Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Ahhhh training camp

OK so I've been abusing my blogging over the last two weeks.

While out in Europe on the camp we didn't have Internet and though I could have probably searched some out I was generally too tired to wonder around so just kept putting it off. I've been back in Scotland since Monday and will be repacking my bags today before I head off again early Friday morning.

The camp was great, lasted 2 weeks in total from the time we started the block to the time we headed home and it was full of solid consistent work. Nothing that left me in the fetal position on the kitchen floor (enter some sets from last month) but just plenty of super solid work that's left me feeling strong and confident in what my legs are now able to do. All good for the run up to the second half of the season (which starts on Sunday morning at 5am ... in the Hudson).

The guys who came out to Europe consisted of Pete Anderson, Will Johnston, Andy Hood and Cam Milne along with me and Blair made it 6. Pete is a strong swim biker from Laurencekirk (my neck of the woods) and won the British youth series last year, Will and Cam are just in general strong triathletes but are still pretty young so I have a few years on them (Wil's leading the British youth series this year) and then Andy Hood is a nutcase from Fife who is a solid bike/runner and a general bad ass. Blair is my coach and also assistant national coach so he was covering all of our training for the two weeks, did an awesome job if I might say.

We stayed in Luxembourg for a few days while the boys did an ETU junior race (some good results too) while I was chasing my tail getting training done on the winding roads of Luxembourg and Germany. Did some pretty decent rides and found some great smaller (5km) climbs on the super smooth roads that were around Echternacht, where we were staying. Managed to get in a few good runs too that took me across the border into Germany, queue all the normal jokes (we made a few).

After a few days there and once the guys had raced we boarded the train and made for Gerardmer in France. It's up in the hills and in the winter is a pretty big ski resort, the summer is taken up by water sports, mtb, hiking, cycling, Ironman France and the day the tour de France passes through. Luckily we were there for the day the tour passed .... and yes I stood out in the rain for hours to see Lance. To see him in real life is pretty cool, his story sometimes make you thinks he's just a character from a book not a real guy. Good times though.

We were swimming each day in one of the two mountain lakes that surrounded us, both sitting at 20 degrees meant we could get in quite a few non wetsuit swims and plenty of longer sessions. At one point my shoulders were actually hurting from the amount of swimming we were doing ... it's been a few years since I've felt like that.

Biking was awesome there too, everywhere you looked were clicheed hairpin climbs into the mountains with equally as "hollywood" decents on the other sides. On a few of them I half expected to see James Bond sitting on the front of his Aston Martin.

On our last weekend we headed out for a longer ride and got in 3 or 4 climbs, was pretty cool to be out there riding the roads you see on tv and in the movies. Great climbing too, legs were starting to feel the effects by the end but now a few days on I'm feeling fresh and stronger than before. I fly out to NY on Friday but will post on that tomorrow.

I might do a Tour de France post later on too but I don't want to write about Lance too much ...


ps. lots of pictures from camp but ill post them once my camera is recharged

Monday, 6 July 2009

Training camp starts

Down in Stirling since yesterday, big summer training has commenced!

20 days until my next race and it is up there with the biggest I have ever done, more on that later.

Last few days have had lots going on so plenty to comment about tonight. Wimbledon final yesterday was intense, I've never been a Roddick fan but to see his determination so raw and visibly put out there on centre court Sunday was cool. He fought bloody hard and in my opinion there was nothing between him and Federer out there, he'll come back next year and fight again for sure.

Earlier that day on another TV channel I made a little appearance, some of you may have seen me taking the swim out first at the Windsor triathlon and waving cheekily at the cameras while running into T1. Got some hilarious texts after the show aired, especially after the comments the commentator's made about my "lack of focus" .... mainly due to my apres swim celebrations! Not a lack of focus just an abundance of "having fun", was a really good day and a good race too.

Today I'm in Stirling and have just finished up a 5 hour training day, big ride this afternoon in the rain (will put the pictures up tomorrow), and the visibility was pretty low at some points. Heading back into town and an 18 wheeler pulled out to overtake a slow moving car with both of them coming straight towards me. The 18 wheeler was overtaking with NO speed meaning I had a 20 tonne truck steaming towards me at around 60mph, due to the lack of vis in the rain s/he didn't see me and I had to slam on the brakes, throw my bike onto the side of the road and jump for my life. With seconds to spare the truck blasted past unaware of the cyclist he almost brought to an untimely end! Even though the truck was majorly in the "wrong" in terms of not being aware of oncoming traffic in the end of the day it wouldn't have made a blind bit of difference if I hadn't gotten out of the way. I would have been a goner. Stay aware and remember your always going to come off worse, cars and trucks are big.

OK I can resist no more. Today was stage 3 in the tour. It started off on Saturday with the first stage, a time trial in Monte Carlo. No surprise that Olympic TT Champ Fabian Cancellara took first spot with team Astana """leader""" Alberto Contador in second, Lance looked nervous but keen and firing in 10th. Yesterday was a Cav attack with Isle of Man's Mark Cavendish taking his first of many stage wins in this years tour. His second stage win was today.

With around 25km to go a nasty cross wind hit at just the right moment giving the lead 27 riders a small but vital gap. With Cancellara, Armstrong and the entire Columbia HTC squad in those 27 the gap grew quickly to 20 seconds. Lance had 2 of his boys with him and they worked VERY hard along with the HTC squad bringing the gap up and up to over 40 seconds by the finish. The Cav attack was launched again and there was no contest, Mark got his second win. Lance though moved up to 3rd in the overall GC, I know it's only day 3 but cummon, let me get excited.

Tomorrow is the team time trial and Astana is one of the favourites, if they get 41 seconds on Team Saxo Bank and 8 on Columbia HTC ... if they can do this Lance will be in yellow, maillot jaune, yet again confirming his nickname...mellow johnny :)

He is strong and I'm not saying he will win, but he is a contender all right and today's stage shows all the doubters what a cycling "great" he is. If he can get in that yellow jersey for one day, it will be a big deal!

Pictures to come,


Saturday, 4 July 2009

July update


Been a bit slack this last week or so on the blogging front. Lots going on, mainly though some decent hard work while back at home in Scotland. I leave tomorrow for Blair's before heading off on a training camp to Europe next week, significantly meaning today was my last day at home until the end of September.

Lots of travel planned over the next few months, Luxembourg, France, New York, Ontario, Vancouver, Whistler, Kelowna, San Fransisco, Pebble Beach and maybe Las Vegas if everything works out. Three big races too which I'll give more info on once they get closer. Hopefully I'll be in good shape.

Definitely looking forward to racing but also to flying out to Ontario at the end of the month to see Denise, Whistler in August with my family and seeing everyone back in Vancouver in September. Will be a busy 10 weeks and it will fly this case I wish it wouldn't, I'll be sad when I have to pack up and fly home.

I'll write a report after this next week before I head off to Luxembourg, not sure how much Internet I'll have access to while away in Europe. Lots of pictures though and will make sure I try and keep everyone up to date,


ps. Good luck Lance :P