With about two weeks to go before my first competitive outing with THR Racing. Now seems like a good time to reflect on the training I’ve done since Christmas.

I put in a good amount of miles leading up to, and during Christmas. Meaning I had a great level of fitness to build on coming into the new year. The season will start late February so that gave me a solid two months block to work on improving my FTP.

The majority of my training is still done outside, but increasingly I’m swapping the Road Bike in favour of the Time Trial rig. As well as improving my FTP, I want to feel comfortable riding my TT bike in tough conditions, and on tricky courses.

A riders eye view of my typical training loop

The video below was recorded on my road bike during a recent endurance training session. No intervals, just riding however I feel. Which is usually around tempo or high zone 2 for this loop.

For this ride my average speed was 22.1mph, with an average power of 238w (252w NP), over 33 miles.

I’ve added my power data to the video, as it’s interesting to see how slight dips, rises, or corners in the road affect power without you even realising the effort has changed.

Time Trials

My season will begin with the Lakes and Lancashire Sporting Time Trials league. These events are raced on varied and interesting courses. Often hilly, and anywhere between ten and fifty miles in length. A lot different to your standard ‘ten’, which is pan flat.

The idea is that with undulating terrain, technical descents, and a range of distances the league overall is more ‘sporting’, in that each rider will be more suited to a different course. It’s possible to win, or place highly overall in the league by being consistent, rather than just smashing out the best time on the night.

My build up for this has consisted mainly on getting familiar with the Time Trial bike again. My Specialized S-Works Shiv TT. I’ve put some deeper wheels on it this time around, have am experimenting with a lower, more aggressive position.

So far I’m really pleased with how the bike feels. Next week I’m going to try a different saddle and possibly tweak my position a little more, but it’s close and by no means uncomfortable for me to ride.

My training sessions since Christmas have mostly included SweetSpot and Threshold efforts. Usually these are either three ten or eleven minute efforts at 100 – 110% of my FTP riding tempo for about fifteen minutes in between efforts (a pretty tough session this one). Or fifteen to twenty five minutes at SweetSpot, again riding tempo in between.

After another successful Rapha Festive 500, I’m starting to feel my fitness return and knocking out some pretty fast rides. Last week I did 24mph average for thirty two miles at SweetSpot in far from ideal conditions. That was pretty cool.

Scorton San Remo (a Strava segment)

I hadn’t done a full gas extended effort all year, this was going to be a shock to the system.

One of the best segments in Lancashire; SSR has everything.

At fifteen miles it’s the perfect distance. Littered with undulations, technical descents, a mixture of road surfaces, and a big old climb in the middle. You name it, SSR has it.

My last attempt was in 2013, where I completed it in around 44 minutes. With an average heart rate of 189bpm! Looking at that now I can’t believe it. I must’ve been seriously motivated that day.

As it’s a perfect replica of a SpoCo course, and within comfortable cycling distance from my house I decided to have another ride around SSR, this time on my Time Trial bike. I wanted to average around 280w for the effort and complete the course in under 40 minutes. Conditions weren’t perfect, but I gave it a good go anyway.

On the day, I managed 274w average, and 285w NP. Completing it in 42 minutes. If the weather’s nice next weekend I might be back. I know there’s a good minute to come off that time without much extra effort.

So with that being my first big effort of 2016, how did it go? Overall, I’m quite pleased. 285w NP for 42 minutes isn’t bad, but I’ve got more in me. Towards the end my legs and lungs felt good and I could push on. The ‘problem’ was my head. I haven’t had to concentrate for that long recently, and I found as I started to fatigue it was easy to lapse into a slightly easier effort. As soon as I realised I’d kick it up again, but that’s something I need to work on again going in to the season.

I’m confident it’ll come back though. Putting up with being miserable for extended periods is something I’ve had a bit of a reputation for in the past.