By Brian Canty
Off-season is a funny concept and I’ve never really ‘managed’ one properly.
For me, the season is over when I have nothing to train for and if that logic is to be applied my season officially ended on the August Bank Holiday weekend because that was the last race I did.
So in the interim it’s been very much about easy riding (mostly sub 2-hour rides), exploring new places around Catalunya, working, eating anything I feel like and not really focusing on any disciplined or structured training.
But yesterday, I had a moment that told me I should really start doing something a bit more intense than cruising for two hours; yes, I set a personal worst time for a local climb here in Girona called Els Angels.
Els, as I call it, is a gentle 11-kilometre climb and reaches 485 metres.
The elevation gain is 415 metres so all in all, not a brute or a beast by any means.
The gradient isn’t so gnarly either and it averages around 4%, though there are some steeper sections where it gets up to 7%.
Anyway, it was awful and for the 36 minutes and 22 seconds it took me to haul myself up to where the road flattens (Note: I didn’t even make the sanctuary!) I was an angry man.
I recall starting the early kilometres in my second-to-lowest gear (23 sprocket) and thinking, ‘ah sweet, plenty time to engage the 25 if I suffer’.
By kilometre 2 I was in that very gear and lugging and chugging like one of those oversized freightliner logging trucks you see on National Geographic.
I was a picture of pain and suffering with my glasses perched in my helmet as they’d fogged up in the first kilometre. I’d my arm warmers pulled down from an early stage and I was convinced someone had changed the seat position.
Yes, we’ve all been there. That moment where we go, ‘it’s time to start training’.
So there, 2016 is officially over and 36.22 minutes for Els Angels has set the bar really low…
The only way is up…