Thursday, 14 October 2010

Season review

This season has been one of mixed highs and lows. The moment I heard about the inaugural National 24hour championships I knew that I wanted to win and that it would be my main focus. I was able to focus all my spare time on my training and racing since this was my first year since graduating from university and fortunately I managed to find enough time to train effectively. I also decided to do it properly and found a coach in the form of Matt Hart from Torq fitness. This really made a difference for me. I knew how to train but having it written down and paying for the honour really focused my mind and made me train sensibly. I also reverted back to using a power meter which became my best friend for the first part of the year.

Initial fitness testing at the start of the year gave some promising results and I was sure that I could improve drastically. Previous years had shown I could do well on a diet of inconsistent training and racing. This year I was aiming to peak for a target race, something which I had not achieved before.

Early season races went reasonably well. I placed in the top 10 at the national xc series race and a few top 5’s at smaller xc races with nothing more than base training showed promise. As the nationals approached I had a real low point where my body felt totally ruined and I had feared that I may be overtraining. After a week of rest though I soon recovered which gave me 10 days to smash myself to get a nice peak.

Those 10 days I did nothing but worry. Matt said that he expected me to be totally destroyed after the block, but as hard as I could push I could not break myself! I was worried that I may have peaked too soon. The 10 day cycle consisted of 4 days on 2 days rest than another 4 days on. In the first 4 days I did a 100mile road ride in 5h on Friday, 3h tempo Saturday, 5h mtb Sunday, 6h mtb Monday. Followed by a similar schedule at the end of the block. On the last day I did a road race, narrowly missing the winning move and spending most of the race on the attack and then did 3h afterwards for a total of 130miles. And I still wasn’t totally wasted!!!!

2 weeks later was the nationals and I arrived feeling fresh and confident. Off the start the pace was sluggish. I was going to stay put with front riders but everyone was going so slow so I moved to the front to ride my own pace and see who would follow. No one did and I spent ¾ of the race leading solo! Unfortunatly I fell apart in the last quarter and was caught and passed with 4h left. I finished 3rd which in hindsight was good but ultimately I feel that I lost 1st rather than won 3rd.
Post nationals I was a mess. I was no good for anything riding wise and didn’t do much until a few weeks before I was due to fly to Canada for the BC bike race.

Amazingly as the race went on my legs came round and I began to post some reasonable finishes, just outside the top 10 in a world class field. I was hoping to reach the top ten but was ill on the penultimate stage and had to pull out. I began the next stage but then crashed heavily separating my shoulder.

Separating my shoulder was a pretty bad low. It meant that I wasted the second part of my holiday and that I was unable to compete in twentyfour12. Most of July was then spend feeling sorry for myself!

Come august I was back racing and somehow managed to pull out some results. 2nd at the Brighton big dog with rob dean, 2nd at a local XC the next weekend and 3rd at Torq 12 the week after with ant white. Things were looking up again! The next big race was the Kielder 100. I was looking forward to it but unsure of how I would fair. I had some bad luck early on with mechanicals and losing my bottle (drink not nerves!) and found myself riding in a podium position for most of the race. Eventually I faded to 5th but was still pleased none the less.

The end of the season kind of fizzled out. The 3 peaks cyclocross was a disaster, I rode like an idiot then my bike broke so I didn’t finish. Then the following week at Dusk till dawn I was at in a solid 2nd place but once again I had bike issues, this time a seized piston so abandoned.

So now I’m making the most of no racing. Partying is taking priority, although I am doing some swimming to strengthen my damaged shoulder a bit.

For 2011 I will be changing teams. I have ridden for Rob Lee’s team for 4 years and have developed into an endurance racer during that time; I dare say it would have happened without the team so for that I am truly grateful.

I’m sure I will be able to announce my new team in the coming months but for now you will have to keep guessing… one thing is sure though, I want a white striped kit next year ;)

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