Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Belgium trip with Rapha women's team

I spent the last Sunday in Belgium with a Rapha Condor women's team. I got the invitation from Rene Groot, who works for Rapha and managing the women's team in the same time. I turned to be the team's mechanic for one day on the Stad Roeselare belgian race.

We met at Rapha office late Saturday afternoon and after loading up the van we headed out to Dover. We taken the ferry to Calais and spent the night in a French hotel on the Belgian- French border.
The team was formed by:
- Hannah Manley (junior)
- Gabriella Shaw
- Charlotte Colclough
- Emma Grant
- Rebecca Curley
- Natalie Creswick

And Rene, Steev and myself were the crew.

I couldn't stay on my ass... never... I headed out for an hour run before breakfast...
Sunday morning after breakfast we drove over Belgium from the hotel and got involved in the race preparation. Steev and me checked over the bikes and fitted race numbers, Rene tried to managing the girls. The junior race started early. Hannah did very well, she finished 2nd!

Hannah nails down

The main race started 13:45. Our 5 girls signed up 12:30 and got ready for the start.

Miss Curley concentrates before start...

All major pro women's team were over there, I seen Garmin - Cervelo, Specialized factory and other big names. I spent a race in the team bus with Steev and Hannah (who had a verbal diarrhoea from the post race adrenaline...). We followed the peleton and picked up our pulled out riders. The tempo was incredible fast and everybody got pulled out, who was 5 minutes more behind the leader group. When the peleton climbed up on Kemelberg ( 9% avg, 20% max, cobbles..) we just had one rider in race. Only Natalie managed to finish of the race.

Emma on the Kemmelberg

After packed in the van, we headed back to Calais and thanks for Rene unbelievable driving skill, we didn't miss the boat!

Personally I didn't have to much to do during the race, but I tried to help everywhere... I hope nobody had a complain! :D
This weekend was an amazing experience for me. I have to say thanks for the whole " Charlie and angels" team for this great weekend and the opportunity. I hope we will see you each other again!

And my thought:
- only one rider finished from our team,BUT I know and seen everybody did the best, that is racing - very tough
- this girls aren't pros, everybody work full or part time and didn't get paid for the racing (and I am nasty now.... but this six ladies still look for ladies and not females with hairy face and deep voice... )
- big respect for Rene, who looks after this girls in his own time and works like a professional team manager and Steev, who helps everywhere....
- I hope the team gets more publicity in the future and hopefully more sponsorship
- and.... I got a big "bag" of motivation again... it is good sign! ;)

( I stolen the pictures from Steev and Kris Claeye, I will upload mine one after my holiday...)

Monday, 25 April 2011

Back into running....

I have a busy but awesome week behind me. I started the last week (Tuesday... my weeks start with Tuesday all the time) with a running session after 2,5 weeks off from running. Martin (SuppleWorX muscle magic man) gave me green light again. My hip is looks like nearly on the right place and my length different between my two legs just 0,5 cm!
I did my first run on treadmill, just for better control and less chance to do something stupid. It was a quite interesting experience, I couldn't really control my legs in the first couple of minutes. Get back nearly the full range of motion on both legs is very strange feeling, I felt my legs absolutely over the place. The guy from the next treadmill gave me some funny look during my fight with the gravitation and "wobbly" treadmill. I got the situation under control 5 minutes later. I just did 9km under 40 minutes on some moderate pace. I finished the day with a little ride in the park, workshop was busy during the day and I didn't left too much energy for the evening ride. Next day I woken up with little muscle soreness in my legs. It was great to feel me legs again!
The workshop was absolutely awful during Wednesday and Thursday. I did only one gym session, 3k run in my Frees and 1,5 hours cycling in the park. I didn't have a chance to recover and get enough sleep. I managed to go early in bed on Thursday night.... and I was awake 5:30 on Friday morning. Friday was bank holiday and we had short opening time, 11 till 5. Dave, Jay and me had a meeting in the park for a little group ride around 8 o'clock. I launched out myself on the door quarter past six and did 1 hour and 20 minutes before our meeting. We did three laps altogether and chatted about cycle porn and this kind of silly stuff. After 35k and my continues complaining about my empty stomach we headed back to the shop for an espresso and some food. I didn't calculate right and I went out with 2 Cliff shots and without breakfast for nearly 3 hours ride.... stupidos! I stuffed myself up with good food during the day and I was full with energy again. I couldn't stay at home after work, my energy level was so high, the weather was gorgeous and I headed out for an easy pace run. I wanted to test my legs on road now. Well.... testing happened, but I lost the "easy pace" in the first 300m. I felt my muscles want to explode and I couldn't keep back myself. I did 10.7km in 42:54. Upss... 4:01 min/km avg? Okok... This isn't easy pace. My legs were effortless and I could carry on this run much longer, but I pulled the handbrake! Step to step...

