Lotus Blue (book review)…

Lotus BlueLotus Blue by Cat Sparks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed the book right up until the end, which just didn’t seem to come up to the standard of the rest of the book. After a really enthralling adventure it really felt like the ending was rushed to its conclusion – hence only 4 stars.

It’s not too far fetched to imagine a future like the one depicted within this book, or the causes for it. The more we begin to rely on drones and augmented soldiers to fight wars, slowly but surely handing over more and more control to computer intelligence, the closer we get to the characters in the book and ultimately entities like ‘Lotus Blue’.

I’m hoping the ending in this book isn’t the end and that there’ll be more books in this dystopian future.

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Rouvy ‘Professional’ level…

Just completed ‘Professional’ level on Rouvy…

So i’m now at ‘National Champion’ level and for my sins have been given a bucket load of hard riding to complete – awesome stuff.

This new level is definitely going to take a bit more time to complete as on top of completing 2 rather long hard routes in ‘race’ mode, i have to finish 4 challenges and there’s currently only 2 in existence, 1 of which is just about to finish and 1 just about to start, with no hint of when the next 2 will begin or what they’ll require to complete. On top of that i have to collect 4500 Rouvy points which is a lot of riding in itself.

But it’s all great stuff and gets me fitter.


Rouvy – El Portillon…

My first attempt at Rouvy’s ‘El Portillon’ route…

Not a bad climb if you’re just looking for a nice bit of road to complete a quick workout. I’ll be back over next few days to do this with more power, i was on a recovery ride for this attempt.


Rouvy – Pocol → Passo Giau…

My first attempt at Rouvy’s ‘Pocol → Passo Giau’ route…

Not the most inspirational of climbs, and could certainly have done with being filmed on a really nice sunny day in better quality, but it’s a reasonable way to get through an hour interval training. Just switch off and let the road roll past.

Averaged 3 w/kg for 55:41 with an average HR of 116 bpm and max’d 4.88 w/kg @ 135 bpm – so pretty pleased with the old ticker as 135 is only the low end of my zone 2. There’s certainly a lot more to come in these interval training sessions as i make them progressively harder.


Rouvy – Challenge Kraichgau…

My first attempt at Rouvy’s – Challenge Kraichgau route…

Great quality video and an even better quality route, especially for anyone training for a 70.3 triathlon. Riding rolling roads through delightful villages and countryside in Germany on a nice sunny day while improving my fitness is a great way to spend a few hours hours.

I look forward to coming back and having another go at this route when i’ve improved my 3 hour power a bit more. Definitely one for the favourites folder.


Rouvy – Mt Constitution Road Climb…

My first attempt at Rouvy’s – Mt Constitution Road Climb route…

It’s a short climb but reasonably challenging. Video isn’t the greatest quality but it kept me happy doing a hard HIIT session. A good way to take a quick hard ride if you’re pushed for time.


The Night Circus (book review)…

The Night CircusThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A wonderful piece of fantasy writing, and certainly not the normal fantasy stuff that seems to be churned out a lot these days. I would put it on the shelf along side Neil Gaiman’s ‘Stardust’ – if you liked that then you’ll like this.

The Night Circus is a wonderful imagined space and would love to read more stories from within and around it’s fence. Erin’s currently working on her second book so who knows. There’s definitely a lot of space within the Night Circus for more fun and adventure to be played out in further novels.

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Rouvy – Passo dello Stelvio (Bormio)…

My first attempt at Rouvy’s – Passo dello Stelvio (Bormio) route…

Another fantastic Rouvy route for those who can’t afford to go to Europe riding these epic climbs, or for those who are going but would like to get in some practice. Wonderful stuff.

Beautiful scenery.

I have the 3rd lowest heart rate on the whole leader board – not bad for an old git. 😀


February’s Best Efforts…

February was not an easy month.

Firstly, i hate winter and the cold weather. I just get really depressed not being able to get outside in an enjoyable way. Bring on Spring and Summer and sunshine and warmth.

But i’ve managed to survive my first miserable winter without alcohol, so i’m well pleased with that. Fell off the cacao, coffee, vape and cooked food wagon again this month, but keep getting back on. The shit weather really doesn’t help trying to give things up, especially cooked food and hot cacao drinks, it’s takes too much will power to deal with it all – in my opinion. But i’ll keep getting back on the wagon and eventually i’ll get there, though most probably once the weather warms up.

