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It’s the tail end of January already. Christmas was an entire month ago.
The sun is still hanging around above the horizon come 16:00.
Time passing as quickly as it appears is worrying but the hint of better weather and more daylight coming my way is welcomed. I am certainly all wintered out now and ready for the spring…. he says, on the week when proper winter actually settled in!

Quite a few notable things have happened since I last posted about my training. There is also a couple of cool things that are going to happen as well.
I’ll blaze over the bulk of it and expand on some points.



Norovirus:

Monday 7th January. Norovirus well and truly infected our house.
Jo and I were absolutely floored and I can safely say I have never been so ill in my entire life. I went to bed at 22:00 on the Monday and other than getting up to be sick many, many times, I did not get back out of bed again until 19:00 on the Tuesday.

I lost 2KG of weight in 24 hours. Not ideal when I already weighed less than 60KG…. Recovery seems to have taken exceptionally long. It is only after an entire fortnight I can say I feel back to any form of normality.

noro-time-lost
^ 5 days of no training at all but even the week following “infection week” was a major strain.

Luckily Jo did not suffer as badly as I did (was still bad enough!) and little Rory avoided it completely (thank goodness) only to then come down with a nasty cold later in the week. It is safe to say that our house was a pretty grim place for quite some time but we are happy to have it all behind us now.



Fitness Revenge:

Saturday 19th January. My body appears to have rebounded from being wrecked and delivered some positive revenge via decent legs. Another out of the blue occurrence of the unexpected I spoke about previously in this post.

alpeduzwift-ride-data
^ Another 60min power PB indoors. Set during the “Tour de Zwift” stage on the Alpe du Zwift climb (a virtual version of Alpe d’Huez).

Some sort of capability/form returned to me and I was really glad it done it in this way. I finished 3rd on the stage from 1400 riders in the A category. Climb time was a 39:33 which appears to be pretty damn competitive in the grand scheme of things. The chump who done a 33:something up the climb got removed from the results by looks of it. Funny that! – https://www.zwiftpower.com/events.php?zid=121984

297w for 60mins = 5w/kg

309w for the climb (40mins) = 5.2w/kg

I can’t pretend to tell you why I rebounded like this. I am sure most will be in the same boat as me on this one. After 5 days of no training, major weight loss and a very struggled come back to routinely training on a knackered body….. How can that even happen? Maybe the forced rest (even though I felt like I was dying during it) and my immune system stabilising again rewarded me with a performance boost? If anyone may have any logic or idea on this then I would definitely be all ears.



Ice, Sheet Ice, Black Ice & No Choice Zwifting:

Sunday 20th January onward. Winter has finally arrived (again…). This week has seen various warnings for ice due to overnight rain in between clear skies and very low temperatures. I’ve been out riding in the silly cold for commutes and on Sunday morning long rides as you’ll know. Even I had to admit defeat this week. It has meant constant Zwifting in my freezing garage and I am getting really tired of looking at a computer screen. It sure beats crashing my bike however.

I did win an early morning Zwift race though. In a solo ride off the front on a flat course. Something that fails all the time, every time, usually.

zwift-race-win
^ 2min recovery after the race and then 10 minutes at SweetSpot. Proper keen for breakfast afterwards.

I just rode off the front at around 400w with 1.7km to go because most of the time these lads are all just looking for a sprint and I cannot be doing with that nonsense. This time it actually worked though. I seen I had 37m of a gap and then it stopped showing the distance behind in metres. I pushed on but with 1km still showing I had a tiny bit of doubt start to creep in. My legs really are not happy with this sort of thing so early in the mornings…. Two lads put out big watts in the last 400m and were gaining on me at an incredible rate. I JUST managed to hold on for the win.



February Round the Corner – Lab Testing:

Onto something that is going to happen now which I am really looking forward to. Lab testing.

From the middle of February onwards I will be visiting the Centre for Health Science which is part of the University of the Highlands & Islands. I will be performing VO2 maximal tests as well as getting full analysis on my body composition. This is something I have never done as a cyclist and only ever done once with SportScotland when I was running.

It’s a fantastic opportunity for me to obtain all of this information for use toward my own training on the bike. More importantly, I’ll be helping with some really awesome research.
The purpose of multiple tests over the three week period is to obtain data on blood flow to my legs with the use of thigh blood pressure cuffs. The researchers will use these in a strict protocol on my legs for two of the tests and take all the data they can from me. It’s hoped this will give them some valuable data to aid in the prevention of heart attacks further down the line. I would guess that many of you are like me and have personally seen what heart attacks can do to your loved ones. So if I can be of any use at all toward research in preventing heart attacks one day, I am more than happy to help. Even if it means losing some of my blood which I am really not a fan of!