“…and here’s where you start paying. In sweat.”

The schedule I’ve set myself for getting ready for these daft races this year is reasonably punishing but when I’m enjoying the views near Verbier (instead of crying into my bibshorts) it’ll be worth it.

Monday – 30K SS ride or hill intervals

Tuesday – 1 hour run (am) 90 mins turbo session (pm)

Wednesday – long 5 hour ride

Thursday – 1 hour run (am) 90 mins turbo session (pm) – early bedtime!

Friday – easy 1.5 hour recovery ride before work

Saturday – rest

Sunday – long road or MTB ride, alternatively long hilly run – early morning, back before brekky.

There’s the usual irregular schedule of group rides, such as the Industrial Fell Biking trip up and over the Garburn TWICE (to find out which is the best way to ride it) in February.

I’ll be squeezing in a couple of sessions a week on the rower at work and I might even pick up some weights after my morning runs, especially when I increase the training intensity around Easter. The turbo is really handy too as it allows me a really tough session without leaving the house and therefore allows me to spend time with Deb and Rachael. It has to be said though that you simply can’t take part or train for serious events such as the Cristalp without the complete support of your family. Last night I left the house after 7, just as Rachael was going to bed. Got in just after 10 and Deb made me a toastie. How good is that? No Rocky Balboa raw egg smoothies for me. No Sir.

Singlespeed training ride

I rode a route last night that goes from my house up into the hills via a lovely place called Birtle. John Whatshisname who’s the chairman of Man City lives there. The main feature of Birtle is it’s on a big nasty hill. I was on the singlespeed and it HURT. A lot. There’s a fair bit of climbing to get there in the first place but then it really kicks up and starts to punish, in fact a couple of times I thought I was going to dismount on account of me almost not being able to turn the pedals…then came the bit with the ankle-deep mud, and then the bit where you’ve got to ride up the rock-filled stream (Garry knows this one from waaaayyyy back).

Once I’d topped that one out I was then a short downhill and the climb up the Nangreaves cobbles. Think of Paris-Roubaix without the spectators. That climb hurt more than the last one! What works is focussing on the event you’re training for. I found that thinking about the Fred and the Cristalp and reminding myself this is why I’m doing this stupid thing really helped me put the power down and give those bars a good old wrenching. Then it was steeply down into Ramsbottom along the rocky path that made me really appreciate suspension forks (cos I didn’t have one). I literally went down the thing going “OW!”, “ARGH!”, “OOF!”, “URGH!” and I had arms like Popeye when I’d finally reached the bottom. Quick stop at Phil’s to drop off a small Camelbak I’ve sold him (yep, I’d ridden up till now with two Camelbaks on), and then off down the “easier” route home again. Made it in 2.5 hours, which I thought was pretty good and leaves some room for improvement too.