Iona at Peterborough Crit

Iona at Peterborough Crit

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Training in Spain Day 6.

Today was almost as windy as yesterday and Karen had arranged to meet with her coach Garry Palmer who was riding with the Train in Spain camp.
We rode up the super highway to Castells into the wind before waiting for the group to catch us there.

Karen got in some leap frog practice while we waited!

We met the fast group in Castell's, and when we met them they were being motor paced up the hill.  The group pushed on over all the little rises and I found myself struggling to keep in contact.  Karen had no such problems and seemed to be flying.  I really struggled today up the climbs and think the distances this week are finally taking their toll!

We rode the reverse over one of the climbs we had done earlier in the week, over Confrides and Gueadalest..  At the bottom of Guadalest we met Vicky Ware who had ridden out to meet the group we were with.

By the time we returned to Parcent we rolled on a bit further back towards the coast with the group before heading back.  Think Karen just wanted to get her ride time and millage up to 5hrs again.

By far the hardest day today and hope to ride better tomorrow, no such problems for Karen tho who hung on to the bunch for a lot of the climbs for quiet some time!

Elveden Road Race Series 1.

9th march saw a very very wet start to the first Elveden Race Series, Sandra and Hayley from the team were racing this event, and although at first reluctant, Sandra's bike decided he would get out of the car!!
Sandra opted for rollers, Hayley opted for a turbo, the latter was by far the better choice.
So after the cat 4 men's race finished, I was off for a lap warm up, the circuit is absolutely brilliant, corners are all fine, just on that day wet, and with water coming of the fields, the odd bit of grit to be aware of.
The start was rolling for longer than expected due to an on coming tractor, but once the commissairs flag was down the pace set off, and at first, it was a good pace, I stayed further up the front, and perhaps sometimes doing too much. Hayley took a really good attack early on about lap 3 , and still finding myself in that top part of the bunch, it was lap 4 just as we went through the start and finish up the drag, that I really lost touch with the main bunch, which ended up being made up of 9 riders.
There was a 2nd bunch that had formed of about 5 of us, I seemed to lead this on a fair amount. I had wondered where Hayley had got to, and I later learned she thought she had a puncture, but thankfully hadn't and was able to join the race again, as she came passed I tried to hold on to the wheel up the drag, for a bit, but some good strong riding from Hayley meant that I ended up back with the other 4 girls.
It remained this way, for the final 2 laps, of the 7 lap race, knowing I was spending too long at the front, I knew at the bottom corner, I had to just go to the finish line, but there wasn't a lot left in me.
The race was in my opinion excellent, although one of the wettest I've ridden, and my white kit ended up brown, but 4 washes later it is smiling a brighter shade of white, and a good race under my belt.
Hayley finished in at 10th and I was 15/16th in, so overall very pleased with the effort put in.
Thank you to all the organisers, Elveden really is a good new road racing event on the calendar.

Written by Sandra.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Training Spain Day 4 and 5, 12th and 13th March.

Day 4 Tuesday.
Yesterday's ride, Tuesday we had planned another 5hr loop, with 3 notable climbs, the Coll de Rates, then Guadalest and finally Port de Tudons, before looping back through Altea and Calpe back to Parcent.  The first couple of hours was great taking in a great decent down to the town of Callosa (I spy the first Dirtwheels rider!) before climbing up to Guadalest.  Here we stopped at a cafe to fill bottles and re fuel (past the cafe window ride team Dirtwheels Cycles, we could have done with the tow too, up the next section into the headwind!)  After ploughing into a headwind again over the tops between Guadalest and Confrides we descended down the other side.

Photos riding up Coll de Rates the first climb of the day.

Bottom of Confrides and this is where we hit problems!  Turning left down and past a road closed sign we made to head over our next climb of the day, Port de Tudons.  But before we got much further the road was no more, in front of us was a dumper truck and plenty of mud!  But no road!!!
So we back tracked and carried on down the valley re thinking our route.  Our get out plan was a loop back into Gorga and down maybe Castells or Ebo.  But we'd come this far so we headed for the next climb along Port del Rentonar.  Our 5hr ride was looking like more like our 7hr epic planned for later in the week, but hey all best made plans and all that.......!

