This week was the start of much better things, firstly sorting out stuff like finally having a car to get around, and starting to feel the effects (and fatigue!) of my brilliant training plan. It feels like everything is finally starting to fall into place.
This was the third week of my training block, and I started to feel the fatigue kick in during the week training, and also on the weekend racing. However it is a much welcomed feeling, as I have started to feel the benefits of my training- my races have shown me much more promising form and it’s a great feeling.
My coach warned me about feeling fatigued during the week, and so I just embraced it since I knew this week would be a recovery week. I got the training sessions done well during the week, putting out good power numbers, and had some time to rest before the weekend races.
Saturday I took part in a brilliant race, with some strong guys. It was a pretty high level field, and since I was fatigued I had no pressure for results, although of course I want to do well- but knowing that I’m not on my top form, and got tired legs, means I don’t have to stress about results, because that’s simply not what I’m working for at the moment. I’m working on improving my fitness to get to the level where I need to be.
The race on Saturday started off hard, as the breakaway was trying to get established but certain riders weren’t happy with the composition of it. I was just working on trying to save my energy as much as possible, and not do any work unnecessarily, which worked pretty well- until the race split apart. I was on the front of the peloton when a flurry of riders attacked and got a gap, since I was on the front of the peloton I had no momentum or wheel to follow to get back to the front of the race. The pace was savage whilst the group was getting away, and before I knew it, it was game over. I had missed the main move of the day, which had nearly 30 riders in it. The group I was in, wasn’t too interested in chasing. I wasn’t very happy with this, since this mistake simply ruled out any chance of success for the day, and this was only 30km into the 120km race. I was pushing the pace in my group to try and make something happen, but nothing came to it. Once the front of the race was out of our sights it was game over.
The annoying part is, I felt pretty good. I had fairly strong legs, so I decided to attack from my group, and go solo for the final 30km of the race. A shame to have missed the important part of the race, but nonetheless a good sign that I’m getting stronger.
Sunday I had another decent race, a standard category 2-3 race. Again, no pressure for any results, just get a good training session in the legs, and work on my tactics, getting in the right moves etc. The race layout was 21 laps of just under 5km.
It went much better than Saturday- I had my eyes on making sure I got in the right move, which I was expecting to go in the first couple of laps, and I was right. The breakaway went in the first lap, and I was in it. This was a good feeling, although it was a big breakaway of 10 riders the important thing was that I was in it. I was also feeling surprisingly good, I had tired legs but I was comfortable in the race. We were also keeping up a fairly good pace, and everyone was working pretty smoothly. We actually lapped a group of riders, not sure if it was the peloton or not but it proved that we kept a high pace!
I sensed that there would be a split in the breakaway towards the end of the race, since 10 riders is quite a lot and some were stronger than others. I was very attentive and made sure I was in any dangerous looking move, I also went off the front a couple of times to see if anyone would join me, but I didn’t stay out too long as it was just wasted energy.
In the final 5 laps, we started attacking each other in a bid to try and get away. I tried playing it cagey and making everyone else do the work, but this backfired. I ended up letting 3 riders slip away, and that was it for the rest of us. I knew I could’ve gone with them if I bridged the gap early on before the gap got big, and on my own, but I left it too late and my legs just didn’t have the effort for it. The leading group of 3 worked hard together to get 30 seconds on my group of 5 riders, and there was no chance of us catching them. I could feel my legs starting to feel tired at this point, so I took it as easy as I could to prepare for the sprint for 4th. In the last couple of laps, I could tell I was tired so I couldn’t expect anything in the sprint. I just had nothing in my legs for the sprint, so I rolled in at the back of my group of 5, for 8th overall.
A performance with many positives to take away, first of all actually getting in the right move! Also maintaining a good level of power in the breakaway, being comfortable at a decent pace. The finish was a bit anticlimactic, as I felt like I could’ve, and should’ve done better but that’s how racing goes, and it can’t go smoothly all the time, as we all know by this point.
A much more positive week, and a good sign for things to come, 3 weeks into an 8 week training block and the improvements are already visible. Going to enjoy this week for relaxing and letting the legs freshen up before heading into part 2 of my training block, where the improvements will really start to come through.
After a stressful and problematic last few weeks, it feels refreshing to have a week like this, where the training benefits start to show, and performances in races are improving. The racing calendar is looking very good now, especially since I can finally get to my own races and have the freedom of choosing which ones would be best for me. This weekend is looking ideal, and it’ll be interesting to see how I do after an easy week!
Hopefully this seems to be the start of the upwards spiral- an optimistic approach on the next few weeks now.