Sunday, 1 January 2017

grab a coffee , this might interest you

Some of the hardest months of my life are probably a fair summery of the last 6 months tied in with undoubtingly the greatest.

Let’s start with the good, I became a dad witch is unbelievably good and couldn’t be prouder of my little boy, he makes everything that’s gone wrong seem a whole lot better.

So a quick recap on how we got to here, I was coming off the back of some good rides and a very strong winter, confidence was at a maximum and everything was going to plan, I was destroying sessions I had done before on my road bike but getting power down on the TT bike was getting Harder and harder, frustration was building as race power was 40 plus watts down on what I was doing on a road bike ( usually about 15w anyway ) and I was even putting out less power than the year before despite being stronger. Anyway being me I carried on hammering myself sometimes having to crawl up the stairs after a session and spend the next hour in the bath, I couldn’t sleep, was in constant pain and grumpy even for me until eventually everything just went pop and I was sofa ridden for 6 of the worst weeks of my life, I was like a walking tablet dispenser but nothing was even touching the pain. 

So to cut a long story short I had a ruptured disc that was protruding out far enough to trap my Sciatic nerve and it just wouldn’t go back in, the inflamed tissue around was causing more pain and it was downright shit, surgery was looking a must, but know I realized why I was 

A: struggling to get any power out in the TT position, because as soon and I put the angle in my back it was forcing the disc out more and tightening up all the muscle around it = causing more inflammation. 

B: Why I was in so much pain. I can’t thank the coaches at Tri Force Endurance and Function Jigsaw for working so hard to help me recover faster and get me some mobility back it’s hugely appreciated. 


So where does that leave me now? The disc has slightly gone back in releasing my nerve so I’m dodging surgery for now. The muscle tissue has repaired giving me some movement back and I’m work very hard with Simon from Tri Force Endurance to build back strength and futureproof my back. I can manage a short easy commute to work and back. I’m grateful for that, I still love my bikes.

Simon and Billy H from Tri Force Endurance have stuck by me for a while now and have been a huge motivation in me getting my weight down to 70 kg and building me back up in the gym and they know better than anyone the passion I have for racing. 

You most probably don’t know but I coached two rider’s last year one male and one female, I chose them on the fact they wanted results bad and had an obvious passion for cycling. 

I’ve been extremely lucky to have worked, learnt and helped by some super talented people in cycling from multi national champions to aero masters and the guys at club events that give you that little bit of go faster advice, and have also learnt the difference between what I thought was training hard and really training hard and smart and love passing that on. Maybe because I like to watch people suffer as much as I did, but mainly to see the buzz after getting a result they never thought they could, and I’m extremely proud of both of my athletes for what they achieved.

So this all lead to a conversation with Simon from Tri Force that caught me slightly off guard and it went something like this.

 => Simon “how do you fancy working with us at Tri Force doing Time Trial coaching 

=> Me “errrr I’m not a fully qualified coach”

 => Simon “I know, we will help and support you as you work toward your British cycling coaching “

=> Me “really?

=> Simon “Yeah we want to work with people who have a passion, experience with what they do, know like and trust and think you would be great “

=> Me “but I’m not a qualified coach “ 

And this went on for a bit, it is the perfect opportunity for me to learn with the guys at Tri Force Endurance as I train towards my full level 3 British cycling qualification and a road/TT specialist. I couldn’t be happier working with a team that have given me so much genuine  support regardless of if I was helping to promote their brand or ready to turn my back on cycling all together. I haven’t raced for a while now and it won’t be happening anytime soon but they have kept me on track constantly no matter what and you can’t find better, more honest genuine coaches than that. They actually give a shit.

So watch this space as we are starting the new year with a new training package only open to 10 riders to start with that offers the full support. By support we mean (by we I mean Me Simon and Billy) 1 to 1 coaching, performance nutrition coaching, strength training and access to our a private membership hub that’s an awesome resource with and EXCLUSIVE members only forum. Trust me it’s a very cool package.

You see you can’t race hard and train hard if your nutrition is miles off and nothing works without constant back up, support and real qualified advice. This package we are offering drops the need of separate coaches for your racing then paying a separate nutrition coach and strength and conditioning coach etc. etc.

If you want to check the guys out at www.triforceendurance.com.These guys have a huge amount of knowledge, passion and experience. Their understanding of the BIG picture, drive and support can’t be beaten. 


Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Where ever the path takes you


It was always going to take me a while to get the next blog out for a few reasons.

1 / I’ve ducked away from the cycling world for a bit,

2 / I was not  really sure what was going on and what the next step would be.

So let’s start with reason number one for taking so long , cycling was a huge part of my life , I spent so much time training , thinking about training , my nutrition , planning races , pushing myself , etc. etc. , to have that in my eyes snatched away was gutting and the more I focused on the fact it was going to be a quickly sorted issue and it really proving otherwise it was not going to be the case , turned the bike from something I loved to something I hated, watching results coming in , pbs getting smashed was just too much, and as much as I wanted to be super happy for friends who were getting the results it’s just made the fact I was barely able to get up off the sofa even more painful.

 

Reason two was always going to be more complex, in my head this was a blip, a few weeks taking it a tiny bit steady and all would be fine I would be back and determined to catch up. This was probably what made the situation being the exact opposite twice as hard to swallow.

I was at the point where walking was hard, sitting down was hard, getting up from sitting down was incredibly painful, lying down hurt. I was trying everything with great backing from Simon and tri force endurance and team bottrill sponsors function jigsaw trying everything to try and recover from the pain and not lose too much fitness on the bike, desperately holding onto the hope this was still just a blip.

I was getting more frustrated daily clinging onto hope, trying to push myself still against best advice, trying to manage training sessions off my own back to prove I could still do it, which would leave me in agony for days after, until it got to the point I just couldn’t keep doing it, I couldn’t do anything without immense pain, I couldn’t even hold my son long enough to feed him a bottle as the pain was too much. Frustration had turned to anger ad it was time to stop.

The following week I disappeared into myself pretty much cutting myself off from everything, how on earth had I gone from niggling pain but training so well to barely being able to stand ? .

I’ve said it before but the people you surround yourself with makes you the person you are, and no one was about to let me become a 20 stone guy sat on the sofa banging on about the glory days.

Simon had a plan, this guy is so full of positivity I was willing to try anything suggested, hours on the phone over the coming weeks was spent trying different focused exercises that had two things in mind , 1/  stop or manage the pain , and 2/ get me strong again. I had to be totally honest with how I felt after every exercise and every movement , it was so hard admitting I couldn’t do the simplest of exercises and a 3 mile commute was harder than the national 100 but honest was needed and Simon wasn’t going to let me bullshit him either.

I had totally ditched the bike by now apart from a very short and very easy ride into work each day (apart from one day I thought I would put a short effort in and it left me in huge pain for about 3 days after) but was spending more time in the gym trying new things and my focus started turning to getting back on the weights again.

I used to go to the gym loads really hammering the weights, I got up to just over 16 stone (I didn’t know the importance of nutrition back then and it was a mix of muscle and way to much food) and I loved it, but as a just over 12 stone cyclist struggling to move around I was thinking weights would be the last thing I should be doing.