We set off up the next road only to find that this too had road works!  Fear not it was just a man with a lolly pop stick and a digger blocking the road, at least this road was passable!

Luckily we managed to cut across on to the Port de Tudons up a slightly different road.  It meant we would miss out the very top of the Tudons climb as we would be climbing up on a different road, but apart for being a little bumpy it was a lovely accent!  Down the other side and finally into a town called Sella.  Here it felt like we were on the homeward straight but not yet, we were still a good 2hrs away to get back.

We reached Benidorm and the rain looked threatening, it was starting to spit with rain!  By this point I was running on empty.  Not wanting to stop now for some proper food with the threat of rain we just wanted to get back!  We took the main road back all the way along the coast!  It's a very very long main road all the way through Altea and to Calpe then it just goes on and on, and up hill much of the way! (well it felt like a long way.)  Finally after about 6hrs we turned off the main road and it seemed we were going to get drenched, it was spitting more and more with rain!  Luckily it held off and after 6.30hrs riding we made it back, and no sooner were we back than it started to rain properly!  A great day's riding despite the change of route, and looking forward to a slightly easier day tomorrow!

Day 5 Wednesday.
Today was the planned easier day just 2hr30 and seemed like nothing compared to yesterday!  The wind was blowing a gale tho and wasn't very helpful.  So no matter which direction we rode in we would probably have a head wind back into Parcent.  Karen wanted to time herself up the Rates, so she did.  I hit the headwind at the bottom of the climb and thought better of riding full gas up there!  There were going to be no fast times up the Rates today!  It was into the wind for most of the climb until we reached the turn and it suddenly became more of a tail wind.  I was caught from behind form a group of 3, so I sat on one of their wheels for a bit, then took my turn on the front.  With the wind behind me I seemed to fly up the next part to the top of the climb.  Down the other side of Coll de Rates and to Tarbena, before the change of direction back to Castell de Castells.  Only still into what seemed a block headwind grrr!
By Castells it was pretty cold and it was not a day for riding in the mountains!  Glad to be heading back down the 'Super Highway' to Parcent and to the warmth!

Back to the long rides for tomorrow.


Monday, 11 March 2013

Day 3 training in Spain.

Today's ride took us up from Vall de Ebo, and around the reservoir, and back down the Margarida.  A good 5hr30min and 88 miles.  I definatley felt alot stronger today than yesterday.  Karen still flew up the nasty steep sections after Vall de Ebo, but apart for that I was certaintly riding better than yesterday.  Today we were riding into a block head wind over the top road up over Vall de Ebo and all the way to the turn point at the other end of the reservoir.

Time for photo break by the reservoir .

4hr 15 in and we started back on the home ward straight.  Down the the Margarida a fantastic decent but equally good climb the other direction.  The back to Parcent the same route as yesterday and pleased to beat Karen to the top of the climb out of Orba form the petrol station for a change.  Compared to yesterday anyway as yesterday I had just dragged myself up there!

Back to the ranch and time for some swimming!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Day 2 Training camp, Coll de Rates and along the coast.

We arrived in Spain yesterday and were keen to get bikes built and head out for a spin.  The sun was shining and it was good to ride the summer bike again.

Today we planned the route and headed straight up the Coll de Rates.

We had decided that today we would head along the coast road form Altea, Calpe and through Denia.  83 miles and 5hrs finishing with a long head wind drag into Pego in the last hour of the ride.  This was the bit that really sapped everything out of you before the last couple of climbs of the day.  Despite Karen saying she was on her last leg's, I seemed to be the one to  fair worst over the last couple of small hill's before the road back to Parcent.  All in all a good day's riding and lot's more miles to come.

