Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Sun, cycling, sea, mountains & coffee

Sun, cycling, sea, mountains & coffee. The perfect combination for what turned out to be a hardcore training camp. I’m pretty sure I told everyone I was going on holiday – holiday?! Well at least I’ve made a good start on my dodgy tan lines.

I spent last week in Spain near La Manga on my first training camp of the year. It was somewhat different to the week there in 2011 when every day the winds whisked my hair at a gentle 42km per hour and nearly whisked me off the side of a mountain. When the weather is right the roads round there are a perfect training ground and I loved every minute on my bike. While my team mates were flying the racing flag back home I was chomping through mule bars and chewing at my handlebars up some amazing climbs and of course supping one or two cups of coffee with a view.

I love feeling the sun on my face and not having to spend half an hour putting all items of clothing I own to go out on a bike and now I’m back the sun is still shining. Spring has Sprung and that can only mean one thing… it’s time to race :o)


Monday, 19 March 2012

Post race legs - OUCH!

After a winter of cyclocross I had a little break and headed off for a week of skiing! Not exactly an ideal rest as we skied all day and partied all night. I overdosed on cheese, wine and jaeger and flew home feeling rather worse for wear and not at all raring to get back on the bike. I work as a junior doctor and my shifts are fairly full on. Please do not judge us all by those dimwits you've seen on BBC3! Most of us are fairly efficient, competent and not that weird! So after a couple of weeks off the bike I set about transferring the strength I had built from cyclocross in to some road racing legs. This was slightly thwarted by that awful weather. I can only sit on turbo for a maximum of 1.5h before i'm raging with hatred for my bike, my boyfriend and the world in general. Thankfully the weather warmed up and I headed out on our local chaingang. I've devised a plan with this - I head out with the very fast group and invariably get dropped a few miles up the road, this allows me a head start and if I keep nailing myself I can get over the long very inconvenient hill before being caught be the slightly less fast group. Then if I'm feeling good I can usually hang on! I tend to be dropped just as the guys ramp it up for the final uphill sprint finish. It a great work out for the legs and is also good for group riding skills. Currently I am the only girl that seems mad enough to turn up.

I'm not a huge fan of training so I have to work out lots of strategies to make myself head out and I really don't enjoy riding on my own in the dark. Thankfully my housemate josh, who broke his collar bone in the aforementioned ski trip, has now healed and so the two of us have been hitting the roads in the evenings. Josh is one of the best friends a girl could wish for. He often brings presents home, is always cheerful and if you need a new bit of shiny bike equipment he knows where to find it at a bargain price. My bank account hates him. He has persuaded me during a rather drunken pancake day celebration party to buy a new mtb and race a 6 hour enduro with him as a pair! So at some point I'm going to have to turn my road legs into mtb legs. I tested the road legs and raced this weekend just gone. My legs felt strong (for me) despite a bit of bad luck being stuck behind a crash I felt I rode well. There is plenty of room for improvement! And for that reason I shall be attempting to race saturday and sunday in preparation for the tour of Malta. Another race I have somehow been persuaded to race. I'm just hoping the other mule bar girls will look after me.

Love Phoebe

Monday, 12 March 2012

First 2012 MuleBar Girl Women's Track session

Finally, the weather permitted us to go-ahead with our women's track training session this Sun. After many weeks of disappointment, the weather decided to make a summer come-back in style, with beautiful warm sunshine, allowing us all to train in shorts!!

We stuck to the early start time (1.30 arrive for 2pm start) as we will do unitl the clocks go back. We had a range of riders, from complete beginners on the track for the first time, to MuleBar Girl team riders who were riding for pro teams last season. We managed to tailor the session to meet everyone's ability so that there was skills-learning and fitness training for all. After a warm-up we did a 12 lap "Hare and Hounds" race, with the faster group set the task of working together to catch the slower group. The slower group, under Rebecca's tuition, were so slick and smooth in their riding the faster group never managed to catch them!

We did some paired pursuits in evenly matched pairs and not a lot of recovery time between each! We finished with a 12 lap Handicapped Scratch race - by which time most people were roughly aware of each others ability so had their own personal goals of people they wanted to beat.

It was a great session, and next time we hope that some of the trainees will join us for a drink after. Although riding up college hill after 2 portions of chips, 4 glasses of wine and on a BMX is not exactly inspirational to budding, track-racing athletes!


Monday, 5 March 2012

My 2012 season goals

This season I wanna go rad-sick-big. I'm not too fussed about winning races, I mean, I guess I'd be pissed off if I didn't win a couple of local DH races, or hold my own at the track, but mostly I just want to enjoy my riding and pushing my limits. That said, my race calendar is pretty jam packed.

A year ago I learnt how to jump properly and since then have just started going bigger and bigger, I'm into all sorts, soft, large, free ride gap jumps, or chimney shaped, dirt-jump doubles. I want to get tricks nailed. I can do a one-hander occasionally, and tiny no-footers, I can back flip fully rotated into a foam pit. But I want to get a big long list of tricks. And  I want to be able to jump big and fast.

I like it.

I don't want to crash too much, I want to learn progressively and understand the progression. I'm not fearless, but can push myself once I've analised it. Obviously, you can't eliminate all risk, and I guess injuries will happen.

But I'm tough.

I want to get my sprint back on the track and have some general fitness back again too. I want to be fit so that if in the future I get really ill, I'll be one of those strong people who can handle the medicine and fight the illness. You hear about outdoorsy people like that. At the moment I drink too much, am too skinny and probably have an average resting heart rate. So I'm going to race track once or twice a week and hang out there in the grass with my friends getting a tan.

Mostly I'll be prioritising work. Riding is my hobby, it's my fun thing. Yeah, I owe something to my sponsors, but that doesn't have to take the fun out of it. If a work commitment comes up  or I'm tired because I've been working a lot, it's OK, I just won't ride. If I don't want to I don't have to. So that means I'll only ride when I want to and it'll never be a chore.

I like that.

I'm going to do lots of Gravity enduro races too. If I'm any good I'll probably get fired up to feel competitve again, but we'll see......
I want to support my team mates at some of the big road events too. Road racing, that's PROPER racing innit. Nothing beats the atmosphere at something like the Smithfield Nocturne. So I'll be holding their hands, cheering them on and feeling proud.

Anna G xx

Anna G