Saturday was a very big day for me! I turned to be the Rapha women's team's mechanic during the weekend. Friend of mine, Rene Groot, who works for Rapha and managing the women's team in the same time (looks like Charlie and his angels... :D )gave me a buzz on last Monday. The team's mechanic couldn't make this weekend, and the girls were without spanner monkey. He kindly offered this temporarily position for me! I had to say yes! The race was in Belgium. We drove over there on late Saturday afternoon. But, I started the day very early with a good 70km ride. I just did my usual Wandsworth- Croydon- Epsom- Kingston- Richmond lap. I felt my legs a bit heavy after the night before running mayhem, but I managed to get home in time!

What did happened last weekend in Belgium? Well, keep looking, the next post will tell the whole story.....

Monday, 18 April 2011

Fast week

This week went really fast. I started the week with my final dentist treatment, which one was a most painful as well.... because I had to pay the bill at the end. £513! Wowww! But now it is over and I can chew my raw vegetables without any problems.
The workshop was quite busy at the beginning of the week and it calmed down a bit after Thursday. I didn't really have any exciting in my stand, except our new demo bike the Orbea Orca and an American export Super 6 Team Liquigas,

I was still off from running during last week. I did 300km cycling during the week it is not too much, but enough for keep my endurance. I try to raise up my mileage a bit, but I still take it easy. I am planning to get some serious mileage during the summer. I will start the clock in after my Malta holiday.
Tuesday I was a bit dead the 5 hours sleep/ 6:30 gym / 8:30 dentist and 9 hours work combo. I rode straight home after work. I went out for a Richmond park ride on Wednesday, Friday I did a Box hill and back and Sunday I rode to Aylesbury. I was craving after some British country side. (thanks the tip for Dave!)
Friday evening - Epson Downs

I tried to eat much raw as possible during the week. I had only one cooked vegetable meal. I cooked only my meat and eggs. I try to get the carbs from fruits instead cooked stretchy vegetables. Sometimes it looks funny, when I get my lunch out of my backpack. This diet seems to work fine, but it needs more time for final judgement. I feel myself more fresh and energetic.
Fruity day...

I visited Martin again this morning. He worked hard on my legs again, but gave some attention for my back as well. I nearly pissed myself, when he tried to make usable my abductors. The progress is fabulous! The 18mm different between my legs dropped down to 5mm in 2 weeks! It means, it is running time tomorrow! This guy is a muscle whisper! I am so excited! 2,5 weeks without running was quite hard. Hopefully my form didn't really go pear shape and I can catch up quickly.
I spent a rest of the morning and afternoon with study. My anatomy exam is coming up soon... Come on Szabi pull your finger out!

I am going for a food shopping now and I have a meeting with one of my personal trainer friend later on Whole Foods Market! OMG! Should I leave my credit card at home????