I kept it very quiet that I was slowly adding in some weights , not being stupid and trying to be a nutter lifting big weights , because a/ I was probably one of the skinniest guys there , and B/ I was as weak as anything . I wasn’t being stupid either, simple movements that didn’t put pressure on my back, focusing on technique over weight, and I was really enjoying it, the first time in over a month I could focus on something.

Over the next few weeks working hard with Simon the pain got less and more manageable, I knew if I didn’t do certain things I would be less likely to hurt myself again, we did so much work around building strength around the injury with a vision of moving forward not just managing the pain and never moving on. I was still sneaking in weights sessions , reading up on exercises that wouldn’t put added strain on my body, I was finding a new focus , getting that determination back , I could go a few days without any issues at all , it was time to put an effort in on the bike , nothing heavy just a toe dip in the water. I kept this to myself, I was waiting till I felt ready, I had no pressure from anyone to get back on the bike, but I was more worried about them telling me not to try it (thank god they talked me out of a planned 240 mile ride that I was adamant I would still do over two days the day after we found out the extent of the back damage). So off I went, really steady ride that I was just going to get into the drops on the road bike and put abit of power down. I can still feel now the feeling of tingling running right up my back and the feeling my back was on fire getting tighter and tighter and fighting back at every pedal stroke, I was doing 260w when my normal tt power was 370w and it was unbareable.i skidded to a halt screaming to myself in anger, my head had finally told my body that enough was enough. I felt like I had failed , I had let so many people down , good people who had put so much into me , how on earth could I face them and say I couldn’t do it? I spent the next few day sure everyone would be pissed off with me and tell me to get on with it and sort myself out, this couldn’t of been further from the truth, everyone gave me genuine honest support, positive words and encouragement, I had tried everything , pushed myself so hard and they understood how hard it all was , and I will always be hugely grateful to matt and Kate and everyone at team bottrill , rich from jersey pocket and Simon and billy h from tri force endurance for the continued support and encouragement. It’s very rare these days to find genuine people who are not just worried about their own interest so for that I will always be grateful.

My focus now was the gym, I wanted to get strong again this time armed with more knowledge and a view it wasn’t just about being a beef head lifting big weights, I didn’t want to be putting myself into surgery on my back because I wanted to go willy waving in the gym lifting weights that I really shouldn’t be. This was a way of focusing on something positive; there was no way I was taking up a life on the sofa.

Knowing Simon had won awards for his personal training skills and the fact he know my personality and focus so well there was only one person I wanted to help me out, I bugged him to help out and thankfully he agreed , he know what I wanted to do and why and most importantly how fragile my back was.

We had a plan, I was my old self, focused and determined, blabbing on about what if I do this and that and trying to leave no stone unturned.

Things where / are going great I’ve been pushing hard and learning from the bottom getting everything right focusing on technique and taking in every detail of my training plan . I used where / are going great as we had a minor blip. Adding in new exercises was always going to be something that Simon would have a tough game with, the smallest things can hit my back very hard with no warning so it’s a minefield basically; I’ve managed everything with no issues and nothing but positive feedback from my body which has been awesome and such a relief. We have found my big no no exercise and I’m convinced it’s as much me not hitting the technique perfectly as much as the movement of the exercise, but deadlifts are my weakness and we got negative feedback from trying them, so they are out and something else will take its place and the sequence of finding what works and what doesn’t continues.

I’m well into my second week now on Simons plan and I’m as focused and happy as I’ve ever been training. It’s going to be a very long slow road going forward but I’m confident it’s going to be awesome , will I be back on the bike only time will tell and I’m playing it completely as let’s just see what happens.

Again I cannot thank everyone who has helped and continues to help me along the way, I was so lucky to have that help and support and will always be hugely grateful for the opportunities from very genuine people.

I will try and keep the blog going with updates on how the gym training is going and progressing and where the next path takes me.

 

For real strength training from coaches that known what their doing and give a shit , You can find simon at www.triforceendurace.com ,



 

cannot recommend them all highly enough

Saturday, 4 June 2016

the end of 2016 racing the beginning of 2017

the last few months have been such a rollercoster , as some will know ive been struggling with leg pain for months , ive pushed on thinking like every rider does that" it will be ok","your being a soft lad" , " you cant afford time off the bike ", etc etc.
it had got to the point I had led myself down a bad path,i was in pain constantly daily, I was struggling to hit my races at a decent pace and frustration was growing.I was blaming myself unwilling to except I was hurting and determined to push on. I had already dropped a lot of gym work as the pain was to much.alot of the symptoms where pointing towards piriformus syndrome and that I could live with and hopefully manage, simon and billy harriss from Tri Force Endurance ( formally sprint tri coach ) put a lot of things in place to try and minimalis the pain and keep me training whilst addressing the issue working from the information we had, but everything we tried hit a deadend.
a string of poor results had me getting frustrated with myself more than anything , why couldn't I hit those target powers, why was I not going as fast as I should be ? . it all came to a head when I had the first VC Bristol club 10 of the year , a course that's not generally suited to me but I love it , its local and its a good gauge of how I'm going.i rocked up on the tt bike in full training trim including the shameful duct taped light on the extension and winter training wheels.i felt absolutely shot from the cycle out and shuffled around avoiding warm up .I set off trying to hold my race power , but soon watched this fast disappear and no matter how much I tried to push it just got lower and lower and I finished over 30w down on my 10 power.cycling back after was a lot of chatting in my head whilst putting in the least amount of effort I could to get me back. I got home looking like I had done LEJOG not a short ride and a club ten .
It was time to admit something was very wrong , being in pain had become the norm , but it couldn't go on . I contacted team bottrill sponsor function jigsaw based in Leicester to get to the bottom of it all and hopefully give me a " we can sort this in 5 mins " diagnosis.
Tom was going to be looking after me and running through the screening process to find the problem.
we ran through the symptoms , what had been happening etc etc , then it was time to run through some different movements to gather extra info and confirm what tom was thinking.
I lied there thinking please say its nothing but as we ran through more and more things I could tell it wasn't great but I was finally going to get answers.
the next bit was what really made the difference , tom had said that I had a compressed disc in my spine and that in turn was trapping a nerve that was causing the pain down my sciatic nerve , I wanted to cry but tom was right on with solutions and ways to work around the issue which put me at ease straight away,the relief that I finally knew what was happening was massive,and despite the news it wasn't good I felt the most positive I had in months.
I spent some time in what I call the magic bath ( I'm sure it has a flash proper name but that's what I call it ) that test nerve response, the idea being the signal goes through the body showing nerve response, you should feel it through the body, but after feeling nothing at all in my left leg to then only get a response half way down the leg it was clear to me sat in there it wasn't going to be a quick road back to racing , but in honesty that was the last thing on my mind, I had a lot to think about , was this me done completely! .
tom ran through my options , each holding abit of risk some a lot some not so much , the surgery thought scared me in truth as I knew that was a proper being wiped out for ages job and in the back of my mind I was still thinking quick fix.
I left function jigsaw not quite sure what to do , I was looking for everyone else to decide what I needed to do next but it had to come from me . do I have the surgery , do I risk keeping going with a huge chance I would rupture the disc , did I give up completely , did I back off and re build , I didn't have a clue.
as we were in Leicester it was a good chance to catch up with coach matt bottrill and family which is always a bonus.matt came in with his usual enthusiastic smile expecting good news, he more than anyone has seen how much ive struggled and pushed to try and get myself on race form.hes seen the sessions if hit and the numbers I can do when I'm not hurting and focused.again I was looking for him to tell me what to do ,but that's a impossible ask of anyone ( especially a guy who was battered after a great first 70.3 race days before ) the next day I went through everyone looking for someone to make my decision but ultimately it came to me .
I had to think hard , I have a small son now who cant afford me being unable to lift him , play with him etc , its been hard enough now as I cant sit or stand in the same place for long or bend easily .
I was still hungry though I needed that race focus, I had toyed with trying to keep going , trying to tell myself I can do it like a fool, the only thing I would of done was wipe myself and make things worse , surgery wasn't something I wanted unless very last resort ( don't every google ruptured discs and replacement disc ) . the option left was back off and rehab , build myself back stronger and make sure this problem is sorted. this was the road I chose and I'm sure its the right one , I could see the relief on my wifes face who was fully expecting knowing me the way she does that I would refuse to admit defeat and just keep going till I completely destroyed myself .
it was now time to change focus to getting things sorted ,I'm truly thankful and grateful to have the likes of tri force endurance , function jigsaw and matt behind me , ive put total faith in them that a plan can be sorted that can allow me to not totally lose fitness and solve the problem and make me stronger going forward, its a big ask but I have zero doubt they will  do it nd it comes down to me to get it done.
ive fully immersed myself into my nutrition , something I can control and have dropped off of at times when ive really been struggling, I'm itching to start working on the set program and very determined to get back stronger. ive fully admitted to myself this year is done in terms of racing.i need to be sensible now and take my time. I'm even thinking next year maybe treating myself to a gorgeous giant propel road bike and doing some circuit races at castle combe though that seems seems along way off I need a focus and a future target.ive got my eye on a trip to the V718 next year and some confidence building pb chasing. its the end of this year but the beginning of next.ive got to see it as a chance to re build and get stronger , its going to be a hard few months and massively frustrating at times but I know it could of been worse.
I cant thank Simon and billy h from tri force endurance , tom and james from function jigsaw and matt bottrill for putting in the effort to get things sorted and be the voices of reason and keeping me focused and giving me the confidence that I can come back better.along with some great friends and family who I know would of supported me in whatever I decided.
time now to enjoy my mint little family and look forward to getting back to pain free cycling. I know ive tried everything to keep going and ive pushed very hard even when in a lot of pain so I can hold my head up now as I sit with my feet up abit , the hard work starts again soon and I cant wait.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

