So you may have noticed (you probably didn’t) I’ve been a bit quiet over the last few weeks. The truth is it has been pretty tough month for me now. Ever since finishing my heavy block of training and winning my first national title at the Circuit Champs, I’ve been faced with a lot of fatigue, just when all the important races are coming up.
I started my taper for Nationals after the Circuit Champs, cutting out the volume, but keeping the intensity and hoping for good legs. That was the plan at least. What it more or less meant, was time off the bike. And then more time off the bike. And then a little more for good measure. Believe it or not, this is not how you taper, how I was planning to taper or a successful way to get good legs.
Now a week before the Champs and there was no improvement. But I was all packed, and ready to travel over to the Isle of Mann. At least it would be an adventure!
I have to start by thanking Matt and Amy Hill for organising the trip and giving me somewhere to stay! The whole thing would not have been possible without you guys and I am incredibly thankful!
The trip started with what is possibly the worlds longest ferry. Heysham to Douglas. Didn’t help that it was at 3am. But in the early hours of the morning we arrived, and seen as nothing was open, we went to drive the time trial course. It’s fair to say it was a shock. This was no time trial course, this was hill reps on a TT bike. The first km was technical. A rough little back road, grippy to say the least, with a short but steep descent into a chicane over a little hump back bridge. I won’t lie, first time I rode it I almost ended up in some persons garden. Then comes a steep berg up to the main road, where there was a few moments of rest before climbing again. Then we popped out onto the coast road, in general slightly downhill, but it included a fair few steep ramps, making it very hard to get into a rhythm. My plan was to hit the first few km’s hard, then try to recover on this longer section in preparation for the longer climb to come. Turning in land, and we started the long climb. Just over 5km and only an average of 3%, but with multiple kicks up to 7% made it very hard to ride consistently. Followed by a long descent almost all the way to the line. It started off steep with 2 big sweeping corners, left then right. Then it was just slightly downhill all the way to a 90degree right onto the finish road, where it was 700 metres to the line and full gas.
I feel like I got everything out on the day, there just wasn’t as much in the legs as I would have hoped.
But onto the RR. It was hard. I got spat.
That’s the brunt of it anyway. But I have to say the experience was incredible, and I am not sad about the result at all! Being in a huge peloton alongside all my cycling heroes was insane, something I will never forget. It also showed me the level I need to be at to compete there in the coming years. I know that now and me and Mark can work on that. I will be back next year for sure!
Overall it was an up and down week for me on the bike. I will not pretend to be happy with my result in the TT. 22nd overall and 3rd first year. I think it could have been much better, considering I was only 1 minute off the top 10. But I know where I need to improve now and I can focus on that for next year. The RR was amazing and the trip as a whole was fantastic!
Now I need to get packing, I fly to Martinique this evening, see you all soon…
Thanks as always to all the sponsors that make this possible (check them out below), my coach Mark Walker, my Dad and a special mention to Matt and Amy for putting up with me for a week!