At the start of the month I was fortunate enough to be on a four day residential course, whilst the days were challenging, long and tiring, I was determined to maintain the impetus I'd discovered for my training. Along with Ad, we made use of the on site Fitness Centre each morning.
I'd read in the latest Runners World magazine that one of their contributers has started doing a workout that he's christened 'Gym-Lek'.. A play on 'Fartlek' (or speed play as it translates to english, a far less amusing name in my opinion).
I put the idea to Ad of adapting this to our biking slant, in the form of (rather obviously) Bike-Lek. He seemed keen* and so we met at 7am the next morning.
For those of you fortunate enough to have never slung a leg over a gym bike, they have varying levels of difficulty from 1 (easy) to 20 (Chris Hoy thighs required).
A warm-up spin of 5 minutes and we were off.. Ground rules being laid down and adapted as we went in something akin to those 1000 aside games of street football that seemed to break out when we were kids.
"Ok, so recovery speed is 12mph"
"and it should be for 1 minute"
"... deal.. how about keeping rpm at a minimum of 80?"
We set off with an initial minute at level 15, no problems, dropping back down to level 12 I questioned whether this was going to be of any use to our training.
That was the format for the next 25 minutes.. work hard then recover, the hard work getting harder each time and the recovery period seemingly less and less effective.
We got clever, we tried a pyramid of effort..
"1 minute at level 16, minimum RPM of 100, 1 minute at 17, RPM 90"
At the end of our session we were both tired, sweating and cursing our brains at the unused Air Con unit on the wall opposite the bikes.
Two days later we were there again, ready to battle the time, levels of effort and ourselves.
This time, it hurt, really hurt. With each passing minute I got weaker, less able to keep the RPM up at the target level.. fading over the 25 minutes of effort. As the bikes beeped to signal the end of the workout Ad looked on amused as I fell of the bike and lay on the floor, gasping for air.
I question the possibility of it being a regular show in my week and I doubt it would be quite so tough if it weren't for a mate being sat on the bike next to me, but if I ever want to inflict hurt on myself in a slightly obscure way, I'm gonna head to the gym with a riding buddy in tow.
* he didn't say no, so a winner in my book