These are crazy days




Probably the craziest but most special few weeks of my life have got me to today , the birth of my son is the proudest moment of my life and has showed me a while new world of tiredness . 

Luckily I only missed 8 days of training, but my diet and recovery obviously took a big hit from the highs and stress of everything and the lack of sleep, in this time I actually lost weight which wasn't great as this had meant I had basically survived on coffee and toast for 4 days then just grabbed food as I went in the week after. I'm a creature of habit and live a routine so getting back in the swing of everything I've found extremely hard for many reasons.

Motivation to get out and train was hard to find when you have a little person you just want to spend every second with, but luckily for me I have a very supportive wife who kicked me out the house and got me back on my bike, once out I had really missed the training, the time to clear my head and take the last 8 days in.ive never been one of these people who just loves being out on the bike taking in the view and enjoying a cafe stop , I want to get out smash it and get home , but now I haven't got endless time training has to be justified and I'm enjoying it more than ever . This has also made the biggest change which is my obsession with tinkering and messing with everything has gone as I just haven't got the time to pick apart every little thing which is a very good thing.

Training since the days off has been very strong, I've been focusing on getting every session spot on and pushing that bit harder, one thing I haven't been able to shake is the problem that has been haunting me for a few months now and it's really beating me up, luckily it's all off the bike and with a lot of research and chats with people in the know it seems I have Piriformis Syndrome!. This is waiting to be fully diagnosed but I've got a visit to team sponsor function jigsaw soon, and I'm very confident they will not only confirm the problem but most importantly help me repair any damage and get back to full strength, I've been nailing their active kit with the roller and trigger point ball and with some carefully selected stretches from billy harriss from Tri force endurance ( previously sprint Tri coach ) it's helping keep it slightly under control and only effecting me in blocks off the bike. Time off the bike is not  an option for me right now as I've already lost a lot of 2016 already so I'm going to keep hitting it and keep fingers and toes crossed I can keep going .

I've looked into races again and getting some local races in again to get that racing buzz back and giving the giant tt bike the ride outs it deserves. I've got the Bristol South 10 this weekend on the U7b in dursley , a course I know well but never seem to get right, but it's close to home and I know it well so it serves as a perfect race to get me back on it.

Tiredness will be my enemy along with the leg for now, but hopefully il get back into some sort of routine soon and can get everything nailed down , especially the nutrition as I was hitting it so well and really feeling the benefits both on and off the bike.

Right now I'm grateful that the likes Matt Bottrill and simon de burgh have really helped keep me on track and focused in a no pressure sensible approach to my training and nutrition / gym work which was badly needed as I normally beat myself for missing sessions etc but everything has to be day by day at the moment , last night wasn't going to be a missed session and it was on the turbo in between evening meal and the little ones bed time, I hate the turbo always have but was well motivated and got a good sweetspot session out ,but it took a lot out of my sore leg and a painful rough nights already limited sleep was ahead and the thought of returning to work today and a very wet early morning commute wasn't filling me with joy.

its been two months since I raced last raced and I had planned to get my turbo frame built up the same as my tt position for training ( cranks should be here today to finish that off ) and ive not really touched the tt bike as basically I have one good bike with half decent but getting old kit on it so I’ve got to look after it as I can’t afford to replace it , but this means I’ve been missing the benefits of riding the tt bike more ( I  might get some clip ons for the road bike but fear I will start looking like a triathlete ) so I’m interested to see how Saturdays race goes and how much not touching a tt bike for 2 months has affected me.

the real goal now is to get ready for races in July and august and probably keep the season rolling into September , I think I’ve still got plenty of time to make this year a success and maybe go chasing some pbs, I’ve missed a lot of the fast courses in the last two seasons meaning my 10 pb is still 19:33 and my 25 pb 49:56 which is way off what I know I can get on a good course , but these things will come , I’m much more relaxed in my approach and just enjoying the training which I’ve never really done before , its always been get out get it done and get home , now its make the most of every session and the time I have and don't overthink things.

I did tell a small white lie at the start, I have slightly tinkered with position, but only for an extension change that I’m pretty confident will work and I wanted to change last year, I’m also trying the sworks tt helmet out in a few club events but again just little bits that I want to try not the old days of stripping the bike down and starting from scratch.

all in all this is the most relaxed I’ve been about my racing since I started and it feels good, yes I’m dead on my feet, my diet is all to pot and I’ve missed some training but I’m motivated to get things better than they were before, the team bottrill guys are destroying result sheets all over the place so that adds to the motivation, I was very lucky to be asked to join and justifying my place with the top guys in the team is a must for me and I’ve got some catching up to do.

