After a long season of nearly 70 race days starting in January and ending in October, I was ready for some time off the bike. In the month that I had off the bike I relaxed and recovered from the season as well as catching up with friends and doing a few activities I don't have time to do in the season. I did a few easy mountain bike rides on local trails and played a bit of 5-a-side football which I haven't done for years.
As November came, it was time to get back on the bike and start with the steady rides to build up an endurance base. Initially I rode about 3hrs really easy and then progressed to 4-4.5hrs by the start of December. In addition, The Village North Leeds Hotel provided me with a membership to their fantastic health anmd fitness facilities allowing me to work on strength and conditioning. In the gym I have been doing a lot of core stability work and some squats to build power in the legs.
To gauge my progress I joined up with a Sport Scientist, Dr Barney Wainright at Leeds Met University to do a series of performance tests to assess my lactate threshold, pedalling efficiency, body composition, blood profile etc. I will repeat the tests throughout the year to find areas where I can improve. I believe these tests are really important in scientifically establishing a riders current ability and where they can make improvements.
Off the bike I have helped my local cycling club Ilkley CC with handing out prizes at their cyclo-cross event. It was great to see large numbers of kids competing, showing how much the interest in cycling has grown recently and how well the club is doing by getting young kids into the sport.
Coming up I will be spending a few days with the team to meet the new faces and find out more about my programme for next year. We also have a team training camp planned for January.