Smaller Cogs, Bigger gears.

Really pleased to have finished last week with a run of 20km. My ankle is stiff, but not painful so the rehab is working.

I’d swapped out my rear cassette of gears from a 13-29 to a 12-23. This makes it harder to climb, but the bike rolls faster. Perfect for two things. First smashing my legs, second climbing the leaderboards on Strava.

Early mornings and gears being bigger and smaller make for confusion when making a video diary. Excuse the mistake! 

Strava is a great motivation for me, and training solo. It makes it much harder to ease off on a particular goal. It’s like a virtual race, but one you don’t know where you are in relation to your competition until you get home. That works both ways, either complacent or too aggressive.  Either way it keeps me focussed on pushing hard on climbs and descents.

I’ve been eyeing “Aero” a segment climb in Coed y Brenin in the Wen valley. It’s about 1.3km with an average grade of 10%, though the steepest section is 25%. With my normal time of around 7 minutes and the KOM being 5:38 to get the first spot would need a lot of pain. 

I moved from fifth to second after the ride, 16 seconds back from KOM but 38 seconds ahead of third.  I’ve an idea where I can gain the time. It needs a later start than 0530 and a bit more temperature in the air. I’ll be back.


12.8.2013 Training from Ashley Charlwood on Vimeo.

Cooking, a teaspoon of cement and soup for the soul

So having just written an article about balancing training and life for Andy Mouncey  this week sucked a big one for training. 5am starts and at 11pm finishes meant for 5 days training wasn’t an option, and Saturday I was washed out totally so training was completely unappealing.

Saturday then, I put to checking out how my cook kit would work out for Marathon des Sables. I’ve got the equipment and fuel to under 200g for the race, but I really wanted to check that it’d work in the wind. I’m going to be eating dehydrated food, so need to get some heat into the water I’ll use for reconstitute. I’m using an Alpkit Mytimug  to cook in, an MSR Titan tool spoon, both of which I have used a good bit on different trips. But to get the weight down, and as I’m not going to be worried about speed I’m going for an Esbit titanium stove. That and some solid fuel tabs will see me through the race, tests show that 10 mins is what it takes to boil the right amount of water. I can wait whilst I’m recovering! The only thing I need to work on is the high performance wind shield – tin foil. Job done.

Last night I realised that work wasn’t going to be much better this week, I might get the chance to do a few 40 minute runs in the morning, but not much else. So although I woke up really tired, and it was miserable with wind and rain, I needed to head out for some kind of exercise. My ankle is taped at the moment because of a sore Achilles, so a long run would have been a bit daft, though it is getting to the point where I want to test it.

A long ride would be perfect. Took a metaphorical teaspoon of cement and went out. Got a category 2 climb  in and a bunch of category 3’s so the training effect is good.

Achilles KT taping.
Achilles KT taping.

What the ride has taken out of me physically, it has given me a whole load back mentally. So it was definitely worth it!