So what does the rest of may hold? I’ve got the U7b Saturday then off to the H10/181 the week after ( don't want to be to far from home ), I haven't really planned far ahead at the moment but most things are focused toward the national 100, I’m sadly missing the 50 this year as I don't want to be staying away from home for the night just yet and with a 05:30 start I wouldn't go well being as sleep deprived as I am and driving down on the morning of the event, the National TTT should be good and the TOC the day before ( which I might miss the TOC depending on how everything is going ) but the rest of June is pretty wide open at the moment and a scout through the event lists is needed.

 

 

 

 

Friday, 1 April 2016

the ups and downs of racing


So the head was fully scrambled after the crazy weekend of racing before and the long hours behind the wheel, but it was Monday and there was a knock at the door and a shiny new giant trinity tt bike at the door ( well it was a delivery man with a box that had a shiny new giant tt bike in but you know what I mean ).

I rushed to unpack it thinking I could put a fair bit of it together myself , I laid it all out and then realised with my pants mechanical skills that would be very bad, so it was back in the box and down to see Greg at Bomber Bikeworks who kindly pulled out all the stops to get the bike ready for me. She is a thing of beauty looking super slick before anything was even done to put all of it together.


I got the call on Friday she was ready to collect just in time as I was racing in the morning, I got a whole 5 mins test ride in but that was enough to know this was quality kit, the bike was 20mm lower on the front than I was used to so was slightly concerned on how it would feel and effect my position and power output.

 

Saturday came and it was off to the U7b in Dursley, a course I know pretty well but never go great on, its to up and down for me and I can never get a good rhythm on it, it can be a fast course if you ride it well but I never seem to grasp it, but I like riding it as it’s a good marker course of how I’m going.

Still full of cold and a burning throat I was a bit grumpy and kept myself to myself at the HQ until I saw Richard franklin who had a bad accident when I was riding a club event last year on the course and this was his first visit back to the course since, bloody brave guy and put my cold and sore throat into perspective.

On the warm up I had quadrupled the ride time I had on the bike from the day before, the bike was feeling good, the brakes felt strong ( a tt bike shocker as brakes are normally a joke on tt bikes ). I got to the start and unwrapped the multi layers I had on to try and stay warm then I was off.

Over the first few miles I was moving around a lot and the lower position was hitting my power but I was very conscious that I wasn’t well and that was adding to it so I tried to block it out and keep the power up, on the way out I was going well, there is a fast run into the roundabout but you need a tad bit of luck to have a clear roundabout and today wasn’t my day for it, I think the marshal on the turn shared my pain as he watched me try and get 56/11 moving again from a dead stop and a track stand.

The burst out of the turn and back up to speed was abit much for the throat and the return was a horrible 4.something miles,I was losing power and time fast and when I crossed the line looked like I was trying to breath fire and the throat felt like it was as well,I felt battered and knew maybe staying home would have been better for my overall health but I was happy I got a race in on the bike to try and build abit of confidence.

I finished 2nd on the day to dean robson which is nothing to be ashamed of , 15 seconds down on my course pb, I was nailed for the rest of the day, I had got the race in on the bike but really done myself no favours.

The next week I tried everything to shift the sore throat and cold whilst still plugging away on the bike and gym work which is a battle you’ll never win, keep kicking your body hard eventually it will kick back. But it was off to wales for a 25 on the revised R25/7a which is part of the 100 course from last year’s national.

It was bloody cold and I was staying in the car warm till the last second, I wrapped myself up with the winter gloves and jacket and made my way to the start, warming up I had the mental battle of you know you’re going to do well and you know you’re not feeling great and have you got a good 25 miles in you.

The start is on the back road section and I was keen to get this done and get back on the dc part of the course, get in a rhythm and get the speed up, shivering in the 3.4c which was feeling that much colder with the wind I was glad I kept my huge winter gloves on, aero was the last thing on my mind at this time.

Power was down but about what I was holding last year, we had been to Newport velodrome and found it was quicker aero wise that bit lower but I would have to suffer and getting stronger in that position to get the benefits that I was currently losing in power so I stuck with it.

Then came the long leg of headwind right down the dc, I knew the few miles back should be quick so I really had to bury my head and get the work done here in the headwind, I was feeling crap I could feel I was really having to fight to hold the power and desperately wishing the turn would come, you can see for miles on that strip of road which made it worse as you could see the end of the battering headwind but it never seemed to get any closer. Finally I got there I was spent, I got back on the dc with the view of if I could get the legs back up to speed the wind should help me hold it there and it would be plain sailing for the 7 miles back to the finish. All was going to plan I was just hanging covered in snot and fighting for breath but the speed was there, I hit a section about 4 miles from the start that basically the wind was no longer behind me but slightly trying to fight me again. I used my last bit getting past it and then it was a fight to the end, form and holding the position had gone out the window by now I was done but I still had to finish, crossing the line I was just grateful to finish, plodding back to the HQ chatting to a few riders you could see that was a tough day for everyone.

All wrapped up again and just wanted to get home I went to drop my number back and was shocked to see I won by I think 27 seconds which I was very pleased with and was worth the battering I had given myself, I really needed that result it had been a tough few weeks.

The inevitable happened the next week and I got ill, my body just said f off and if you’re not going to stop il do it for you, the shakes and constant tiredness and not being able to eat tied in with an easy L2 session feeling like top end intervals was a sure sign to stop. I was really frustrated as I had two races in over the bank holiday before kicking back from racing in April, the Saturday race was a no go, I was hanging and the weather looked bad with high winds, I only have one race wheel a 90mm so the decision not to ride was made that bit easier, I was holding onto Monday on the F11/10 but that got cancelled due to weather so as frustrating as it was to miss racing the decisions had pretty been made for me so it wasn’t so bad.

Thursday was the first day back training I had missed nearly a week of training and the first session back I was going to make it count, I needed to get my motivation and confidence back.

Confidence and motivation are a funny pair to me,ive had these conversations with many people many times as I really struggle with both at times for no reason at all and people say how on earth can you be struggling for motivation, you ride in a great team with great riders you have a lot of top people helping you out, you’re getting good results etc etc , I know I’m hitting my numbers in training, I’m getting lighter but stronger so what on earth is going on. I think it comes down to a few things 1/ I always know I can do more or think I should be doing something more 2/ in my head I need to tick all the boxes, could I have a better position, would that wheel be faster than what I have ( testing says yes ) , will the wind tunnel answer all my questions etc. etc. .

It’s the unknown and not knowing all the answers that pushes me back at times and pushes me to try harder others.

I had hit one of those blocks in the last week and I could see it coming for a while in all honesty until it reached the point yesterday when I had to have a serious chat to myself and get the work done and have the confidence in myself that it can be done and really learn to let go of the things out of my control, I know I can’t afford the wind tunnel and the best kit so why let it take up so much thought time.

