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A Week in Training
by Denis Oakley in

I'm very bad at the moment not updating my blog on a regular basis. I've been feeling down in the dumps about a few aspects of my life and so I've escaped off into fantasy with a succession of computer games and revisiting some well loved fantasy novels. Not a lot of time left for blogging.

Last weekend I followed everyone at Ironman Langkawi for a while. The swim times seemed amazingly slow - it was the current it turned out.. There were a lot of DNF's and whilst a lot of people were tired from an unexpected 2 hour swim the real killer seems to have been the crap water that the organisers provided when they ran out of potable water. Hundreds of people ended up with stomach cramps and vomiting due to awful organisation. There were also reports of gels and powerbars being hoarded by volunteers/organisers and not given out to athletes. Very miserable for a lot of them. Ironmen all. Well done.

Hyped up by it all; and forbidden by coach and wife to even think about ghosting I sulked and then decided to head off on a long ride on Sunday. After a few minutes thought I decided that Genting would be a good choice via way of Batang Kali. I'd never been that way before so I thought it would be fun.

They'd changed the road layout at Batu Caves and it was heavily congested so I ended up going round the back and getting lost before eventually getting back to the main road. Then there was a stop as I vainly tried to find some vaseline. No luck but I did knock off 500ml of water. The off to Batang Kali.

The road to Batang Kali is really nice apart from this one stupidly steep and pointless hill immediately after you turn off the main road. The first time I went that way it came as a huge psychological shock. This time I was better prepared for it but it was still a struggle. Especially because I'd left home shortly after midday and it was a little warm.

I flew down the other side and then along the side of the lake and started climbing up the big hill.  This was fun. A long gentle slog. I just realised I said 'big hill'. Yes it is, but in the context of the rest of the day - no it wasn't. Getting to the top there was some water running out of pipes form the hill side. I joined the troop of water collectors there and had some interesting chats as I gorged myself of luke warm water. No doubt the guys I talked to told their families about the mad mat salleh when they got home.

Then I went over the top and flew down. 1 lane down and 2 lanes up with a no overtaking line. I sat in the middle of my lane and as the curves seemed kind stayed on my tri bars. 77.6km/h was my top speed of the day - probably as I blew past a brown proton who was more interested in what I was doing that speeding up so I didn't smear myself over his back windscreen.

I felt a little tired as I came into Batang Kali and so I stopped and had some Maggie Mee and 3 cans of 100+ with ice. After a bit I head off again for what I knew was going to be the hard climb. And hard it was. Probably the hardest climb I've done. I've raced over harder once - there is a 33% slope on the Hellvellyn Tri - but this was steep and sustained.

To start with the route isn't bad and then you come round a corner and you see the mountains ahead of you and you know that you have a lot of climbing to do very quickly. 1200m in 15km or something like that. Ughh.

I quickly gave up all idea of staying on the big chain ring; then any idea of staying off my easiest gear. I enjoy climbing - I'll spend my time going up hills in preference to the flat. This was steep hot and slow and I spent more than an hour grinding up at less than 10km/h. You can see the climb portion of the ride at runkeeper.com - Denis Oakley on the 1st March. (sites down at the mo or I'd link you through)

At the end of the dual lanes I got off my bike and lay down for 5 minutes. Poured the remainder of my fresh water over me; had some go juice and carried on. The opain came to an end eventually. 90 minutes from Batang Kali to Gohtong Jaya. 20km.

Had my first coke for 3 weeks at Gohtong Jaya; refreshed and refuelled I pushed hard all the way down to the motorway. I was a lot faster than previous times being slightly above average speed for the road traffic. Then onto the main highway. I was tired by this point and the long bends down to the Orang Asli Hospital were not attractive. I probably shouldn't have done it but I sat in the middle lane and blasted down at a comfortoable 60 - 70km/h. Then when the gravity assist failed I struggled to keep going at 26 km/h.

Tired but happy I reached home just under then 5 hours of cycling mark.

Monday was the first day of the new swim plan. Decreasing hard 50 intervals. 400,300,200,100 with 200m of recovery after each set. Hard but doable.

Tuesday was an 80minute negative split run. I did this in my five fingers and had pretty sore calves afterwards.

Wednesday - was meant to be a 3km session but I 'misread' the plan and ended up doing 5km. Tiring but doable.

Thursday - hill intervals on the treadmill. 1 minute at 10%. 2 minutes recovery at 0%, 2 minutes recovery off (which I used for calf stretching). Actually found this pretty easy.

Friday - late swim. Sprints (where I felt very strong) and then 1200m of increasing speed. Met Paul Lee afterwards and sat on the edge of the pool for 20m minutes nattering. Great end to a good session. Paul is one of the nicest guys in the world to chat to :)


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