Monday, 11 April 2011

1/2 Hell of the North, sunshine, good food = awesome weekend

Rapha organised a sportive ride last Sunday. The event called "Hell of the North" and celebrates Paris Roubaix spring classic. The route goes over North London's worth roads and includes 20 grave sections.
I turned up 15 minutes before the official start. The start was on Pond square. On my way I found a very nice climb, which one is quite rare in London. Only 20 minutes away from home, I keep in my mind this street! 73m ascent on 900m.... it isn't too bad for short intervals!
Registration opened in time, I got my map in 5 minutes. The course was 100km long. I felt myself great and I really enjoyed the off road sections, but I didn't select my tires carefully. After 32km I got my first puncture followed by other two in the next 9km. I had only 3 spare tubes and 3 CO2 cartridges. When I got my last puncture around 41km I decided to pull out. I was a bit sad, because the organisation and the course were great! But, I didn't come home straight. I was really hoping in my good luck now and carried on my ride on the solid tarmac. I did a nice loop around North London and when I stopped front of my house, my Garmin stand on 110km. The weather was absolutely gorgeous! I didn't feel this great since I came back fromFuerteventura!
After a quick lunch and a little nap I went out for a small Whole Foods shopping.
I tried to don't buy any unnecessary and I had to reorganised my basket couple of times during the shopping! But end of the day I was a good boy! I just bought some toothbrushes, coconut shred, veggie wash, grounded cinnamon, fresh pumpkin seed butter, raw fruit bar, my usual Carob bar and a Salt of the Earth natural deodorant.
This toothbrushes are brilliant. They made by Preserve Company. It is 100% recycled fromyogurt cups! What a great idea. Check out Preserve's page, you will find lots of interesting stuff on! Also very good stuff the salt deodorant. I was a bit sceptic with it in the first time, but it works absolutely fine! It is 100% natural, made from Ammonium Alum, it is a natural antibacterial mineral salt. If you don't want to punishing your skin with lots of chemicals, give a try for this one! Made by Crystal Spring.
After my short shopping trip I started to prepare some dinner. Basically "The Dinner of the Year" (at the moment). I made my first full RAW meal. Not just raw vegetables and ingredientsput on the plate... it was a complete meal! Spaghetti with "Meatballs".... (Recipe is coming up in next post.)

Monday went quick again. I had an appointment with Martin (SuppleWorX) 11 o'clock. The treatment is going very well, my 17mm hip different dropped down to 10mm! Yihha! He worked hard 1,5 hours on my legs. I got some deep tissue massage and all sort of magics. It was a hard work both of us. I felt my legs very tired during the afternoon. I stayed home during the afternoon, I studied fro my upcoming anatomy and physiology exam. I just popped out to buy some stuff in Holland and Barrets. I bought a bag of milled flax seed, cocoa and berries super food, 1,5 kg 10+ Manuka honey, bean selection for sprouting, some iron tablets and bag of dried wine fruit for Adel.

The last week I tried to eat much raw as possible. I think I managed well, I ate only my meats and protein omelets cooked. I think I ate 85% raw.... My daily 2-3 green smoothies help a lot. I feel myself more energised and positive, BUT I have to pay more attention the calories intake during my exercises. It will interesting how my body handle this highly raw diet after the next week, when I am going to start to run again. Riding wise, I have to eat or drink some energy product 30 minutes before my ride and I have to consume at least 2 gels/ hour. When I was on normal diet, I just ate every 45-60 minutes. Has to be learned the right timing now, but when I find the right moments, my engine spins like a hell!

I am grain free now more than two months and I absolutely don't miss any grain related products. I have much much less gut problem then in the past.

I had my second (and last) dentist appointment this morning. I just got two more filling and a bit clean up. All done and honkey dory!
Shop is going well and workshop is quite busy with couple of big jobs. My day wasn't too hectic today, but it went very slow after my 5,5 hours last night sleep. I was very tired, I had an early morning workout in the gym and I ran to the dentist before work. I decided to not ride tonight. I was a bit unmotivated , weather was windy and cold... I just wanted a peaceful evening.
I wanna find some event around end of May, a running race or may be a duathlon?! We will see....

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Busy days

My last couple of days was hectic! Sunday went really fast, I stayed in a bed so long. I woken up around 10 o'clock and I headed out for a 2,5 hours ride an hour time. I spent the afternoon to do fuck all, but I finished the day in the gym. I couldn't concentrate anything, my thought was far away. I had an appointment with the dentist on Monday morning. I had a root canal treatment last year and it wasn't the nicest experience in my life (pricey and lots of pain in the next few days). I was a bit worried, what my doctor will find in my mouth. I am very bad guy and dentist didn't see me nearly 6 years ago...

