So far 2020 has been a season of changing plans and learning to be more flexible. Sports people can get fixated with athletic objectives so it's often hard when something comes out of the blue and changes your plans.
A month of Strava hunting filled the void for me and it was a pretty satisfying way to keep me motivated and maintain some structure to my riding. I also discovered Strava's 'live segments' on my Garmin which made it that much more of a race, so that's been fun (and I discovered an ability to push myself to a place I didn't know I could!). I concluded 'Strava season' a few weeks ago with local KOMs up Curbar Edge, the site of my first hill climb, and the Cat & Fiddle where I also set a new all time best 20 minute power – that really was the icing on the cake! It’s given me great confidence that I don’t need the racing to reach top form; following the structured plan has enabled us to really target areas of improvement and reach new heights in fitness.
Raising the threshold power is always encouraging, and I'm hoping it bodes well for the next part of the season. Gran Fondos are cropping back up on the calendar, so we are off to France for a few weeks in August to finally ride in the mountains. With this in mind, as well as being pushed from left right and centre to follow Hannah's example with an 'Everesting' attempt, my training is now shifting back to endurance rather than the short sharp stuff I've been doing recently.
Training for Gran Fondos and the Everesting is pretty similar: lots of zone 3, few breaks while really trying to increase my carbohydrate intake. In the past Liam has had me aiming for 60g of carbs an hour during races, but to maintain the necessary work rate for 50 fast reps of a hill, we're trying for 90g by combining multiple carbohydrate transporters; more like what Froome consumed during that epic stage of the 2018 Giro on the Finestre. Ordinarily I love eating, but this really is a bit much and I've yet to work out how to do it without feeling like I've emptied a Calor gas bottle into my stomach, just like the legs, the gut is trainable. It also means no fatty carbs which are my favourite... It can be so uncomfortable that the low carb ride the next morning almost comes as a relief. This periodisation of carbohydrate intake is one of the ways that we’ve been able to boost endurance performance in the past.
Assuming I continue to adapt and progress as I have in the last few weeks, it should be an exciting month ahead. My next post will come from France, where I'll finally get to see my teammates, and I'm also finally riding my new Gran Fondo France bike – a pretty niche 'Officine Mattio'. I just hope my French and Italian aren't too rusty by the time we get there.