New Partnership – Pedal Potential

Some of you may know ( I have been tagging them in various posts and on instagram ), but if you don’t…listen up!

For the 2018 race season I am really pleased to say I am being supported by Pedal Potential.

A group of like minded individuals that help young racers like me reach the top level in the worlds hardest sport! I really can not thank them enough for their support!

www.pedalpotential.co.uk/supported-talent

pedal potential logo square

Check out some of my other sponsors here!

Bike Check: Team OnForm Bianchi Oltre Xr4

As many of you know, I have been trying to sell my Bianchi Oltre Xr4 for some time now, but as some of you don’t know, I have a buyer ready and waiting for my return to the UK. So before it goes, I thought it was only fair to do round two of my bike check series. So here it is!

Key Facts:

Distance: (at the time of writing): 9,675km

Races won: 6

Weight: 7.4kg (w/ race wheels)

Frame pumps used: 1

Flights taken: 6

Longest Ride: 240km – Read about it here!

Specs:

Frame & Fork: Bianchi Oltre Xr4 w/ Countervail Technology

Gruppo: Shimano Ultegra 11spd w/ Stages PM

Wheels: Training: Vision Team 35 || Race: Enve SES 4.5 Tubular

Finishing Kit: 3T Stem / Deda Traditional Drop Bars (not pictured) / Fizik Arione / Frame Pump

A bike that wins bike races. I can’t argue Bianchi have made an incredible race bike with the Oltre Xr4. Its fairly light, mine being a big frame and with light wheels its 7.4kg. Very stiff, it feels like all the power is going straight through the pedals and into the road. It is very noticeable when swapping from my winter bike to this to come out to Calpe the difference is night and day. Doing sprints on the tank I’m fairly certain you dont actually go forward, but with this is is very fast!

However it is now gone! And I am waiting for next years team bike…get ready! Its a beauty!
Check out the sponsors making this adventure possible here!

Calpe 2K18 – EPIC Ride!

I appologise for being a bit behind schedule on these posts, the hole is getting deeper and my ability to focus on my laptop screen and produce words that are actually readable is deteriating. But here we go!

After the previous cafe day, we had a big weekend planned, before a rest day on monday and then another big week. Unfortunately the Calpe weather isn’t looking like it is going to play ball. We have had some fairly outrageous out of season weather here, highs of mid 20s, but now it is cooling off, just when the training days are getting bigger. Oh well. We push on!

Day 14: Spanish Storms = Mission Abort

The plan today was to head up into the mountains. Me and David had similar sessions to do, and we planned to do them up Tudons, re group at the top and head down the Gudalest descent back to Calpe. This did not go to plan!

We followed the coast road towards Benidorm before heading inland towards Finestrat and the bottom of Tudons. It immediantly started to look like a bad idea. The massive black cloud floating over the top of the mountains and already strong gusting winds weren’t looking promising. But we made it to Sella and attempted efforts.

We both made one effort, no where near target powers and it was all a bit of a waste of time. It got pretty hypothermic pretty quickly. When we got home, we checked back on the forecast when we got home and had warmed up, the real feel half way up the mountain at the time we were there was -4. We aborted.

Very sheepishly crept down the very very wet descent until we found a cafe to hide and warm up. A coffee and a boc later, we headed for home for our tails between our legs. Oh well, onto the next one.

Check the ride here!

Day 15: BIG DAY OUT – Valencia Ride

We all met up super early for this one, with the distant possibility it would be dark when we returned, we didn’t have much choice. The group assembled at Diamante and we rolled out along the coast, up Benissa, way way harder than anyone was expecting! Not really sure what happened there? And onto the N332, the road that would take us most of the way to Valencia.

The way there went super smoothly, it didn’t even feel like it took that long. The Valencia signs counted down the miles nicely. Apart from a couple of mechanicals it was smooth. Everyone took there turns and had a good chat in the group.

For a better idea of what it was like you should probably check out Lawrence’s vlog here!

We made it to Valencia, and by all I had seen it looked like a beautiful city. We were half way done and it was time to find some munch.

But unfortunatley we ended up in a less than ideal resturant, the club sandwich didnt touch the sides and an extra carrefour stop was needed for fuel on the way home.

