Sunday, 20 March 2016

One week to go . . .

One week from now my first race of the 2016 season, riding for my new sponsor Origins Fitness, will be done and dusted!  I started my training for the 2016 season back in October 2015.  If you include my 5 week "prep" phased, I've just completed my 22nd week of training for this season today.  As I'm sure you can expect, I can't wait to get racing at the first round of the Scottish XC mountain bike series at Laggan on Sunday 27th March!

I'm well into my "Build" training phase and so have moved on from all those steady base miles in the winter and have been enjoying some tough interval sessions a couple of times per week.  I've had a real confidence boost in those sessions this past week, as I've seen my numbers improve week on week.

A further confidence boost came this weekend as I finally completed my weekly road group ride with the Glasgow southside "chaingang" without being spat out of the back . . . and in my fastest time yet.  81.5km with 940m climbing in 2 hours 21 minutes - got to be happy with that. 

Beautiful sunshine too, so I went for a nice cool-down ride afterwards to enjoy more of it.

It's hard not to have a cheesy grin after a great bike ride on a day like that!

Despite the aching legs from Saturday's road ride, it was off to Comrie Croft today for some mountain biking (well, I am a mountain bike racer after all!).  I love the trails at Comrie - proper red and black graded trails, not tamed down like some other trail centres.  I would go to Comrie every weekend if I could!  

The reason we chose it for our ride today was due its similarity to Laggan where the first race of the SXC Series will take place next weekend.  Laggan and Comrie are both mainly rocky trails, with a mixture of natural exposed bedrock and man-made rock gardens.  The difference is that Laggan is over 2.5 hours drive away from where we live, while Comrie is just over an hour.  A great place to hone our skills for Laggan next weekend without the long drive.  Plus, the sun was shining yet again!



Today's ride was not about high intensity - nice and steady Zone 2 most of the time.  However, on the descents, I was focusing on line choice, smoothness and working on my skills through the rocky sections.  This is just after the start of the black route at Comrie . . . the picture doesn't do it justice!  It's a lot rougher and steeper in real life!  Hence the look of concentration on my face!

It's also a while since I've worked on drops and jumps, so the small skills loop at Comrie Croft was useful for refreshing those skills.  You do get the odd jump or drop in an XC race and it's also just simply fun to be in the air on a bike!












Setting a new fastest time on the black descent at Comrie was yet another confidence boost, but even without that, it was a great session to do some final tuning-up of the rock garden skills in advance of Laggan next week.

Now, I'm not planning to "peak" for Laggan . . . to peak for your first race could mean you burn out half-way through the season.  I therefore don't expect to be completely on-form for Laggan.  It's been a long, hard winter of training, but to see these improvements at this stage shows it has all paid off and I feel ready to start the season.  I'm so motivated to get racing for my new sponsor and can't wait to get back to Laggan.  It was one of my favourite races last year and I love the trails there.

As well as training hard over the past few weeks, I've also found time for a bit of fun now that I've got my awesome looking new Origins Fitness kit to race in this season.  Thanks to my great friend and amazing photographer Jamie Simpson, we've had fun taking some promo photos both at Cathkin Braes MTB track, and at Origins Fitness gym itself.  As you'll see, Jamie is a great photographer so check out his Facebook page and get in touch with him if you like his work.

You can read our official press release about the new sponsorship here on UKXCNews, and here are some of the photos we had fun taking.  In the meantime, check back in a few days for another blog before the season gets underway and next week for my first race report of the season after Laggan.  










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