At some point after doing lots of base mileage it’s time to start upping the intensity. I’m just about at that point now. it means that the days spent endlessly fannying around are all but over; and the days of pain and exhaustion are near. i will keep doing regular rides of around 4 hours to keep up the endurance, but it becomes more and more about pace and intensity from here on in.
the reason for this ridiculously early transition to a heftier, nastier block of training, is the Chippenham Hilly on 6th March. I have two warm up races before then, the Frome 10 and the Severn 25. After that it’s a total hardrider shitstorm, with 3 or 4 of them on the bounce. i’m looking forward to it.
to this end, i’ve been heading out on gears. whilst riding fixed is amazing, and great for winter, it’s not great for intensity – and i mean sustaining efforts over hills and on the flat, rather than tapping out a rhythm. i’ll be factoring in a couple of rides a week where i seek out hills, spaced around 2 or 3 miles apart, and essentially savage myself on the ascent, then recover on the flat. this is my own slightly fucked up take on intervals. it’s slightly more scientific than it looks and seems to work. the efforts will be slightly below threshold, with the aim being to sustain a relentless pace, then unleash a bit more where possible and if appropriate.
i’ll also be doing quite a few ‘like-for-like’ rides. this means tackling a similar distance and profiles to the event(s) i’ve entered, if anything a bit longer by around 4 or 5 miles, to build up the mental stamina as well as the physical fortitude required to hurtle round a hilly parcours at a 25mph average. The WTTA Hardriders series is one of my targets this year; last year i came 4th, but i finished the season much more strongly than i started it. my vague theory is that the knowledge of what i can achieve, allied to a steady winter, will help me improve by a placing by the end of the series. it also depends what sort of form last year’s 3rd place rider brings to the table.
Needless to say, i’m full of doubt and anxiety, nervous about how quick or slow i’ll be, and worried about how quick everyone else will be. but i’m absolutely itching to race again, it’s so exciting. i love riding my TT bike, getting tucked in low (i’ve worked on this) and attacking the hills. i also hope that the early season hilly events will be the springboard for a full-on assault on some club records later in the year. i shall keep you posted.