I haven't posted anything on this blog for a long time. But I now have the time and the facility to post more often. This has been the hardest off-season of my short cycling career. Hard but also rewarding.
I finished the season last year with some very exciting performances and really prooved to myself that I had a right to be in the peleton. I came 21st in the Tour of Bulgaria, 3rd on the 3rd stage, despite a crash on day one which forced me to do the last 80km including a huge climb before the climb and long technical descent through fog on a bike for someone 4cm shorter than I. 4cm in the leg that is. I also worked km after km for others in the team. So really, the results are kind of irrelevant, relative to my performance.
Starting the off-season full of confidence was fantastic. I jumped on a plane to England with zero stress, despite having zero guaruntees for the following season. This continued through out an October of insant partying and fun having. Cycling was far from my mind. I did a few runs for fun and was pleasantly suprised to see I could still run well, despite a couple of years of not running. I even finished 2nd in a charity mini marathon. Thankfully the guy who beat me was a fitness instructor, so I didn't feel too bad.
In November I did begin to wonder about my fate and was a bit annoyed nothing was said by anyone from anywhere. I decided the best thing would be to hold fast. But this niggle of stress is very destructive and like it or not, it will wear down even the the most mentally steadfast. I started to get depressed, after a three month high of happyness and achievement. Despite this, after a few rides, I entered my second moutain bike marathon with my "dog", dog being slang for a bad bike. I came 3rd. I felt bad about this. I have for years battled against a reputation as a poor bike handler. I think people forget I started riding at Loughborough at 20. I turned pro at 23. People should worry more about themselves than worry about me.
Finally, sometime right before Christmas I signed with my current team Palmeiras Resort/Tavira. Which made me happy. For all it's flaws, this is the team that has made me a cyclist.
We had a training camp in Serra da Estrela. Here team spirit bubbled to the surface and we had a very good time cycling and walking in the mountains. The weather was fantastic. We saw a little bit of snow after a long climb up the 2000m mountain. That made me happy. The decent was even more fun, but despite our best efforts we still rocked up late for lunch and got into trouble.
Training since then has been awfull. It's rained incesantlly and we are doing a new program which involves riding for 5,6,7 hours 4 days a week. Not nice and slowly but with many heavy going sets. When the weather is good it's fine. But rain and cold sap extra energy.
We did more tests to determine training zones. And have been training hard ever since.
My first race is the "Prova de Abertura" on the 14th, that is if it doesn't get pulled at the last moment...