New start, new team, new goals and new way of thinking.
Everything this year is different because it was needed. Last year was a bad year, but that’s in the past-time to look to the future. Things have got off to a really good start. I did some really good training over the winter. I was motivated, training hard on the road and in the gym, which I have never done in previous years.
I arrived in France on the 26th of January to meet my new team and new family. It’s the first time I am living with a family, but I really like it cause it’s a little more like home, not always talking about bike and its good cause they have young children and they are good fun. We had a three day training camp from the 28th to 30th so I got to meet the team and make friends. They are all great fun and really friendly, so things are nice and relaxed which suits me that bit more. Everything is very good so far.
The start of the racing session came just at the right time. I am feeling strong and ready to race. My first set of races is like a stage race with 6 races over the space of 10 days. It’s called Circuit des Plages Vandeennes and it is a very good way to get the session kicked off.
1ST RACE: the first race was Chantonny. This race was very very hard with lots of hills. They have used this course for the French national championships many times, but it was a really good race to start with because it lets me see how my form is compared to everyone else’s. With a 15th place I’m not far off the mark. I was in the main break of the day getting caught on the finishing circuit, another group got away, but on the last lap I was fit enough to attack and get away on my own to grab 15th.
Notre Dame de Monts
2ND RACE: Three words to describe today: FLAT, WET, and COLD. This type of race is not for me, lots of wind and open roads makes it harder than climbing hills. The bunch was in bits from the very start, people everywhere, I finished 32nd which was ok-nothing special, but a good hard work out.
Brem sur Mer
3RD RACE: Today was just one of those days where the course was not hard enough to get rid of the weak riders, leaving lots of people sitting on. The race was very fast from the start. Attack after attack and nothing was going until the 4th lap when a group got off the front, and once they got a gap, the bunch just sat up. No one wanted to race, so it was piano all the way to the finish, in my word a crap race, but that the way it goes sometimes. I ended up 42nd. The good news is that we are hitting the hills on Thursday.
La Chapelle Achard
4TH RACE: Today got off to a really good start. Very sunny and a nice 17 degrees for the first time this year. I was out in my shorts and jersey just like summer. I have been feeling quite good the last few days which I am quite happy with, but today was my bad day. I was going really well at the start, but for the last hour of the race I was dead: my legs had no power and every wee effort hurt. This is normal for a full on racing week so I am not too worried about it. I finished 39th a small group of 12 riders got off the ftont on the last lap and the rest was a bunch sprint. Easy day tomorrow which will mean a short spin in the morning, then chilling in the afternoon, maybe watch a movie or some Playstation: the life of a cyclist.
Challans 5TH RACE: This morning the rain was bouncing of the roof. There was lots of rain but by lunch time the rain had stopped and the sun came out which was the high light of the day. Today my legs were still feeling tired and the course was another flat circuit making it very hard to break away, so today I used it as a recovery spin, just sitting in the bunch not wasting to much energy. There were quite a few crashes and two of them were right in front of me the first one I had to ride over the top of the guys that fell as I had no where else to go. The second was in the sprint at the front around ten riders came down, so again locking the bike up. I rolled in 65th, anything I do here is my final prep for the session, this week is all about getting the body used to the pain again and getting to know my team better, which is working out very well.
Olonne sur Mer 6th RACE: Today is the last day and I am glad to say. The body can feel it, its a hard way to start the session, a bit full on, but a really good way to get some form. Hopefully in a week or two we will see the benefits from the killing session in the race. Today was hard again for me, I was tired and spent most of the day at the back of the bunch. My job was just to get to the finish, get some fast miles done. Job completed, I now have a few very easy days to chill and sleep. I think this was also a really good way to get to know the team a lot better. They are great craic and the atmosphere in the team is great- which is a big thing for team work!!!!!