One of the side effects of being a racing cyclist (no that sounds better than it really is…a ‘cyclist who does some races’) is that we don’t talk about ‘years’ anymore, but ‘seasons’. Happily, the ‘season’ has coincided with the ‘year’ so far, at least at one end.
Well, the season has begun and I am nearly fully recovered from my tumble a few days ago. I have done my AT Test and Rob is probably working the numbers with his abacus as I write this.
And now that I am in the season I have naturally begun to look and see how I should be filling it up. Here is what I have come up with so far. I apologize, it’s a bit long. But then again, so is the season.
January: nothing, really, except getting through the first month of my new training program and acquiring as many cycling videos as I can for the indoor sessions.
And speaking of indoor training, I won’t even have to watch reruns this month because the Tour Down Under starts in just 2 weeks.
February: much of the same, with a race thrown in. John and I are looking at doing the Sur les Route de l’Etoile, the first cyclosportive of the year in France, which runs on the same day as Stage 3 of the first pro race in France – Etoile de Besseges. This was the first race I ever did way back in 2011. I’m hoping for a better result.
March: no race plans, although this month should see more long, outdoor rides on the weekends if the weather behaves. Also if the temperature stays up, we might take a birthday trip over to Nice and see the finals of the Paris-Nice race.
April: this month I’ll head down the road for the GranFondo Gulfe de St. Tropez to try my luck at qualifying for the UCI World Cycling Tour Finals in September. To accomplish this feat I’ll have to first finish the relentlessly hilly 179 km course (scary profile at left), then be in the top 20% of my age group – something I’ve done in the past, but harbour no illusions about doing this time, given the probable higher level of the field at this one, the only qualifying race in France.
I also have a no-longer-secret dream of taking a train up to Belgium this month and watching Liege-Bastogne-Liege with Shoko. I loved seeing Paris-Roubaix at the Arenberg Trench 2 years ago and that was a good taste, I think, of what it’d be like to see a Classics race in Belgium, the only country in the world that likes cycling as much as beer – and that’s saying something, if you’ve had Belgian beer.
May: probably no races this month, but I think I’ll busy enough with the increased mileage I’m sure the training program will have in it.
I will also be glued to the computer for 3 weeks this month to watch a Canadian try and defend his Giro d’Italia title.
June: I’m not sure, but I probably should look to do a big race with lots of climbing this month. I’m sure I’ll be up and down Mont Ventoux, as seems to be usual now, and I could add one more ascent at the GranFondo Mont Ventoux - with 3000 meters of climbing it should do the trick. Is it just me or are people getting crazy with super-hard endurance tests these days? New to the June sportive calendar is La Canibale, with nearly 5500 meters of ‘up’. My excuse for not signing up for this one is that I don’t read Flemish.
July: this month, along with June, will be crucial in my training for the Haute Route, and I’ll need to find some big, long climbs to go up and down..and up. Coach has suggested a ‘training camp’ that would involve consecutive days of Ventoux Triples, which sounds fun. Another idea that I have a feeling is infesting my brain, is La Marmotte, the oldest and most famous sportive race there is, and with 5000 meters of climbing over 174 km, it should meet my ‘big’ and ‘long’ criteria.
Otherwise, John and I will be busy for a week in the Alps with 14 Colombians, unfortunately driving up most of the cols instead of riding (click on the image at right if you have no idea what I’m talking about) them. There are places left in our June and August tours, by the way, if anyone is interested.
July is also Tour de France month, of course, and if it’s at all possible, we’ll get out and see a stage or two. If not, it’s nearly as good on TV.
August: the first two weeks of this month will most likely be ‘taper weeks’, in which I sit back and wait for my body to work its magic after all the punishment it will have taken over the previous 7 months. We might have a High Road tour at this time too, which would work out very well indeed, since ‘sitting’ is what I will be doing a lot on these tours.
Then it’s Haute Route, from the 18th to the 24th, which will be very, very hard, but that seems to be what I want, since I’m signed up. Afterwards I’ll enjoy a few days with my Mom, step-father and Rob and his family in Nice, then back here in Languedoc/Provence. After that I will start wondering what to do with my time, having finished my main objective for the year, the ‘season’ being essentially finished…
September: …unless of course I do qualify for the World Championships. Whether I do or not, Shoko informs me that there is an art biennal that we must go to in Venice. Venice is conveniently less than 300 km from Trento, where the race is going to be held (Sept 19-22). Venice is also less than 300 km from Florence, where the ‘real’ UCI Cycling World Championships are taking place (on the toughest course in 30 years, they say) and which is a week after the race I probably won’t qualify for. Italy is a good place to carb up for the following season, too.
Yes, Pinocchio is the official mascot of this year’s Worlds. I’m sure they didn’t mean it, but he ends up being a fitting symbol, given certain revelations in the cycling world recently.
After September the ‘season’ is really finished and the weight gain begins in earnest.