I think we timed it perfectly in the end, we left Valencia with about 3 hours of daylight left, which meant it was going to be a hard ride home no matter what. It was chain tight, but sensible until about 50km from Calpe when the through and off started. And from then on all guns blazing back to Calpe. I made it most of the way, just not quite hanging with the top boys up the final few drags.

We were back home and all pretty destroyed, but it was time to get a vast amount of food in and put the feet up before tomorrows session!

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Check the ride here!

Day 16: 4hrs w/ Climbing Efforts

I have to say, this morning was the worst I’ve felt so far on camp! The ATL numbers are far higher than they have been before, and after a 6.5hour day, its noticeable in the legs. I was feeling empty, I think I ate all the bars I had for the ride with in the first hour.

It was meant to be a steady endurance ride for the first part at least, I had some efforts to do afterwards but we will get onto that bit. However when riding through the olive fields we somehow tagged on the back of some form of Belgium chaingang. It would have been rude not to ride through!

It started with us just forming our own line, before the pace increased and we tucked in and gradually made our way up into the wind, before hitting the front and openning the taps. Not entirely sure how, but we ended up dropping the lot of them.

So it was fairly inevitable when I went pop and had to call for an emergency cafe stop before the final km’s home.

Check the ride here!

Day 17: Recovery Day

Nothing massive to report. All I know is that i needed it. And it helped! Onto the next block!

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Day 18: Sprint efforts w/ a little gas

The agenda for the day was to find some top end! 8x30sec sprints, trying to keep all the powers consistent. And I ended up nailing all of them to target power, I surprised myself!

After that we cruised across to the coast to do some exploring, before heading home for the day.

Then came a somewhat impromptu effort which I didn’t have planned. I set out to ride the montgo climb at threshold just to do a longer effort in the ride, but that lasted about 2-3mins before I just started gassing it. I got to the top in just over 10mins and set a new 10min power pb by a couple of watts. That makes it 4 PB numbers for the trip so far, so considering the deep fatigue the legs must be getting stronger and I look forward to what they will be able to kick out once I get out of this hole.

At the top of Montgo we headed out to the lighthouse, and it was an incredible view! I can’t really describe it, so I hope the pictures do it justice!

Ollie Jones Bianchi

Check the ride here!

Day 19: 5.5hr Endurance

I have to say, today was just an incredible ride! It was the first time I have really explored deep into the mountains around Calpe. I don’t really know how to describe it, it was just great fun!

Solid group of guys, perfect route filled with long climbs and grippy bergy roads and finishing with a long descent back into town. I don;t think I need to say any more, check out the ride, I throughly recommend the route!

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Check the ride here!

Day 20: 5x10min Climbing Efforts

To round of this three day block nicely, what else but some solid climbing efforts! 5x10minutes in a variety of cadences, under overs and bursts all at or over threshold. I’m not going to lie, I expected this to crack me, after all the big days up to in and almost three weeks into the camp. But I survived! I hit every rep to the number and i am pretty chuffed!

And how better to top off a session but with jumping on the back of a Lotto-Jumbo rider doing some motor pacing! Holding race pace after a full session of hill reps is not easy!

Now into a recovery day before a BIG weekend!

Check the ride here!

Day 21: Aborted cafe day

With a Calpe storm blowing in, the planned recovery day became a sit inside and hiding from the rain kinda day. So that is what we did!

Check out the sponsors making this adventure possible here!

Ollie Jones Calpe

Calpe 2k18 – The Suffering Begins!

DayWhile at home, with all the long working hours, late nights and irregular sleep, I always found i was never in the state to do any real quality suffering on the turbo (or on the road, the road is just much colder). We found I could easily complete a set one week but then not make one effort the next, it was very strange. So we changed the plan around so that all my top end work would be while I was out here in Calpe.

So now it is time to do those efforts! Keep reading to see a day by day breakdown of my next block!

Day 7: 2.3hrs w/ 5x30sec Full Gas

The day after a rest day, I expected to feel better than I did. I was planning on following my efforts with a longer endurance ride with Sam but after finishing the efforts it was clear this would not be possible.

We rolled out towards Rates, I was going to do my efforts up the drag leading into the climb and he was going to do an effort up the climb. The timings worked well really.

I was super happy to see I hit quite a big PB power on the first effort. It is nice to see the gym work over the winter months has really improved my top up strength. Now it is just time to get the lungs to back it up on the longer efforts.

