Jeppe Nygaard: Building a base and Cookie Kryptonite
That went fast!
I am probably not the only one scrambling a little with the Scottish season kicking off this weekend with round 1 of the Scottish Enduro Series in Fort William and Tweedlove Vallelujah rapidly following in 2 weeks. The ‘off season’ is over and it is time to go and play between the tape, have a laugh and catch up with dudes and dudettes.
Building a solid base
February was all about building a foundation for the year. The weekend rides have become longer and focussed on doing full runs down the hill. Another point is to not stop on the rides and keep spinning the pedals, which is a simple way of getting quality out of the weekend cruises and limiting the faff factor.
For the downhill runs I like to find those 5–7 min segments where you can just get into a rhythm and push or alternatively do 3–5 laps on the same shorter track to work on body position and general technique, quite nice when you start seeing consistency developing.
Looking at graphs in TrainingPeaks my fitness is a little lower than this time last season, mostly from not doing as many commutes and skipping a few mid-week night rides due to weather. Overall I have managed to follow my plan and feel good and ready based on the highly acclaimed and generally accepted scientific ‘feel factor’. The bike is getting the last bit of TLC, even got new bearings and the van has been kitted out with tools and spares and then it is off to Fort William, which always put on a good show.
Do you know when to skip a ride?
I did have a bad Sunday ride in early February. You know the one where the first climb feels really, really bad and there is no doubt that you system needs rest? I should have gone home but I didn’t as I was testing a Shockwiz, which ended up not working, so the day after I felt like crap and a wasted effort. Having a chat with Rab, we just cancelled all training for most of the week ahead. In the past I would probably have tried to ‘train’ through it. However getting coached made a difference and I am pretty sure I escaped the dreaded man-flu this time round and I learnt my lesson about quality over quantity, again.
Holiday on new trails
I did manage to get a ride in on family holiday to Tenerife with the cool guide Leonardo from http://fluyendo.bike. Pretty nice to take a bus to the trailhead and get 2000 meter of descending on singletrack in sound and primo conditions. It was a good tester for Trans Provence trying to ride something completely different blind and realizing how extra important it becomes to look ahead and read the terrain and the rocks.
Food and leaning up
One thing I didn’t give much attention last season was food and nutrition stuff. I principally consumed whatever I fancied. It doesn't take a lot to figure out there are better ways, especially given that the ‘1 pack’ stayed and expanded in the off season when training load dropped. This season I am trying to control that a little and working on dropping some of the excess blubber. It is way cheaper and more efficient than buying lighter bike parts, some even claim it is healthy.
To achieve this, I have been experimenting with the MyFitnessPal app. It is a pretty damn good way of keeping a food diary. You think twice before you reach for the unhealthy stuff and it helps you to habitualise food rituals, you do tend to get a little anal retentive about estimating and weighing food but it is for a good cause.
I’ve have dropped 3 kg over 5 weeks just by eating a bit better and a little less, amazing what you can do if you commit and limit sugar and alcohol. Next will be to work on fueling rather than just feeding the body and get some more quality food in there, avoid sugar and crap fat.
One problem is that I simply have an affinity for biscuits and cookies — I simply can’t leave’em alone! Looking at the nutritional value and amount of calories it is like kryptonite! One of those freshly baked cookies from Sainsbury’s is about 400 kcal (see table) close to 20% of my daily energy intake right there. Then consider the sugar levels, low nutritional value and I don’t know about you, but an open bag has to be emptied, be rude not to…
If you look at stats below, 2 Oreos or 1 Banana, which one will fuel you the best and keep you feeling full the longest? It isn’t exactly rocket science but it has made me think more about what I too often find myself munching on.
Digestives 71kcal (2405 for the big roll)
Hob Nobs 71kcal (1420 in a pack)
Oreo 53kcal (739 in a regular pack)
White chocolate and raspberry cookie (jusy 1!) 415kcal
Carrot (Large 100g) 41kcal
Apple (Medium) 72kcal
Banana (Medium) 105kcal
Glass (200ml) of orange juice 72kcal
Egg (Large) 85kcal
Good times ahead
Spring is on our doorstep and equinox will soon be passed. It is time to service the bike if you haven’t already and perhaps make a plan for how to improve as a rider this year? Think about it, if you are fitter, you can ride and play more on the trail and if you improve technical skills you can ride that technical section smooth – win/win in my book.