13 Jan

After a long period of silence I thought it was about time I address the coming season, what I’m aiming for, how I might hit those targets and a little insight into what I’ve been up to over the winter…

At the end of last season you might recall I managed to get a half decent result in the Handicap champs, the field was very mixed, as you’d expect, importantly I managed to stick the pace in the first 40 mins with a group of elite racers, I also managed to make a move that ended up being the winning one. It gave me a bit of confidence that I may be able to perform at this level if I can get my head right, and possibly not doubt myself quite as much.

Over the past couple of years my approach has been far from scientific, or even structured, I just rode my bike, sometimes pretty hard, other times not around 10 hours a week observing power figures as I went, sometimes they were good other times not. Last year I often pondered getting a coach to help with my training, perhaps to take the guesswork out of my weekly riding, also to put the time I have at my disposal to better use. I decided to hold off in the end mainly because I ticked most of my goals by mid season and I saw little sense in appointing someone two thirds of the way through the year. However, after my last race I was keen to try and get this sorted, not only to make proper use of my time, but to inject a bit of motivation into my riding as last winter I did get a bit bored off the whole dark/wet thing all the time.

With that in mind, I got talking to my current coach (Xavier, RST) about what I was planning for this season and how we could possibly look to get me there on 10-12 hours a week of riding time, some of which was commuting. One of the reason I looked towards RST was because I had noticed they are quite active on the web, not least about what they can offer, but more importantly for me, the methodology involved in doing so (I basically didn’t think they were talking rubbish like many do).

What I did not want was a coach to tell me I needed to ride 5 hours at 200 watts Saturday and Sunday every week from Nov-Mid Jan, I had already put that ‘train of thought’ to bed, some reasoning – I’m not a pro bike rider, I don’t have 20-30 hours a week to ride a bike, therefore I wouldn’t be training like they do, I needed to get my training done in half that time, which ultimately would involve me doing things that many would say are not what you should be doing in winter, I’m sure you know what that means.

Winter then – there really is no way of getting round the winter period, all 6 months or so of it! It is the time to forget about being fresh for a particular event, but the time to build fitness to better equip yourself for the coming season. This isn’t a common thought pattern in cycling it would seem, if you ask many cyclists what the winter is about, they’ll tell you, at best, its about base miles, at worst they’ll be telling you not to use the big ring for any of your rides but they will mostly advocate you take time off to have a break and just put in the hours. Clearly when you look logically at the way the season works, the only time to improve, or build, is winter, the summer is spent racing, and in order to be in with any sort of shot at winning races you need legs that are not totally fatigued beyond belief which does mean that accumulating stress to drive adaption is limited in the summer as you are trying to keep an element of freshness for the weekend…clearly this isn’t an issue in winter, I can go to the pub with sore legs after all πŸ˜‰

What I’m planning for the coming season is obviously fairly different to last year, the reasons for that are obvious, I’m now out of the relative safety of 2/3 races given my upgrade to 1st cat and I also want to do a few more time trials and in order to accomplish some of my TT goals I will need to get in the far! Notable differences when stepping up a level (though I’ve obviously done a fair few nat b races now) are of course the standard of riding, but also the distance (75-90 miles as standard), the tactics and inclusion of more teams than individuals.

So I’ll go right ahead and list out some goals that I’ve set myself, I think they’re probably a mix of very challenging through to realistic with some hard work…

1 All time fastest list for 10miles (sub 19) and 25 miles (sub 50). (Which may result in a club record or two)
2. Top 15 (stretch goal of top 10) at national 10 – probably a tough one
3. Win a national B road race/and be at the sharp end in the majority
4. Pending how the races go in first part of the season I may push on and try to get my elite license
5. Try to improve times and placings in East Surrey Hardriders and Redhill 18, race the Kingston Sporting 14 for the first time. As an aside I would love to post a 19 on G10/42 which I don’t think many have ever done, Hutch and Ben Instone not sure of others…
6. Finish Ras Mumhan and be of service to the team!

So there we have it. Though this blog is obviously not correctly named these days it feels like I’ve come a fair distance since I started it as a fat lad with a sprint and a second hand skinsuit (still got that one, owned formerly by Mr Vulpine himself!) to a slightly less fat lad with a sprint and a fairly decent range of fitness. I’ve enjoyed racing and all the highs and lows it gave me in 2013. I feel like if I can keep the training quality up and listen to Xav I will go some way to achieving a fair few of the above. Of course I will be documenting each race as it comes, helps vent my frustration more than anything πŸ˜‰

Not many changes equipment wise, I bought a new Sram Red Quarq with 55/42 chain set which with right cassette will serve my needs for road and TT bike. I’m also going to give tubs a go, I’ve bought some Zipp 303 Firecrest tubs and am currently ageing some veloflex carbon tubs (see how long they last eh?). I also upgraded to di2 and swapped my s2 frame for a custom green and black s3 which is far easier to keep clean! Reading that back it would seem I have again spent more money than I should of πŸ˜‰


3 Responses to “2014!”

  1. Ed Ashby January 14, 2014 at 7:09 am #

    Nice post mate.

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Andy Leatherbarrow January 15, 2014 at 11:01 am #

    Is much of the suggested training done on a turbo? If so is this more aimed at your TT efforts?

    • sharland123 January 15, 2014 at 1:01 pm #

      Yes and no really. It’s mainly been because the weather has been shit. But with certain intervals it’s very easy to do them on turbo vs outdoors. I’ve done a lot more stuff in the aero position which is hard to do outside!

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