I wasn’t feeling particually amazing after the efforts, so told Sam to go on and rolled home solo. It was time for some lunch.

Day 8: 5hrs w/ 5x6min Climbing Efforts

We had a nice big group rolling out this morning. A combination of two villas. We headed out following the coast towards Denia, up and over montgo and towards the olive fields. It was a really strong group. Riding well together, everyone taking there turns on the front and keeping the pace steady.

After Pego, a few of the lads peeled off to do a longer loop, they had six hours in the plan to our four.

We continued on, back towards Parcent and Jalor, and they tried one of the roads less ridden. The backside of Pinos, a 10km long drag up to 600metres. We then all realised why we never ride up here. The roughest, bumpiest descent you could imagine. Think Paris-Roubaix sector going down 10%. Some questionable descending later we made it to the bottom and onto the N-332 down into Calpe.

It was time for Tango Bar. I needed a Cafe Bonbon before the efforts begin.

Then it was off to the Benissa climb and the climbing efforts. Five efforts of 6minutes. Two at Z3 in a monsterous gear. Two at threshold. Then for the last one, with Benissa being a 10minute climb, I rode 6minutes at threshold then rode hard to the top of the climb. That lead to a nice surprise when getting to the top. I had hit a 3min and 5min PB power! That is power PBs two days in a row. I can’t complain with that. It is really pleasing to see the winter training working and hitting good numbers ahead of the race season.

Ollie Jones CalpeOllie Jones Calpe

Check out the ride here!

Day 9: 5hrs Endurance

Nothing really to report here. To be honest, I am writing this much later than the day. I didn’t really have anything to report so I just let it slide.

We headed up into the mountains, first time up Tudons this camp. I did realise last year I didn’t fully make the most of the mountains here, so I am making it a point to ride in the mountains as much as possible to get as much elevation in the legs as possible before I head to France.

It was the end of a long week, I was looking forward to a day of cake and legs up tomorrow!

Check out the ride here!

Day 10: Full Rest Day

After a solid first week. 27 hours in total with a few power PBs and some very solid days. It was time to chill. No bikes will be ridden today.

Similar to thursday, but in the car, we went down to Altea and Origen Coffee Roasters for breakfast. This was the second incredible breakfast they had delivered. This time opting for the New York Pastrami Bagel along with Granola and a smoothie. Along with a couple of flat whites of course.

We had been there a while, and were starting to think about seconds, when Michael Matthews showed up. That makes it two visits to this cafe both with a world tour sprinter. We had a a great chat, such a nice guy who took 45minutes out of his rest day to chat to us about pretty much anything. His bike! Holy crap his bike! He was riding a custom painted green Giant Propel with what looked like a very very very custom front end. It looked like it was straight off a Trinity. Very interestingly too, he was on disc brakes. And he was 100% for them! He made some very fair arguments, and I am almost starting to concede. Not on a race bike, but on a training/adventure bike I am starting to get quite keen.

Read more about the cafe here!

Day 11: 3.5hrs w/ Sprint Efforts

We headed out into the beaming sun. The legs were out and it was time to top up the tan. Getting a serious head start on everyone at home!

We planned a similar route to the other day, out over Montgo, through Denia and over to the olive fields for the sprint efforts. Two sets of 4x10secs with a minute hard running into each sprint to get the speed up. They went well really, what I would expect this time of year. I find the real top end sprint work comes from racing, so once the races start I am sure with all the work I have done over winter I will be hitting new powers!

Check out the ride here!

Day 12: 5hrs w/ KOM hunting up Tudons & 5x30sec efforts

There was one aim for today. The KOM from the bottom of Tudons to the top. The group rolled out and moral was high. Its a 40km lumpy route there, but we span along nicely.

With a pee stop and a team talk just before the bottom we hit the descent and started the effort when the road headed north. Definitely too hard to start with. I was straight into the red. Not ideal at the start of a 40minute effort. We took our turns on the front and the pace was high. For me, too high. I was with the group for 20minutes before dropping off to ride my own pace up the climb. The up and down nature of the effort in the group is not to my strengths or to the training I have currently done.

I made my own way to the top, reaching the sunmmit and seeing the cheerful faces of people that were fairly certain they had achieved their goal. But they wouldn’t know until we got home.

