Last year, I wrote a couple of blog articles reviewing my year’s cycling: 2010 Season Review and My Year in Cycling. Last season, of course, saw something of a resurgence in my racing. A combination of motivation (new time trial frameset, defying my entry to my second half century on this planet) with a revised approach to training saw me post my best short distance (10 mile, 25 mile and 50 mile) time trial results in about 6 years. So, how did things pan out in 2011?
The early months of the year saw me following the same sort of training strategy used in 2010. Essentially (and as usual) the main place I train is on the turbo trainer in the garage. Boring, maybe, but it’s a place where I can get the effort out without dodging traffic or being restricted by short days. As in 2010, the majority of these sessions were done quite early in the day, before heading off to work. Everything was going swimmingly well (resting heart rate dropping, threshold power rising) when disaster struck in February. About three weeks before my opening event in the season, the now traditional Port Talbot Wheelers 2-up ’25’, I seriously ricked my back parking the tandem in the bike shed at work. This took me out of training for at least three weeks, and indeed was still giving me trouble at the 2-up. Our combined lack of fitness meant we posted a pretty deplorable time, but at least we collected the prize for the fastest Composite team. In all honesty, that was due to a lack of other teams in the category. Still, at least that was a start to the season.
Unfortunately the season continued to disappoint. I had about three heavy colds during the season, all of which knocked me back in fitness terms, and the weather during much of the ‘summer’ remained atrocious. All in all, I did not race much and when I did, I did not do well at all.
Finally, the season’s close heaved into view, and as usual this was marked by the Duo Normand, possibly my favourite event. This year’s edition was the 30th and the eighth time Gerry and I had ridden. In 2010, we’d finally won a category (Corporate) and we were anxious not to do badly this year. In the end, we had the most atrocious conditions we’d seen at the Duo (as you can see from this video), and we were rather relieved to make it to second place.
My performance at the Duo seemed to me to be OK, given that a week before going to France I suffered a heavy cold, and a few days before the race I picked up another. Frankly had this been a local event on the F1 I wouldn’t have started in those conditions and with a cold but, hey, this was the Duo Normand…
And with that, my season was over. Oh and another cold…
This year’s Scottish tour started from Ullapool and we intended to proceed around the north coast of Scotland, and possibly make an excursion to Orkney. As you can read elsewhere on this site, it all went pretty much awry, with a major mechanical on day 2. We then revised out plans and decided to base ourselves in Pitlochry for a series of day rides. The second mechanical took the form of a front tyre blowout descending Ben Lawers. A front tyre blowout on a tandem at 25 miles an hour is a bit of a terrifying experience, though mostly in recollection as it all happens so quickly. Fortunately I can report that my jaded 50-something year old reflexes are still functioning in top-notch style – I successfully brought the tandem to a safe stop without falling off. Getting home on a shredded tyre was rather nerve-racking, however.
As usual, a second tandem cycling excursion accompanied our trip to Normandy for the Duo, though to be honest, we have explored Normandy to our satisfaction now, and we’re looking into the possibility of a week in Brittany prior to the Duo Normand in 2012.
All in all 2011 was a bit disappointing. But never fear, I’ll be back in 2012, hopefully firing on all cylinders. Certainly my winter training seems to be going well at the moment.