I’m massively looking forward to what will be my greatest achievement and proudest moment ever my son being born very soon, I think this will take away the overthinking time I currently have and really make every second I have in training important and make the little worries about all the little things disappear, which in turn will hopefully reflect in my racing (once I get used to no sleep).

 

On a huge bonus note I got into a small, yes a small Drag2zero endura team skinsuit this week which is crazy at 6”2 and yes it fits and I’m not ripping out of it.

I’ve also had time to spend with the giant tt bike and I’m currently setting up my turbo frame to replicate the position to get stronger and help bring the power back up in the tt position, I was gutted to have to give the giant trinity advanced back to giant last week that they had very kindly let me borrow for the last month or so but I’m going to try hard to fight my nemesis the turbo trainer to get that tt position strength.

 

On another bonus I’m finally with the help of Lisa from action potential clinic in Bristol getting on top of my leg problem from the broken speedplay pedal,my body despite a lot of foam rolling and stretching based around the problem just doesn’t want to let go of the tension in my IT bands and Calf and some extremely painful deep massage seems to be the only way to really get it out.im really looking forward to a visit it team bottrill sponsors  http://functionjigsaw.co.uk/ to have one of their screening sessions alongside  starting to  use their active kit  to find out  how we can prevent this becoming a reoccurring problem, which I can then feedback through Simon at www.thesprinttriathloncoach.co.uk and Lisa to really tackle the problem and make sure we are taking all the steps to save me future injuries or knocks in performance.

 

I think this month’s lesson is really a case in yes you will get knocks and you will get ill and lose motivation but it’s normal and its what you do about it after that counts.

I’m really grateful to rich at www.jerseypocketenergy.co.uk for filling the gap I was constantly falling in with on the bike eating and quick quality after session nutrition and on the go snacks its really helped me hit my 2950 (not including on the bike food) calorie a day target solely with quality foods which is helping me stay on the nutrition wagon.

 

So it’s a block of no racing now and a real focus on training, I need to really push on now and get the sessions done and really focus on going forward. Team bottrill is going strong and looking at the results everyone is driving home week in week out is really giving me a kick up ass to get faster, I need to get faster to earn my place there at the end of the day as the compition within is crazy, but hey that’s why I wanted to be part of it.

I will do a full giant tt bike review soon as its abit much to tag onto an already pretty full blog.

Thanks again to everyone that supports me in my racing and has my back it means a lot

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

drive,launch,drive,drive,race,walk,drive,drive,drive,race,drive :(



So racing has finally started and I had picked the busiest weekend to start,

Team bottrill launch at giant HQ on the Friday which meant a 3 hour drive first thing followed by a day that I was very proud to be part of, especially standing for a team photo with the likes of Josh Williams, Charlie Taylor and Dan Barnett and thinking now its time you really have to put the work in lad.


A stay over then it was back in the car and off to Dan’s followed by more time in the car for the first race of the year the 2 up on the O25/11 in Doncaster.

Me and Dan had never ridden before even on a weekend cafĂ© ride so the 2 up was going to be interesting but I was looking forward to it, Dan’s a strong lad but I was happy my ftp was going the right way to at least hold my own and do my fair share, I had done my classic of messing about with my position in my endless quest to find that sweetspot position that I’ve convinced myself only a trip to the tunnel can find but my budget holds me back.

The day looked ok , was going to be cold and 3.4c on the Garmin confirmed that and it was going to be windy but it looked like the rain would hold off which was a small bonus.

I was riding the giant trinity advanced that had been loaned to me by giant uk whilst my new trinity tt came, it’s a quality bike but looking at it against Dan’s trinity tt al blinged up I knew it was going to be a tough day especially as I had no power meter on the bike so was a chance I could blow myself up early doors, or not do enough on the front as I’m like a robot and can sit holding a number for ages but I’m totally lost without it.

A quick warm up and some practice changes and we were set, we were going to enjoy it and give it all.

A few miles in and all was going well, I missed Dan’s wheel a few times as he came steaming through and had to fight to get back on but I was feeling good, I had a sore throat and a stinking cold all week but it was holding up well and I made sure I only blew my nose when I was at the back (this was a rule we had decided before the start as we both had colds).

Then the rain / hails came down and it was lucky these where long straight roads as I couldn’t see shit! , I kept losing the wheel and as we hit the headwind it only got worse and as fast as it came it was gone and the sun tried to come out.

I was wet and cold but the changes where getting slicker and I had regained a good pace, out of the last turn and the rain came down again briefly but enough to shake you to the bone but it was 3 miles to go then we could get warm, next thing bang, Dan then me through the same pothole, I was an instant puncture and came to a fast halt but Dan seemed to be fine, this was awesome as he could go back and get the car and rescue me.

As I started the 2 mile walk waiting to be rescued I could see Dan in the distance stood at the roadside, I guessed he was just waiting to make sure I was all good before going to the car, but no he had punctured as well less than 100 yards from me.so as we started the long walk back together in skinsuits frozen to the bone watching everyone else go past as we hobbled in cycling shoes down the road trying to tuck ourselves into a ball to keep warm it dawned on me this might not be a great weekend. Tucked under the hand dryer in the toilets at the HQ thinking I still had nearly 4 hours  in the car before the day was done and then I  had to change a puncture when I got home life was feeling pretty grim.

 

Saturday race was abit out of my control, you can’t odds a puncture, but after not much sleep and another 1hr 45 in the car I was in wales, 3.2c today and rain lush.

I was a lot more confident today though I wanted a result and I know I should get it, I was giving away time with riding a bike with clip on's but I was happy that my position I was trying looked sweet and should be good.

Let me explain abit about my endless position hunt, I’m convinced the only way I will get it nailed is a day in the tunnel , this is beyond my budget so I spend way to much time fiddling, I was lucky enough to go to the track with a aero guru last year and tested a high hands position and it was horrendously slow on me, for some reason I can’t explain ( probably due to the fact I was using clip on’s it was easy to try ) I thought I would try it again, it looked good on the turbo surely it will work I thought.

Considering I won this event two years ago with a 20:21 off of 316w I was very confident I could lose time by not having the most aero bike, my 10 mile power is way beyond that now by over 50w. so as I crossed the line with a 21:23 I think I was pissed off really pissed off , I’m lighter , stronger , better paced WTF had just happened, again no power meter so I couldn’t go back and look but really what had just happened?

Confusion was followed by anger , why had I messed about with everything , this was followed by the thought I had let everyone down ( no one ever sticks the pressure on me but I put a lot on myself to pay back the confidence others show in me ) which was in turn followed by tiredness and back to anger.

I didn’t hang around I even left my jacket behind I had used in warm up; I just wanted to sleep and pretend that the weekend was just a bad dream.

I always do things the hard way ,I’m not sure why but I think way to much about stuff I can do to go faster so days like that really hurt but they make me fight harder.

 

On the plus side the new bike turned up Monday morning and was straight into Greg at Bomber Bikeworks, I’ve decided to go back to the P4 position, I knew that was a fast position, I know I got good results on it when my power was a lot less than now, so it’s a great base to go back to.

