Well I've been training hard for the last few weeks and I'm starting to feel stronger. I've been doing lots of zone 2 endurance rides with some shorter but faster zone 3 rides, and the miles have been clocking up! I've found some new routes to ride which has been keeping things interesting and I've also found a new female training partner - the miles go so much faster when you can have a good natter! Although we're not the same pace we've manage to figure things out so that we both benefit from the ride: sometimes this means that I ride my MTB while she rides her road bike, this = zone 3 for me and zone 2 for her; other times we both ride road bikes which = zone 2 for me and zone 3 for her.
I've also had a computerised training partner for the last month or so: a power tap. Although I'm not using it to it's full potential at the moment (mainly because I'm still figuring out how to use the software etc.) it has meant that I have been able to base my rides on keeping in specific power zones rather than basing my training solely on heart rate zones. At first I found it incredibly frustrating and I didn't think that we would get on very well, mainly because it is so sensitive. However, this is actually one of the benefits of training with power over training with heart rate: you get instant readings rather than the delay you get with heart rate. In other words, heart rate takes longer to rise and fall meaning that you might think that you are working easier or harder than you actually are. I'm starting to get quite attached to it now, but the jury is still out on whether I consider it to be an essential training tool for me.
Tomorrow I'll be doing my first race of the season: the Brass Monkeys 4 hour enduro. This is very early in the season for me, but given the fact that the Cape Epic is looming I think it's time to blow off some cobwebs! It'll be a fun race, not least because Dave is doing it too. He's taking annual leave from his pit duties :0)
I'm looking forward to a week of warm weather training in Tenerife in a couple of weeks, where we'll be catching up with James Ouchterlony (British Marathon Champ 2007) which will be a lot of fun. I'll be able to put in some high miles and hopefully get used to temperatures higher than what we've been having in the UK for the last few months! This will be important because it could be pretty hot in South Africa. I also need to get a little bit of colour - I'm feeling a bit pale and translucent at the moment!