Second Rest Day

The second week of the Tour ended up being a bit of a light week, with one rest day, another Stage missed due to being away and two short stages due to a broken spoke and risk of getting sick. So be it, life gets in the way, and the risk of getting sick is I’m sure partly due to starting this Tour at such a low fitness level.

As you can see from my CTL graph for the second week, fitness (blue) has remained fairly constant and tiredness has improved somewhat. Probably just as well, as the final week is going to be really tough.

Week 2 CTL

Totals for the 15 stages so far: 20h 40m, 558.8km, 1149 TSS

Third de France, Stage 15

Pros: Limoux to Foix Prat d’Albis, 185 km - Mountain

Me: 62km, 10m/15m/15m/15m SST

Great stage last night and well worth staying up for. Lots of attacking and all the top guys cracked at various stages, with the exception of Thibaut Pinot. Alaphilippe showed that the strain is getting to him too, so it’s all down to the Alps later this week with five riders in with a realistic chance. If Pinot wins, he’ll be the first French winner since 1985 and France will erupt! Would love to see it.

After all that excitement, my session was a damp squib. J woke up after the weekend feeling sick and I was feeling a bit run down too. However, felt a bit better after lunch and decided to go ahead with the session, but was starting to feel it again after the second interval so opted to cut things short. 55 mins at sub-threshold takes a chunk out of me, so didn’t want to push myself over the edge into full sickness.

The last week has been a bit hit and miss - some I can’t do anything about like breaking a spoke or being away for the weekend - but tomorrow’s a rest day, so hopefully I’ll feel better and be good to go without further interruptions for the final week.

Me: 28.2km, 48m, 554 calories, 50 TSS.

Pro: 26.9km, 4h 47m

Weight: 92.4kg - CTL: 42.0 - TSB: -9.8

Third de France, Stage 13

Pros: Pau to Pau, 27km - Time Trial

Me: 12min @ 105%

A quick blast on the indoor trainer this morning. Thomas De Gendt managed 105% for 35:36 last night, so I figured 12 minutes was a reasonable target for me. HR monitor opted not to work for some reason, but was a solid effort nonetheless.

Heading away for the weekend shortly, so will miss Stage 14, both watching it live unfortunately, and mimicking it the next day. Back for Stage 15 hopefully, though will need to get the trainer bike ready for the road until I sort out the broken spoke.

Probably easier to do that than having to swap out brake pads to go back to aluminium wheels on my main road bike.

Me: 18.9km, 30m, 356 calories, 39 TSS.

Pro: 26.9km, 35m, 911 calories, 73 TSS

Weight: 92.2kg - CTL: 42.8 - TSB: -16.5

Third de France, Stage 12

Pros: Toulouse to Bagnères-de-Bigorre, 209.5km - Mountains

Me: 70km, 2x15m SST

Didn’t quite go to plan. Broke a spoke in my rear wheel halfway through the second interval, so limped home.

Me: 27.3km, 1h 4mm, 613 calories, 64 TSS.

Pro: 218.2km, 5h 19m, 5188 calories, 340 TSS

Weight: 92.4kg - CTL: 42.9 - TSB: -16.6

Third de France, Stage 11

Pros: Albi to Toulouse, 167km, Flat

Me: 55.7km, 5m SST

Stage 10 never happened yesterday. Had stomach issues all day, so ended up lying on the couch. Had issues last week as well, but that felt more like a reaction to increased workload and consequent increase in consumption of energy drinks and gels. Cleared up over the weekend, then felt crap yesterday. Will have to be careful of what I eat for a few days and hopefully it will clear up.

Anyway, Stage 11 was easy enough. One short effort and then cruise around to complete the required distance. I had an internet outage at home, so opted for the early bike ride while waiting for our relatively useless NBN Co to get their act together and fix the problem.

Blue skies, sun was out and legs felt good. What more can you ask for 😄

Me: 56.3km, 2h 13mm, 1232 calories, 113 TSS.

Pro: 171.5km, 4h 08m, 3201 calories, 131 TSS

Weight: 92.4kg - CTL: 42.4 - TSB: -12.3

Also, it would seem some locals are getting the Tour de France mixed up with my local bike track! 😆

Muzz Graffiti

Third de France, Stage 9

Pros: Saint-Étienne to Brioude, 170.5km, Hilly

Me: 56.9km, 15m/5m/5m SST

Pretty straightforward ride after my early rest day yesterday. Outside this time and off to the park for some SST intervals. Legs felt pretty good so had no issues holding the required effort, though I tried not to get carried away as there’s a lot of these intervals now over the next few days.

Distance ended up well down on what was required as I’d been adjusting my saddle before heading out and had forgotten to re-attach my saddle bag with my puncture kit. Only realised after the intervals as I left the park to complete the filler distance, so opted to turn for home lest I get a puncture and have to call J to come pick me up 😊

Me: 35.4km, 1h 22mm, 776 calories, 83 TSS.

