Onwards and upwards

You may have gathered that if I do something, I like to do it to the best of my ability. Having taken up cycling somewhat late in life I’m constantly looking for marginal gains which might just translate into making me faster on the bike. With this in mind, I decided that my husband and I should spend Easter at the Laurent Fignon Centre (www.centrelaurentfignon.com) in the Pyrenees for 4-days of training.

The Centre is situated next to to a charming and friendly hotel with an adjoining restaurant where all the meals were geared towards cyclists’ nutritional requirements.

We rode every morning, whatever the climatic conditions. Yes, we all chose to ride in the pouring rain, not wanting to miss any of the trainers’ words of wisdom or training exercises. There were 10 riders and 2 trainers so, based on ability, we were often split into two groups. This of course meant that in my group the ratio of trainer to pupil was nigh on perfect, being 1:1. It’s rare that not being very good at something is a distinct advantage.

In the afternoons we were free to explore the charming surrounding towns and countryside. Late afternoons and evenings were given over to video analysis of that morning’s exercises, stretching and advice on training zones, interval training, nutrition and, finally, our individual report card and training plans for the next 4 months based on our personal goals.

So, did I get a “could do better”? You will be unsurprised to learn that they were impressed with my descending but much less so with my ascending. Yes, I have been squandering my power in too high a gear so I am now spinning along in a much lower gear but higher cadence. However, while they were far too kind to say, it’s clear that the extra 10kg will have to go. Look how well Bradley Wiggins has been climbing in the Giro and he’s only lost 5kg. Now I’m working hard to improve my power to weight ratio.

In conclusion, I feel it was money well spent. I have faithfully been following not only “The Training Plan” but have also taken on board the advice of the two trainers. It’s probably too soon to tell whether it’s working but I believe it is and, frankly, that’s all that matters. I’ll be going back again next year to learn how to tackle some of those mythical cols.

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