Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Discovering "The Sufferfest"

A few weeks ago, I acquired a Kinetic Fit Smart Turbo Trainer which came with an App for our tablet which contains about 80 indoor cycling workouts.  It has taken me a little while to set everything up and learn how to calibrate the power readings on the app (such as getting an initial estimate for FTP). 

And while working my way through the list of workouts, I discovered about 20 workouts described as being "The Sufferfest".  I hadn't heard of this before, but it is a series of interval training indoor bike workouts to which you can view real cycling footage.  It is described as being a full "immersive" experience in which you can get into the story line of the workout. 

So far I have not subscribed to The Sufferfest but am intending to do so when we are back from the UK after Christmas.  In the meantime, I have started doing the workouts accompanied by videos I have downloaded off Youtube.

Three Sufferfest targets:

1.  To ride the longest workout "ISLAGIATT" once before we go back to the UK

2.  Ride three consecutive Sufferfests in one training session - ideally on January 1st 2018

(there is a 9 workout sequence that can be done in one day apparently but is far too tough for me - but maybe 3 would be possible)

3.  Do "The Tour de Sufferlandia" in 2018 - 9 workouts in 9 days, probably in January

And another January 2018 target - to complete 20,000 calories in the month on my turbo trainer.

And I'd like a Sufferfest cycling top - $80

Monday, 27 November 2017

Queen Adreena (again)

Yet again, I have found myself back listening to Queen Adreena.  This seems to happen every year or so at the moment.  The trigger this time - being directed to "Pull me under" on Youtube.  I am totally captivated by Katie Jane Garside as a performer. 

I wonder what she is up to now - nothing on the internet when I last looked

Lars Mytting's Norwegian Wood


This year's log pile

Indie Film Season - I don't feel at home in the world anymore


Indie Films Season - Martha Marcy May Marlene


Wind River


Current Reading - Biography of Jason Molina


Current Reading - Ott's book on Heidegger


More Cycling Books


Recent reading favourite - Nicole Cooke's autobiography


Alpe d'Huez training programme at Nov 27th 2017


Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Getting Fit - after four weeks

It is four weeks since I decided to start a more focused fitness plan and it is time to assess progress.

On the positive side, I have managed to do a very large number of separate exercise routines. 

In the last four weeks, I have done 14 indoor cycling routines of typically 75 to 90 minutes each.  Most of these are attempts to cycle continuously for the entire time at a cadence of about 65-75 at the highest resistance I can manage.  I have usually been watching a training video of a 90 minute ascent of Alpe d'Huez so I can really get to grips with the entire ascent.  Gradually I have been able to increase the resistance and I'm pretty happy with how this has gone.  But I am now about to change from this to a different indoor cycle plan using some spin class videos that I have downloaded off youtube.

I have also done 11 outdoor runs, typically around 4-5km around the local woods and fields.  I still find the first 10 minutes of this very hard but I am noticing an improvement and I am now able to properly run long sections rather than do a slow jog.  But I am not a natural runner and need to lose a lot of weight to really improve I feel.

So far I have done just 4 outdoor bike rides and have clocked up around 110 miles.  My longest distance has been 37 miles which is ok at this point.  My next target is to do the entire 28 mile hilly D150 route from home to the local town of St Jean, then all the way to Saintes and back home, and I am also targeting a 40+ mile ride in one go.  I might try for both of these targets this weekend.

I have cut my consumption of coca cola by about 40% and am eating more yogurts and no biscuit snacks - all of which is good

On the negative side, I was appalled to discover how much I weigh.  I didn't weigh myself four weeks ago, and I have lost some weight over the last four weeks, but I currently weigh 96kgs.  I had thought I was about 90kgs! 

My target weight for this time next year was 75-80 kgs so I have a huge way to go to get anywhere near this. 

Monday, 9 October 2017

Kelly Brook - then and now

I haven't seen or heard anything about Kelly Brook for several years.  I always quite liked her as she was a very curvy young lady, rather than ultra slim which I am not so keen on.

A few weeks back there was a feature on her in the gardening section of The Sunday Times, which seems a somewhat incongruous idea, but there you go.  Apparently she has become quite the gardener!

