Day three – The picturesque stage
Today has to be my favourite stage so far! Yes the climbs were brutal and steep but this was compensated in the most stunning single-track I think I have ever ridden!
The race started with a climb (something I am getting used to!) for 23km it was tough work but mainly on road so it was a case of getting in a good gear and keeping a rhythm.
The route followed the river and climbed gently to start with before getting steeper. Descending from the top was steep and rocky but good fun and led to a well-earned watermelon stop!
The next section was a brutal climb so steep that in places I felt like I was going backwards, I had to hop off and walk on several occasions.
This gruelling uphill effort when on for what felt like an age, waiting at the top was my Dad with a much needed water bottle refill before the fun stuff began!
The Enduro section of the Bike Trans Alp
The enduro section today was rocky to start with wooded single-track, I loved it apart from the scraping of my hand against the rock which was not much fun.
One of the best parts of today was riding along the side of the reservoir up high through a waterfall and through wooded singletrack it was brilliant fun and the views were out of this world!
I really enjoyed today the climbs were challenging but the singletrack was brilliant and made up for the pain I felt climbing.
Today was the hottest day so far and the heat is starting to drain my energy!
- Distance: 73.55 km
- Metres of climbing: 2,573 m
- Saddles: Passo Alpisella (2,285 m), Doess Radond (2,234 m), Bocchetta di Forcola (2,768 m) – See more at: https://bike-transalp.de/en/news/#sthash.oSg19reH.dpuf
Anyone who knows me well by now will probably be aware that I am racing across the Alps with team mate Michelle. If you’re unlucky enough to have seen me recently you’re probably bored of hearing about the wave of different emotions that hit me on a daily basis about how I feel about it being so close…
Since starting this journey in October the idea that I actually have to haul myself and my bike up Everest twice has been far on the horizon, a blip in the distance. Well now it’s only a week away that blip is in full focus in my mind and all around me consuming most of my days with thought’s on whether ive done enough training, having I got my nutrition right, what if I brake a spoke have I packed enough brake pads and so the carousel of thoughts goes on…
Last week was a huge training week for me as I crammed in vital miles on the bike around work and play (play being one fun ride with my Dad). I covered 185 miles (one of my biggest weeks) in 15 hours and felt super happy with how everything went.
This is my first stage race and one question I keep asking myself is, why did I pick a 7 day stage race as my first and not maybe 2 or 3! I have learnt so much this year from training and racing I have had some real highs and real lows but feel stronger both mentally and physically for it. I think this year has made me a stronger person all round and I am hoping that strength will help carry me through my first stage race.
I have learnt a lot about myself and really learnt to listen to my body most importantly and I feel more in tune with what’s going on inside and how to get the best out of myself.
Training for an endurance event is a bit like rehearsing for a play, each time I set out I am rehearsing for the big event. Concentrating on my fuelling, listening to my body and improving my pacing.
Having Rachel’s help on my nutrition has enabled me to get a lot more out of my training and improved my focus. She has helped me come up with a fuelling schedule that keeps me feeling on top form.
I feel physically ready for the Alps now, I have been working hard with my coach Mark to up the miles and feel myself getting stronger.
This week I have started to taper off training and have been keeping a watchful eye on my nutrition and making sure I’m getting loads of good food!
Thank you to my coach Mark, Specialized, Bike Fixers, Food for Thought, Grip Grab and Dog Tag and of course all my friends and family keeping me going!
Now all I have to do is pack…
Today was the my long ride day. My ride was set to be 4 hours long in tempo heart rate for 220 mins (heart rate between 150 – 160 bpm).
I set out with Michelle my partner for the Trans Alp from Petersfield on a loop I had planned with as many hills in it as possible! Our first big ascent was Butser Hill, which usually has awesome views out to the sea from the top, today not so great!
After climbing Butser we made our way down and around to Liss, I was keen to take my new full suspension bike off road so we headed to the wood to try out some of the single track around Liphook. Living in the South Downs we are really lucky to have such amazing riding all around.
The new Era was such a comfortable ride, the 29er rolls smoothly over lumps and bumps once the bike is moving it just seems easier to maintain momentum.
After our ‘playtime’ off road we headed back to the tarmac to finish our long ride.
Altogether we clocked up 47 miles in 4 hours and 10 minutes, we climbed over a 1000m which was a great achievement but far off the 19,000m we will do over 7 days in the alps!
As ever all great rides end with cake today we stopped at Madelines Delicatessen for a slice of Almond and apricot cake totally awesome worth checking out this place.
I am excited to be back training properly again and working hard towards my first race, Battle on the Beach in March.
This week I have done 9 hours training so far and clocked up just over 100 miles. I am pleased with my progress and enjoying learning how to get the most out of my new bike.
My coach added a sprints interval session and a flat pedal technique session to my normal routine, it is good to have new challenges and goals to work towards. I have forgotten how tough sprints were so its nice to be out pushing my body to new limits.
It seems a very long time ago that I was lining up at Battle on the Beach for my first race of the season.
I went up to elite this year which was a bit of a baptism of fire! My first nationals were a real eye opener to the speed needed to be competitive in cross-country. Although the race was really hard I learnt a lot from the experience. I went away and worked on my technical skills.
Over the winter I had been doing some longer rides and found these suited me. I have always found the power and pace of cross-country a challenge but this year decided to try endurance racing.
My first six hour solo was tough but showed me that I could turn to endurance racing. I worked hard to improve my endurance building up from 3 hour nonstop rides to 5 hour nonstop rides. These were hard but I enjoyed pushing myself in a new direction and worked hard on my fitness.
The next challenge was a 24 hour race with Martyn where we got an unexpected 3rd place.
After Mountain Meyhem I had my own time of mayhem with buying our first house my training was disrupted. I decided to use this time when I was feeling rather stressed to concentrate on training and getting used to being on my bike for long periods of time and perfecting my nutrition during those rides.
I entered the last round of the Southern XC series and was happy that my training had paid off when I managed 3rd place.
My next priority race was Torq in your Sleep, my first 12 hour solo. I didn’t really know what to expect but I had a plan which I stuck too and that paid off. I learnt so much from this race like make sure you eat little and often so that you don’t get stomach cramp, don’t take the dodgy head torch light out as coming back to change it costs a lot of time (20 mins to be precise).
The next few months I will be working on my endurance and stamina clocking up the miles and building a good base over the winter.
My aim for 2016 is to race the Trans Alp and continue to improve on my endurance results from this year.
Thank you to my coach Mark at Velo coaching for your help with my training.
Thanks to my sponsors Grip Grab and Bike Fixers. Thanks to Silverback for my brilliant Syncra which has kept me competitive all year.
If you would be interested in supporting me in 2016 please contact email@example.com