( yes the white saddle is going ) 

So the season has started tough but maybe if I had got a result on Sunday I would have walked off blindly thinking that was a good position I could move forward with only to be hit with disappointment down the line.

The sore throat and cold has really fired itself up now, over 11 hours in the car two races in 3c and a two mile walk in a skinsuit really didn’t help, but as they say the show must go on.

I can’t thank matt bottrill , simon de burgh , billy harriss Richard cumes and Giant uk enough for the confidence they have shown in my and the continued support, it will all come right when it matters, I just need someone to weld down all the nuts and bolts on my bike so I can’t mess about with it.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

1000 calories and stronger


Its been a while since I last did a blog but its all been abit manic to be honest, luckily for me I wrote a list of things I had to add into the blog to save me forgetting, so I’ve got a lot to get through in this one, including being back on board with jersey pocket, 75 days with sprint tri coach, broken pedals, sports massage, new team stuff, ftp test. But let’s start with a small review of the giant trinity advanced that giant UK has very kindly let me use.

 

 

Giant trinity advanced review 


 

As I wait for the new giant trinity tt frame to arrive , giant uk kindly sent a new trinity advanced bike that giant Bristol got ready to train on and get used to the tt position on a giant frame.

When I collected it from the Bristol store it looked way beyond a £1699.99 bike and got me even more excited for when the tt frame arrives.

The easiest way to sum up this bike is stick a set of very aero bars on it any you have a tt missile at a fraction of the cost of a so called tt superbike.

It has a lot of the features you would get on the best / highest priced frames with hidden brakes ( the cable out the side could be reduced even more with something like the 3t ventus bars ) , the cables out the top tube are in the low pressure air and the top of the top tube comes away to make working on the bike that much easier. Clean lines around the seat post and a highly adjustable seat clamp. The frame itself curves away in a lot of directions and you can feel it’s that way for a reason, right down to a trip strip on the front above the forks.

Perfect market for this bike is where its set out , riders starting out in tri or tt racing that want something quick of the shelf, through to the rider that has been riding a few years and wants a solid bases to build up a bike just the way they want it.

The bars that are fitted as standard offer easy adjustment and a chance to adjust your position without stripping the whole bike down, I set up my position in about 10 minutes max. The base bar invites you to get out the saddle on the climbs and really push and are comfortable to hold on heavy braking.

So how does it ride? First ride out was a gale force wind , hailstorm early morning hilly commute, you can feel the bike almost mocking you if you bumble along to slow as its so keen to get going, and it really comes alive when you start hammering the pedals. I’ve commuted on tt bikes before and its not nice, but today I was dodging potholes and braking hard without a care, the front barking for a tri bike is good and the back is good for tri bike ( rear braking on tt / tri bikes is always a hard thing due to the cable travel ). Locked into the tt position it felt strong and stable and I finished my ride looking forward to the longer ride home.

I love the bracket giant use for holding a under saddle bottle, as someone who has spent hours trying to get a bottle cage set up just right under the saddle this was a treat, it’s a shame this model doesn’t come as standard with a tt bottle like the tt frame. But for £1700 you could easily get out on your local tt course of tri event and start scaring a few people with it.

I’m sat her looking it over trying to pick fault and I can’t for the money, everything is there you need and I can’t wait to see how it goes with a fast front wheel and a disc in the back.

Again huge thanks to Giant uk and Giant Bristol.

Ive been riding this bike for a good few weeks now day in day out and its spot on , handles well and gives confidence , the brakes are perfect for a tt bike I’ve even managed to lift the back wheel on hard braking to see how strong they were so no complaints on that side as most tt bikes are grab the lever and hope it stops in time. The only issue I’m having is the front is abit low for me as the pads have no risers but as I said before I would swap out the bars for something more tt rather than tri .

As I said at the top I’m very happy to be back on board with rich at jersey pocket as A / the products are bang on , and B/ it all ties in very nicely with my nutrition plan with the sprint tri coach stuff. The best part of this is its going to save me a fortune trying to buy up as many of the new peanut butter recovery bars that rich can make, I’m a fiend for peanut butter so having one after a session is even more rewarding. The real benefit for me of all the jersey pocket stuff is i know I can have something on me at all times that will stop me running to a pasty shop in emergencies that will not only give me the quality nutrition my body needs but tastes good enough to stop me hunting a sweet fix .so when rich offered me the chance to be on board again I jumped at it.

Nutrition is a huge thing for me this year as I’ve said many times, and as I hit 75 days with Simon and billy from sprint tri coach the changes have been huge but somehow have slipped into my budget and lifestyle nicely. I had the fear when we started that it would be all luxury foods and very top end ingredients and something I could manage for a few weeks but then fade away from as it took over my life, but its been anything but that really , a bit more time planning a bit more time prepping , budget is the same as I was spending on food before , I still get the chance to eat the odd bit of crap if I want to but I rarely get the urge , but what I’ve got back in return is huge. Nearly 4 kg down now despite getting 1000 yes 1000 calories a day more in , I’m recovering better , hitting sessions harder , looking leaner , feeling stronger and generally feeling more happy and energised daily.


This has all tied in perfectly with the strength and conditioning plan from billy h at sprint tri coach, I’m the skinny lad in the gym but hey il bet il nail most on core strength now, the main thing I’ve got from the strength and conditioning side is injury prevention and recovery, plus getting the right muscles firing for my racing and training. The injury prevention really got tested when through poor maintenance by me and a very very old speedplay pedal broke on my a few weeks back , basically the clip in part of the pedal sheered away from the spindle , but this had been happening over weeks maybe even month just slowly working looser and looser until it came off completely. My smart body rather than noticing this happening over compensated for it my glute took pretty much all the strain to the point I pretty much couldn’t walk without huge pain in my left leg, sitting down was painful, getting back up was painful I was in a right state but was determined not to fall back on the bike, I wouldn’t advise this but I did it anyway. Billy gave me exercises to help eased things abit but no amounts of stretching and foam roller was touching it a sports massage was the only answer.


I went to the action potential clinic in Bristol, as Lisa who was doing the massage came out to get me and I hobbled into the room I knew it was going to hurt. A quick story of what happened and I was face down and ready for the pain (or so I thought). the knot in my (can’t remember the exact muscle name but it was somewhere in my glutes) was so tight and hard it took her having to use her elbow to get it out, I was chewing my arm trying not to cry but I was adamant it had to be done, my leg was in a right state with knots in my calf, IT band, hamstring basically everywhere. A return visit the week after was needed for sure as this wasn’t going to go away instantly, that week seemed forever , the pain had reduced around 80% but it still was causing trouble.

On the return visit my glute had really eased off but soon she went near the calf it was riddled in tight spots that made the elbow in the glute feel like a level 1 training session, the sensation after she had released all the knots was like I was drunk, I walked of home and it felt like my whole body had just given off a huge sigh of relief, it had been battling that pain and constant tension for weeks and now it was finally free. I’ve still got the odd tight bit and very first thing in the morning it can be a tad tight and sore but generally its all happy days and cant recommend the service there enough, Lisa even gave me extra exercises to focus on the muscle groups and as I sat in the recommended ice bath I finally felt like it was all getting sorted and I could get back to full training.


