209 miles, Velodrome and Mud

As January draws to a conclusion my training is going to plan. A long ride once or twice per week, two short rides of interval or tempo efforts, a recover ride and the all important rest day. I’ve been told many times rest is as important, if not more important, that the training itself, and I’m beginning to learn why.

My mileage is not that different to previous years, at just under 1000 miles for the month, this week was 209 miles. However in previous years I just went out for a ride at a steady pace, some short some long depending on time. This year I have to ensure when my training requires a interval session that I am rested and ready for it, without proper rest you cannot put in the effort required and that training day is wasted.

The 209 miles covered this week, finished today on the V-Sprint Club ride, although when the ride finished whilst everyone stopped for a coffee I went off for another 2 hours (in fact I reversed the route we had already done). I quite enjoyed that structure, the first half a group of 11 of us made a nice social ride out , the second half was a solo effort which gave me some ‘ME’ time as well as training. My friends and club mates are all keen to support my training by coming out on rides, almost everyday I’m getting calls to arrange a ride which is really great, but sometimes its also good to ride alone to focus the mind as well as the body.

Friday was another style of riding. Andy Parker one my team mates on the TOUR 21, a man with experience of what its like to ride all the stages of the Tour de France having ridden in the Tour 21 team last year, invited me along to a session at Derby Velodrome. I’ve ridden on ‘The Boards‘ before at Manchester and Newport, but the last time was 3 years ago so it took a few laps to get going, not helped by some new tyres on my track bike which picked up a fair bit of dust.

The dust takes a way your grip and on the first banked corner I was fighting to stay upright as the front wheel slid down the banking. After a couple of laps the tyre cleaned themselves off and I got going at a good pace. Riding on a fixed wheel bike on the velodrome is different than a road bike, there is no free wheeling so it is constant effort which you feel in your quads at the end of the session, but it is as much about your mental ability as physical, once you overcome the fear of riding the banked corners you begin to enjoy it.

It was great also to see some trying out the velodrome for the first time, and if you’ve never done it I’d suggest you give it a go. It can look a bit daunting to start with, no gears, NO BRAKES, and the height on the corners, but within an hour you will be riding up the banking. My tip – as you go around the banking look just slightly to the right – it takes away the feeling of height.

There was an added bonus to the trip, unbeknown to us Manchester Velodrome was being refurbished so some of the Team GB squad were training at Derby. As we all met up and waited to go on track we had a demonstration of Keirin racing by riders preparing to one day represent Team GB at World Championships and the Olympics.

On Saturday I rode the ‘Speeds Bash’ for the first time since September. Not for the faint hearted ‘The Bash’ is recognised as the toughest ride in Bromsgrove. Expect to ride hard, expect to ride fast, and if you can get to the end in sight of the fastest riders you are doing well. You need your best and fastest bike, so no mudguards – which when the roads are damp means you end up speckled in mud. As we went for coffee afterwards we got a few stares as people realise you’ve been on a tough ride.

I got dropped on the last hill, with about 3 miles to go, only a short effort but at 15% gradient its hard to stay with the stronger riders. But I wasn’t dissapointed, when you consider I was the only women, one rider competes in national and international races, and as with the Tour 21 team I’m the oldest rider staying with the group for the first 20 miles is a real achievement.

February training will be a little step up to include more hills as I get ready for my next assessment day with the Tour 21 team on the 25th. I’m a little behind with were I want to be with my fundraising so will be looking to boost things along in February. My thanks to everyone who has donated so far, every time someone donates to Just Giving I get an email, each one of those emails gives me the extra motivation I need to go out in the cold and rain. Whilst my blog is about my training I never loose sight of that £1,000,000 we are aiming to raise as a team, and the lives that will save as Cure Leukaemia continue to help cancer suffers and search for the cure.

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