16th February - 1 month to go!

With only a month until I leave for Hawaii, time is ticking all too fast! As well as stepping up my training, I have trips to Florence and Geneva on family business, and a bike demo weekend coming up. There really aren’t enough hours in the day!
As if there isn’t enough pressure on the trip, I’m now certain that my coach – Dave Lloyd – wants me to become a national champion, after he professed that he is an ‘old school coach’ at heart. I just want to get a bit fitter and conquer a mountain! And having spent Saturday with a bunch of very fit young women, I’ve become all too aware of my age.
Nevertheless, on Monday I put myself through the paces with a Sufferfest Violator routine – the intervals were pretty brutal, but it’s clearly good for the fitness.  No pain no gain, right?
Tuesday disappeared, but I managed to get to the gym for the first time in ages on Wednesday to do some weight training. I find that 2000m on the rower is a great warm-up exercise, especially if you focus on driving from your legs and back rather than your arms. Too many people get their technique wrong on the rowing machine, a real bugbear for ex-rowers like myself as I know just how much damage it can do. Anyway, it was good to mix up my routine with a few CV machines, weight machines and free weights as a mid-week workout.
Having spent a lot of time in the car on Thursday, I decided to take the night off so that I could give Dave’s prescribed workout 100% on Friday. And it worked – I actually quite enjoyed tackling the programme (5 x 1 mile intervals, then 3 x ¾ mile intervals, then 2 x ½ mile intervals), primarily because I was able to see this one through to the end for once!
I’ve been picking up Fondriest UK bikes this week for an upcoming demo day I’m hosting at a local shop (Beyond Mountain Bikes). Amongst their impressive collection of demo bikes, was my special Mt Haleakala bike – the Fondriest TFZero (made by Sarto).  With a 695g frame, DuraAce chainset and carbon pedals, it’s a thing of beauty. I have borrowed a soft bag to take this out to Hawaii with me, and I’ve customised the bike by adding a 32T 105 cassette and a 105 long rear mech to cope.  It will have my Spin Koppenberg 25mm wheels and 23 mm tyres when finished, so I’m looking forward to giving it a test spin.
I’ve done pretty much all I can to the bike to ensure it gets up the climb, short of adding a motor.  Although I’m sure that I haven’t trained nearly enough, I always feel like that before a big challenge. Time will tell – the countdown begins!