Well, I turned up at 8:40 on Monday morning in Marshgate dental practice. I was well informed and a bit more calm in 25 minutes time. I have several issues in my mouth, but nothing major. One quite big hole, but it is fixable and 4 small other repair. In this time no physical pain... just a pain of the payment. I have two treatment appointments and a £513 bill. Upssss.....
My next meeting was around 11 o'clock. I went to see Martin. Martin is one of our customer and he is aaa..... muscle guru?! I don't really know the right word, but he is Martin Jefferies, therapist, fitness advisor, flexibility expert, fitness writer & ski teacher.... Check out his page!
Well, I complained about my left leg issue to him and he kindly invited me for a check up. The diagnoses wasn't nice... All of my muscles are hard like a concrete and my hip is a "bit" on the wrong place. My left leg was nearly 2cm longer then the right. 4 weeks treatment and at least 2 weeks of from running. Bummer....
Martin started to work on my immediately and he gave me lots of home works.

Tuesday morning I woken up like who spent a whole Monday in the gym... Martin's Monday effort started to work. Tuesday was a quite hectic day, I went for a short ride after work, but it wasn't a pleasure.

Wednesday's weather was glorious! I started the day in the gym... but not with my usual treadmill workout! :( I landed on the cross trainer. After 20 minutes I was sweating like a pig... it is hard work!
Workshop was quite busy on Wednesday, but the whole day was fun! Definitely the afternoon bit! I built a Cannondale Slice Ultimate custom for a customer with full DI2 group set, Zipp carbon clincher 808 wheels. Nicest job in the month! The bike worst nearly £7000! Wow!

Afternoon went pretty fast and I headed out for a ride after work. The weather was so nice and I had just long clothing with me. The first 40 minutes was a bit "hot" but after the temperature started to drop down and I felt myself comfy in the light winter clothing. I did 65km and was pitch black outside when I got home. This was one of my nicest ride since I came back from Canary. I noticed Martin's work's benefits. My back is much much better and I was able to ride on the drops! I couldn't do this ages, any time I grabbed the drops, my back wanted to brake.

Now is bed time. I tried to do this post 2 days ago...but finally finished! Tomorrow is dentist day! I will be back soon!

Sunday, 3 April 2011

I took the DOG(ma) for a walk

Couple of weeks ago one of our customer walked n the shop with a Team Sky Pinarello Dogma. He works for Sky TV and he had the opportunity to buy one of the last year team bike. He bought Thomas's one. It is the right size for him (56cm) and it had a less usage. I had to change couple of bits on the bike and I checked over. When he picked up the bike, I got a kind offer for a test ride... Wooow! And the time was here on this weekend! He came in the shop on Friday morning with a bike. I just had to do some minor work on, but he wanted to pick up next day! Hurra!
During the day I sorted out the bike and personalised a little bit (right seat height, stem up side down, Garmin bracket). I launched out on the door 18:30 and took the DOG(ma) for a walk.
I didn't have too much time, basically 14 hours which includes my 7 hours sleep and other house works. I did two rides on the bike and I pedalled in nearly 100km. It isn't too much for a proper opinion, but I got some feedback.

The bike:
Pinarello top of the range bike. It comes with full Shimano DI2 group set, Dura Ace wheels and Deda finishing kit. I didn't weight the bike, but light enough... :)
The frame set is loaded lots of interesting solution, like asymmetric rear end (Pinarello claims, Dogma frames was the first asymmetrical frames on the market...), Torayka 60.1 carbon and nano alloy, tapered head tube, wavy fork and rear end.
The first thing what I noticed was the incredibly stiff BB area. The Dura Ace crank and Dogma frame combination give you a fell, you stand on concrete. The down side, my Super6 frame with SI crank gives a same feeling and nearly 250grams lighter...
The frame was 56 cm, but I felt huge. I more used to compact frames. It is a typical traditional Italian geometry. You sitting so high and the head tube is huge. I thought that this position gives you less stable ride and control, but it isn't true! The bike's cornering like you ride on rails. It was very very responsive and incredible stiff. And in the same time it was very harsh. The bike's comfort feel is very similar then my CAAD5 one.... basically on bad quality roads it beats the shit out of you!
The DI2 group set works incredible nice and fast. My favorite is the front mech, it shifts up in a second, no hesitation. I really enjoyed the DI2.... in the first half an hour... and after I wasn't too excited with it anymore. Shame, but I have to say, rather I spend a money for wheels or training camps and stick with the old and good cable operated group set.