Down the descent, towards Callosa. I turned off to do the efforts that had been perscribed to me for the day. 20mins tempo with 30sec attacks. It was perfectly timed to the top of Tarbena. And from then on a descent and a tail wind home. Happy Days.

I saw the Sunweb boys testing out the TT bikes ahead of the time trial into Calpe next Friday. They all looked fast. Really really fast!

Check out the ride here!

Day 13: 90mins Recovery Cafe Day

Time to enjoy the cafe before a big weekend! Nothing more to say really. Pros were spotted and cake consumed. Now I have to go stretch and get ready for a big three days!

Ollie Jones Calpe

 

Stay tuned for more posts!

Find out about the guys that make my travels possible here!

 

Calpe Dimension Data Cafe

Cafe Connoisseur Ep2 – D-Origen Coffee Roasters – Altea

Its our first recovery day in Calpe, which means we had to check out the go to cafe destination in the area! D-Origen Coffee Roasters in Altea. We chose the right time too, running into Team Dimension Data. See how we found it here! Or see how the week was here!

Food:

So we headed here for breakfast, but in the end tried pretty much most of the range of food on offer. I’ll start with the more food based options. I started with a salmon bagel, with cream cheese and chia seeds. I added some fresh olive oil and I have to say it was mega! It really hit the spot after not eatting since dinner the previous evening. I followed it up with some granola, yoghurt and fresh fruit topped with honey. A staple for breakfast and a good hit of protein and vitamins.

Sam was with me and started with the avocado on wholemeal seeded toast. I didn’t try any myself, but he has told me it was the best bread he has had. He also followed with the granola and yoghurt.

Still hungry, as cyclists on rest days are, we dove back in for more. Sam opting for a much healthier option than me. He, not getting enough of the toast, went for chopped tomato on toast, a spanish special and I, amazed by the fact I hadn’t had any cake on the trip yet, had cake. My favourite infact, a nice slice of carrot cake.

It is fair to say the cake game is strong. Not huge, but really really tasty! Will 100% be heading back on multiple occassions during the next month!

Drink:

As you’d expect from a coffee roasters, the coffee is good! I had two flat whites and Sam went for a cortado followed by a flat white. Both of us as somewhat high on the coffee snobbery scale, so we knew what we wanted. We both ranked it very highly. I didn’t check what roast they were using at the time but it was full of flavour and kept us going for the whole afternoon.

The menu as included a range of smoothies, I would imagine very refreshing in the hot sun, as well as teas and soft drinks. Something else that grabbed our attention was the cold brew coffee. Neither of us tried it but have agreed we will return before efforts to try some.

Venue:

Situated at the end of the Altea beach (Benidorm side), just down a little side street in an amazing sun trap. To be totally honest it doesn’t get much better. There is room out the front for plenty of people to lean bikes, not masses of seating considering the popularity, so get there early if you want a big table, but on the whole a perfect spot to sip on a cortado and take off the leg warmers to get a head start on the tan compared to the people back home.

Calpe Dimension Data Cafe D-Origen Coffee Roasters

 

Pros:

Great Coffee!

Outrageous Snacky Food!

Solid Cake Offerings!

Awesome Sun Trap to Work on the Tan!

Hotspot for Pro Spotting

Quick Service

WiFi

Cons:

No eggs

Not enough seating

 

 

Calpe 2k18 – The Start of the 2018 Season

So I am heading back to Calpe for another year. Here it is…Calpe 2k18!

Travel Day:

This was an interesting one. So I was working the night before and our flight left in the early hours of the morning.

But during the day it was pretty normal, was meant to be packing my life into a suitcase, but instead sat at a cafe with a few friends. Normal activity really. Then cramming all my packing into about an hour. Standard.

After that it was off to work, just another boring Friday night shift in a bar in January. I got home about 1:30am, but with the combined effect of the loud music, the cold cycle home and the absurd amount of coffee I’d drank, I wasn’t getting to sleep any time soon. So tuned it to some Netflix in the hope it my knock me out for the 2 available hours of sleep. This did not happen. Instead I just stayed up until 3:30am when I had to leave to get to the airport. Thankfully, Dad was willing to get up and take me there. Although he didn’t get much say in the matter.

Apart from the general drowsiness and the clumsiness that goes with it, the journey was smooth. Two and a half hour flight to Allicante, coach to calpe, taxi from the bus station to the villa. Sorted.

