do I think they are working? Well I think they are for me and have the added bonus of taking little time. Naturally I warm up well and have a good cool down. I don’t claim to be a sport scientist but have a look and make your own judgement.

The Cat and Fiddle

cat and fiddleAlthough not a true hill climb because of a couple of down hill sections, I love this ride. It’s a relatively short from Leek via Macclesfield taking just over 2 hours. The gradient is relatively steady, the views beautiful, and if you are really lucky, you may have a few Lapwings and Curlews to keep you company.

Route: Leek to Macclesfield on the A523. In Macclesfield turn right onto the A537 up past the Cat and Fiddle Pub. Turn right onto a 30m road onto the A54, turn left and then immediately right.
Enjoy a small road cutting over Axe Edge onto the A53. Turn right on to the main road back to Leek.

Should a woman ride a 29er

Should a woman ride a 29 er? A question I asked myself over a year ago and having taken the plunge I have to say I couldn’t be happier. Questions I pondered over included, am I tall enough? Would I be able to get on and off when faced with off camber? Would it be slow to accelerate? Would the gains be so marginal it just wasn’t worth the money? Was it just a manufactory’s ploy to make me spend more money?

20130520-210754.jpgA year on I wonder why it took so long. It’s one of the best choices I have ever made. I am now the proud owner of a Giant XTC Composite.¬†With Fox 32 Float CTD Evolution Forks, it has up to 100 mm of travel. The drive train consists of a mixture of SLX components and it comes with Schwalbe Racing Ralph tyres. Having a carbon frame, the bike feels responsive, light and has a real quality feel.

Sure I have changed a few things to personalise it. Goldtec have furnished it with narrower Schwalbe tyres, made it tubeless and upgraded the wheels, but in its original state it was still a lovely ride.

So why is it so good you ask? Well it rolls over the rough stuff absorbing lots of bumps. It accelerates really quickly because the frame is very stiff and nips round the single track. The only thing I feel is different from riding a 26 is in very tight single track I sit slightly further forward to get round tight corners. Dead easy to do just needs a tiny bit of practise. The secret to fast riding is to use the bike to its maximum potential. Get it rolling and let it fly. You’ll be grinning from ear to ear. Enjoy !

Girl Power

We put our wheels on the start line, our numbers grew. We grouped together and then asked for our own category at the National Championships. Well done ladies, we got it and rightly so. What does this show apart from a growing interest in cross racing? Well social networking is a powerful tool and those that don’t ask don’t get. Well done to all those who petitioned and sent links for support. Girl power in action!

Catton Park 6 hr Enduro

20130512-181121.jpgA 6 hr enduro on my door step is always a temptation, despite a decision to focus on shorter racing. Weighing up all the pros and cons I did think, it will be good 3 Peaks preparation and I might just get a suntan as well! Well I shocked myself. Not sure whether you can ever say a solo enduro is an enjoyable experience, but at the finish I felt I had given it my best shot and was pleased with second . Sure the top spot on the podium would have been great but as the eldest woman in the race who kicked ass right to the bitter end I was a happy lady. Both the winner and I managed to do an extra lap, having passed the clock just before the 6 hr cut off. Think it was a nightmare for both of us at that point but its amazing what you can do when you have to, and that day I dug far deeper both physically and mentally than I have for a long time. When you have the strength to do that, you really are moving forward. Well it looks like an entry to the National Marathon Championships might be on the cards, now I am enjoying myself!