So now I’ve gone on way to much and probably lost a few along the way but il just finish with having had a great result on my ftp test power is up, way up and confidence is growing, the new team bottrill launches officially tomorrow up at giant HQ and racing starts Saturday so its all go as usual but super exciting at the same time.

Before I forget I've got the giant tt rivet helmet for racing , I wore it for some training rides and it feels fast, but wil look at it abit more in the next blog 
 

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Big steps forward,hopefully none back


Sat here wondering where to even start this blog, the last 4 weeks have just been all go and all change and my feet haven’t really hit the ground yet keeping up with.

So let’s start at the earliest and work forward as it seems the logical thing to do.

IM very lucky with the opportunities I get and I like to think I work hard to make sure I promote and support the people that support me and this in turn often opens up new opportunities, this was the case when super race bar maker rich from Jersey Pocket put me in touch with Simon de Burgh and Billy Harriss from www.thesprinttriatloncoach.com ( actually before I go on it’s a good chance to clear up a question many have asked , Simon and billy h deal with me nutrition and strength and conditioning work , every pedal stroke on the bike is dictated by matt bottrill and always will be ) these guys are very passionate about what they do and when I have the opportunity to get on board I jumped at it, its very important to me to have likeminded people who are thinking along the same lines looking after me as it makes everything so much easier so this set up gave me huge confidence straight away and I was instantly filling out my food diary after a long chat with Simon.

Then it was time to get back in the gym, now it’s a long time since I was a gym nut and throwing big weights around at 16 stone so I was feeling like the skinny guy on his first ever day in the gym trying to make sure I didn’t get the old competitive edge back and want to be straight into the big weights. I was soon brought back down to earth when billy h managed to destroy me using technical exercises using body weight and some 2.5kg weights, but I was happy that the urge to prove myself to the meat heads wasn’t there at all and I took everything as it was meant to be and it was all about me getting stronger and faster on the bike and I wasn’t there to show off.

I’m 5 weeks into the gym now and boy is it starting to show. Core exercises I couldn’t do with my own body weight I’m now adding extra free weights to whilst keeping good form which I learnt from back in the day is the key, there was always guys throwing big weights around but the people in really good shape where always the people who had perfect form, its also showing on the bike with muscle recruitment and strength.

So back to nutrition, an area that I’ve always thought I could improve but as I’m like a robot with training and most things I need a very structured plan to save me going off task, my self-discipline seems to be my let down when it comes to food choices and a lot of this was down to not getting the right foods in and not supporting what my body needed forcing it to go on a caveman style hunt.

It was time to review my 2 week food diary with Simon and as soon as I opened the drop box stuff he had sent over it was a bleak picture, veg was somewhere disguised between poor food choices and fruit barely got a look in but only at that moment was it clear looking at all my intakes that I was missing a very good chunk of gains from the way I was eating, not only in being a healthier me but recovering faster , being able to take a harder workload , sleeping better ,thinking better the list goes on. A very long chat and a shopping list later I was going to be set free to try and make my own way all the while being watched to see how it goes and get little nudges to keep me on track.

The difference is crazy and what has shown up the most is with the right mind set and prep its not something that takes hours every day and actually once you’re on the path you want to make the effort to make sure your ahead of the game and enjoy the process and the benefits that come with it, I’m making mistakes sure but I’m learning fast and its just the start and I’m buzzing to keep getting stronger and leaner and ultimately faster as everything takes shape, this is coming from a guy who thought it was very odd for a cyclist to be in the gym and that I could put out my best performances week in week out with a few Gregg’s a week on board,im not to proud to say I was very very wrong.

 

It was finally announced yesterday that Matt has started up Team Bottrill for this season and what a team it is, I’ve known about it for ages and managed to keep it quiet and not give in to peoples guesses of what I was doing this year, so its really exciting now that its all out there and we can really look forward to what’s to come, I’ve said it many times before I see matt as a huge part of my racing so to be included in his team  with some massively talented riders is a huge boost and really motivates you to push that little bit more, I don’t want to be making up the numbers in the team I want to be making a name for myself in the team. Its going to be very far from easy especially with a little one on the way but I’ve got great support to push me on keep me focused and now a team of great riders to battle alongside.

It’s the first time in a very long time I’ve got that total enjoyment of being on the bike since I first started racing and the first 19 I ever did when straight after I had the excitement of thinking where can I go from here and what’s to come.

 

Last year is sort of a distant memory now and I’ve taking the negatives from it and addressed them before enjoying the positives which I think is the best way to move forward stronger.

On another positive note I’m awaiting the delivery of the new giant trinity tt frame for 2016, it looks a crazy slick bike and I can’t wait to get it on the road and start seeing what I can do on it, I will be running the same group set, wheels etc. as last years as A / its very good kit, and B / I can’t afford to upgrade anything yet.

The main changes will be to the kit I’m wearing, the new team kit is being made by endura and hopefully il have my skinsuit ready to wear soon and hopefully get my hands on the giant rivet tt helmet as I think it will really suit my position, on position I’ve got some 30 degree extensions to test as I think as I’ve said before my hand position was wrong last year but I dint have the confidence to change anything.

 
So that’s that, so many changes but all positive and time to really start enjoying my racing again and I’m keeping positive despite the constant rain

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

getting back in the swing


Can’t believe it’s been nearly two months since my last blog and the signing off of the racing year.

The last two months have been crazy with moving house and day after day of trying to get so much work done on top of day to day work and training and just general life.

In part training has suffered but we have managed to limit the hit and planned in my two weeks off the bike around moving (which turned into nearly 3 weeks) but being the way I am it wasn’t a case of do a few bits then put my feet up and enjoy, its been a complete renovation of room after room and stupidly long days which inevitably lead to me getting ill and missing yet more training and meaning extra off the bike strength work has gone out the window.

To be honest I don’t think it did me all bad, the complete shut off from the bike and training gave me a mental break and ended up with me desperate to get back to training rather than thinking how to fit it in and the fact I was pretty much dead on my feet trying to juggle a million things, I don’t need a ton of sleep and I’m always up early but when it’s a constant stream of late nights and early mornings I really struggle.

Training is back into full swing now and it’s bloody hard but massively rewarding, I haven’t lost my strength on the bike but I’m feeling the fatigue of everything but il soon get back to getting my best sessions out.

Moving has put me back onto the old roads I first rode on and its been a massive boost riding routes that take me back to times when getting up tog hill once was a major achievement let alone the six times I did it last week , and getting lost out in the middle of now where and trying to find my way back to a road I know only for that to turn into my favourite training route.ive nailed down a perfect sweetspot route now and pretty much can time most rides to get back home just in time to hit the length of session.my commute has gone up double the length and is bloody hilly but its keeping me on my toes and I’m loving being on the bike.

I’ve always generally had a fair bit of spare time ,but with moving and having a little one on the way racing and training have become something I need to justify and make time for and that has really fired me up to make sure I’m putting everything into ever session and really focus on making the sessions count.

