3rd November week – Power week

The dazzling leaves falling in every shade of orange officially herald that autumn us upon us. Granted they also make cycling more hazardous, along with morning frosts, shorter days, darker roads and the rain. But it is a beautiful time of year nonetheless.

I had the good fortune of having an opportunity to take the Sarto Asola to Doctor D, and to sit with him over coffee discussing the industry. My knowledge was paltry in comparison and I truly felt like a padawan next to this great master. A connoisseur of fine Italian road bikes, the Doctor builds bikes to order, and also specialises in painstakingly restoring bikes desperate for personalised attention. He chronicles his work visually, photographs that show the progression from start to exquisite finish.

This week's training was titled 'Power Week' which already had my palms sweating. Sprints are not nearly as fun on the turbo trainer as the road, if they can be called fun at all, but either way 10 x1km sprints are first on the agenda. The first is always the worst, so I spend more time warming up than I should to stave off the inevitable. Once I get to a nice distance on the odometer I commit to the first sprint, imagining I am on an open road instead of in my torture den. My legs are fortunately not protesting too much yet, so I focus on taking deep lungfuls of air to slow my breath and exercise the diaphragm, pushing the stale air out of my lungs. In my mind I can see the houses, green hedges and people whooshing by with the finish line fast approaching.

One down, nine to go. It only got harder from there, and by the end of it my lungs and legs protested vigorously. Unfortunately the HR Profile did not save to prove my efforts as the memory was full.

Wednesday is scheduled as a gentler day, as later in the week there were harder days to come. Oh Dear!

Thursday I had a gym session scheduled with a new PT as my old one had left. I have been let into an entirely new world of pain and suffering. Last week’s leg workout left me in pain for days after, and this week’s upper body session was no different. Even picking up a cup of tea left me twingeing. Although my suffering did not come from the bike today, it will be worth it and contribute to a better ride in future.

I always look forward to the weekend as my days are usually free for cycling. Saturday was typically rainy English weather, and I was feeling unwell but perked up to watch Australia beat Wales in the rugby whilst turbo training in the afternoon. I set a personal best of staying on the turbo trainer for 1 hour and 50 minutes. I even incurred a scar in the process, note to self- more cream on the shorts next time!

The Sunday club run was glorious. Small rivers from previous day’s rainfall ran along the roads while the sun lit the countryside with a beautiful golden glow. Conditions such as these make all the training worth it. Succour for the soul!