Tuesday, 2 September 2014

high intensity training a review

After what has been a relatively light year in the guff programme thoughts turn to how to keep motivated through the winter and that perennial struggle between time available and effort required. Old style training suggest getting the miles in but that is not always possible.
The start to this year was helped by some high intensity training. It is good for weight loss and aerobic capacity though may not be so helpful at building stamina and endurance. That can come later once you are in the fit zone.
Hiit is essentially short burst interval training that you can do on the turbo first thing in the morning. Morning is apparently best since it sets your metabolism in motion for the day. Also it can be a tad unpleasant and not something you want to have hanging over you all day.
Looking for something a bit more cycling specific this guffer opted for a tome Cycling: hiit bicycle training guide by Ted Hardy It is not weighty. In fact it could be described as a pamphlet running to around 30 pages covering some notes on weight, building strength and speed and the benefits of hiit along with a few typos that are presumably are included for free. Read over a cup of coffee it is short on detail and disappointingly offers only 3 cycling based routines of which number 3 is a more intense version of number 1. The chapter ends by cheekily suggesting you make your own routine. The author then, curiously, spends about twice as much time discussing what to wear. It gives the sense of having been written backwards from this point and left this guffer questioning the point. It seems more like the material that a personal trainer would hand out to keep you going to the next session. It looks glossy and of course if you had a personal trainer you would shell out a lot more than the price of the pamphlet.
So not the best option then and it may be better to try Fast Exercise by Dr Michael Mosley which seems all together better thought out and written with detailed sections on the supporting science. It spends around 45 pages on different, not just cycling based workouts. That's longer than this whole pamphlet even with the tips on apparel. All for around the same price.
It should be pointed out that there are other websites and shops selling these publications.

Monday, 1 September 2014

m74 extension

The route heading out from Abington is often mentioned as a guff favourite and it seems right that we should visit at least once per year. The route is usually around 67km/42miles including the climb of Lowther hill but we have mentioned trying to lengthen the route. With this in mind this guffer set off on an experiment. Starting at the usual place in Abington and heading north towards Douglas. A hunch suggested that this would not be an especially pretty road and so it proved. The surface was pretty worn creating a fair road buzz and there wasn't much in the way of scenery ahead as the road runs parallel with the M74 and has what seems like the spoil from building that road piled up at the side. Still 16km/10 miles done and the worst is over and  looking back provides a quick reminder of one of the main reasons why this route has become such a favourite.

A quick left into Douglas and beyond then take the first left handily signposted for Crawfordjohn and the roads have returned to those so familiar of the area. Rolling with a few kicks and curiously fast.

Our usual route follows two river valleys but extending the route opens out views of the radar on Lowther hill.

The detour then rejoins the route south to Sanquhar all of 2km from Crawfordjohn. So far the road covered 30km with around 365m of climbing but in what felt like a very pacy hour. A wee extra detour south of Sanquhar avoided the main road and joined up with the route out of Drumlanrigg just short of the turn for Wanlockhead but again the radar is never far from view.

August in the Mennock Pass brings with it a special treat with heather in full bloom that turns the place a psychedelic purple. Photos are now obligatory as was much singing about Bonny Lassies, Purple Haze, Buzz Buzz Buzz honey bees and any other tangential references that caught the eye

The ascent onto Lowther hill didn't disappoint. Though there seen to be more and more additions to the barriers to keep any vehicles out. Even the skinny ones it seems. The return in Abington was satisfyingly fast and brought the average up to something near to respectable. The surface could do with upgrading immediately beyond the cattle grid out of Wanlockhead but otherwise it proved to be fine day 85km/53miles 1130m climbing.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

not a fairy tale

It is a tough old business this cycling lark with few if any fairy tale endings. David Millar's last season has been a bit of a mixed bag. Early season promise celebrated with racing fancy shoes. In the middle dropped from Team Garmin for Tour de France and valiant but ultimately unsuccessful efforts in the Commonwealth Games Time Trial and Road Race. So good to hear that he starts the Vuelta in Spain today and you would want to wish him well. That's the word on the streets of Glasgow.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Lest we forget