Luckily despite being on a different flight to the London boys, we all arrived at a similar time. It was time to build the bikes and head out for a spin to alleviate the plane legs.

Day 1: 4hr w/ Z3 Climbs

After probably the best sleep of my life, it was the first time i’ve slept more than 6hours since I was in Majorca, we got up bright and early to make the most of the sun and headed into the mountains for a 4hour loop. Starting up Benissa, then Rates, then Guadelest. A few of us in the group rode the climbs at zone 3, just keeping the chain tight basically. I still haven’t really gone up to zone 4 or 5 since the race season, but I can bare with zone 3 no problems.

After the climbs we hit the imfamous “red road” descent, straight open and smooth roads. We went racing down, Lawrence came flying past at the top and wasn’t seen again, taking all the corners on the top tube like a mad man. Thankfully we all made it to the bottom in one piece, and from then on it was all plain sailing back to Calpe along the coast road.

It was the perfect ride to just open the legs after the travel day. Even after just the one nights sleep I feel so much better. I’m sure that after a week or so of proper training routine and focus, I will feel like a different person. Not a different person, but actually just me. How I should be.

Ollie Jones Col de Rates Le Col

Ollie Jones Le Col Ninja

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Check the ride here!

Day 2: 3hrs w/ Sprints

The order of the day was 4x10sec sprints. We had to delay the start a little today just to let the clouds disperse, and after that we headed out up Benissa the same as yesterday. But instead of up Rates, we headed straight up to Pego and back towards the coast and Denia.

Along a few rolling roads we made it to the Pego olive fields. The straighest and flattest road we could find. The group split up and everyone did there own sprint efforts. I got my efforts done. The power wasn’t quite where I wanted but considering I haven’t done any sprints since the race season it’ll do for now. I’ve got a month to transfer the gym strength onto the bike, so there is no worries.

Lawrence Carpenter Villa

Check the ride here!

Day 3: 5hrs with 5x Climbing Efforts

I started the day riding 3hrs with the guys (and gal now), we headed out over Rates and up the Mordor road to Castell de Castelles. A road pretty much designed to crack any time trialist to me. Constant 200-300m ramps of 12-15%. Not the kind of road I like to ride.

After the grim climbs, we hit what may be the longest descent i’ve ever ridden. Atleast 15km, but to be fair I haven’t checked the segment. From Castell de Castelles all the way down to Parcent is a wide sweeping road. We had a nice group of 5 so got a smooth through and off rolling round to keep the pace up and were going to be in town in no time. The coffee stop was looming.

Calpe Matt Clements

We headed straight for Tango Bar by the beach. A calpe villa staple. Sadly, I only had time for a bonbon before I headed off to Benissa to do my efforts for the day. Already 3.5hours in meant that it would be a solid day. I had five efforts up the Benissa climb to do, a couple low cadence and a couple threshold, nothing too crazy this early in the camp, but more intensity than i had been doing so far this winter. To be totally honest after a few good nights sleep I am starting to feel a lot more like myself. The legs are improving and the moral in the villa is high. I am certain it will only improve. So bring it on.

Calpe Villa Crew

Calpe Ollie Jones

Check the ride here!

Day 5: 4.5hrs Z2

With the rest of the villa on a rest day before a Rates smash tomorrow, it was just me and Sam heading out early to get our training in. We headed out together towards Parcent, where we split and went our seperate ways. I headed up to Pego, aiming for Val d’Ebo, a famous climb around here which I haven’t done yet. So it was awesome to hit up some new roads. After that I got well and truly lost in the mountains. Just kept on pedalling. And I enjoyed every minute. Dispite the infamously named ‘Mordor road’ up to Tollos. It took a solid 3.5hrs to do 75km. From the beach in Calpe up to 800m in a weird ass way, 1800m in climbing altogether.

Thankfully after that it was plain sailing home. The same descent from yesterday down from Castelles, a fast run in all the way to town.

I had to make a quick stop off in Parcent for water, I had gone the best part of 4hours on 2bottles and was feeling it pretty bad. The food situation was fine, breakfast and 2 cereal bars had got me through no problems, but the increase in temperature had made water more vital. Even if I am still refusing to remove my leg warmers.

Overall I am really getting into training camp life. I ended the ride and ice bathed my legs in the pool for 10minutes and then made lunch. Yes dad, I am cooking and no, no one has died!

