Friday, January 6, 2012

Trainer Rides and Head Colds

No one likes being sick, especially not me. I've been known to revert to child like behavior with the first itchy throat or stuffy head. It really annoys me because I did 2 trainer sessions this week thus avoiding the freezing temps. Yesterday I rode 3 hours but it was mid 30's, tropical when compared to the previous days. Last night I decided to reward a good week on the eve of an easy day with some scoops down in Providence. I met Joe at Julians for a Blackbean Veggie burger and some IPA.
I knew the cold was in the post but hopefully I can be a baby today, drink lots of fluid (after I get through my customary 2 mugs of black gold this morning) and nip it before tomorrow so I can ride in what is looking like a beautiful day. The trainer rides are going to be very effective for me. Last year I just hammered on the trainer when I felt like it but at the advice of one of my teammates this year I'll do structured heart rate trainer sessions. Without a powermeter, HR is the next best thing. The sessions at this time of year are structured around longer reps and sub threshold HR. On tuesday I did 4 x 10 minutes at 175-80 HR or about 85% of Max. On Wednesday I did big gear work with 3 x 15 minutes at 75-80 RPM, holding a HR at 80% or a little higher of Max. The HR graph can be seen on Strava
3 X 15 minutes big gear work
4X 10 minutes sub threshold

Strava is basically an online training diary with a bunch of add-on features such as maps and average speed/cadence/power etc. You can also compare sections of your ride with all those who have previously ridden those sections and who use Strava. In fact there are guys and gals who seem to want KOM strava status to the point that they seek out popular Strava routes and hammer the sections! I think its a great program and I'll continue to post my training on there.

I listened to PJ Harvey - Let England Shake on my ride yesterday. It is certainly one of the best albums of 2011. Easily in my top 5. I haven't played it in a while but yesterday I went through it twice. I haven't read too many year end lists but I assume this record ranked pretty high on most. There are no bad songs on it. Its certainly a political album. The Guardian described it like so, "an opaque exploration of Englishness delivered in a high, keening voice, that contains not one, not two, but three harrowing songs that explicitly reference the 1915 Gallipoli campaign and a further handful that seem more generally informed by the carnage of the first world war – represents one of the more approachable albums in her oeuvre."
All that aside, the record is full of great songs and melody. Like all great artists PJ Harvey didn't make another PJ Harvey record. She explored a new sound and took on a new challenge with this record. No big fanfair, no promotion, just a fluid and very infectious album. Essential listening. I remember the first time I saw PJ Harvey in concert and I was amazed by the power of her voice given her petit size against the back drop of a massive main stage at the Oxegen festival in Ireland. I was with my friends Grogee and Julie. We danced and sang along even though we didn't know the words. Great times.

Peace and Love,