Stormy Weather - Ruari Grant
Multiple Haute Route and Gran Fondo Champion, Ruari speaks about training through the difficult weather.
I wrote last time about getting back into the swing of things after the off-season break and planning the upcoming season. Usually by this point the grimmest of the winter would be behind us, training would be routine once again, and summer bikes would be making their first appearances, as spring sunshine gets spirits up.
None of that seems to have happened yet though does it? First, we had Ciara, then Dennis and most recently Storm Jorge, making for what I'm told was the wettest February on record. Not a great year for the first February I can remember without a sunny cycling trip abroad then! And that's just for me, based in London, where we've certainly not seen the worst of it.
Motivation to keep training can be tough in such circumstances, especially when the worst of the weather keeps hitting every weekend. Flooded roads and generally biblical riding conditions have forced me – and I assume many others – into longer than ideal hours on the turbo. Liam has had me doing a tempo session before breakfast a couple of times, followed by a slightly harder session later in the day. This is one of the clever “hacks” we’ve used to trigger endurance adaptations without mind-numbing hours pedalling indoors.
And this is really where for me, the motivation comes from. My first event is a granfondo in Nice on 29 March – that's not far off, so if I don't want a wasted trip out there, the shape has to be decent. Hours on the turbo are a good way of catching up on the ridiculous volumes of pro racing there seem to have been in recent weeks though. Some weekends have had cyclocross, stage racing in Spain and elsewhere – that's a lot to keep track of! Though with the spate of Coronavirus-induced cancellations, that may not continue to be the case!
I'd be interested to know how other people drag themselves through the mind-numbing sessions though. Obviously, Zwift has revolutionised indoor training, but it's still got nothing on riding outdoors in my view, and I also find it harder. Some sessions, particularly those with long efforts, I simply can't complete on the turbo, while they're relatively straightforward on the road. With Liam’s help, we end up shifting workouts around a fair bit to time the harder sessions with the better weather and make sure I can get outdoors.
Anyhow, I'm now hoping there is light at the end of the tunnel. The evenings are getting that bit lighter, and we are hoping to get away for a week later in the month; if the virus stops us doing that there'll be trouble. The bad weather has given me some time to sort out other aspects of our big summer trip though – a few weeks back we bought our new wagon! I'll introduce her properly in a later post; for now, I'm just trying to work out how to work everything...