>The season always seems to go up a gear in May, so I thought it would be useful to review November ’09 to the end of April ’10.
November is usually a resting month – there are no races unless you ride cyclo-cross – but last year I kept the training mileage up and maintained my version of Chronic Training Load (CTL) between 110 and 120auF. Having a proper Winter bike helped, as did a few more imaginative turbo sessions and the second of my trips to Calshot velodrome. I did have problems with my weight going up, but I didn’t really care.
December saw a big decrease in CTL (to the low 70s auF) as I damaged a shoulder and then caught a cold (the snow didn’t help either). I did ride the first event of the Winter Series but didn’t trouble the scorer. I was prescribed some long term meds that seemed fairly benign at the time – but more of that later. My weight went higher. The lack of auF and the surplus of Kg continues to be a theme.
January saw a return to health and decent training. CTL climbed gradually back to 100auF as the month progressed. The snow meant a lot of turbo work including some hard intervals. I began to notice an inability to hit the higher heart rates, but I put this down to lack of commitment. I also started attending the Willesden CC turbo sessions at Wembley which often left me knackered for days afterwards. I rode an Audax event for the first time since 1978 which, together with the ride there and back, gave me my first 100+ mile day for years and the first ever in January. At the end of the month I rode another Winter Series race and this time managed to hang on.
February is the month of reliability trials and ‘traditionally’ when CTL climbs. It climbed a little more slowly than in the past – reaching 115auF by the end of the month. A couple of Winter Series events went well. My form felt good.
I’d normally expect to race a lot in March, but it was difficult to find events. Those that I did ride produced disappointing performances and suggested that my lack of ability to hit zone 5 heart rates might not only be to do with lack of commitment – the meds might be implicated. I also developed a knee injury which is still giving me trouble. A trip to race in The Netherlands was good fun. My CTL did climb to a decent 120auF, but I found it difficult to maintain. At the end of the Month the doctor agreed to wean me off the meds over a fortnight.
April has been a better month. We’ve had great weather and the reduction and then abandonment of the meds seemed to have given me back some top end performance. However, CTL has dropped away slightly (to around 115auF). My weight has also started to increase again (damnit!). My 1:02:04 for a ’25’ on the 18th was real breakthrough performance and I need to build on that. Unfortunately the weather forecast for the weekend looks poor at the moment!
My determination to race less looks a little weak: I have four events in four days coming up over the Bank Holiday weekend. I have done 10 events less than this time last year though (15 as compared to 25).
None of my season’s targets have been threatened yet and the slow start to the year might mean that they’re safe. I haven’t quite given up yet though.
Plus points: I’m pleased that I kept training through the Winter and didn’t let illness in December get to me. I’ve dealt with the meds situation and that is now, I hope, behind me. I’ve made cycling more interesting by managing my turbo sessions better, incorporating track work into my schedule and riding a race in The Netherlands.
Less plus-ful points: After the madness of this weekend’s schedule, I need to schedule my race efforts more carefully. I’m concerned that the longer distance events needed for a BBAR effort may be beyond me (the dates don’t fall kindly either). I have failed to adhere to a structured training plan again – I am a pretty useless self-manager (not just in cycling).
Here’s to May and June – the season of PBs in the last couple of years. And here’s to July, August and September – let’s try and sustain the season this year.