Since the beginning of 2017 I’ve been working with Ric Stern of RST Sport www.cyclecoach.com he looks after all of my training and ensures my progression.
Training for cycle racing
If you’re going to do something, do it 100%.
I know it’s a compulsion, but I feel I have no other option than to invest all my time, energy and life into my goals. My main sporting goal for the last four years is to do my best in the Transcontinental Race (TCR). In 2018 that means defending my title.
I had already been training for racing earlier in the year. My early season objective was to do well in the British University championships, riding for Brunel University where I’ve just finished my second year in Civil Engineering. I did well in the time trials, with second in the 10m and fourth in the 25m. I also did a few road races and even won one.
As I wrapped up my university exams at the end of May, I had around 8 weeks dedicated to training for TCR. I split this time into three blocks with rest between.
Mallorca – Block 1.
Through my exams, training had been slack. I had only managed around 8 hours a week, which for me is a pitiful amount and I lost a lot of fitness. The compromise was worthwhile as I achieved good exam results.
I knew I needed a good week on the bike to get the body rolling again so the short but sweet climbs of Mallorca were perfect. I stayed in Soller and had a fantastic time. I love to explore and ride new roads, so it was the perfect antidote to fresh legs and a stuffy mind. I was really motivated. I also managed to catch up with a racing buddy from London, Johnathan Gales, he’s little and light and Mallorca is his sort of territory. Together we had a good go up the climb from Formentor, Sa Colabra, cresting in 31m 24s, which took me the best part of 360 watts.
Number of Days: 7
Hours riding: 22.5
Meters climbed: 14,000
James and Jonathan Gales
Essex – Block 2.
I used the local lanes in Essex for a few weeks, building on the good efforts of climbing to keep myself moving forward. I put in a few longer days, knocking out two 200 km rides in a little over 6 hours, as I got used to longer days in the saddle.
It was good to spend some time with Isabelle between periods of too much time apart. Getting out cycling with her were the best kilometres I rode.
Number of Days: 14
Hours riding: 45
Meters climbed: Essex is flat!
James and Isabelle in Essex
Livigno – Block 3.
The flat roads of Essex do little to mirror the demands of TCR. As in 2017, I wanted to head to the mountains and spend time living and riding at altitude. There really is only one way to prepare for riding long days with lots of climbing and it’s to do just that. My coach, Ric Stern, has learnt the limits of my body. I used to think I trained hard but he really knows how to push me till I’m on my knees. I don’t train long distance but hard kilometres. The longest day I did was 7 hours, however I was riding every day and delivering hard, back to back days. This is what builds the resistance and stamina that I need for long distance racing. While in Livigno I did a few big days, around 6 hours and 350tss, one of which was triple climbing the Stelvio Pass from all three sides, the so-called ‘Gran Stelvio,’ which I have written a blog about ‘A day in the mountains’.
Number of Days: 28
Hours riding: 90
Meters climbed: 48,000
James at the summit of the Bernia Pass
I did blood work pre and post altitude, for those interested the results are below and it works for me.
Pre altitude 10/6/2018
Post altitude 25/7/18 (at altitude 23/6 – 22/7)
2018 year to date: 10,089km in 341h 23min, climbing 105,000m on 159 rides
Link to Strava: https://www.strava.com/athletes/366584