 

My mission was to get a turbo den set up by now but the garage is still full of all sorts of stuff and the list of jobs indoors takes priority so its ideal really that the weather has been fairly kind and warm at least to get everything done on the road at the moment, I’ve just got to clear some space and finish building the turbo tt bike and I’m ready to go for some sessions in the tt position which should really build my strength up and something I really missed last year.

 

So many thinks seem to be happening at the moment with planning for next year, pretty much everything is changing but more about that in the next blog, but some really great things in the pipeline ,but for now I need to focus on getting back to and go beyond last year , getting my race weight sorted ( about 5-7 kg over at the moment woops ) and just work on me , I’m leaving all the other bits of equipment,nutrition,skinsuits,getting aero  etc. etc. to the people who know what they are talking about and trying to clear my head of worrying about every single detail and totally focusing on what I’m doing and what I can control.

 

So how does the rest of December look, basically I need to get back into the routine of training hard and recovering well, at the moment we have no cooker connected and I broke the fridge / freezer moving it around the kitchen so life has been takeaways and microwave food which really isn’t helping me recover well or feel great generally but luckily Alan Murchison at newly formed Performance Chef is going to help me get back on track and help improve my performance and recovery through nutrition which is an area I’ve made big mistakes in this year and its cost me a lot in many areas.

 

I’m going to try some new courses next year and race abit more local , I’ve stuck a entry on for the TOC crono and really want to ride the thruxton event , I’ve also been helping two riders out with some free coaching which I’ve loved and would love to do more of in the future ,but for now its about focusing on my racing and making me a better rider but its great to see others improving and feeding off the buzz they get from hitting their goals and setting targets. The key for me next year will be enjoy it and everything will nicely slot into place, I spent way to much time this year worrying about way to many silly things , what people might think , was I letting myself and others down if I put in a bad race , blah blah ,blah , but thankful I know the people I’m working with next year have my back 100% and that’s all that matters,im genuinely gutted to not be working with some great people from this year and one of the most genuine people I’ve met in racing , but things change and opportunities to progress and be pushed harder and have extra motivation have to be grabbed, and whilst I’m still slightly shocked and honoured to be given the opportunity I have next year ,I’m the hungriest I’ve even been in any sport to prove my place but more about that in the next blog in the new year.

 

For those that enjoy the blog and my ramblings, part 3 of the podcast with mark Florence and the cycling time trial podcast will be out very soon, and I’ve done one of the Velouk Xmas specials with Larry which should be on the site soon, for the people who are bored of me going on apologies

Friday, 16 October 2015

signing off


So 2015 is done race wise and probably the best way to describe it was “challenging “.

Let’s start at the beginning, this was my 3rd full season of doing anything on the bike, a few wise people had told me when I started racing it will take 4-5 years to hit peak but I was sure it would be this year.

Winter went well, I felt ready and confident I had been with matt for a few months now and the training was progressing well. I had started looking at over areas of improvement and planning in a few early races.

The first race of the year came and a delay in my tt bike for the year had left me on a replacement that had been kindly lent to me by bike science but I just couldn’t get my desired position on and that when the frustrations kicked in and the confidence I had built over winter started showing cracks, cracks I would never really recover from.

It would be late June before I got the new bike sorted and ready to race and a while longer before I had everything the way I wanted. The months up to June where scattered with DNS out of 11 races I entered I only raced 5 ,I managed a win a second and a few 3rds but was way off the pace I knew I had and that added to the frustration .

First race on the new bike the day after getting everything sorted I knocked 19 seconds off my course pb I set on a good day on the P4 last year so that gave me a glimmer of hope that this was turnaround time and with the F11/10 up a week later it was a great time to go pb chasing.

The F11 was a good day and early times suggested a fast day despite a bit of rain, I had that spark again and was excited to race, about 10 mins before my warm up was due to start the news came back about an accident on the course and before I knew it I was going back down the motorway for the long drive home.

This was followed by a puncture on a 2 lap 50 tt course that I was leading by over 2 minutes after the fast lap and a race that I didn’t get a great result but a picture told a thousand words.

We had done some work at the Newport velodrome trying to set up a good position on the TTE, on the track I had a strong position and the numbers looked good. On the road this wasn’t the case, the problem was that I had been riding really head down on the track following the black line intently due to my lack of confidence on my first track visit, once this transferred to the road I might as well of attached a parachute to my back as I was sitting so high and open to see where I was going it was costing me huge time , chatting to a rider after about power for the day I could see something was really wrong and I needed to make changes.

A 50 right before the national 100 was next up and the change of position got me a course and 50tt pb despite the conditions being way off the previous year which stuck me in a confident but unsure mood for the 100.the new position meant I was a tad down on power but a 9th at a national event in my first 100 was probably the highlight of the year. This was followed by further knocking down my course pb on a local course and going 54 seconds faster than last year and getting close to a course record on a lumpy course that I wouldn’t normally consider riding.

It was getting there, it was far from spot on but I knew the things that we could work on but was very reluctant to change anything when everything was improving for fear of going backwards again.

A week before the national 25 illness struck, I had been pretty lucky all year with illness and I was determined to push on and not let it slow me down, illness won and the national 25 was a mixture of being sick and trying not to be sick, a respectable 23rd but it had taken a lot out of me. I tried to push on in the following weeks training knowing a lay off now would be a disaster. I pushed on a felt better hitting the welsh 10 champs a few weeks later and knocked out a 19 on the r10/17 and a power pb for the year , followed by a course power pb a few days later, only to be hit with illness again and this time I was off the bike and really looking for the end of the season to come.

I didn’t even ride the national 10 , I was feeling weak and with the poor conditions I just wasn’t going to risk getting ill again, the small bit of confidence I had scrambled back was again hanging by a thread and a mechanical at the next race didn’t help that.

The welsh 50 champs was a case of just ride, I was down on power for the day and struggling , I got 2nd somehow but was a mile off the flying Kieron Davis .

Three races to go and another chance to get on the F11/10 , I hadn’t rode any of the really fast courses this year and this was my final chance, conditions were looking nice and although I wasn’t feeling my best I knew there was a very good chance of knocking my PB down. This wasn’t to be and the race was cancelled the day before, I had picked up a bit of a niggling back injury at work and had missed a few training sessions and that was that 2015 done and another forced week off the bike.

If anything this year I’ve learnt a lot , and winter has the chance to address these things, I put way to much pressure on myself this year and when things didn’t go to plan it ultimately lead to my demise. “You learn the hard way” they say and that has been the case but they also say “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger “. I need to learn to enjoy the racing again and take what I do in training onto the bike on race day. I know what I have to do over winter and how to improve with the help of the key people who have helped me get through 2015 and kept faith in me when on paper results only tell a very small percentage of the story.

So on to 2016 a lot wiser and better prepared, I can’t thank enough Nopinz ,Blake Pond , jersey pocket,bike science ,James Whiting,Will Mangar from  indurance for their great support in 2015. Biggest thanks goes to Matt Bottrill for showing me the right way to train and how to look at the long game and the bigger  picture that will send me into next year ready when a small part of me wanted to run away, along with my family who are always behind me no matter how hard work I am. it leave me with the thought , the difference between success and failure is the people you have behind you giving you support when you even doubt yourself a little bit .