The season for me always starts in October where modifications to my training and any additional cross training can be tried out way before the season begins in earnest. For the past two years I have been utilising the facilities here in Bath with extensive gym work. I find movement quality training and strength work to be my two favourite components and besides on improving my explosive power, sessions such as these really help to improve bone density which is something cyclists often neglect. I incorporate these sessions within my normal training routine as well as my studies at university in order to build a better and more rounded athlete.
In fact, this winter’s training went even better than expected thanks to Nick at Core Cycling who managed my training so well as to avoid winter illness and overtraining. With the progression being so good I decided to test the legs at a few winter races, picking up some top tens. It is just extremely satisfying when you see the progression with consistent training, and I think it is one of my favourite aspects about the sport.
Going into the early season I was confident with the improvement I have made and one of the first events was BUCS TTT. I had never done a TTT on my time trial bike and therefore extremely excited to give it a good crack despite a cold compromising some of my performance. Overall, we rode well as a team, since it was our first time, and despite wavering towards the end, we did indeed give it a good crack and came away with a respectable time.
One of the next big events for me was Klondike GP. This was my first ever prem and notorious for the extremely tough roads around the Yorkshire Moors. I had come up on the Friday to recce the course, much as I would do with the time trial courses, and my first impression was just wow. I come up to Yorkshire every year to train but even so, these climbs were fierce and punchy. Excited to get the race underway, I had around 3 bowls of fruit and fibre, which is my go-to pre-race food, and got to the HQ very early to prepare.
The race itself was very exciting as I have never seen so much support at the side of the roads before. It was full gas from the gun attacking into the headwind and by the time we had reached the first climb, it had already been a hard couple of miles. The first climb went by but as we neared the top, a small crash occurred on the steepest bit and I got caught up in it. After freeing my front wheel and restarting, I desperately tried to chase back on, even setting some new Pbs, but to no avail. However, a small group of riders, who also got caught on the wrong side of the crash, formed a group and by chatting to some of the Saint Piran and Canyon riders I got some useful tips. A small silver lining.
After Klondike, I had a few Nat B’s that I was targeting, including over the Easter weekend. I never done 3 races at this level in a row and with the unusual high heat, it made for some tough racing. However, by the end of the weekend, I came out of it feeling strong and with some good results. I had a few more important races before my exams where the focus was preparing for the second half of the season and the national TT championships.
The first of which was the circuit championships around the same course as the BUCS TTT. This was extremely beneficial as I knew all the turns and what to expect at every mile, vital for getting the most out of a TT and one’s pacing. Unfortunately, not everything went to plan; my Garmin popped off around the course making pacing the second half difficult and I suffered with tight glutes which impacted hugely on my position, which is extremely aggressive. Leaning from my mistakes, I have opted to raise my position slightly, solving the tight glute problem, as well as allowing me to better tuck in my head and reducing the hole left by my arms. It was not the best start to my time trial campaign but there were many positives to take out of the race, such as picking and choosing my lines, as well as testing out a negative split pacing strategy. All in all, it has been a good start to the season and I am looking forward to the next coming months of racing and time trialling.
Thank you to CTT whose incredible support, especially for young riders like myself, helps to massively develop and further the sport.