Introducing our new blogger: David Hewett – “Winter Training, Part One”
Firstly, a warm welcome to my new blog which aims to document my 2017 season of training and racing in Belgium with PCT Tomacc. Thank you for taking the time to read my ensuing ramblings, I hope you find them of some interest and if not, I can only apologise for being so dull in nature.
I will be publishing a monthly blog post so watch this space and also keep an eye on my own Palmarès and Gallery pages for the latest race results and images/videos. I've also done an interview with Ed Hood for VeloVeritas, and I'm one of the six riders lucky enough to be supported throughout the 2017 season by The Lewis Balyckyi Trust Fund.
In this edition there is an overview of the first half of my winter training, from picking myself up and dusting myself off after my collarbone break in September through to full gas December endurance training in Girona...
Having returned from Belgium just a few days previously, on the 9th September I crashed whilst training in Cornwall and shattered my right collarbone into five pieces.
Eleven days later, I had surgery to rectify the damage; the three hour operation involved a 15cm incision, a large titanium plate and eleven screws holding everything together whilst the bone healed fully, something which I was told would sadly take twelve weeks due to the severity of the fracture.
After a lot of walking and various attempts at cardio exercise, I managed my first turbo session 22 days after surgery (with my handlebars upside-down to both raise the front end and enable me to shift with my left hand).
Over the next few weeks, it’s fair to say I got very familiar with the Zwift/ turbo setup in the garage, but after physiotherapy, an outrageous amount of sleep and a few nutritional gains I successfully completed my first (extremely nervous) road ride on 15th November, exactly eight weeks after surgery and therefore four weeks ahead of the surgeon’s original recovery timescale.
Despite my best efforts on the turbo however, it was clear that after almost ten weeks of heavily compromised training, there was a long road back to competitive fitness ahead of me.
The following week, I visited a university friend and training partner up in Cambridge for a couple of long rides, which I found unsurprisingly very challenging indeed, despite the power data suggesting that they were in fact rather steady – somewhat depressing but it was great to be back training properly at last and feeling more like a cyclist again.
During this time, I had also been slowly sourcing parts for and building my new bike for 2017 – a Felt AR1 with Ultegra Di2, Mavic Kysrium Elite training wheels and Roval CLX64 tubeless race wheels. It was quite satisfying researching equipment options, selecting the best components and purchasing them second hand within budget.
In the end, almost every single part of the bike is a pre-owned component (including the frame itself), yet it rides like an absolute dream and should be about as fast as road bikes get (depending on how my legs are of course!) ... I can’t wait to get racing on it.
Jump to the following week (3rd December), and I was on a plane bound for Girona, still having only been back on the road for 18 days / 11 rides. I’d read a lot of great things about the area, so I was excited to see what all the fuss was about first hand.
The day after arriving, I was out in the cold, pouring rain smashing myself to bits up the climb out of Amer, completing a power test to see just how unfit I really was after my extended lay-off.
Thankfully, the results were actually quite good, as they suggested my FTP was exactly the same as it was 11 months previously during last year’s winter training – a decent starting point.
From here, the plan was to do two very large blocks of endurance training, before transitioning into two blocks of higher intensity work in preparation for racing in Belgium at the start of April.
Still being relatively new to cycling and having had time off, my coach and I felt it was important to get as much base training volume in as possible over the winter in order to provide a solid foundation upon which we could build.
In order to achieve this, I had arranged to be based in Spain for the entirety of this time (beginning of December – end of March) with the exception of a few days at home for Christmas, and PCT Tomacc’s team training camp in the south of France in mid-February.
And with that, I launched into the first week of endurance training in Girona (still having been back on the road less than three weeks!), which was around 26 hours of steady riding, and 1175TSS.
This was followed up by a second week of 22.5 hours and 935TSS, including a maximal test up the famous Rocacorba climb, which I completed in 34 minutes 40 seconds with a slight headwind - some way off the WorldTour holy grail of sub-30 minutes!
It soon became pretty clear just why everyone raves on about Girona and the surrounding area – it really is a perfect training base and I can definitely see myself spending a lot more time there in the future.
It was great to meet, chat to and train with many of the riders who base themselves in the city, and I can honestly say that I was enjoying my training and the cycling lifestyle in general more than ever before during this time.
A few more long rides, and with that I then headed home to spend six days over Christmas with my family (eventually – I missed my flight on the evening of 23rd December so had to sleep on the airport floor and catch another flight early on Christmas Eve . . . thank you so much Girona trains for running 40 minutes late on that occasion!).
Training was backed off a bit during this time to allow recovery from the previous big weeks of endurance training, but that didn’t stop my coach from setting me some four minute maximal efforts on Christmas Day!
It was also a great opportunity to catch up with some of my old Adalta CC friends (my first cycling club) for a long steady training ride in what was by anyone’s standards pretty lovely English winter weather. I definitely didn’t gloat about how amazing Girona was at any point during the ride...
Boxing Day was barely over but the warmer climes were already beckoning and so I was busy packing my car for a road trip to the south of Spain where I would continue my winter training.
But that can wait until the next month’s blog post win April, by which time I’ll hopefully be in Belgium getting ready to race. Until then ... ciao!