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:
The dining scene is an upmarket first-floor restaurant in downtown Lisbon with tablecloths linen napkins unpretentious and really pleasant. My first visit was 2 nights ago when it was totally packed and they squeezed me in on a bar stool.
Tonight it was just a few of us I sat down in a central location facing the bar but quickly rotated around to view the other diners.
On my left, in the window bay, where a couple, clearly both English he an educated ageing hippie with long hair which must be a nightmare to look after she a young attractive lady. He clearly was wanting to show his catch as whenever their hands met he turned around. Initially, I thought he was an academic but later I thought perhaps an author with her as his publicist or maybe researcher, she was clearly in awe of him and went beetroot red when he mentioned the word bed to the waitress who are all really pleasant .
Just in front to my left where two youngish women from their demeanour I would say Portuguese very quiet and rather sad. A lovers tiff maybe?
The second bay window was occupied by two young guys who I also thought were in a relationship maybe this is a bit of a gay restaurant? Also very quiet and reserved.
To my right a middle aged German couple. on arrival with him on his handy chatting away obviously regarding someone coming to join them. As they sat down the waitress cleared away the fourth place setting. Eventually another German guy joined them clearly long lost friends with lots of the irritating German laughter the poor lady was left in silence.
The final couple arrived later quite young and sat alongside each other! How strange, maybe a first date? He awkwardly tried talking to her but after a while realised it’s much easier if you sit opposite each other!!
A fascinating evening with excellent food including my first port in Portugal. Many thanks to the fine staff, Ana, Morilia, Ricardo, Miguel, Mohammed, J. Niguez and Maziak for the excellent food & service that kept me coming back night after night and also thanks for my little present
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
Well, the walking part was due to mechanical failure, first time in several years of cycle touring 🙁
I started off from Huelva early, stopping at the ham shop to get a quick cheese sandwich, with the firm intention of getting the rear derailleur sorted out, but the shop didn’t open till 10 am and didn’t look too good anyway, although with hindsight I should have stayed!
The first part was crossing the estuary by a lovely bike path, I’m sure the twitchers would have loved it, a quick stop for a second breakfast in Aljarque foolishly taking a ‘shortcut’ over what turned out to be a sand dune – when will I learn 🙁 Later it was interesting pedalling alongside the water channels similar to the Maderian Lavadas especially their gigantic syphons to get across the many valleys
Just after El Granado my little mechanical failure occurred as I was dropping down on the front derailleur the rear derailleur cable snapped in the brake housing (so that’s why it hadn’t been working so well) causing the chain to leap up and wedge itself in the mechanism and I mean wedged! In the end i resorted to violence by kicking the pedal backwards thus freeing the chain & twisting the changer:-( I sort of twisted it back with my pedal spanner, cut the wire and wrapped it around one of the luggage rack screws suitably tensioned for the middle gear 🙁
Of cause I ended up walking the big hills especially the huge one after crossing the border where I had met the most miserable cafe owner to date. Cheered me up no end, not.
I eventually arrived at the Beira Rio hotel in Mertola to meet more miserable faces 🙁 The lady suggested a bike repair place in Mertola so I shot off there, only to find they now fix rotavators etc 🙁
Looking on Google I could see there was a bike shop in Beja a much bigger city and only 30 miles away so I booked a hotel, for tomorrow, near to the shop and hoped it wasn’t just an agricultural or kiddies bike place.