A new chapter begins
Normally at this time of year I am preparing to jet off to somewhere warmer than London in order to escape the depths of British winters and bank some quality training ahead of the coming season. For the past couple of winters my chosen destination has been San Francisco, mainly due to stable temperatures the winters offer there but also because of the hilly routes available throughout the bay area.
My favourite routes tend to be East Bay focused, with training being based around almost a daily ascent of Mount Diablo in which the Tour of California has repeatedly been over in recent years. Outside of East Bay though there is amazing riding to be had in the Napa Valley, Marin County with Mt Tam, or in South Bay with group rides going out daily at noon from the dot com town of Palo Alto. Here are links to two of my favourite Strava segments in the Bay area.
This year, however, San Francisco is a distant memory as 2013 turned out to be not the year I had anticipated. Last winter, training was a success where I successfully raised my one hour function threshold power (FTP) from 5 watts per kilogram (wkg) to 5.6. With Bradley Wiggins claiming silver at the World Time Trial Championships with a FTP of 5.9wkg, you can see how I entered the season with good legs to say the least.
Last November I had signed with a Luxembourg Continental team (division three professional) who provided a fantastic race programme of UCI ranked international racing, where I was mixing it up with the likes of Thomas Voeckler on an almost weekly basis. It was the shop window in which I had searched for continually for a number of years. The season started well with solid placings including a near miss inside the top 10 of a UCI one day in Northern France. But something was wrong and I couldn’t pin my finger on it.
For almost the month of March it was a mystery to me why I was gaining weight like I was having ten MacDonald’s per day. Each morning getting out training was becoming more and more of a mission and when I did, I felt like a slug dragging myself around Luxembourg. My new coach, John Sharples and Sean Yates of TrainSharp got me to rest, but to no avail, and a later blood test revealed an underactive thyroid.
My summer involved numerous visits to my GP but also some more relaxed time on the bike, riding around Europe’s most amazing roads sharing my racing knowledge with La Fuga guests as a tour guide. I love this role as I really enjoy meeting people from all over the world from different backgrounds, be it work related or in terms of their riding and just sharing the passion each of us have for riding a bike.
It is with this in mind that I go about a different working life, tapping away furiously at the computers in the La Fuga office this winter in order to prepare the most amazing and memorable trips to feature in our 2014 schedule. For now, my racing future is unknown as I go about seeing specialists in endocrinology but what motivates me everyday is seeing so many people riding bikes both here on my daily commute across London or when I am riding abroad. I look forward to meeting these people as La Fuga guests in the years to come!