After a hectic season, Tracy grabbed a couple of weeks’ rest, had herself a nice dinner, then kicked off her training for next season with an all-women ride weekend, climbing some rocks and trying to keep up with a brace of Olympians.
My Indian adventure and end of season racing in Spain soon eroded my off season and before I realized it was already November and I had not really stopped. I am not complaining though as the adventures were all so much fun, but I now really needed a break from riding but I also wanted to start training again for next season.
I must admit that one of my big faults in my training is not being able to rest. I always like to be busy and I love riding my bike so taking time off is never easy. However this time I really felt as though I needed to. The Indian trip had taken its toll.
Two weeks off the bike flew by pretty quickly with unpacking bags and starting to plan for next season taking up most of my time. I also had an invite to the British Cycling Gala Dinner. It’s a dinner held every four years to mark the success of that year’s Olympics but also the past four years of international success and my World Champs title in 2010 secured my invite.
I have to say it was an honour to be part of this special occasion especially with such a year of success for British sport and in particular cycling and to be among what are now household sporting names such as Bradley Wiggins and Chris Hoy.
An evening of good food, some great video reviews of the year and some very funny interviews on stage with the big names made for a very enjoyable evening. For me it was also a very inspiring occasion that instilled such a sense of pride and even more desire to get out there and be as successful as I can be in the future.
From there I then went to the other end of the spectrum to start my training. It was the time of year again for our annual girls weekend get together. A social group of 20+ girls that have been meeting for over 10 years for a fun weekend of eating, laughing and some biking.
It’s always so nice to catch up with people I haven’t seen for 12 months and also great to just get out and ride for some fun, with no expectation, pressure or purpose. We just blast around the trails and scare any poor guys that come across our path. The bad taste dress I don’t think helps our intimidating nature either, but its just a fun weekend where we are all brought together by the one common theme, having fun on our bikes.
That was the perfect set up for my winter’s training and I enjoyed getting back into some structure. I also wanted to be able to use the winter months to work on some other aspects of my fitness and signed up for an indoor climbing course to bring some regular climbing into my training. It’s great for upper body strength and mobility and also something different and enjoyable to do during the dark winter months.
I also joined a couple of Pilates classes to really work on my flexibility and core strength. It’s amazing as cyclists how tight you get in certain areas always using your muscles in the same direction, so hopefully a winter of Pilates will help even me out a little.
With my plans to focus on enduro entirely next year with hopefully a few cross-country races along the way too, I need to start getting some good rides and work on my fitness for next year. I started off my campaign in the hardest possible way by meeting up with both our Olympic cross-country racers.
Annie Last has had a much deserved break from her training after this season. She was only just getting back into her training so I thought it would be the perfect time to try and keep her in my sights on a ride. Well I did manage to hang on but I definitely worked a lot harder than I would have done on my own.
It was great to catch up with Annie, and we had great fun blasting around the trails at Cannock Chase. It’s great to see that our top female mountain biker really is a great bike handler. It will keep all those people who think cross-country riders can’t ride downhill very quiet if they ever went for a ride with her.
I also met up with Liam Killeen who suffered a nasty break to his ankle at the Olympic games in August and has been hard at work recovering and getting back on his bike. It was good to see him out on the bike and making really good progress, and once again I got a great work out on one of his easy rides.
I have been so lucky to get the opportunity to ride and travel with these guys during 2012 and it has really given me a good insight into what it takes to be successful at cross-country. The dedication and level of fitness they have is incredible.
I have no excuse now, to get my head down and get dragged around on some more rides with them over the winter and increase my fitness ready to take on the Enduro World Series in 2013.