Getting back to basics

Posted: October 28, 2010 · By: Donnacha Clifford · Comments: 0
Under: Blog
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The 2010 cycling season has drawn to a close especially now that the evenings are darkening and the hour is about to change. As of the time of writing this post I have had my three week winter break off of the bike and I am one week back into what I plan to become a regular training regime throughout the winter. The couple of weeks off were important, it gave me an opportunity to reassess how this year has gone and where do I want to be for 2011.

The highlights this year were my surprising form for the Drumm cup in June when I placed 3rd, it was an A4 race but I was still happy considering I had not raced since 2007 and I had no real race training done. My other highlight was enjoying cycling around the Ring of Kerry on the mountain bike, which was a challenge I had set for some time and was very happy that I did it. There were disappointments during 2010, mostly crashing out of the Malin to Mizen on the 4th of 6 days with 264 out of an approx 410 miles cycled. The crash happened near Limerick. I always meant to cycle the last two stages as the year progressed but it did not happen. Other than that I am disappointed with the end of the season where motivation to get up on the bike seemed difficult at times and I lost interest. A definate lesson learned this year was the importance of taking a rest when the body needs it, and that you should have in theory one rest week a month which doesn’t mean no cycling but cycling at a steady pace where the body doesn’t loose fitness but can recover from the more intensive training of previous weeks.

So this has me thinking about next year. I want to go back racing. With the correct mindset and some decent training I know I can get to the stage where I can ride to the start of the first race of 2011 (The lacey Cup in February) not with arrogance but some confidence not to come last, which will be my goal. Anything after that will be a bonus.  I will play the year after that as it comes. The way Cycling Ireland have structured next year’s race categories with the removal of the A4 category leaves me unsure of where to begin back either A3 or riding in this new ‘Sport’ category.

So training has begun. The focus between here and Christmas is to build a decent base of fitness from which I can work on speed and intervals as the new year dawns. This means hours in the saddle and a relatively steady pace but not out of breath. The way I think of  it is that i should be able to talk comfortably and not be out of breath at this type of training, but the difference is that instead of an hours spin which I was doing last year to gradually build up the capability of doing a 3-4 hour spin on a weekend day. I also want to take advantage of the mountain bike and use this on the alternative day of the weekend and during the week aswell to get in spins.

Having been out a number of times since training has begun I can feel the motivation to be ready for next year building. With the cold and dark days in mind, I also have the contingency plan of doing spinning classes in my local gym if the weather is bad as well as building some core and stability work into the the plan. At present I am 152 pounds, I need to loose probably 5 pounds to be at a reasonable race weight.

I have gotten some gear which has been invaluable over the past few spins. Obviously a good set of lights is a must, even on mornings spins that can start out to be foggy, a scull cap to keep your head and ears warm, a reflective jacket, base layers and of course rain gear. It is also important to remember if you are cycling for more than an hour or two to include an energy drink with your water to help your body to keep going without loosing energy and also to help recovery.

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