Looking forward from here

Having watched the stage on the big screen yesterday at Rapha’s little soirée off Brick Lane and then watched Landis go from nailed on for winning to “I can’t find him in the CG” today I’ve started to remember what it was about cycling and Le tour that first captivated me.

Much as I loved the sheer power that Armstrong displayed during his reign, I am a huge fan of a race as open as this and where so many different names have written themselves into the story. We may even get this one going right down to the final day’s racing. I can’t remember the last time that happened.

So where from here for me as a cyclist? Well I’ve just sent the following email to the charity I rode for this year:

“Just a quick email to say how much I enjoyed raising money for Get Kids going! by doing the Etape du Tour this year. I enjoyed it so much I am really keen to ride it again next year and, if possible, do so and raise more money for your cause. Would it be possible to get my name down early on the list for next year’s team?”

So fingers crossed I’ll be stronger, fitter and there’ll be plenty of water. I’ve got a taste for these events and renewed determination to achieve a decent standard.

This year I’ve raise £1,153 so far. If you would still like to donate then it would be much appreciated. Next year I would like to raise a similar amount.

The strangest side effect is that, since coming back, I’ve suddenly feel like a smoother, faster rider. It feels like I’ve unlocked whatever fear it was that was holding me back – as Stu said on the cycling plus forum those hills that we used to battle with a mere pimples now.

Now the moment the road stiffens a bit I don’t sit back and wait for it to swallow up my momentum. Instead I’m out of the saddle and with a quick flick of the pedals I carry on over it. Hills that previously were a bit of a battle up a kilometre or so and still work but nothing I can’t get over.

When winter comes I’m investing in a turbo trainer and working on increasing my threshold level and power output. I think that’s the part of my riding that is most lacking. The endurance bit I can do, the gritting of teeth and fighting through pain likewise.

If I want to be quicker up those hills I’ve got to develop the power to go up them. This year I think I fell into the trap of trying to do too much distance work, or at least distance pretending to be work, rather than focusing on pushing up my threshold levels. Of course I’ll still be doing my club rides at weekends but I hate riding in the dark and rain so a turbo makes sense for doing those intensity workouts of an hour in measurable circumstances during the week.

This weekend I’m taking the bike up to Sheffield and will take it for a spin up into the Peak District, perhaps up Snake Pass and back on Sunday morning. Then I’m going to have a serious think about doing some racing, either at Eastway or at Hillingdon. I’d like to at least do one race at Eastway before they tear it up.

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