2019 - 2020 winter blog
📸 - James Huntly
Here is my blog entry for the 2019/2020 winter training period. It has gone scarily fast with my season starting this Sunday. In terms of training I have been quite lucky. Up until a few weeks ago the weather has been fairly bearable with relatively good weather, ie no snow and very little ice. Regarding illness I have only had one or two colds this year. I'm not really sure why this is, I guess it's because I have improved my nutrition and actually thought about the amount of sleep I am getting each night. It could also be down to the fact I am starting to spend less and less time at school...
Junior to Under 23
I would say the first thing I really thought about after the end of last year's season was the fact that I would no long be a junior. I would be making the jump up to U23, a thing that doesn't really seem to exist outside of the BC National Champs in the UK. Also I will not need to race on restricted gears. This mean I can ditch the 52/14 as leg speed was never my strong point. Between the end of last season and the start of this I have signed for Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling which is one of the UKs 4 UCI continental teams. This is a sizeable jump up for me, I have only ever been a part of a junior team on a one off basis and if I'm honest there isn't a hell of a lot of team work that takes place within them, except "don't chase each other down". This will be a learning curve for me as it has always usually been just me and my dad at races, me racing for myself for my local cycling club. This is obviously something that will change as I race bigger senior races in a team environment.
Turbo and balance with school
If you would have told second year junior George that I would actually not hate turbo session this winter I would say no way. Though this year has been different. I have seen turbo sessions as a necessary evil. I have to do it, there is no alternative, suck it up, HTFU, etc. This training method was something I really used to struggle with, with a hour long session being the longest period of time imaginable and anything over 300 watts for more than 30 seconds being completely unachievable. I have started to really engage with Zwift, and this has helped me just get it done. I would say structured interval sessions are not meant to be enjoyable, until you have finished. The same cannot be said for the Zwift community races, these are actually enjoyable to me, I really find them good fun and worth doing. They are essentially a 40-60min subthreshold random interval session, definitely easier on the mind. For this reason I have decided that turbo sessions are all about where you mind is, if I am dreading the efforts there is barely any point me getting on, they will be unachievable, although if I am up for it, it will go by in a flash. Although I have started to enjoy some turbo work I would still say that the main reason I ride the turbo is because of my schooling, I am year 13 meaning I will be doing my A-Level exams this year. This means I have reduced hours that I can train especially in the winter where the hours of day light are hugely reduced. This has been hard for me mentally, I am born in November which means I have the worst of both worlds when it comes to cycling, if I were to have been born 2 months earlier I would be "year 14" (doesn't exist) meaning I would have finished school and would be able to crack on without any distractions, yet on the other hand if I were to be born 2 months later I would be second year junior, this meaning I would have another year of growth on top of my current fitness before moving up an age category. I would say the main things that had got to me has been seeing other people of the same age who have finished school moving abroad and doing alot more training than I am currently doing, I feel like I am missing out on training, although after being told plenty of times that I probably aren't missing that much it is still a thought I have.
The Ribble Weldtite training camp this year was in Benissa, Spain (near Calpe) in a villa called Oodles Retreat. This villa was absolutely mint, with a pool, tennis courts and yoga room. It was an absolutely amazing place to stop. It as in a great location for cycling as well as it was away from the busy roads meaning we didn't have to ride for 30 mins to get out of the town, we were straight out into the country. When I first arrived I built my bike, being on disks I thought it would be a good idea to take the disk rotors off so they didn't bend in the case, as the noise would drive me nuts. Foolishly I didn't put a spanner in my tool bag which meant I could tighten them finger tight, but nothing more. This lead me to find a bike shop locally, turns out there was one called Apedals in Benissa. I rode over to this workshop to find out that they were shut between 11 and 2. This wasn't really something I thought about at the time, it was 1:30 so I was just going to sit there and wait for the guy to come back. Next to this shop there is a Café, real Spanish one very traditional inside. Two guys were sat outside smoking and drinking cafe con leche. They started to shout Spanish at me, I got the basics yet still just responded with "English?". Turns out this was the bike mechanic and his MTB friend. I explained what was wrong and they told me to sit down. The mechanic spoke very little English yet what he did say was a hell of a lot better than my Spanish. They told me to go and get a coffee and that they would pay for it, at first I thought this was a scam and they would just run off with my bike the second I went inside. I feel they knew this is what I was thinking and they reassured me the bike was going nowhere. They tightened my rotors free of charge, free coffee, free bike mechanics. I was taken back. So big thanks to those guys. In terms of the training I did out there, there was alot of endurance zone 2 work with some race simulation and sprint work with the team, I did just over 900km when I was there. 25ish hours ? Not sure but enough...
My season starts next Sunday with Severn Bridge RR, this was going to start at Perfs but this race was cancelled. I am racing every week in March, with some big races on the table going into the later spring, all will be be revealed.
Thanks for reading,
Also big thanks to Pedal Potential for supporting me this year :) #pedalpotential