Tomorrow's route already planned another 5 hr day hopefully, up Vall de Ebo and around the reservoir.  

Friday, 8 March 2013

Croft Coaching and Racing day

The sun was shining, the ice had cleared!  It was a super day to be out on the bike.  Everyone was in high spirits as we took to our coaching session, run by Andy Johnston and Michelle Bergstrand-Evans.

First race of the season for a team turn out for Team Geoffrey Butler Cycles with myself, Karen and Linda.

First was the coaching, which was good fun and a re cap on many things and good practice before the race.  The second half we were split into 2 groups for the handicapped race.

Michelle one of the coaches was racing with us.  Early on we worked well together putting into practice what we had done in the coaching session.  After about 6 laps we made the catch.  Linda was in this group and she quickly jumped on and joined the main bunch.  Michelle attacked a few times to stir things up a bit.  Katherine was quickly onto her wheel each time.  I chased them both down on several occasions, gradually closing the gap!  By 4 laps to go the bunch seemed to be waiting for the bunch sprint which I was happy with.  Linda was on my wheel and I tried to communicate I would lead her out.  It was a small group so by the bell lap I was happy to sit at the back of the bunch.  Linda was slightly ahead with Karen.  I was on Katherine's wheel and knew she was the one to beat in the sprint.  She kicked form the back of the bunch and I went too, as we entered the home straight.  But it wasn't to be and I had to settle for second, she kicked earlier and you need the jump on her to beat her in the sprint!  Karen and Linda fought it out for 4th and 5th, just missing out on 3rd place to Jo Blackburn, our guest rider for the Tour Ta Malta.  So a really enjoyable day, and a good team result with and 2nd, 4th and 5th place!

Written by Iona.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Anything but an easy week

Easy week, that’s what it said on my training plan, indicating the first week of a training block. My first two races of the season were to be at the end of this week so I was glad I’d be coming into them relatively fresh. However, it may have been a moderately light training week but away from the bike it turned out to be anything but easy.

My first two races were time trials so I already knew we would have to endure the annual faff-fest that is building up the TT bike, however this year it was worse than usual. The final parts didn’t show up until Wednesday night and my other half and two of his friends then spent all of Thursday and even more time on Friday afternoon building up the bike (thanks guys).  The vast majority of this was spent fighting with the horrendous internal cable routing on my new Cervelo P4. The bike was finished mid-afternoon on Friday and I had time for a quick spin before dark in preparation for its first race the next day – highly non-ideal. It was worth all the agony though as the bike looks fantastic and is great to ride.

Had this been the only obstacle of the week it would have been fine but I also had my first year PhD viva and my car decided that this week was an appropriate time to fail its M.O.T. Stressing about the latter led to being under-revised for the former, however I got through relatively unscathed. All in all a week with a lot of stress and very little sleep: just the preparation you want before opening your season.

I kicked things off at the CC Breckland 10 mile time trial on Saturday. I’d done this event last year and won the ladies prize so I was aiming for a repeat performance.   I really like the course this race is on and despite only having had 45 minutes to get use to a completely new TT bike and new TT position the day before I soon got into a good rhythm (photographic evidence below). I was comfortably the fastest lady and was 19 secs quicker than the previous year. I was a little unhappy to not go quicker as I know from my training data that I’ve made big improvements since this time last year, however I put this down to my relative unfamiliarity with the bike.

Sunday was the Cambridge University Cycling Club championship (Cuppers) 10 m TT. I’ve won this event for the last two years and it was on a course I ride very regularly so l hoped this would provide a better marker of how I was going on the TT bike.  I was clearly getting more use to the bike as I put in a 24.37 (it isn’t a flat course) which is only a few seconds slower than when I took the silver medal in the British Universities Championship on the same course last April – I was very pleased so be going so well so early in the season. I also won the event (by nearly 6 minutes) and was fast enough for 8th in the men’s event as well.

Next up are two circuit races this coming weekend, hopefully getting my road race bike ready shouldn’t be such a drama.