Tag Archives: training

65k before breakfast

mudwaveI did a tough ride before breakfast this morning. There had been a lot of rain over night and there was still a strong wind. Part of the ride was on a dirt track. Now mud. As luck would have it a big dump truck passed just as I was negotiating a big bog. It roared through and hit me with a mud tsunami. Lovely. There must have been some limestone in the mud because it hardened on my bike like concrete. The strong headwind made it hard to maintain a speed of 18 kmh. I felt good though – and mud washes off.

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Small rains

rainIn Dar Es Salaam we have two rainy seasons: a short rainy season in November and December called the small rains and a longer rainy season in March, April and May called the big rains. When I went out for a ride mid-morning yesterday it was bright and sunny but soon started to cloud over and then grow dark. I was riding along the coast road when the rain hit. It was preceded by an onshore wind that almost blew me off my bike. Hard on the heels of the wind came the rain, a tropical thunderstorm wall of water that reduced visibility to a matter of meters and dropped the temperature from 38C to 26C (according to my Garmin) in minutes. A brilliant way to cool down. I cut inland to get away from the wind and turned downhill into a small hollow. By this time it had been raining for less than ten minutes and there was already four inches of water at the bottom of the hollow. The roads simply could not drain the water quickly enough. Fantastic stuff.

When I went through London on my way back to Dar last week I picked up a couple of sets of marathon plus tires that I had ordered – a set of 28s and a set of 42s. I already had 35s on the bike. Before my ride yesterday I tested them on the bike. My rims are 18s but can take larger tires. It was fiddly though. I discovered that you have to be really careful  with the 42s. I exploded a tube on the first one I put on. I had put the tire in and just pumped away. Bang! The tire escaped the rim, the tube did a hemroid  and popped. You have to pump slowly, make sure the tire fills evenly and stays inside the rim. No problem. I put the 28s on for my ride and was very pleased with the grip in the rain.

Don’t forget to donate to the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania.

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Back in Dar: Training splits

After 16 hours or so in airports and planes I arrived back in Dar yesterday afternoon. I have spent all of 5 days here since October 28. It has been a bit of a long haul. Too many air miles. Too many dinners – I have gained 2.5kg. And not enough exercise. But I slept 9 hours last night and am now ready for the final stretch.

splitsI felt good when I got on the bike this morning. There was some snap in the legs. Maybe the stationary bike in Seoul was worth it after all. I did a shortish ride – just over 25 miles. The 5-mile splits were 18:05 (started well); 17:16 (felt good); 18:48 (still felt good but had to stop a few times in traffic); 18:16 (slowed a bit) and 18:52 (wound down a bit but still felt good). All in all I felt good and am happy that I now have a couple of weeks to get some more miles in.

Great to be back in Dar.

Don’t forget to donate to the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania.

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One month to go

12 12 12

There is just one month to go until the Tour d’Afrique starts. And today is also this century’s last repeating date (I didn’t figure that out myself; it is all over the web today and I have taken it on faith). This is also the last day of my last business trip before the TdA starts. I fly home tonight. Can’t wait. Starting on Friday I will be back on the bike and will be able to put some miles on before I go to Cairo. Fantastic.

Almost there.

Don’t forget to donate to the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania.

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Anxiety wins

Did an hour on the stationary bike at the hotel this evening.

Stationary bike?

stationary bike

The good news is that the hotel I am staying at in Seoul does have a gym. The bad news is that it is closed for renovations.  However, when I got to my room I found a little note in a drawer saying that a temporary gym had been set up on the 6th floor and that I was welcome. Well, sort of. I went there and found out there was an extra charge to use it. OK. There were a few stationary bikes there so why not. I got up on a bike and turned on the computer that ran it and started to pedal. Boy was in uncomfortable. I am not very tall but the seat was too low for me. I tried to raise it but it was as high as it would go. And the seat was about a foot wide. My ass may be big, but not not that big. Next to it was a different type of stationary bike – more of a recumbent. It had a a kind of bucket seat that looked like it been reclaimed from a 1960s Lada. The pedals looked like the rubber blocks you put on a kid’s bike when their legs are too short. I adjusted the seat as best I could, sat down and started to pedal. What a chore. I stuck it for half an hour then gave it up. I didn’t think I would need chamois cream for a stationary bicycle  in a posh hotel. Maybe I’ll try again tomorrow. Maybe not.

Don’t forget to donate to the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania.

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Steady but no snap

pothole 2Same ride again this morning. Steady but still no real snap. I tried to ride a steady pace today. The last few days I have ridden the first three or four splits at a higher pace than the rest. The pace has faded towards the end. Today I set out a bit slower but maintained the pace. Splits were between 18:43 and 19:15. The quickest was the last. This gives me an average speed of around 25km/hr give or take. This route is relatively flat and at sea level. It is paved but the pavement is often crap – so potholes and lumpy bits. It is also in traffic, so some starts and stops and some idiot avoidance. The temperature was 28C when I started and 34C when I finished. It pays to get an early morning start. I expect the riding conditions are much easier than most of what we will get on the Tour. So still lots to do.

Don’t forget to donate to the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania.

ChipIn: Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania