(This post a reproduction of the original blog published at http://cyclefit.co.uk/a-briton-in-brittany-11 )
and hope that you are enjoying the rapidly-improving weather we are having.
I’m back in the UK briefly (although perhaps ‘going AWOL’ may have been a more appropriate description) in order to catch up on some medical appointments, pick up the TT bike (more on that very shortly) and see Mum for Mother’s Day.
So, the TT machine. Rather tasty (see pics to the left).
Very keen to give it a whirl on April 21st at the British Universities 10-mile TT Champs.
Matt rode it to a win a week or two ago and gave it the thumbs up, so hopefully it’ll be lovely.
Unbelievably, I haven’t yet got round to putting a leg over it yet. Weather has been pretty dire in Exeter where I am staying, and I just can’t bear to spend my maiden ride atop it in a fine drizzle. However later this week looks good and, failing that, the sun is shining in Rennes apparently.
HUGE thanks must go out to Phil, Jules and Cyclefit team as always. Their generosity really is scarily vast. My only issue (read: raging all-consuming terrifying fear) is of not doing it justice.
A fear which, it has to be said, has been exacerbated ten-fold by the fact that I am doing so very little on the training and racing front for the first half of the season. Aside from the April 21st race, pretty much nothing from now until end of June- due to finishing of final months/years of University.
Not at all what I would have chosen, but my hands are tied with regard to trying not to fail the French Law degree. My plan is essentially slog through the academic stuff and try to keep a decent level of fitness, then return on 30th June a free man.
Build through July and then nail a strong end to the season, leading in to the August National Para-Cycling TT Champs and September National Para-Cycling Track Champs.
I was concerned earlier in the week that my fitness was even worse than envisaged- but suspect this is just insecurities creeping in due to feeling a little ‘left out’ of the racing action. In fact my RHR plummeted to a new pb a day or two later (42bpm… not going to set the world alight, but good by my standards) and a day or two after that I fell ill with the first bout of sickness I’ve had in about 5 years. I never get sick. The Staniford immune system is spoken of in hushed tones. But sick I was, and the only real reason I can think of was that I was ‘on the razor’ balancing between form and overdoing it.
Anyhow… last few weeks of hard study and hard training coming up in France, and I’ll be back in April.
I’d like to extend a huge thanks to everyone who has sat through these blogs thus far. They started out cheerful and entertaining enough (I hope) but I’ve noticed with increasing ire that over the last few installments they have just deteriorated into epic whinges. I’m sorry. Thankyou for putting up with my negativity and self-interested whining over the last few months. I will return to being cheery in future, I promise.
(This post a reproduction of the original which was published at http://cyclefit.co.uk/a-briton-in-brittany-10 )
The Briton is once more back in Brittany, following an extremely enjoyable half-term holiday back in the UK.
I spent some time in Exeter, also known to me as the ‘centre of the universe’. It was really lovely seeing old friends and catching up on the new coffee shops which have opened there. Seriously, for a small city, you just would not believe the amount of coffee shops they have there. The ‘proper’ centre is maybe 1k square, and in that space there are now 2 starbucks, 2 caffe nero, 4 costa coffee, and 9 independents (each of whom, naturally, I have a close personal relationship with :-p ). Just brilliant.
After a few days of caffeine-overdosing and abusing my student loan, I moved East back to the big smoke. A Jaguar workshop on the 23rd February brought to a close my year with the programme- an extremely enjoyable period and I am tremendously grateful for all the mentoring and financial support they have provided, particularly during my rockier few months here in France. So thankyou Jaguar Academy of Sport.
Following that, a welcome return to the hotbed of cycling innovation and stochastic worship that is Cyclefit HQ. Jules was raring to go, with the beard looking even more resplendent than it has done in recent weeks, and fuelled by a fresh bag of Monmouth Coffee espresso blend (ground for cafetiere, seriously, you should try it. Like Black Gold) we hit the TT fit.
I was fitted for the TT bike last year when we were building up the glorious Serotta Meivici AE (now sadly returned) but back then due to flexibility issues we opted for quite a comfortable position, with the bars quite high up. Fresh from several months of intensive stretching work, however, we were keen to investigate if we had enough lee-way in flexibility to allow us to adopt a slightly more aggressive and aerodynamic position. Happily, we were. (pictures to right). This really is one of the very finest qualities about Cyclefit- they are far far more interested in your development or ongoing care as a cyclist than many other bike fitters. They don’t so much fit you to a bike as bike fit WITH you. If that makes any sense? They listen.
After that, a relaxed drive in the rapidly developing spring sunshine ensued… down to Southampton and the residence of Dr Chester Hill, my coach. He’s conveniently close to Poole ferry terminal, and it was his club dinner that evening so I got to enjoy a great meal with the Fareham Wheelers and the company of Michael Hutchinson, the legendary TTer booked to compere the evening. Very nice.
And then it was a ferry back to la République, l’hexagone, la belle France. Where, due to squandering my time by having fun in UK, I had 5 days in which to write 3 essays. Fortunately, I suspected I would get very little done in the UK (always the case) so had done all my reading/research and indeed made the first tentative steps towards writing a plan for each of the essays prior to even setting foot on British soil.
Needless to say, the essays were written to a good (well, in my eyes) standard, and handed in without too much fuss. Although those few days were not devoid of any stress!
What made the whole rush so much more enjoyable and possible however, was the knowledge that these were my final 3 written coursework deadlines…. probably ever (as I have no further inclination to subjugate myself to extra academic education). This means that I am in the enviable position of having just lectures and one minor debate to prepare for, and 5 weeks in which to do it. Then holidays and exams. Bliss.
This at last means I may have some extra time for riding a bike (yes, that thing I’m meant to be moderately serious about). Things have been going well and, if anything, I have been surprised by how much fitness can be developed on relatively little training. With a reduction in hours available, I’ve just increased the intensity across the board of all hours available. My standing starts, short-term muscular endurance and peak wattages are all higher/better than in years past. Sadly, my endurance and fitness are down a bit, I think, so next week will be spent addressing that before getting back to the speed work.
First major competition for me this year is the British Universities and College Sport 10-mile TT Champs. 21st April in Cambridgeshire. Will be riding the new machine!
Thanks for reading.