During Cambridge Science Week Sally and I visited the stand of Anglia Ruskin University where they were promoting their Physiological testing, we had a quick go on their stationary bikes. Being the sort of guy I am I immediately booked in for a real physiological assessment.
So today I found myself in the Compass building on East Road undergoing a 45min bike fitness test!
My height has now dropped a couple of inches down to 1.75 metres and they couldn’t quite pinch an inch only 21mm around my midriff although my weight is now a shocking 84.05kg (13stones 3 lbs) definitely on my upper limit with body fat at just under 26%. My heart rate in the morning was 51bpm and pressure 150/80
Then it was onto the very posh bike complete with gas mask, strap heart rate sensor & someone to prick my finger every 3mins to do a lactate test. I set off at a cadence that I had to keep constant during the test I chose 75rpm and 100watts. Every 3 minutes the wattage is increased by 25watts whilst I tried to keep the 75rpm with the guy taking a blood sample at each setting.
Really weird not to experience any air movement when working out plus my mouth rapidly dried up inside the face mask making it uncomfortable I eventually reached 250 watts at which point I was feeling knackered. The results showing my heart rate was now up to 157 bpm and the blood Lactate at 4.5 mmol Litre,
After a shower, they went through the results with me saying I was deemed fit for an old man 🙂 but showing I really need a power meter to do workouts in the 200-watt range with a heart rate of 105 to 116 bpm.
An interesting and worthwhile experience with lots of pretty graphs below:
For my regular readers, all the previous posts are updated with Flickr links
Its been a reasonable 1,000-mile bike ride at an average of 56 miles (90km) a biking day (it’s the first question everyone asks me).
Things I’ve maybe learnt:
a) It’s hopelessly impractical to do long distance train journeys in Europe with a touring bike may be just about on your own but for two well I wish you both best of luck 🙁 Even two Brompton’s would be a challenge. Stick to planes or the various ferries maybe even coaches.
b) Southern Spain Andalucia is excellent for winter biking and with Mallorca getting overcrowded with bikes it’s certainly worth a go, Quiet, excellent roads, good weather and relatively inexpensive. Portugal isn’t really suitable for road biking, off-roading it’s probably OK.
c) Audaxing in Spain in winter is certainly a lot more pleasant than the UK and straightforward.
Here is my fun spreadsheet of the trip with links to all my blog posts etc: Note: This sheet will get updated automatically
I liked Lost Lisbon Hotel & Casa de Pasto restaurant in Portugal so much, even with the walk to the toilet, that I decided to stay here all week and return home on Friday for Sally’s Cambridge Half Marathon this upcoming weekend.
Monday had rain forecast in the afternoon so I planned a little route along the riverfront then up to Sintra and back before the rain started at midday.
What a nightmare! the river cycling route is a total mish-mash of paths with right-angled bends & cobbled surfaces which if you miss the bend you are in the drink or cycling on the humungous wide road with the railway in the centre, all a total nightmare, it started raining early and at Cruz Quebrada I just gave up, Portuguese road biking is not pleasant and so I made my way back more or less the way I came. Not a great ending to the bike trip but made me pleased that I didn’t hang about in Spain too long as the wind & rain would have been deeply unpleasant when touring.
The impending storm with its heavy rain fast approaching and the bike fixed I thought I would make this one long final riding day in the sun. One factor in my favour was a fair bit of the distance was downhill.
Hotel Santa Barbara provided an early breakfast at 7 am so I was on my way before half-past seven with the bike working perfectly and empty roads I made good time.
As the day became busier it became even clearer why Portugal is a nightmare country for road biking. Although most of the day there was a parallel motorway no one uses it! as its a toll road. So drivers & trucks still hurdle down the old road trying to prove to themselves its just as fast as the motorway this coupled with the dire state of the ‘hard shoulder’ made even worse by the guy with the road planer making seemingly random furrows down the sides of the road make it a very hazardous experience.
I was pleased to get off and go down into the pleasant riverside town of Alcacer do Sol to recover and get some lunch! After passing through Aguas de Moura the last part of the ride I had decided to try a part of the official Ecovia 11 (Lisboa – Badajoz) cycleway 🙁 why o why did I do that? when will I learn that official cycleways are for young fit guys on mountain bikes with plenty of time! Total nightmare the track soon deteriorated into the very fine sand of varying depths would I ever make it to the ferry! to make matters worse the Open Street Map was only partially complete (unsurprisingly) and Google Maps was even worse than usual. Eventually, after doing a loop I found tarmac and picked up speed again. Finally making the ferry at Cais do Seixalinho just as the sun was setting 🙂
I had chosen the Lost Lisbon, Cais House due to its proximity to the ferry terminal truly an impressive residence although carrying the bike up 3 floors was hard after biking 111 miles and pedalling through sand! My room is massive the only downside is that the rooms are not en-suite but everything else is truly impressive.
So that’s the end of the jaunt across the Iberian Penisula!