Sportive Training Continues

It is hard to train for a slightly hilly Sportive when you are in the middle of a flat desert 5000km’s away from your bike. I am trying to keep my miles up on one of those Lemond static bikes and even have my cycling shoes and padded shorts with me so I can do some hours on the bike. This morning was a shorter session – 2 x 15min standing hill climbs. For me that is tightening the friction until difficult to pedal sat down then stand up and dance for those 15min.

HR on those two 'hills'
EPOC (training effect) - see the hump for the short respite

More Cyclosprtive tips I have picked up


Wear appropriate clothing
Make sure you carry appropriate clothing with you. I would never ride this event without a rain jacket, especially in October. As a mid-summer ride, I’d probably still take a light shell for the descents. A gilet is an essential bit of kit, I’d urge everyone to have one, and I rarely ride without wearing one. Arm warmers, knee warmers, helmet and gloves are all essential too, just remember conditions can change quickly in the hills and after every climb comes a descent.

Get out and ride
Miles, miles and more miles! There’s nothing to substitute getting out there on the road. Try and make it sociable; head to a café with your mates, take in some hills on the way. Try and build up your distance over the weeks, with a combination of slightly harder short midweek rides and a long one at the weekend. The key is to enjoy it, that’s why you ride after all!

I would not advocate doing intervals for a long ride. The base miles from your rides, as long as you push it on the climbs, should be enough for your next challenge.

Know how to climb
Climbing varies from person to person, hill to hill. Some riders may be able to push a big gear in the saddle, while others dance on the pedals. Don’t forget climbs hurt everyone. It’s just how riders deal with the pain that separates the fast guys from everyone else – along with talent and training, but that’s another matter.

Keep it steady
The key point in an event is not to go mad on the first few climbs. Start off nice and steady, try and stay seated in a comfortable gear, concentrating on keeping a smooth rhythm. Keep an eye on your cadence, it’s likely it’ll be lower than when you are on the flat – but you also don’t want to be pedalling at 50rpm. Personally, I climb at around 80-90rpm in the saddle. There are occasions where you’ll need to get out of the saddle – again don’t forget you’ve got several climbs in the event, so don’t waste your legs on the first climb. Keep the gear low and don’t fight the bike.

Staying relaxed on any climb is the key. This is a combination of your position on your bike and fatigue (I’ll get on to food later). Ideally you want to be sitting comfortably back in the saddle for these high cadence climbs, vary your hand position where needed, from the shifter hoods to the tops. It’s unnecessary until after you’ve crested the climb to be on the drops, this will just put more strain on your body.

Be a groupie
If there’s a headwind, try and keep in a group as there’s nothing worse than having the wind in your face with miles to go. Don’t get in a group that’s pushing you out of your depth right at the start though, you’ll only overcook it, get dropped and spend the rest of the climb/ride grovelling! Once again, a steady rhythm is essential. The target is the top of the climb, not a point 50m ahead of you. Use each crest or bend as an intermediate focus, but never forget the end goal.

If at all possible, try and avoid getting off and walking on any climb, you’ll lose all rhythm and it’s not going to be any more fun pushing.

Make sure you eat
A good solid breakfast will help you through the day; cereal, porridge, toast are best. If you must have a fry-up, don’t set off too quickly – give it sometime to digest!

Check out the course profile before hand, as this gives you the ideal opportunity to fuel up before each climb. Try getting some food down you on any flat section and remember to stay hydrated before you hit the climbs. Eating is crucial, as you’ll be putting out much more power climbing. I’d suggest on a 100-mile event,to go with 80 per cent solid foods and 20 per cent as a back-up of gels.

Although gels are easier to consume on the go, they do leave you feeling rather hollow and your stomach will always function better with some good solid foods in there. Use the gels as an emergency for when you’re near the end of the ride and you feel that ‘bonk’ coming on.  Depending on where it’s sensible to eat, when racing I always try to eat every 30 minutes, give or take. A hard training ride, I might go an hour, but always eat before you think you need to and refuel once you reach each summit. I’d suggest using an energy drink too, taking a gulp every 15 minutes or so.

Hopefully all these tips will help you succeed – and remember to smile it is supposed to be fun ….

Interval Tuesday

Good session in the gym today doing intervals. Have a race on Sunday so planned intervals for today and Thursday with a slow long run tomorrow and Friday. Saturday Rest.

Struggled with the intervals by the end – always hot in the gym without passing air to cool you down – interesting to see the EPOC – basically a measure of the the training effect. See it cresting by the end of the intervals then rise slower during the bike ride.

VO2 spikes up there nicely with the last of the 12mph interval – my little legs were buzzing afterwards. Was wondering how fast I could run … 12mph (5min/mile) is the fastest the machine in this gym goes.



