The aventure begins! I am now here in Lloret de Marr at the Culture Velo pre season training camp. Here’s how it’s going!
A quick point!
I would like to start by saying how accommodating the team and team staff have been to me, Oli and Harry. None of us speak much French (we are learning gradually!) but they have really taken us in. It really shows the professionalism and attitude to expand and improve within Culture Velo.
After flying to Toulouse very early Friday morning and getting collected by my new DS, we drove to the service course where I got shown round and collected my new bike. I got to spin the legs in the evening after arriving at the DS’s house and then it was settling in for an early night before the drive to Lloret de Marr in the morning.
It was a smooth journey, I think I slept the whole way. Before arriving and heading out on a 90min soon to open the legs after being stuck in the car. We discovered a very interesting thing. Something I had never seen before, although now intend to bring back to the UK with me. The z2 chain gang. Like a chain gang. But not hard. Everyone gets an equal share of the work load and you cruise at a much higher speed! Totally bizarre at first, but we are starting to get into it.
The next day the training got more serious. It was the proper start of the Culture Velo Camp. Starting of course with z2 chainy, we hit a long climb where riders were starting to get shelled and the hierarchy for the week was set. I stayed with the front boys, I think it surprised them a little. But I was here to prove a point. After that was some drills with collecting bidons from the car and a sprint into town, a fairly solid day, but nothing ground breaking compared to the crazy intervals I was doing in Calpe.
Following that was a 5hr ride which was basically a race sim. The z2 chainy turned to z3 and it was full on all attacks allowed up all the climbs. I made it a point to be at the top first on all of them. Laying in attacks with Oli we gradually wore down the whole group until no one could stay with us. It was a super fun day! It’s been a long time since I’ve seen some attacks fly and even made a few of my own. Ending by cruising along the coast road back into Lloret, once again a big sprint for the town sign…it would be rude not too!
Thinking to the day ahead, todays ride was 2hrs with our own opener intervals. The first race of the season was coming, and i can’t wait! It’s been a long time since racing and I’m very keen to get back in the peloton.
The La Paratellada Open Social would be my first race of 2018, I am treating it as a training race. So nothing too serious. Leg warmers over shorts, it’s February of course. The course was effectively a massive flat square about 20km round, a massive anomalie in my calendar for the year. Also pretty weird for Spain, it was blowing a gale! And that meant the crosswind sections were king.
The first couple of km were a bit strange. It was very nice being back in the peloton, but I had somewhat forgotten my bunch skills. And trying to make up through a 200man peloton isn’t the easiest thing in the world. The run in to the first crosswind section was pretty fierce, everyone was fighting for the front, and as soon as we started the long straight open road the peloton immediately split into echelons. A front group of 7 quickly formed and I set off solo to bridge over. All the teams were represented, so even though it was early I was sure that move was sticking. Unfortunately I couldn’t make the bridge. Dangling just behind the group for a couple of kms but not making contact. I did set a Pb 5min power in doing so though. So it isn’t all bad.
After my failed attempt I took a small breather in the group before launching another bridge attempt before the gap got too big. This time going solo in the tailwind section and putting my time trial skills to use. At first the peloton chased but I managed to break the line and head up the road by myself. After a while 3 riders came over to me and te chase group of four was formed. The next hour was spent in a chain gang, I don’t think we really got any closer to the front group, but we didn’t lose ground ether.
On the final lap a small ground caught us, luckily I managed to spot this happening early so I could skip some turns to make sure I had some legs when the groups merged. The typical counter attack was launched and I managed to follow which formed a new group of 4 for the final.
The run in was very tough. But with the carrot of a couple of riders who had been dropped from the front group we worked till inside the final km before the cat and mouse started. I managed to position myself at the back of the group, then one rider sent one early, the group responded and then I opened my sprint over the top. One rider managed to just lunge me on the line but that still left me with 9th place. A very tough day out. 340np for 2hrs 10mins. It’s nice to have some race legs this early in the season and I am hoping to build on it for the coming Coup de France rounds.
Day after a race = Testing!
What else would you want the day after a hard race but a mountain TT? That’s exactly what happened. The whole team set off in 30second intervals. The fastest time gets the bragging rights. I didn’t win. I was gutted. No more on this.
Thankfully it was a cafe day now. Just me Oli and Harry rolled along the coast and found a cafe. Super chill. It was really nice to just spin the legs at our own pace and not gassing up the first climb out of Lloret like these guys seem to love doing. We even found a cobbled berg up to a castle. That was pretty fun!
Today was meant to be the final day on the bike, so naturally a big one. However I woke up feeling a tad rough, so after the roll out I turned round and headed back for the hotel. Annoying, but after a nap and about 3litres of berrocca I already feel quite a bit better. With the travel day tomorrow I will be good to go for Monday. The aim being a couple of big sessions early in the week before tapering down for the opening round of the Coup de France on Sunday. I hope the legs are good. It’s a good parcours for me, so I will he hoping to ride strong.
As always. Be sure to check out the sponsors that are supporting me this year! – Click here!