With the icy ravages of a hard winter yet to strike many areas of the country, time triallists across the land are taking full advantage of relatively mild conditions to get some good winter training under their belts.
One such rider is Rob Sharland, the 29-year-old Paceline Racing Team rider whose winter training regime helped him take a joint victory in the Farnborough and Camberley CC 10-mile event in Hampshire just before Christmas.
The Surrey-based rider clocked an impressive 19-10 and tied for victory with AS Test Team’s Peter Harrison.
It was the last competitive performance of the year for Surbiton-based Sharland, who tasted victory several times throughout a successful 2016.
“On the whole 2016 was a good year,” he said. “There were a few goals on specific courses that I didn’t manage, but then I won a few other good events which weren’t on my list so it was a good year all round. And I hit a new PB over 10 miles too, so that was a bonus.
“And it’s more of the same for 2017 really. I won’t be travelling long distances to race as staying fairly local suits me fine.”
Aside from specific events, Sharland has other targets for the next 12 months which will be the icing on the cake.
“I want to do a 19-minute 10-mile time on a road bike, and I want to increase my placing at the National 10 and 25, which I was a bit disappointed with last year. I think I’ve got what it takes to finish in the top ten, that’s entirely possible with the right training and conditions.”
But good performances only come after hard training, and Sharland is already well into his winter training regime.
“My training has been going pretty well, I’ve been doing more miles outside this season. I used to get a bit precious about getting my bike dirty, but I’ve got over that and I’ve been getting some good miles in!
“Turbos are great, but I don’t have the mental threshold to stay on there for more than about 90 minutes before I get bored!
“My biggest issue with winter isn’t the temperature, it’s more the leaf mulch and ice on the roads. I’ve been out a few times and it has been fairly mild so it hasn’t been as much of an issue this season.
“I’ve been doing a touch more mileage this year, probably about 12 hours a week at the moment.
“I work with Xavier at RST who gives me specific training sessions to follow, and it’s good to have him helping to make sure I’m doing the right things.
“I look after my diet myself, and I’ve lost a few kilos over winter which is good. I work in advertising, and December is always difficult with entertaining clients. Party food and booze isn’t good for the training, but I mostly manage to stay clear.”
Similar to last year, Sharland is looking at attending a training camp in southern Spain with his Paceline RT colleagues, and is looking forward to continuing the good work already done.
“Until recently I used to take a big winter break,” he said. “But then once you start to think about what you want to achieve on the bike you’re virtually starting from nothing, so I’ve wanted to keep things going and it has worked well for me. Plus I need to bear in mind that everyone else is getting better too!”
Early time trial targets for Sharland are the Kingston Wheelers Sporting 14, the Redhill CC Sporting 18, the East Surrey RC Hardriders, and possibly the North Road CC Hardriders 25.
* This feature is copyright of Cycling Time Trials/Snowdon Sports. Not to be used without permission.