Sunday, March 30

Great Britain rules the world!

Well, in track cycling, anyway. We've won almost every event at the Track World Championships - so many victories, that I don't know where to start!

Bradley Wiggins won our first gold at the Men's Individual Pursuit and then joined his compatriots Edward Clancy, Geraint Thomas and Paul Manning to bag the Team Pursuit title, setting a new world record beating Australia's record set at the 2004 Olympics. Then Rebecca Romero, rowing silver medallist at the Athens Olympics and who switched to cycling in 2006, won gold in the Women's Individual Pursuit. Her achievement is made greater by the fact she was very late to cycling and is one of very few athletes to have success at different disciplines. Finally, Victoria Pendleton and BMX specialist Shanaze Reade defended their Women's Team Sprint title. So far, so normal - Britain has become so good at track cycling that good performances are now the norm (unlike our efforts in other sports!) and we won seven golds in Mallorca last year.

We narrowly missed out on the Men's Team Sprint, coming second to France by a split second but Rebecca Romero claimed her second gold medal as part of the British Women's Pursuit Team, setting a new world record for good measure - despite not having had any race practice. Chris Hoy's unexpected victory (it was his first time in the event) in the Men's Sprint took Great Britain's gold medal tally to six and made him the first rider to win world titles in the four speed events - the Kilometre, Team Sprint, Keirin and Individual Sprint. Not an easy task, given the different tactics and demands of each event and his Sprint victory is Britain's first since 1954.

Chris Hoy went on to also retain his Men's Keirin crown but not before an exciting event in the Madison. The British pair, Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish, were so closely marked that they were stifled every time they tried to catch up to the three teams that were a lap ahead. To compete for the medals, they would have to regain that lap but found it frustrating when their efforts (usually in conjunction with Germany and New Zealand) were countered, usually by the Spanish team. With 40 laps to go, it looked like Britain would miss out on a medal but the pair made one final attack, pushing so hard that they looked as if they were racing in a Sprint rather than a 200-lap Madison. They not only caught the back-enders but stayed with the pack despite attacks at the front and crossed the line with more points than second-placed Germany (who also caught up the pack in the final stages).

To top it off, Victoria Pendleton once again dominated the Women's Individual Sprint. And dominate she did, making it look easy as she allowed her opponent to lead by several lengths before taking control and bursting past her to claim her second gold and Britain's ninth. Unfortunately, she couldn't add to that total in the Keirin on the final day, having to content herself with a hard-fought silver - she was visibly disappointed and this seems to be one of the few sports in which our athletes expect to win.

The final tally of medals for Britain was:

Individual Sprint - Men's Gold / Women's Gold
Individual Pursuit - Men's Gold / Women's Gold
Team Pursuit - Men's Gold / Women's Gold
Team Sprint - Men's Silver / Women's Gold
Keirin - Men's Gold / Women's Silver
Madison - Gold

We failed to get any medals in the Scratch, Points, Time Trial races, either Men's or Women's, or in the Omnium (the Pentathlon of track cycling) but we have some prospects for the future. We won seven of the ten track events in the Olympics but there's still room for improvement - let's make it a clean sweep in Beijing!

Now is the time to recognise Britain's talent, rather than hiding their successes behind the failures of our cricket and football teams (I would add rugby but we're rather good at that!). Athletes have been given honours for their achievements, why not the same for Chris Hoy, Bradley Wiggins, Victoria Pendleton et al? I expect to see at least one of them shortlisted for this year's BBC Sports Personality award... although it's certain to go to Lewis Hamilton.

Victoria Pendleton - who says cyclists aren't glamourous?

Saturday, March 29

Spinning class: Trailblazer

Time to start catching up and post the rides I was leading before I went on holiday - seems like an eternity ago! This one I call Trailblazer because I used a track by that name from Podrunner - free hour-long tracks with a constant rhythm to which I listen while running, useful for keeping a set cadence throughout.

The aim behind this ride is to experience aerobic intervals - rather than going "all-out" for short periods of time (anaerobic), the idea is to find a level of effort that could, if necessary, be sustained for the entire ride. By breaking it up into chunks, I allow riders to push a little beyond their comfort zone to find a level that challenges them but yet is within their control. The "on" periods become shorter to allow for tiring legs, unsustainable effort levels, etc.

The "on" periods are where resistance is at the higher end; "off" is at the lower end. How high and how low depends on the individual - either work very hard during the "on" and recover during the "off" periods or work a little more comfortably but without needing a recovery. In terms of RPE, that would mean either 8 on / 3 off or 6 on / 5 off. As you can see from the HR graph, I chose the latter on this occasion.

Warm up - 3 mins
First Set - 5 mins on / 1 min off, repeat three times
Second Set - 4 mins on / 1 min off, repeat three times

For a 45-min ride, add another 4 min "on" period before proceeding to the cool down. Otherwise, for an hour-long ride, continue thus:

Third Set - 3 mins on / 30 secs off, repeat three times
Fourth Set - 2 mins on / 30 secs off, repeat three times
Final Set - 1 min on
Cool down - 5 mins

HR Profile:

You should be able to pick out the rising curves of the various sets (3x5min, 3x4min, 3x3min, 3x2min, 1min)

Past - Sub Sub
Trailblazer - DJ Steveboy
Nyah and Ethan - Hans Zimmer

Thursday, March 27

Business cards

I can't believe it's been two weeks already since my last post! I've been teaching a lot of spinning classes lately, as word has spread that I'm available to cover daytime classes since I gave up my desk job. I've also upped my training to about 15 hours a week (still not nearly enough but I haven't even started running yet) - I've been able to fit it in around my classes, so it's kept me busy most days.

Ideally, I'd like to have regular daytime classes; aside from the steady income it would bring, it's also better for the members - I've noticed that the ones who attend on a regular basis have become fitter and stronger, as I've been able to plan their training across the year.

As a first step on getting more cover work and, eventually, more regular classes, I played around with Photoshop and drew up my own business cards to make it easier to ply for business. Less than a week after sending the design to an online card company, they arrived this morning... and I have to say they are the badger's nadgers. Or the mutt's nuts. Blue, laminated... I even put in a watermark!

Which reminded me of this clip, from American Psycho:

Not loading? Click here!

Tuesday, March 11

Crash landing!

Nothing to do with the flight, which was superb (well done yet again, BA). I've been back exactly a fortnight now but it's been to readjust to the British weather, after enjoying 40c+ sunshine in Goa and returning to a grey and wet 10c in London. HUMPH! If you think I'm being awkward, imagine a 30c drop in temperature... in London that would mean -20c, probably bringing the whole country to a standstill (hey, we stop trains for a few flakes of snow). I miss my sweet lassi and Goan fish curry!

Since coming back (actually, since leaving my day job at the civil service) I've not had much time to relax but yesterday I spent the whole day just loafing around the house. I now feel fully recharged and ready to start planning new classes, visiting clubs to get more work, emailing friends, blogging, cycling, etc. Only today, have I managed to get around to buying some food - I was one day away from having to use caster sugar in my porridge (yeuch!). I've yet to start running properly (i.e., 10K+), let alone any other type of cross-training, so I'll start doing that on a regular basis too.

Some photos from the trip are available on Facebook, although I may post them here soon (along with my itinerary). I can recommend India as a holiday but make sure you avoid the cities at all costs, unless you get your kicks from noisy, polluting auto-rickshaws and their incessant beeping - not to mention the traffic, dust, smog, etc. Urgh! Much better in the countryside, jungle and the beach.... sigh!

Namaste for now