“The unwary cyclist enters a dangerous arms race as soon as they purchase their first bike. It is physically impossible to buy one that cannot be upgraded in some fashion or does not have a better model further up the range.” Dave Barter, Obsessive Compulsive Cycling Disorder.
I’ve now been riding a carbon fibre bike all summer and while it is much lighter and more beautiful than the old one, somehow I have not been offered a professional contract for 2014. But a bad workman blames their tools and with this in mind, I immediately accepted the offer of following British Cycling’s Sportive Training Plans – albeit with the caveat of writing about the experience.
After completing the easy part – determining how much time I could spend on training and aligning to one of the plans – the hard work could begin, with the necessary evil of a threshold test.
This was made slightly easier to complete as I was lucky enough to visit National Cycling Centre in Manchester, where I received some guidance from Level 3 coach Belinda Tarling.
While I was told exactly how to do a threshold test, nothing quite compares to riding for 30 minutes as hard as possible. Thankfully, I had an inspiring backdrop of Manchester’s velodrome, decorated by athletes from the Great Britain Cycling Team.
Mid-way through hell – as I’m sure anyone who has done one of these tests knows it – I was even given some encouragement from British Cycling’s Olympic Sprint Coach Jan Van Eijden. Unsurprisingly I wasn’t in any state to have a converse due to being at a solid ten-out-of-ten on the perceived exertion scale.
After recovering enough to walk in a straight line and with my training zones set using a simple calculator, I had earned a tour of the National Cycling Centre, including the velodrome, BMX track and some other bits that I’d love to tell you about. Except they’re classified and if I told you, I’d have to kill you.*
One thing I can tell you though, is that I’m glad to have completed my threshold test and embarking on my training plan over winter. Hopefully next month there will be some good training stories – that is unless I fall off the wagon!
*TopGun quote, I don’t actually mean it.