• posting my first twitter #
  • Woo hoo my first follower! #
  • Trying to fix yet more iconnect issues… Doh! Bad app from day one…. #
  • Nearly home time… should go do a pool session this evening. Tomorrow hour swim followed by hour race pace bike. #
  • Did 2000m swim/drill session in 42mins. Tomorrows hour straight swim will be tough! #

Hi,

A technical post for a change… For a while now I have noticed that my Vista laptop has been running with a svchost.exe process at anything from 50% to 100% CPU busy time. I tracked it down to the plug and play and¬†DCOM svchost.exe process. Using Google to investigate this issue revealed that a number of people had the same problem – busy CPU bound svchost.exe processes.

Common causes seem to be bad sound card drivers or VMware’s workstation product’s vNetwork services.¬† I tried various things to resolve my problem; none of which worked.

Last night I managed to resolve my problem of a busy svchost.exe process. Turns out to be caused by the Garmin Ant Agent needed for my Garmin 405! Quiting the Ant Agent immediately drops the svchost.exe process back to normal and starting it causes the svchost.exe process CPU utilisation to jump skyward. This only happens with the Ant Agent¬†USB device removed. With the¬†USB device inserted the computer appears to be OK. I guess the root cause is the Ant Agent being over zealous with it’s polling to see if the¬†USB device has been inserted.

So for now I will not have the Ant Agent running unless I need it to download a workout from my Garmin 405.

Well it’s yet another month since my last blog post. I feel somewhat disappointed that I have not blogged more as I am sure it would be a great record to look back on. Anyway, I’m going to summarize the last month’s training efforts in a couple of paragraphs…

Early March saw me putting in a couple of big weeks of training to prepare for the training camp in Spain. The big weeks were OK but noticably draining. I think I do need to concentrate on getting more sleep during such weeks. More sleep equates to more recovery and more recovery equates to more training “freshness”.

The week in Spain was great. I went over to a company called Girona Cycling. Gareth and Fiona are friendly, knowledgeable and generally all round good coaches. I have been over to them a couple of times now and always enjoy the cycling in Span. The roads are great quality with¬†almost no¬†potholes! Although the company is called Girona Cycling they cater for triathletes too. This week consisted of a number of rides including two into France and back. One of the rides came back into Spain via the Col de Banyules. My word – what an awful (great if you’re a masochist) hill. Not too long but an incredible gradient. My Garmin recorded the following for the Col de Banyules climb:

  • last 250m avg 23% gradient
  • last 500m avg 17.3%
  • last 1km avg 16%
  • last 2km avg 12%
  • last 2.5km avg 10.2%
  • last 3km avg 8.9%
  • last 4km avg 7.3%
  • last 4.5km avg 6.7%

Quite a tough hill in my books. I recorded my highest ever cycling heart rate on this hill. At one point I was going so slowly I thought I was going to fall over. If you ever try this climb back into Spain I would suggest the use of a compact and a cassette such as a 12-25. I’m sure many cyclists would not find this hill too challenging, but for someone of my dubious calibre it was tough!¬†At least¬†I managed it all the way without stopping!

The training camp did wonders for my CTL… but with any rapid rise in the CTL my TSB plummeted to around -90. Upon return to the UK I came down with a nasty cold. It knocked me off any serious training for roughly two weeks. I managed to put some sessions in but nothing too long or too intense. In fact, I am still trying to get 100% over the stuffy nose.

Over the Easter bank holiday weekend I did some long cycles and runs which got my CTL to edge upwards. The highlight of the bank holiday weekend though was getting in a 4100m swim in¬†1h29. That’s roughly 2m10/100m which isn’t too shabby for me. So at least I know I can swim the IM distance now!

I did a 5hour cycle last weekend – a very slow pace. Too slow for me I think. We covered a bit over 110km so an average of around 21km/h which is quite slow. I need to target my training sessions more and ensure my training partners cycle at appropriate power levels and hence paces.

This week has been shabby on the training front and tomorrow is an easier day – 1hr swim and 1hr bike. Sunday is the first race of the season – a super sprint – 400m / 15km / 5km. I will be looking to do a “steady” pace as I don’t want to get injured at this point in the season. I am currently thinking I should have perhaps been targeting an Olympic distance race around now but hindsight is always 20/20!

So in summary my CTL is dropping since the training camp due to injury and some light weeks training (due to missed sessions and sessions done at too easy an intensity). I need to get myself back into gear and focus the training for the next two months (until IM Austria).

Wish me luck!

Well today I went on a brief trip to checkout the challenge Barcelona bike course.

The course starts in Calella and heads south west along the N-II to Mataro before heading North inland and climbing to Dosrius. The course turns around at Dosrius and heads back to the beach front along pretty much the same road. Once back to the coast, the route continues south west along the N-II to the turn around point at El Masnou. From El Masnou the route returns to Calella along the N-II.

The N-II road surface is pretty good for most of the way. There is a section approximately between Canet de Mar and Sant Pol de Mar where the surface is more bumpy with the road surface being more patch-work quilt like. The section of road between the N-II and the Dosrius turn around is not too bad either with only a few rough sections of road.

The N-II section south of around Canet de Mar is pretty much flat and runs along the beach front with a railway track between the beach and the road. There are certainly some false flats with subtle elevation changes of a couple of meters. North of Canet de Mar is slightly more undulating with a few climbs of 10-20m over a few hundred metres- meaning gradients of I guess roughly 2-4% for short sections. Nothing too taxing at all. Dosrius sits around 150m above sea level, based on my watch’s altimeter. There are some undulations in the climb to Dosrius, so the total ascent to Dosrius is probably closer to 200-250m. The climb to Dosrius is not too steep and did not seem to have any particularly large gradients – I’m guessing nothing more than 5-6%. Of course, going down a hill in a car makes is fairly difficult to accurately judge gradients.

I don’t recall the Dosrius loop being part of the original Challenge Barcelona route which would otherwise be very flat. The N-II section of the course is fairly boring: sea and railway track on one side and buildings on the other – no real scenery to appreciate apart from the first/last few kilometres around Calella.

I will try and find some accurate gradients and elevations for various points along the route and will update this post if I find any.

I have added a route to mapmyride.com for this course and is available at http://preview.tinyurl.com/chalbarc

A graph of the profile, from the MapMyRide site is shown below:

Challenge Barcelona 2009 Triathlon Cycle Route Profile
Challenge Barcelona 2009 Triathlon Cycle Route Profile

It’s a month since my last blog posting. How scary that time has flown by so quickly.

Firstly, some stats (according to my TrainingPeaks profile) from the month of February:

  • 13150m swimming
  • 543.1km cycling
  • 52.45km running

The worrying thing is that those 543km of cycling were all on the Computrainer. I do need to get out on the road soon! My usual cycling buddy’s programme is not fitting in with mine unfortunately. Our ride durations or intensities are not in sync and hence to ride together would be tricky or involve us foregoing our planned training session.

The plan for yesterday had a 40min swim followed by 3hr cycle scheduled. I did a 43min swim (2100m) and then started on the cycle. Within the first five minutes of the cycle session I knew it was going to be tough. I took a 2 min breather at 2 hours and then battled through till the end. It was not so much that I was on the trainer, but my legs just did not have the juice to keep going. What a tough cycle!

With February having been and gone I see that it is just four months till Ironman Austria 2009. YIKES! My training programme for March has some big training weeks and weekends planned. The ramp up to IMAustria has begun!