After a busy few weeks of exams and revision, which hopefully have gone well, I am now back training seriously again! I’ve jumped straight in at the deep end by going to race in Belgium which I knew was going to hurt, and definitely did. The first race didn’t go too great, at the end of the day I just wasn’t fit enough to match the standard of the other girls. However that was no surprise to me as I had barely been on a bike in the last month. I wasn’t too disappointed though as it was just a huge relief to finish exams and be back on a bike.
After the race I visited a war museum, and because the town we were in got completely destroyed in World War I, it was quite moving to read about the lives of the soldiers and people who lived there. My mood was quickly lifted as there was a European Rally on in the town, so I got to look at lots of nice cars, and also Lamborghinis and my dream car an Audi R8. One of the rally cars was particularly brilliant as it was my own car, a Toyota Corolla, however that one looked slightly quicker and louder than mine L.
I decided it probably wasn’t the best idea to race on the Sunday, instead I went on a ride down the Schelde Canal all the way to Oudenaarde. The weather was miserable but I managed to get some great efforts in and felt great afterwards. Hopefully more rides like this will give me a good base for some form later in the year. I am really looking forward to being able to race competitively in a few weeks
After Sunday’s riding, I came home for my prom and had a lovely time with all my friends from college. After recovering from the previous few days on the Tuesday, I was straight back on the train to London this time with my boyfriend, Alex, for another week in Belgium. We arrived late Wednesday night and woke up to lovely sunshine and temperatures well above 20 degrees. We took this opportunity to go on the ride along the canal to Oudenaarde again, this time with more efforts and sprints in, and I felt noticeably fitter than the previous ride.
That afternoon we went to a music festival, Rock Werchter, in 32 degree heat where we saw Blink 182, Netsky, Skream and Skrillex. It was amazing, the festival had such a nice atmosphere and it was warm even when we were walking back to the car at 2 in the morning.
On Saturday morning we got up early and went for a ride along a different canal with Eve who had arrived the previous night. We threw in a few sprints to spin up our legs to prepare for the next few days of racing. On the way back to the youth hostel, we had the choice to negotiate a cyclo-cross-esque climb which was very steep and made up of dried mud. I managed to ride up it second time, after having to clip out and then go back to the start for a bigger run up the second time. Eve, similarly to me, had to clip out on her first attempt. For her second attempt she went into it in a much more determined manner, which resulted in her making it half way up the hill, before slowly toppling off the side of the hill into a handily placed bed of nettles. Eve Dixon, coming soon to a cyclo-cross race near you!
After a couple more days of training we went to the Prologue of the Tour de France. Despite riding a bike for 7 years I had never seen a stage race on this scale before. We arrived early and the barriers along the finish straight were 2 people deep at least, and the atmosphere was electric. I was suffering slightly from the previous few days efforts, which meant I spent quite a bit of time sat down, but I still saw plenty of the riders. It was great to see Bradley get second to the monster that is Cancellara.