I got back from England last week and it’s very good to be home. Today is one of those lovely rainy days where you can snuggle up inside with a mug of coffee and a good book. I’m off to my first Catalan class this afternoon, the slight problem being is I think it’s going to be taught in Spanish. O dear!
I ended my race season with a pretty disappointing ride at the Ras na mBan. I crashed in the first 5km of Stage 1 and couldn’t get back on so despite riding my ass off for 63 kms I lost a chunk of time and waved goodbye to my ambitions of a good GC finish. The remaining 4 days were as much of a mental battle as well as being the toughest series of races I’ve competed in to date. Far from managing to be competitive my goals turned into just trying to finish each day in one piece and I’ve come away with a load of work to do for net season – namely on descending, cornering and riding in the wet.
I finished the Ras feeling tired and need of a big hug! Lee picked me up from Manchester Airport with my Mum and Dad; surrounded by love I soon felt better and much more optimistic.
I guess I just wanted to end the season on a high and had been training for the race for the past month. Still I’ve learnt several more of the never ending lessons of racing bikes, the top 3 being:
- Wrap up warm when leaving Girona (I got an unnecessary and unhelpful cold just before the race)
- Ride at the front, and not behind riders you trust (because people can crash in front of them too!)
- Stay positive and if all else fails embrace the local culture of where you are racing and have a dram o whisky to aid sleep.
After the Ras I had a couple of much needed days with family and then headed off to Greenwich to be Ride Captain on the Bloodwise London to Paris. This was a lovely ride with friends from PMR@Toachim House acting as my fellow Ride Captains.
After the onslaught of Ireland, riding to Paris was a pleasure. I ended feeling very strong indeed and even learnt how to push people up hills. I can’t write about the trip and not mention the fabulous fundraisers, many of whom were new to cycling and found this much more of a challenge than I did my Irish race – huge Kudos! One rider’s story stands out – Steve Mitchell was riding to Pairs to meet his bone marrow donor for the first time. Words failed me.
And now I’m starting to plan ahead for next year. it’s such a luxury to have a whole year to dedicate entirely to cycling. I just made a race calendar – it looks epic. I had a chat with coach Katie yesterday and got very excited. It’s frustrating as I need to just rest and take it easy for a couple of weeks – which is actually very hard! Luckily my old friend Joseph is coming to stay tomorrow who doesn’t ride a bike – this will make staying off it much easier!
PS. Just incase you were feeling smug that it finally rained in Girona… here’s some snaps of my ‘Welcome back ride’:
Anyhow time to go, Catalan class awaits!