After nearly 8 weeks out of structured training it was a bit of a shock to start back up again! Apart from a 2 week bike free period, I carried on riding throughout October and November, but only as and when I wanted to – and only off-road. As it turned out, I actually chose to ride quite frequently and I visited lots of places that I don’t normally get to ride. It was really nice to ride with friends – without a heart rate monitor and power meter - and make regular coffee and cake stops, of which there were probably too many because over the 8 week period I managed to gain 2kg!
It was obvious when I was ready to start structured training again – the tell-tale sign being the day I went for a road ride just because I wanted to ‘get some data’ (i.e. heart rate and power info.). Data I got, but it wasn’t the data I was hoping for! Oh well, only to be expected after so many weeks out of training – at least I know that the training works! I went for a fitness test with my coach so that we could set my training zones before I headed off on a winter training camp to Club la Santa, Lanzarote. I decided that I wanted to kick off my training somewhere warm. This turned out to be a good decision because although we’d had a very mild and sunny November, plummeting temperatures coincided with my departure. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to just pack my bike and head off to warmer climates, and I do regularly remind myself of the people back at home cramming their training into short days; taking their lives into their hands on icy roads; wrapping up in so many layers that simply moving becomes difficult; and nursing chilblains in the shower. I feel for you, I really do.
So here I am, I’ve completed my first 3 day cycle of training, I’m well into my second, and I’m starting to get a cyclist’s tan. The first 3 day block was tough and the second isn’t proving to be any easier; the constant power of road riding really doesn’t give you anywhere to hide, especially when it’s on an MTB be fat tyres! I prefer to train on my MTB rather than a road bike because it means that I am training in the position that I race in and, in doing so, I’m using my muscles in the same way, it’s also harder and I like to make things difficult ;) The weather has been great, albeit a little windy at times, however the way I see it is it can only be a good thing if you have to pedal on the descents ;) I like the biking here because the roads are wide and smooth and the drivers (with the exception of some tourists) give riders plenty of space when overtaking. There are some nice road loops particularly in the hilly north where there is a great climb starting from Tabayesco, but the flatter south also has some nice loops taking in the Timanfaya National Park the landscape of which literally makes you feel like you’ve been transported to the moon! I’ve settled into a good routine and I’m starting to feel really relaxed. I’m cooking my own food each day which means that I can eat exactly what I want but I’m looking forward to trying out the new sushi restaurant here at Club la Santa. I love sushi :) I’ve got another 10 days here before I go home for a rest over Christmas, after which I’ll start another block of hard training.