Today marks the 100th Anniversary since Britain joined World War 1. Private John Parr  joined his local regiment, the Middlesex, he became a reconnaissance cyclist, trained to ride ahead to retrieve information quickly for commanding officers. He is believed to be the first British soldier to lose his life in World War One, however this may not be the case:


Lest we forget

The big G

Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014 - Men's Road Race 


The last words to David Millar:

The world is a pretty cynical place, professional sport as well. It's just part of it, but these games fortunately are a fairly cynicism free environment. This has a lot to do with the fact that you have such a diverse group of people. You are competing with people who have full time jobs, for whom this is a once in a lifetime experience. It's very humbling and it brings you back down to Earth and reminds you of just how lucky you are.

Stay upright

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Look Mum, no Hans

So far, the travels of this guffer have resulted in very little time in the saddle. Thankfully, a recent work trip to Copenhagen provided the opportunity to explore the city from the perfect spot, a bike saddle. 

The original plan was to post a series of 'just because' pics, but the sheer amount of bike paraphernalia quickly put an end to that plan. Oh, there was also a short trip over the bridge to visit Malmo, Sweden.

chain guard fetish in Malmo. The salads from the shop in the background are delicious

Cykelköket in Malmo is a do-it-yourself-shop where you can fix your bike or build a new from their store of old frames.

and you can accessories to your heart's content

The King of Trackstands

The shop was closed, but will certainly be visited when I return

you can't beat a nice bit of external butting

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

thinking a load of guff

Looking back over some old posts you could be forgiven for thinking that we should re-title our blog grumpy riders talk guff about the weather. And in our defence it is a subject that is never far from the riders' thoughts since we need to think ahead when getting out on those roads. Today however proved to be one of those perfect sunny days that have you thinking, this is why I ride. Crisp blue skies, bright sunshine and even a hint of heat taking the temperature to a toasty 13 degrees. In the circumstances a long is an obligation and on the route south and towards Stewarton there was the reward of views to the southern uplands before turning for home and the delight of Ben Lomond and Arrochar Alps beyond all with a dusting of snow. Smiles all round. A definite sense that spring is on the way. There have been a couple of hints with the pre spring classics and then Milan - San Remo with the sight of Cancellara out-sprinting Cavendish. The Classics just around the corner might just be time to put the turbo away stop the thinking and the talking and get out there and enjoy.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Plans afoot

Guff towers has been quiet of late, but a few guffers are finding fun on shank's pony. Running along local paths and mountain bike routes (roots) certainly makes you view the landscape from a different perspective. The only issue is when you return home, check the strava feed and realise that you are quicker running than cycling! That last statement provides an insight to the amount of time spent in the saddle.

Thankfully, 2014 saddle time is now underway, but has a somewhat vacant feel due to the lack of key dates in the diary. However, there are a few plans - one which will include the The West Highland Way; another tackles a road route that climbs over the famous Bealach na Bà and there is a possibility of another trip to Morzine for some epic mountain biking, this will hopefully offer a chance to catch Le Tour.

One major event that is a favourite of cyclesguff may see this guffer cheering from afar. The 33éme Paris-Roubaix Cyclotourisme takes place on the 8th June. During at a recent Whisky and Cheese guffers get together there was talk of a cycleguff entry. I know that my bike is up to the task, as for me... 

On the subject of bikes, cyclesguff pedalled along to attend the Ben Wilson talk at the Lighthouse. Ben's talk was part of feral studio a Glasgow School of Art, School of Design initiative. A theme that ran through Ben's talk was the rise in bike culture; he's probably too humble to admit this, but he's played an integral part. His energy for designing, engineering, fabrication, playing and the enjoyment of watching others experience his work is infectious. So let's allow his work to do the talking. The rush to buy oxy acetylene torches and place orders with Ceeway is underway.

 Stay upright