Pro: 179.5km, 4h 45m, 3201 calories, 196 TSS

Weight: 92.4kg - CTL: 41.7 - TSB: -15.6

Early Rest Day

Various things got in the way today and I didn’t get time to get out to ride my version of Stage 9, plus I couldn’t be bothered riding indoors again, so instead I opted to bring forward the rest day. It’s not really due until after Stage 10, but so be it.

The weekend has been pretty good for recovery. I’ve done as little as possible, apart from the required rides. J’s away in Sydney so I’ve taken a leaf out of the cat’s book and spent the majority of my time lounging around the back deck reading. Seems to have worked. Legs are still sore, but HRV has not recovered to normal levels, perhaps showing that I’m coping OK with the increased training load.

Speaking of which, here’s my training load graph since I started the Third de France.

Week 1 Training Load Graph

Blue is the long-term fitness line, which is slowly increasing. Yellow is the fatigue line which is taking a more rapid dive. The lowest dashed pink line is my “you’ll probably pick up a bug” line - if my fatigue line stays below that for more than a couple of days, there’s a very good chance that I’ll get run down and pick up a cold or something. Basically it’s my ‘take a rest’ warning line.

Anyway, so far so good. I’ll continue with Stage 9 tomorrow and then skip the rest day after Stage 10 to get back on track.

Totals for the 8 stages so far: 14h 43m, 420.8km, 801 TSS

Third de France, Stage 8

Pros: Mâcon to Saint-Étienne, 200km, Hilly

Me: Thomas de Gendt Intervals

Barnstorming ride by Thomas de Gendt last night, kicking off a breakaway with De Marchi, Terpstra and King and then gradually dropping them all before holding off a chasing peloton for the win. De Gendt doing what he does best.

Another day with lots of climbs, 7 in total, which meant lots of intervals again. I normally based my efforts off Mike Woods, but he hadn’t uploaded to Strava so I chose to base off De Gendt’s file instead. I opted for the same effort, but half the duration of each of the seven climbs.

9:30 @ 92%

6:20 @ 95%

8:10 @ 100%

6:15 @ 86%

6:20 @ 100%

5:50 @ 95%

2:20 @ 115%

Definitely not fit enough to attempt the full duration of his efforts yet! Ride went well, legs weren’t too bad though my right knee was getting tight towards the end of the ride. Need to do some more stretching.

That’s the worst two stages out of the way, six and eight. There are hard stages later in the Tour, but not 7 intervals in the one stage. Two more days to go to a rest day. Looking forward to it now!

Me: 53.2km, 1h 33mm, 1061 calories, 127 TSS.

Pro: 204.5km, 5h 16m, 5879 calories, 386 TSS.

Weight: 92.2kg - CTL: 41.7 - TSB: -15.8

Third de France, Stage 7

Pros: Belfort to Chalon-sur-Saône, 230km, Flat

Me: 77km, 5m SST

Quite sore legs this morning, though HRV was back to normal. Lunch didn’t agree with me and it was pretty gusty out so kept putting off going for a ride. Supposed to be 3hrs cruise, but couldn’t be arsed today so eventually opted for an hour on the indoor trainer with a sprint finish.

Me: 33km, 56m, 557 calories, 44 TSS.

Pro: 239.2km, 6h 27m, 3488 calories, 169 TSS.

Weight: 92.1kg - CTL: 38.9 - TSB: -14.6

Third de France - Stage 6

Pros: Mulhouse to La Planche des Belles Filles, 160.5km, Mountains

Me: 53.5km, 15m @ 75%, 5m, 10m, 15m & 5m @ 80%, 10m & 15m @ 95%, 30s hard finish.

Non stop intervals today. Based on yesterday’s intervals I worked out that just riding to the park, doing the intervals and riding straight home would put me over today’s required distance, so I opted to do them on the indoor trainer instead. At least then I could program in the required intervals on TrainerRoad and watch the stage replay, rather than having to pay constant attention to my Garmin if I was outside.

Unfortunately SBS On Demand have been a bit slow putting the stage replays online and I was stuck with the highlights which finished after an hour, l having me to rewatch the Stage 5 highlights to finish the ride.

A breakaway went early, so the peloton got a reasonably cruisey ride until the last two climbs when things heated up. Same for me, with the early intervals at 80% and the final two at 95%. The last one stung and I pulled the pin with about 3 minutes to go, bringing forward the short sprint to mimic the 24% gradient the pros were finishing on! Could have finished it if I was fresh, but legs are starting to complain at harder efforts.

Saturday tomorrow - no 6am conference calls. Looking forward to a lie-in 😄

Me: 68.2km, 2h 5m, 1253 calories, 114 TSS.

Pro: 178.7km, 5h 9m, 3148 calories, 263 TSS.

Weight: 92.1kg - CTL: 38.7 - TSB: -9.7