VO2 MAX recording



slow run today 10km

Decided to go for a run today – had measured out a 10km route on WALKJOGRUN and was going to measure it with my Suunto T6 and GPS. As it happens my GPS was out of batteries so I decided to plod on. Just getting over my cold and a bit phlegmatic still so happy to be joined by Guy for a slower run. Didn’t realise how slow 10.3km in 51m … shameful but good I guess to do a low cardio run now and again.

Heart Rate and EPOC behind


Suunto T6C Review

Suunto T6C BLACK

Well it has been a month of intensive use on the T6C for me and I thought I would write a short review on it … it’s been about 30 hours of exercise so sweaty use mainly running and cycling. Most of this review is based on previous HRM I have owned and used … Polar 710 and a 625x , Garmin 301 and 405GPS


Well the Suunto is small and neat – it nearly looks like a normal digital watch. It is comfortable on the wrist and light. It is only 55g  and is waterproof to 100m. The cutouts on the strap sit comfortably on the wrist bones to when running. I used to find the Garmin a bit clunky and sharp edged – solved for me by running with a thin wrist sweatband to stop it rubbing banging too much. The Suunto is easily on par with the Polars and I forget it is there running until the auto lap beeps me to check my pace.


The features are great – it obviously does heart rate with a belt and has a barometer/ altimeter built in which is much better than the GPS fix the Garmin used to try. I have to confess now that I have a Suunto Core too so the menu system is very straight forward to me and I didn’t really need to consult the manual to find my way around. Not sure if the lovely Finnish watch is easy for everyone.


The best part of the Suunto and the movescount software is the EPOC and Training Effect information. They are linked but here is a brief blurb explanation:

EPOC with pace change halfway through

Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption

EPOC is the additional amount of oxygen the body needs to recover from exercise. Previously only measurable in sports laboratories, EPOC is a scientific indicator for the accumulated training load of each training session. Measuring your EPOC makes it possible to objectively gauge whether the training session was sufficient to improve your fitness level. EPOC is also used to calculate your Training Effect.

Training Effect: Any physical trainer will tell you that in order to maximize the impact of your workouts you need to train hard enough to make a difference, but not so hard that you injure yourself. Without a personal trainer to advise you, an optimal training range is exceedingly difficult to figure out because your target training zone will change as your fitness level improves. Suunto’s  Training Effect feature tells you whether you’re training too little, too hard or staying within the zones for optimal performance. Training Effect uses a simple 1-to-5 scale to display how intense your workout is based on your current fitness level. And with alarms, you’ll know as soon as you hit your limit. If for example you do a hard training at level 4 it suggests you do at least 2 sessions or recovery at 1 or 2 to prevent overtraining.

Training Effect is an accurate measurement of how hard you have trained. To calculate your personal Training Effect, Suunto heart rate monitors user data from your personal fitness profile and combines it with an analysis of your physiological progress in real time. Your heart rate monitor then formulates your Training Effect, presented as a number on a scale from 1-5.

The other remaining body parameters provided by the analysis software of Suunto t6 are energy consumption, ventilation, oxygen consumption and respiratory rate.


The T6C uses the Ant Pod system – I have a bike Pod as well as a GPS Pod. One of the nicest things is that you can set speed on the watch to display individually for these pods. I have the GPS set to min/km for running (pace) and the bike one is set to km/h (speed)

The downside:


Firstly memory
I thought this Suunto would be a bit like the Core in that once memory got full the old entries in the logbook were overwritten (unless they were protected. With the T6C this is not the case – the watch still records total duration but stos recording exact parameters. When that happens you get an entry like this on Movescount

Memory Full - the result

So halfway thought a cycle and just as I started doing repetitions … a wee bit of a pain but lesson learnt. I reckon that recording all parameters ever 2sec (speed, HR, altitude, gps) will give you around a 4hr session recorded. Switch to /10sec if doing a longer race.


I have scratched the face of the watch so wrote to Suunto to see if there is some fancy scratch remover and I got this reply …..

Dear Sir,

Thank you for contacting Suunto.

The material used for the display in the t6/t6c models is mineral crystal glass. While mineral crystal glass is scratch resistant, this does not mean that the display is scratch proof and if used in rough conditions like mountain climbing we would recommend use of a display shield.

Unfortunately there is no product that can remove the scratches, but it is possible to replace the display at our service center.

With best regards,
Suunto Helpdesk

Trying out movescount the website commun…

Trying out movescount the website community for Suunto Users. Looks pretty good and the analysis software on site is much better than Garmin Connect. I particularly like the EPOC and Training Effect of the new watch – the S6C. Better for HRM than my old Polar 625x and a GPS built in like my Garmin 405.

Good old eBay – someone’s unwanted old toy

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