Letters Home: Racing Abroad BLOG - The Off Season
It really doesn’t seem that long ago that I was writing my ‘end of season’ blog, yet here I am three weeks on, eyeing up my training programme for effectively the start of the 2013 campaign.
Rather Anonymous End Of Season
My final race of the season was on the 22nd of September, which turned out to be a relatively anonymous appearance in West Flanders. My head and legs were no longer in it, and you don’t win races if you’re lacking in one, let alone two, so a curtain was happily drawn on the season.
With that settled, the bike was officially hung up. It was apparently right on time too, as the weather was getting as progressively wet as the racing regularity was becoming dry. After a day trip to Valkenburg to confirm the World Champs as the coolest race I’ve seen, I had all I needed to book a ferry home.
There was not a great deal of procrastination to be enjoyed though as after a flying visit to the Cycle Show at the NEC, I was straight into work at the weekend selling bikes, and then both as lead-cycle and podium girl at a 10k running race. So that’s another one to add to the podium tally.
The rest of my off season has followed in a similar vein for the most part, really; casual shifts at work mixed in with 7 months worth of a social life to catch up on has actually been pretty tiring to be honest, but the off season is more about a mental break than a physical one, and I’ve done just that. The highlight has to be last weekend, when I tactfully turned my girlfriend’s request of a “holiday”, into a weekend in The Highlands, including an ascent of Ben Nevis.
Being an athlete often prohibits the justification of adventures such as this, so it’s only really during the off-season, when worries about getting sick and injured, or time and expenses aren’t quite as foreboding. As it was, the climb up the CMD Arête route turned out to be a 10 ½ hour epic, in every type of weather imaginable, which left us both with a huge sense of satisfaction and accomplishment; the sort of thing that leaves you smiling for days. Being a cyclist is worth sacrificing being able to do stuff like this on a whim, but it’s great to enjoy them while you can.
Not being able to walk properly for 4 days was a just reflection of how riding a bike seriously severely inhabits one’s physical ability to cope with day to day things such as walking, or carrying a back pack. Even a full day on my feet seems to leave me feeling more tired than a 6 hour ride these days.
Anyhow, a few days work and a couple more hazily-remembered nights out drew me up to the Cyclosport end of season ride and lunch at the weekend. After attending last year I knew the event was going to be a date to keep clear in the diary, boasting a great ride route and even better company, as well as an uncanny ability to seek out the sort of crisp, bright mornings that can make autumnal riding so enjoyable. My anticipation was rewarded with more of the same, and a great day leaves me in gratitude to everyone at Cyclosport for putting on such a good event, and for the continued support in letting me fill some of their webspace.
Soon To Be Back On The Gas
I am due to start training in the next few days, and it’s with no regret that that’s the case. The eagerness for next season is hard to shy away from, but I’m looking forward to getting stuck into some decent training over the dark and dismal months of the English winter in preparation for the start of next season, which looks like it’s going to kick off about 4 months down the line in mid February.
Next year I’m going to be riding for the Belgian TopCompetition side Terra Footwear, which as an amateur holds one of the best calendars you could hope for, and with a tradition of having a strong English speaking contingent over the years, should also be a great set up to be involved in.
With thanks to everyone who has supported me over the last year, particularly the Dave Rayner Fund, who’s help is so crucial to those of us abroad, and of course Cyclosport.
You May Also Like...
Leave A Comment
Please login to leave a comment