Check the ride here!

Day 6: CAFE DAY

Nice early start this morning. With the upstairs crew heading out to Rates, once again it was just me and Sam heading for the cafe. Certainly needed after a few big days. We are heading down to D-Origen Coffee Roasters in Altea, and we are heading out early so we can get breakfast there and make the most of the beautiful scenes riding along the coast road with the sun rise.

Turns out we timed it perfectly, as five minutes after we arrived, so did Dimension Data. Serge Pauwels, Cavendish the lot. We were pretty happy, the only way this day could have got better is if Lachy was there.

Look out for Cafe Connoisseur Ep2 coming soon!

After a perfect breakfast, we rolled out back to Calpe for a second stop at Tango, before a pitstop at Consum and then back to the house.

After a nice stretch the legs are feeling much better after the spin out, ready to go into the next few big days before another rest day on monday. Here goes a big weekend!

Check the ride here!

 

Stay tuned for more posts!

Find out about the guys that make my travels possible here!

Ollie Jones Col de Rates Le Col

Essentials: Le Col Neck Warmer

Ollie Jones Col de Rates Le Col

I have thought about writing some reviews for a while now, so here we go. I won’t be writing one for everything, but for those few select items which are now always at the top of my kit draw…

Essential for those early morning starts and long descents, the fleecy inner keeps you warm and sets it apart from any normal lycra buff. A must have item!

Check it out –> Le Col Neck Warmer

Read more about my sponsorship from Le Col and great companies here!

New Partnership – Le Col

Ollie Jones Le Col Kit Drop

For 2018 I have been selected to be a Le Col Influencer.

Le Col are a well established British based brand, founded by ex-pro and GB rider Yanto Barker in 2009. They strive to create top of the range, performance based cycling apparel. I am incredibly honoured to be able to use it as training kit for this season and I received my kit drop this morning, containing:

  • HC Clima Jersey Nero – Developed using a new improved lightweight fabric to give a luxury feel for high intensity climbing efforts. Perfect for my year away in France!
  • Pro Bib Shorts Nero – Le Col’s fasted pro shorts. Proven in the pro peloton, designed to give the best performance without foregoing comfort
  • Therma Gilet Nero – A revolutionary weatherproof gilet designed for training or racing in changeable conditions. Perfect for keeping warm on descents!
  • Neck Warmer Navy – A buff with a lycra outer and fleece lined inner for maximum warmth. If you know me, you know I never leave the house without a buff!
  • Cap Nero – An essential bit of kit for every cyclist. Whether it’s keeping spray off your face or looking good outside a cafe, always carry a cap with you!

#LeCol #BackYourself

Look out for reviews of these bits of kit and any more I get to test out through out the year! Go check out the full range here

To see my other sponsors for the 2018 season click here

Chapter 2 – Culture Velo

So the time has come to announce my plans for next year. Next year I will be riding for Culture Velo based in L’Isle-Jourdain in the south of France along with CSCA Proprete 2000 for races in Guadeloupe.

The year will start out with the team training camp in Girona from Feb 17th-25th, then after that it straight to the team house in Limoux. I will be getting a confirmed race calendar when at the team camp so I will be posting that up once I have it. But the principle seems to be a handful of the Coup de France National Series (racing for CSCA Proprete 2000), along with some stage racing in mainland France and Guadeloupe and the odd time trial. I will be starting racing for Culture Velo as a 2nd category, so we will link up a lot with the Culture Velo Junior team to travel to 2nd category ranked races. I will be staying in a house (here on known as the Wattage Cottage) with a couple of good friends. The perfect enviroment to train!

During the year, I will be spending a month or so in Guadelope racing for CSCA Proprete 2000 in two main stage races, including the UCI Tour of Guadeloupe. More races are tbc.

Along with racing in France, I plan to race some of the big races in the UK still for Team OnForm like I did last year. I am hoping to ride CiCle Classic, Beaumont Trophy and National Championships and then possible a few hill climbs at the end of the year.

Check out my sponsors page to see all the amazing people helping me make it happen!

Ollie Jones Culture Velo LogoOllie Jones Cycle Team OnForm LogoOllie Jones CSCA Logo

A Three Day Adventure

The mentality:

With the race season only 3 months away and Calpe less then a week, at this time of the year the training is very serious and the numbers become very important. This weekend could be my last opportunity for a while to go on an adventure, chill out and just enjoy the ride. A chance to clear my head before the long race season ahead.

