1st December week – Hard Winter Base

Brrr it’s getting cold, don’t you think? Another week has whizzed by with life getting in the way of my riding, but still I persevere!

When I first set out my training schedule, I completed a template to map out which days and times I could train. My work is pretty flexible so I thought I would have plenty of time on my hands, but like many cyclists before me I’ve realised that I was perhaps a little optimistic. There are just so many things that get in the way of riding!  This week has been no exception, as a day trip to Geneva with a criminally early start and late return left me aching for my bed instead of my bike.
Monday usually involves a gentle recovery ride on the turbo (if such a thing is possible), but this week saw the introduction of speed work. Whilst my 100prm average was a little below the 106rpm target, I was quite pleased with my efforts. However I was somewhat less pleased with the resulting sore patches in places best left to the imagination... chamois cream came to my rescue once again to ease the pain!
For those of you who haven’t discovered the wonders of chamois cream, allow me to give you a history lesson. This miracle-working product is so-called because cyclists traditionally wore real shammy leather in their shorts, and used this cream to keep them supple and soft. Whilst it’s hard to imagine stepping out in leather for a ride today, the stuff is great for preventing blisters and sores as it minimises friction from your saddle. Nowadays, many of them are also antibacterial and waterproof; my preference is the so-called “minty bum cream” from Assos – not just because of the name!
Tuesday was just as intense, with three 10-minute intervals at my zone 5 demonstrating that I need to work on maintaining the HR higher, as I fell a few beats per minute short of my 158bpm target. To shake up the routine, simulated hill reps on the turbo was a short but effective training exercise, and 5 reps provided quite enough when giving it 100% for 2 minutes in a high gear.

Indoor training is ideal for midweek sessions when time is precious, but I couldn’t wait to get outdoors at the weekend. A cold but beautifully crisp Saturday afternoon was the perfect opportunity to get some miles on my bike. Training with friends is great motivation if you want extra support with your routine, so I planned to meet a friend who is also working up to a big event – the BeforeTheTour. This challenge covers the Tour de France route, with a mentally and physically gruelling few weeks of riding that makes my 5 days of consecutive riding look like child’s play. Alongside the rigorous training routine, he and his 19 fellow riders must raise £50k each, so the whole thing is no small feat!

As is often the case with riding, our plans were scuppered because he had a broken chain on his way to meet me. Nevermind, I probably got off lightly anyway….