Over all:
I really enjoyed this short time in the Dogma's saddle. My dream was one of the Prince of Spain paint job Dogma couple of years ago. It also was a good feel to ride one of the pro's bike. But I had to realised it isn't my cup of tea. Lovely piece of kit, nothing wrong with it... but I stick with my big C and have a lighter and cheaper Sram or Campy group set...

Friday, 1 April 2011

Brugge - 3 days holiday

Usually we have a 3-4 days city break in every year around March-April. We went Belgium again, this was the third time in row. We visited Brussels and Antwerp already, now the target was Brugge. We booked our trip via Eurostrar, it is chip as chips. 2 nights in 4 starts Crowne Plaza Hotel and train ticket for £190 each, bargain!

We left with the earliest train on Monday morning. I felt myself a bit dizzy and tired after 5 hours sleep and a running race behind me, but the high caffeine intake did the job and after couple of coffees I felt brilliant. Train journey to Brussels was quick, around 2 hours and 20 minutes. We had a short coffee break in Brussels Midi train station and we caught the next train to Brugge in an hour.
We was a bit early, we had more then 3 hours until the check in. After a short walk we found a nice cafeteria with a terrace. We enjoyed the sunshine( and a free WIFI) here until 3 o'clock.

After check in we went straight in the bad and after a good sleep we headed out for a dinner and a little walk. We had a dinner in a small but lovely salad place. I was starving... the answer was double salad!
Salad with parma ham and melon and an other salad with curry chicken, raisin and apple

Second day was the exploring day. I left for a short run before Adel woken up. I just ran 35 minutes, but it was terrible feeling two days after the race and the cobbles didn't help either!
We didn't stop walking until late afternoon, we climbed up the ...... on 366 stairs and we visited all sights in the city.
Belgium's Venice...

The view after 366 stairs...
I was quite exhausted, I had a small nap before dinner.
We had dinner one well known local restaurant. We choose Flemish dishes, I went for a mussels and Adel had some Flemish stew, all washed down with local beers! Full tummy, happy people!

I started the third day with some running again. I headed out for 55 minutes. My legs was a bit better than day before, but still not perfect and my movement was quite similar for crossing Forrest Gump with RoboCop... but end of the run I felt good!
After two day sunshine we had a rain on the third day. We missed the boat trip, because the bad weather. But never mind, we found other interesting things to visiting chocolate shops and shopping a bit. We went back to Brussels late afternoon and left Belgium with the last Eurostar.

We spent 3 really good days in Belgium again. This was the third time, but not the last. I love this country... I really don't know the reason why, but it makes me relaxed and I just feel great! It hasn't got sandy beach, huge mountains or any other special stuff, but has soul, life and great atmosphere.

I had none waffle during the three days. I am proud for myself(on our last trip, I ate 15 waffles on the last day..). I had couple of chocolates and beers, but nothing wrong with that! :)
We found a very interesting chocolate concept store. It called B by B and has chocolate praline in a most weird flavours. The owner is a chef, who runs a restaurant with Micheline stairs. I am really big fun of dark chocolate, but I am not really fuss with the Belgian praline. But, this B by B praline moved my fantasy!

We also found an Oxfam shop, it sells fair trade and organic products. Some money from the profit is going for charity.

Now I try to get back in every day life! :D
I did my last short run this morning and I am off from running at least 10 days. I try to get my left knee sorted. During my non running period I am going to cycle more....