Health wise, i did my right foot like i did my left foot a year ago. 5th metatarsal cuboid joint is not happy. It’s not like last year where it was torn at bottom of foot and was a real pain, this is aching on top of the joint and only hurts if i run. So i had to take some time off running and focused back onto the bike. I’ve just started attempting to ease back into running fter 11 days off but that resulted in my right foot aching a fair bit the next morning (yesterday), but it cleared up as the day went on and today it feels fine again although a little sore if i press into that area with my fingers. So i guess the running is going to have to be ‘suck it and see’ through March. I’m hoping i don’t have to take a couple of months off like last year, but if so then so be it. There’s always the bike to enjoy.

I’ve got a few ideas as to what caused it, and mostly i think it’s a perfect storm of things all coming together. Hopefully though, once this one is fixed i should be good to go. My left foot has been fine ever since so i’m thinking this is just my feet adjusting to my complete change in running form and this is my right foot’s turn.

And with all that i decided to start doing weight training again. My thinking is that by adding more strength to the joints and stuff i’ll hopefully avoid this in the future, i hope.

Onto the training…

It all started off really well and then kind of went a little downhill towards the end with the foot issue.

Firstly there was the foot issue which through me off, which made me decide to start doing the weight training, which threw my routine right out of balance even more. But i feel like i’m getting back to a nice routine as my body settles into the new scheme of things. Still a bit of tweaking on the routine to do through March, but shouldn’t be too long before i’m fully settled into something that balances the bike, treadmill and weights through the week.

Cycling covered 577.89 miles in 47:08:33 using 21,996 calories, which is a little less time than January but a little more calories – so i was working harder through less time. The distance dropped quite a lot but this is down to switching to Rouvy and all the climbing i’m now doing. In February i climbed 74,567 ft, which put into the perspective of Everest at 29,029 ft means i climbed Everest over 2.5 times – which is pretty good going.

Walking/Running covered 23.09 miles in 6:20:35 using 1782 calories, which is a bummer after January’s great totals. But foot problems need to be fixed before i can push the miles again.

Other things…

I reached the end of my Rouvy Trial and jumped over to Bkool for their free trial, but gave up after 6 days because it’s no where near as good as Rouvy and i found it very glitchy on my computer. So i ended up just going back to Rouvy long before Bkool’s trial ended and paying to ride Rouvy as i really, really like it.

Each of these different platforms have their own unique style, and Rouvy definitely suits what i want in my virtual riding experience – lots of big mountains and time trial courses. And unlike Zwift, on Rouvy i’m alone on the course which i prefer – i can get on with my own training plan without all the distractions that Zwift throw in the way. It’s just so nice just to jump on the bike and ride a beautiful sunny 2000 meter mountain anywhere in the world and just enjoy the views. Sadly, i can’t afford to take my bike to France or Italy and ride these mountains for real at the moment, but Rouvy lets me have a taster of what the future holds. It’s also a very good platform for anyone who is going on a cycling holiday to these places – you can check out some local routes before you set off and make sure you have the legs and fuelling strategy, etc., to complete them. Or you can just hop on Rouvy and find the places you really want to ride and then decide upon your holiday and not be disappointed. All in all, i’d recommend just having a go at the free trial to see if it fits your agenda, there’s more to virtual cycling than Zwift.

Another thing that took its toll in February was buying some new tri bars. Which, having just got used to being on the old ones full time i had to add some insult to it by getting some that are about 2cm lower. At first i thought i’d have to raise the stem a bit but gave it a go on one ride and found i could just about manage it, so i stuck with it, but i can really feel it in the legs being slightly more bent over – but more aero is ultimately worth it once the legs get used to it. It’s still a very comfortable position, it’s just the leg muscles need to get used to the new firing range.

But, all in all, with hindsight, i’m fairly pleased with February as a whole, albeit rather crappy running month. Got started back on weight training, got lower aero bars, i also upped my bike power a little too. If it wasn’t for the foot issue it would have been a really good month, but i’m not going to let a little foot issue spoil the rest of it. The foot will heal, and i’ll soon be back running – fingers crossed.

Anyways, have a fit, healthy and well March.

Best wishes.

Rouvy – Col du Galibier (Col du Telegraphe)…

My first attempt at Rouvy’s – ‘Col du Galibier (Col du Telegraphe)’ route…

It’s rides like this is why i love Rouvy so much. For those who can’t afford to go to Europe riding these epic climbs, or for those who are going but would like to get in some practice first, look no further than Rouvy. Hopefully one day i’ll get to ride the real mountains, but until then, i’m more than happy having found Rouvy where i can get a taster of things to come.

I’m really not missing Zwift at all.

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