Saturday, September 29

Spinning class - The road to Loudenvielle

It's been a while since I posted one of my classes, so here's another one of those stages from this year's Tour de France - this time the stage from Foix to Loudenvielle. After the usual warm up to loosen up the legs, it's time to start climbing - a comfortable climb at a steady pace, gradually increasing resistance. Then a flattish road (although that's no excuse to take it easy!) before another short but fast climb to get HR up to an uncomfortable level (around 80% HRR). A quick lull before the climb continues - not long enough to recover completely so even this steady climb feels that much harder. As we get closer to the top, we test our limits by increasing resistance. Then it's another quick recovery as we head downhill, before the big climb of the day.

So far, it's been a mix of hard steady climbs and fast but lighter climbing - now it's time to put the two together, starting again with a steady but relatively quick climb but gradually increasing resistance until it gets very uncomfortable and climb out of the saddle to maintain momentum. HR by this stage will be around 80-85% but, two minutes from the top of the climb, an increase in resistance and HR to 85-90%. Somewhere in that final minute, HR should cross the lactate threshold, the "red line", where breathing becomes difficult and legs start feeling a slight burning sensation. So the two-minute recovery as we head downhill should come as a relief, a chance to bring breathing under control.

With the final climb starting only three minutes from the finish, it's time to use up whatever energy is left in the tank. A fast climb but with quite hard resistance to start the climb with HR at 80-85%. After a minute, a slight increase in resistance to bring HR upto and slightly beyond the red line at 85-90%. Only one minute to go and it's going to be flat out - another increase in resistance to raise effort levels and HR up to 90-95%, crossing the line with a last gasp and complete relief at completing this challenging ride.

Of course, it's not necessary to push so hard - climbs can be taken more comfortably by lowering resistance and effort levels, while maintaining a steady cadence (leg speed) and with enough resistance to ensure controlled pedalling. HR will be approx 10% lower but still leaves a feeling of going from the aerobic, 70-75% zone to the slightly uncomfortable but manageable 80-85%. Self-control is sometimes necessary, e.g., when returning from injury, after a long break or if suffering from a hangover (been there, it's not nice!).

Warm up - 4 mins
Seated climb - 5 mins
Flat road - 4 mins
Fast climb - 5 mins
Recovery - 1.5 mins
Steady climb - 6mins
Recovery - 1.5 mins
The big climb - 8 mins
Recovery - 1.5 mins
Fast standing climb - 3 mins
Cool down - 5.5 mins


One wish for me - Miguel Migs
I wanna be U - Chocolate Puma
No scrubs - TLC
Rebel yell - Billy Idol
Duende del amor (night) - Ottmar Liebert & Luna Negra
Sahara - Kleopatra
Overdue goodbye (reprise) - Anastacia
Insomnia - Faithless
Harlem's nocturne - Alicia Keys
Hungarian - Bond
Touched by God - Katcha

Monday, September 24

I'd rather die than exercise!

Not me, I hasten to add, but only four in ten Britons would be motivated to do more exercise if their life depended on it, a poll has found. The British Heart Foundation (BHF) published the survey last week, as it launched a new television advert urging people to take more exercise. The charity's figures show that one person dies every 15 minutes as a result of physical inactivity. But increasing the heart rate for just 30 minutes a day can cut the risk of heart disease in half.

The survey of more than 2,000 adults found that 38% of people would be motivated do more exercise if their life depended on it. That leads me to think that 62% of the population would NOT do more exercise even if it guaranteed to save their life! This would go a long way to explain the apathy in Britain (and, presumably, the USA, as it's primarily an Anglo-Saxon problem) about obesity and the consequences on society.

I also found out last week that 80% of the NHS budget is spent on conditions directly related to food, drink or smoking. Considering the massive budget of the health service, imagine the amount of tax we'd save if people cared enough to take care of themselves. Think of that, next time you think obesity, excessive alcohol consumption and smoking don't affect you - these people cost you money!

As an additional bonus headline, the survey found that 8% of women said doing vigorous housework was their favourite form of exercise (what?), only 1% of men agreed (quelle surprise!). Mind you, who are these nutters? Housework is their FAVOURITE exercise? Sounds like some sort of fetish to me....

Sunday, September 16

Work is the thief of time

Ever feel like work gets in the way of life? Me, every day - probably why I sympathise so much with this guy:

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Monday, September 10

Warning: Facebook can be damaging to your spare time

Yep, this week I finally succumbed to the temptations of Facebook and spent more time on it than I'd like to admit. Despite my fears that it was all hype, just a glorified competition to have more friends than anyone else, a waste of time better spent actually speaking to people (how old fashioned!), I have to say that it has had its usefulness:

1 - it's great for finding old friends with whom I've lost contact
2 - it's surprising to find how many friends already know each other
3 - it makes it very easy to organise events, drinks, reunions, etc
4 - I've already "met" other people with similar interests to me
5 - for sharing those dreaded photos I'd hoped my friends had destroyed

All in all, great fun but I'm careful not to get involved with the myriad of virtual games it offers - the reason why many companies are trying to block access to Facebook by their staff.

Come find me - Robert Baldi. If you want to add me as a friend, make sure you tell me who you are - I may not recognise you by your real name!

Ciao for now,

Thursday, September 6

Requiescat in pace, Luciano

I don't know what to say but a comment from a guy interviewed on the news sums up the contribution Luciano Pavarotti has made: "I didn't even like opera until I heard Pavarotti sing at the World Cup"

Thank you Luciano for bringing some added culture to this island - you will be sorely missed.

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