The blog is back for 2019. Thank you to everyone who read it last year- it’s always nice to get feedback either online or during a ride. Hopefully people got some sort of entertainment/insight from reading them- or maybe they think they’re rubbish- that’s also fine. Remember- we have all new kits, an Ambassador program and an entire EVENT- all on our site- so have a look. www.tccthreesixty.uk the perfect challenge for 2019.
I spent the last blog looking back and reminiscing about what a fantastic year we had last year- so this blog is all about looking forward. As the season begins to show itself in the distance, I have been having the same thoughts/feelings as last year and hopefully can articulate those and explain my plans for the year. Ed has also got some cool news and a little project which I’ll explain too.
The balancing act:
I want to ride and race my bike to the best of my ability- ability being defined as the athletic standard my body and life allow me to get to- without it getting in the way of family time and everything else. At the standard I race at (and plan to race at) there are extremely varied versions of this. Everyone has different situations and try best to make it work for them. I love the balance I have in my life but that balance means I can’t train as much as some others. Which is fine with me- but means I have to adjust my expectations and ensure I use whatever time I have as best I can- whilst remembering that this is all meant to be fun! Quality over quantity will hopefully allow me to still be competitive and get the most enjoyment out of racing this season. As fun as some races were this season- watching a bunch ride away on three occasions as my lungs and legs exploded wasn’t in my top 15 “this is great” moments of 2018. I am sure there are many others who are in a similar situation to me too- so perhaps my journey will help in some way!
The first free gain I’ve got is early starts. I have to be in work by 7:30/8 but if I wake up early enough- I can get an hour’s interval session in. Commuting is impossible for me during winter as the roads are just a no-go at those times of day but in spring/summer I may be able to MTB in. The early workouts are a great way to start the day too and means I can get in that extra workout a week. If I can manage 2 early sessions plus one evening session during the weekdays plus a weekend bigger ride- that will be a big increase in my time on the bike with no loss to family time. I may even on occasion be able to get a second evening session in so can either swap a morning one or add it on.
Having used Zwift a lot over the last few years I felt I needed to up my game with the plans and specificity of my rides. Races on Zwift are fantastic but I want to have them as add-ons to my training rather than solely my training. I’ve elected to use TrainerRoad and add/replace rides with outdoor ones for weekends and week nights once it’s light enough. I’ve had some really good sessions already and it has added that real focus of every interval to my training so there is no wasted time. Every session and every minute has a purpose- exactly what I need when crunched for time.
My race license is now sorted so I’m going to continue training hard and look for races to do. Sundays are the worst day for me to ride and many road and MTB races land on that day- but I will be able to do some I’m sure. I want to do the Handicap series this year- evening suits me great plus many of the courses are near enough my house/work. Plus all the Goodwood series- where my plan is to ride more laps off the front than with a bunch. I’d rather come last after being caught and dropped than sit in and ride around in a procession for an hour. Plus there’s that glimmer of glory. I’m not after points at Goodwood (and not fussed about Cat 2- nor will I race enough to get close!), so will be racing for fun and Instagram pictures… Joking. But really…
So that’s the rough plan- I’ll be updating as we go along but since I’ve come back from Badger Knee- feel I’ve got onto a good consistent run and plan to continue that. Spring SmashFests are going to be amazing.
Follow me on Strava if you want to see what I’m up to: Strava
Cooper’s Road to Roubaix
Ed, the other half of TCC, is a very different person to me. Which is definitely a good thing when it comes to running everything here. As you may have noticed- I am very much all or nothing. This is great when it comes to training, researching races, analysing etc. Ed is equally passionate for cycling as I am however shows it in a far more normal way. He also has had a very full-on time at work and home (he has a child that’s a year younger than mine!) that has taken up lots of his time. His work is in shifts and varies greatly wheras mine is very fixed, so far easier to set up a routine and stick to.
Due to this- Ed has not been riding as much or as hard as he would like- and 2018 was a very minimal year for mileage. He wants to put that right this year- and buoyed by a great performance at Revolve in September on very little training- plans to make some big gains in power and lose some weight to boost is w/kg.
Ed isn’t very knowledgable about the Spring Classics. And I used that to my advantage when suggesting we do the TCC Roubaix trip. It was explained as a “flat ride with plenty of food stops”. Which I believe to be completely true, but may have been missing some key facts. Ed knew what I was up to and signed up with the rest of us- and now the year has begun he wants to get ready.
Roubaix is a very tough ride. If you read the blog- you’ll see what I mean. https://thechaserscollective.co.uk/the-collective-05-a-friday-saturday-and-sunday-in-hell/
The ride consists of 20 x 1-5 minute hard efforts during a 100+mile ride, with crosswinds too. So that is most definitely something that needs fitness for- especially as we plan on riding it properly and not faff about too much. (Instagram does not count as faffing haha).
So- here’s the plan- he has around 97 days. Ed is going to spend the next two weeks just getting some miles in the legs- I am trying to convince him to get on Zwift and do some races, because they’re a great workout and always a good reason to jump on the turbo. If he can get three sessions a week in for those two weeks, that’ll set him up nicely. We then need to work on some longer rides at the weekend mixed with some HIIT sessions during the working week. This should add power and drop weight pretty quickly thanks to the low starting point. I’m really excited to see this happen as I know Ed is a fantastic cyclist and once he starts seeing gains, he’ll really get into it and enjoy it. The Roubaix/Flanders double header we plan to do over that weekend will be a big test- but he’ll smash it!
Here is Ed’s Strava- so you can keep track of all the hard work he WILL be doing: Strava
HERE COME THE PROS
I’m so excited for all the coming races. The Tour Down Under is just round the corner- with an incredible final stage up Willunga Hill twice rather than the procession that normally found.
Richie Porte is going to reign supreme- having lost out on countback last year.
Then come the spring classics, which I am absolutely buzzing for! Will Quickstep dominate again or will there be some new powerhouses coming to the fore? I think like in Strade Bianche- Benoot, Bardet and Van Aert are going to be pushing on. Bardet was my main for the World Champs and came so close! I’m going early and calling Sam Bennett for Milan-San Remo now. Viviani vs Ewan is going to be big this year and I would love to see Cav back to full pace again- he still has wins in him. Sagan will be as strong as ever but I think the classics will be wide open. As we get closer, I might make some more ridiculous claims, but until then, I’ll stop here.
Hope you enjoyed. Stay safe, stay sendy.