The best way to describe the summer for me is it is a roadies winter just with better weather. Ok that’s not strictly true on a couple of points but you get the picture. The summer for me is where all the building for the next Cross season begins. A good rest after the Cross season is the first thing on the list, usually 4 weeks ‘off’ and a couple of weeks getting back into the swing of things is in order before beginning the real training. Training is all about consistency and building up gradually towards those goals of the winter, stimulating each energy system just enough to keep improving over the months without burning out or over doing it before the season has even begun. The main difference between road and cross is that with Cross you cannot really ‘race yourself fit’ or change form all that much once the season has started. With the constant racing and travelling involved with the World Cup and the other series’ I compete in, training is more about trying to maintain what I have.
The first few races sharpen up the skills a bit more and add a bit to the training load but on the whole the summer is where the big gains are made. A structured Gym programme involves visiting 2-3 times per week for me, initially building up the weight and then moving onto a more explosive programme where the real gains are made when it comes to converting that strength to on the bike. My on the bike training is heavily structured from day 1, training at least 6 times a week, no time is wasted and every session has a purpose. Sessions range from 2-4hours predominantly and all kinds of intervals are evenly spread throughout each ride. Mountain Biking plays a big role within my summer in terms of training and racing.
Just like a road rider can use track or Cross through the winter to stay sharp or help motivation I can introduce Mountain Bike races and road events within my training programme to do exactly that. So far this summer I have done a couple of the Elite National Mountain Bike Series’ placing 10th at the second round after a puncture and then placing 4th at the 3rd round at Margam Park, Wales. I also competed in the British National Marathon MTB Championships in Selkirk, Scotland where I took a silver medal only 5secs off the win. To be honest I have surprised myself a little with the results, however I have been really enjoying the training and racing this Summer and everyone knows athletes who are happy and content always perform better. My only road race so far was the UCI Beaumont trophy near Newcastle. With the race being 187km it was always going to be tough but I rode well and finished the race comfortably enough just struggling over the last 10km as I made a rookie error of not fuelling enough in the last hour but once I had refuelled properly felt OK and training has been going really well this week. Not bad considering I rarely train over 120km, reinforcing the motto of quality before quantity every time.
With the summer being about consistency of training it is vital that I do not get sick or injured and lose vital days training. This is where the Secret training products have been a huge help. Personal hygiene is the key to staying healthy so by using the hand sanitizer and hygiene wipes the risk of sickness has been greatly reduced especially after races or training when your immune system is low and you are visiting crowded public places like service stations or supermarkets etc. By using the Chamois cream everyday saddle sores have been a thing of the past just meaning it’s another thing you don’t have to worry about on the bike anymore. Another product that I have been guilty of ignoring in the past has been sun cream, it’s great having a product that you can use knowing it is protecting you against the sun while not putting below par oils and ingredients onto your skin which is absorbed and used by your body. We are getting far too close to the old cliché of marginal gains here for my liking but hopefully you are beginning to see my point. The rest of the summer holds much of the same, gradually upping the intensity and volume of training towards September and competing in the rest of the National MTB series, National MTB Championships and a few more National road race events along the way.