MTB Journey September 10 – October 17

4 Sept- early afternoon. Nice and dry in the park for an afternoon ride 78.23 minutes. My best effort in quite some time. My bike is making a lot of odd noises, the bottom bracket is rooted I think. I need to get the bike serviced by someone who knows what they are doing because I am a mechanical idiot and do it yourself initiatives tend to end up costing me more. There’s a pretty good bike shop in Manukau an they have expanded their workshop capability.

6 September. A bit wet so decided to go around the streets. Bike even nosier and squeaking and cut short my normal route.

11 September. I felt full of beans. I’m having a week off, I am feeling good, the tracks are in good nick. My time of almost 84  minutes is a disappointment. I am always a little slower in the morning but 5 minutes?

13 September. On the road again. Feeling good. Run into some kind of police operation on Great South Road so had to make a detour. Then I discovered it was quite windy. So while I felt good, and my bike was running like a well oiled machine, I didn’t get close to my best time for this route. The detour I had to take was about 600 metres in the end so maybe that was the difference? It will be Wednesday, if we get home at a decent hour or Thursday before I get back on the bike. Not sure about the weather, though its warming up and the tracks are in good condition.

15 September. Training has taken a back step as we’re in National Park and there has been some eating and drinking and very little exercise. Its quite cold here. But I did achieve something today, a picture of the world’s biggest carrot in Ohakune. I have decided 90 kg is a good weight target for me as I try to improve my biological engine’s performance. I wonder how far away I am from that, certainly feel better when I am lighter.

I’ve considered engaging a nutritionist and a coach. The best option would be to get good professional advice, but I’m determined to do this myself because this will be the most satisfying option personally. In other words, a striking example of Fenwick bloody mindedness which is embedded in our DNA.

I’m convinced it’s not a hopeless fantasy that even though I’m getting older there is an opportunity to gain some speed, fitness, and improve my performance. Analysis of my results indicates that my times hold up better with a greater tempo, so even with Peak on its way and I have a requirement to be on deck at 7am most work days, I’m planning to try and ride alternate mornings while I have the opportunity and failing that at least three days a week.

If we get home at a decent hour tomorrow I’ll go for a ride. Next time we come to this part of the world I’ll bring my MTB as there are a lot of tracks in this neck of the woods.

18 September .Early AM ride, good conditions, 81 minutes flat. 6 minutes to target but 3 minutes faster than my last ride a week ago!

I enjoy riding but sometimes thinking about the effort required puts me off and puts me off from rolling out of bed and getting underway. I’m better off just jumping out of bed and get going. I have good lights and if its a bit wet I’m happy to ride around the road, especially on the weekend. Once I get out of the house the negative thoughts generally vanish and I always feel a great sense of achievement when I’m finished.

Generally, once I make the effort everything clicks into place and I feel I get faster as I roll through the MTB circuit. Maybe I should alter my route and go right out of the driveway, around to the beginning of the walking track that leads to the main carpark at the entrance to the track, as a warmup.

I’m keen to make the most of my ability to physically ride and the availability of places to cycle close to where I live, given I’m not getting any younger! I’m banking on the idea that the more effort I apply, the longer I will be able to enjoy physical activity, and it will be beneficial for my over all health. Well that’s the theory anyway. Broken bones, scratches, contusions, and joint problems excluded.

I didn’t realise it initially, but its actually quite windy this morning which might have slowed me down when I had to ride into it directly. Also gives me a boost in some areas, especially the last long haul up the road from the park to home. My body works like a sail, another good reason to work on losing a bit of weight.

Once I hit my target I’m going to reward myself with a new bike. I’m sure a better spec’d machine would help me achieve my goal faster but I reckon that would be cheating if I immediately hit my target straight off with a new, better chunk of machinery. I’m not planning to get a full suspension bike, maybe the best mid range hardtail?

20 September. Early AM Ride, good conditions 84 minutes flat. 3 minutes slower than Friday, my target seems a long way off again. I felt I finished strongly, but once again the data tells a different story. Had a couple of slight mishaps which slowed me down. I’m certainly feel a lot faster in the day.