The plan:

Inspired by Thereabouts. 3 days. 3 epic rides. Nothing more than what I can carry.

What I packed:

I’ve managed to borrow a pannier off a friend, so at least I will be able to take a few things. But starting with the essentials. I’ve got all the usual stuff, phone, phone charger, keys, toothbrush and chamois cream (provided by Crotch Guard). Then in the back pockets of my jersey I keep my Castelli rain cape and some gloves in case of emergencies. But I am gonna try and keep the kit to a minimum. It is looking like the British weather is going to be nice to me, so I will be riding Thereabouts style. As to say. Casual.

I will chuck a few tshirts, some trackies and a shirt in the paniers and then I should have covered all bases. But the key here is to not be stuck in normal training routines. Let go and just enjoy the ride!

Day 1:

118km | 4.5hr

The purpose of this adventure was to clear my head from the isolation and stress of the last week. In réflexion. 4.5hrs solo isn’t the best way to get away from those kind of things. I basically put myself in a boxing ring with my own mind for the whole ride. The last week I haven’t wanted to train. I always seem to respond that way to rest weeks. It takes away all my drive and brings out some bad emotions. My resting hr rose about 10 beats throughout the week, I’m assuming through stress, it certainly wasn’t from training! I’ll be honest and say that.

I had the same feelings this morning. But I got out and did it…and I didn’t enjoy any of it. But at least at the other end I knew some very good friends were waiting. And without that I would have gone back to bed. And hey, it was the start of an adventure!

That’s enough of that though. I made it.

Three Day Adventure Day 1 - 1Three Day Adventure Day 1 - 2Three Day Adventure Day 1 - 3

Check out the ride here

Day 2:

100km | 3.5hrs

Slight change of plan, we stayed up later than expected last night and definitely didn’t fancy a 7am start. So we drove to the Twenty3c for the monthly shop ride instead of riding. This does me I am 50km down on what i was wanting to do, but it was a necessary evil.

It’s nice to catch up with all the shop guys, I haven’t seen them all in a while. We rolled round for 45km, enjoying the crisp morning, taking in the lanes and chatting crap about bike racing. How it should be. We then headed back into the warmth of the shop for coffee and a spot of lunch. Explaining my plans for next year to James, and reminiscing on last years Calpe antics with Queen Hoops.

After a lengthy stop. I headed back into the cold for the 55km back to Letchworth. Much to my disappointment, it was not the tailwind I was hoping for, but once again, a dirty dirty headwind. Another two hour slog.

Apart from a brief encounter with a dual carriageway, so very very busy very very straight road through Milton Keynes and a few attacks up some steep bergs, the ride was quite uneventful. Just me getting my head down and tapping it out. One more big days to go.

But now…beer?

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Check out the ride here

Day 3:

25km | 1.5hrs

Like Friday, the second I started this ride I was straight back in the ring. Except this time I got hit with a knock out punch in the first round. My body felt fine, legs were turning just as usual. But my head just didn’t want to ride. REALLY didn’t want to ride. And I didn’t fancy another depressing 4hr slog home, so I cracked and called for a lift. This weekend, this adventure was meant to break the ice, clear my head for what was to come. Instead it has just made everything worse. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t want anything to do with my bike, it’s been a while.

It’s been a tough week, and it turns out riding long days without any numbers isn’t the answer. To be totally honest I miss the numbers and the graphs. I like them.

Option two will start tomorrow. Away from the bike. Hopefully that’ll draw me back in after a day or two and all the negativity will have vanished. That’s all I can hope anyway. I’ve had enough with the stress. I just want to enjoy my training again, care free. I’m sure it will happen. These things just take time…

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To Conclude:

This hasn’t been how I wanted this week or weekend adventure to go. I reckon you gathered that. But sometimes things don’t go to plan. I will get over it. My drive and determination will come back. Hopefully before I head off to Calpe on Saturday. I can be free, leave Ipswich behind and live the life for a month. Focus on the training and just enjoying it. That is what will really sort me out. Not some big long ride in the gritty lanes of Suffolk, Essex and Hertfordshire. Thats not the kind of thing I live for. But bigger and better adventures are coming! Just you wait!