This weekend saw some long hours in the saddle, however with the weather still reasonably warm, I had a great solo ride Saturday and another with Rhys on Sunday. First up of the embarrassing pictures Rhys has taken recently; the ear warming Moroccan Blue Rapha Winter Collar. I have started using the collar on my head, rather than around my neck and it has turned out to be suprisingly versatile. The merino wool collar can cope with a wide range of temperatures and having a bit of hair poking out the top gives plenty of room for heat to escape, as apposed to a full on hat. That said when the snow comes, the collar will be neck bound, swapped for something thicker.
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
The sight of a local cyclist catches my attention, eyes transfixed, he looks like a pro. Sat on his toptube, in leggings and long sleeves. He has me questioning my senses, my eyes – ive raced hard, but am I hallucinating?! Nope, this is Belgium.
The idea of keeping your muscles warm isnt uncommon, its probably one of the most basic and well known principles in sport. However Belgian cyclists seem to take it to another level, and this profi was no different. I tried to reason with myself, in my post race state, leggings and long sleeves, in this weather? I thought he was plain mad...
A summer later, despite over twenty hours a week in the saddle, week in, week out. Despite roasting whilst racing in Turkey, slowly simmering away in forty degree heat. Despite my dangerous obsession of wearing my shorts in exactly the same place. I have no tan. The mix of English, Irish and Scottish blood, freckled skin, definitely doesnt help. But there is something else.
Switch to a sunny summers day, deep August. An easy recovery ride, spinning through the lanes of Essex. Its just over a year since East Flanders, im a year wiser, a year tougher. Its a reasonably modest twenty eight degrees, pretty good for British weather. Clem and Rhys relish the tanning opportunity, as talk turns from racing to possible cafe stops. The coach says eighteen degrees, but I have taken it further, infact it feels weird to train in shorts these days. Races aside my legs havent seen the sun for months. Coach would be proud, Belgians quake, muscles are warm. Its long sleeves and tights in the sun.
Thankyou Rapha for your amazing support this season. I have absolutely loved using products like the Classic Winter Tights. Not sure I always wear them in the correct season, but I wear them more than anything!
Tuesday, 1 November 2011
The hills around Huddersfield and Denshaw set the scene for my first ODP camp, it was a tough four days, with Mountain Bikers and Track and Road riders under one roof. By the time Track League on Manchester came around, Tuesday evening, I was shattered, infact everyone other than Super Sam Lowe seemed to be, he dished out the pain, whilst I started the long process of hammering myself into a junior rider. The legs where falling off, although its not surprising just back from my winter break, plenty of time to get the legs going again.
After a few days of recovery, it was back up to Manchester for the first round of Revs, I was hoping to do a good ride, infront of a packed out crowd, with my sponsors names on my chest. However today was one of those, thankfully, pretty unusual days when I felt absolutely shocking! The highlight of my night was an attack in the opening scratch race, with Luc, however it was not to be. I put in another effort to try to lead out Jack Hoyle, my first year, sprinter – (he wont mind me saying it!) team mate, however I was pretty gassed, he pulled out a 4th, good result for a first year, but we can both do better!
Another highlight of the night was talking to Jens Mouris, pictured far left above. The Vacansoleil rider rode all the big classics this year, and is making a big move to the new Australian GreenEDGE team next year. His eagerness to have a chat and share some knowledge was really great and I will be defiantly looking out for his name in the results from now on!
I will be hopefully riding the next Revolution on November the 9th. The new World Road Race Champion Mark Cavendish is also riding so im sure the crowd will be even more nuts that usual! Plenty of miles to get in the legs between now and then, English Coursework to get on with tonight. One last thing, what do you reckon of me in RCS kit?!