A week or so later, I came across an old copy of (the very bizarre) Bizarre magazine.  I wonder if this is still published?  This featured the lovely Kelly in some very different outfits to the one she is wearing while gardening.

Do I prefer sexy sailor, sexy cop or sexy gardener?  Who knows

Pixies - "Gouge away"


Monday, 25 September 2017

The Cassini space mission

Current Fitness Regime


Current reading - The $12m shark


Mark Rothko full-sized Reproductions

I read somewhere that it is possible to buy reproduction artwork that can be pretty close to exact copies and I have found a website that says it can do Mark Rothko reproductions in pretty much any size up to the original size.  They are painted in oils by highly skilled artists in Thailand as far as I can tell.

So I have in mind to purchase a huge reproduction of a Rothko, possibly this one.

I would like it to be about 80 inches high and it will go in the hallway near my office.  In fact, I think I can fit two or three in along this corridor.  That would look great I reckon.

Recent reading - The legacy of Mark Rothko

When I bought this book, I actually thought it was a book about Rothko's art but it turned out to be about a huge legal case arising after his death concerning the sale of most of the paintings in his estate to a single gallery at knock down prices.

It really is quite an incredible story and you can only come out of it feeling amazed at what Kate Rothko, his daughter, went through in her pursuit of justice.  If only the pictures had been better quality! 

The World Cycling Championships - Rochelle Gilmore

I haven't done much riding on my bike in the last couple of years but I am fired up and set to do loads from now on.  I went for a 20 mile ride on Saturday morning - my first for a couple of months - and felt a lot better than I had done back then.  All those turbo sessions are making a difference.

Then this morning I went out again and did just over 35 miles in 2 hrs 45.  For the first time in ages I actually felt really good on the bike - hopefully this is a sign of things to come.

Back home and I was settled in for an afternoon watching the men's road race on BBC when a person I haven't heard about for perhaps 8 to 10 years appeared as part of the commentary team - Rochelle Gilmore.

When I cycled a lot back then, I used to buy cycling magazines regularly and she had rather stood out when they were covering women's cycling!  She is now the manager of a women's team and seems very active in the sport still.  Did a very good job of commentating on the cycle race too I thought.  Very knowledgeable.

Rochelle, marking that thin dividing line between admiring her for her sporting achievements and admiring her for other reasons

I also enjoyed her short youtube clip of her going up the Col du Tourmalet as well.

I have to say though, I did always admire Nicole Cooke too back then - especially her win in the Beijing Olympics which I can remember vividly today - in the wet uphill to the finish.

Tentative plans to cycle up Alpe d'Huez again

A couple of weeks ago, various family members gathered in Grenoble from where we drove down to Alpe d'Huez to mark the third anniversary of the cycle ride up the Alpe by Andrew and myself, and to scatter some of Andrew's ashes on the route. 

As a result of this, there are very tentative plans to return next year and for me and some other friends and family to go up it again.

I have decided that this is the impetus that I need to start getting myself into shape.  I have downloaded several films of people ascending Alpe d'Huez and various other famous climbs and have been watching these as I toil away on my turbo trainer in the garage.  I have also started running again round the fields near our house.

As at September 25, I am 14 days into my new regime and have run 5k on five occasions, have done 8 90-minute turbo sessions and have been out on my road bike twice, clocking up 55 miles in total.

Not a bad start I think.

The photo I bought from the shop in Bourg d'Oisen of my last ascent - 89 minutes.  My target for next time is 70 minutes!

Andrew and me at the top of Alpe d'Huez on Sept 10th 2014 - the inflatable man is still there doing excellent work

Another long gap between posts

Another long gap between posts - I may as well just start from current things and maybe backtrack into some more stuff from the past few months when I feel like it.

In the meantime, here are pictures of a burger I had in La Rochelle at some point over the summer, a moules-frites lunch in La Continiere on the Isle d'Oleron from May, and a Pluma Iberique dish that I had on my birthday at Le Scorlion restaurant in St Jean d'Angely in June, 

Monday, 29 May 2017