I have been reading up a little on how to improve my fitness and improve my speed. I’m not sure how much applies to old men, while I still believe I can get faster and get fitter, there will come a point where its all down hill or at least a slow decline in capability and capacity. I’m certainly feeling porky, so losing a bit of weight wont hurt at all. Less bread and beer. More water, veges and fruit.

24 September. Nothing to report for the last few days. Have felt a bit demotivated this week. Hopefully get into some riding over the weekend. Could possibly have gone for a ride this evening, but I used my discretionary time to go and get my eyes checked. No significant change since my last checkup a year ago which is something to be pleased about.

26 September. Early AM, just a touch under 80 minutes. 4 minutes better than the last ride in similar conditions. I did a couple of PBs and 2nd fastest times. Even though I felt good and I’m pretty pleased with myself, I’m still 5 minutes off my target and a minute off my best time this month, an early afternoon ride. This might be a pointer to the time of the day I should make my attempt. Having said that, my best time was completed at about the same time I rode this morning. I want to achieve my target before I need to do something about my knee which is giving me a bit of trouble.

The challenge with Strava is that it doesn’t record the segments consistently so its difficult to compare segments each ride. One day it records me doing 16.44 km and the next the same route is over 17k m.

2 October Friday mid afternoon. 77.04 minutes. Almost 3 minutes better than Sunday morning and just 30 seconds off my best time. Despite my confidence that my target was achievable, I was beginning to wonder wonder whether I had set my sights a bit high. However, given I hadn’t really prepared properly today I’m pretty pleased with myself and the target doesn’t seem that far away. Conditions were hard and fast, there was quite a wind though. My front wheel was also loose, might not have been properly secured after I’d had it serviced. The seat post was loose which I discovered when it dropped suddenly. This slowed me down while I positioned it correctly and secured it. Yikes. So there might be a minute or two there.

8 October Thursday afternoon. 78 minutes. A bit longer than the other day, it took me a good 15 seconds to take the screen lock off my phone when I got hone, so not a bad time considering it was quite windy again. I almost didn’t go because when I got to the end of the drive it started to drizzle and I had to slow down for a few walkers at the beginning of the trails. The Strava app has me trending faster. Just need to make a greater effort on the flat and downhills while conditions are good and keep myself upright while testing my ability. Felt strong on the return leg. 6 achievements!

10 October Saturday morning. A touch under 78 minutes. Better than Thursday afternoon but still not where I want to be. I am circulating consistently at less than 80 minutes which is pleasing. It took me a long while to hit this target. Next time I am going to do 5 minutes on the exercise bike to warm up and eat a banana before I shoot off. I might have another crack tomorrow afternoon and then try one morning during the week, so I get at least two rides a week while conditions are good and time allows as we get into Peak at work.

12 October Monday. Decided to make a commitment to not drinking until I have cracked my target, so I had better hurry up. Ideally want to get this nut cracked by the end of November.

17 Oct Saturday morning. A touch under 82 minutes. 1.21.48. Disappointing. I tried the warm up idea this morning, and I felt pretty strong, especially in the second half of the circuit. Once again the clock doesn’t lie. However, if my time can fluctuate 4 minutes one way, then I feel my target is achievable. I might have another ride in the morning, and one in the afternoon later in the week. My best time was achieved in the morning, but I always feel stronger in the afternoon so that’s when I’ll really have a crack.

I have felt out of sorts for the last few days. I think I got a bit dehydrated last weekend after over doing things on Saturday. Following up the ride with mowing the lawn and going for a walk and not drinking enough water, and felt the impact all week. I should know better because its not the first time I have got myself into this cycle of not drinking enough water and topping up on coffee or beer:-)

Despite my lofty ambitions, I didn’t manage to get a ride in this week, I came home early on Thursday but it was wet, cold and miserable, so I watched tv instead. I tweaked my knee on my Thursday morning walk which had me a bit worried and was a demotivating factor. Its going to need an operation at some stage but I am trying to put that off for as long as possible. Seems to have settled down a bit now and doesn’t impact my cycling.

Early fail on the abstention from drinking!

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