Euro Beat w/ Spencer

After my last post, overtrained and fatigued, I had begun to focus on recovering both physically and mentally. This really did feel like a load had been lifted as I could relax and take a break from being as fanatical as I can get during the season. It was also good to forget about cycling for a bit, despite how hard that may seem at times.

Late in the week I found myself walking around town. I wanted to check out a few parts of town I hadn’t been to before. I walked up to the radio tower on the largest hill in town which offered a great view and some quiet roads. I had not been up there yet by bike as the climb is quite intimidating with a pitch of 20%. Another day saw me walk to the sports complex on an adjacent hill and down through the forest into town. Spring has really brightened up the town and with most trees in full bloom, I really enjoyed exploring it.

As the weekend arrived, I worked my way back onto the bike. Saturday was seemingly a test day to see where I was at. I did a recovery ride on my usual route by the canal, this time with my power meter on the bike. To put it short, I felt horrible for the duration of the ride. My heart rate was unmanageable, by body felt bad and my power was really low. Looking at this, I believed I was still fatigued from before. Nonetheless, I went out on the bike on Sunday as per the scheduled training.

With a bit more time on the bike, I decided to try a new direction. Initially I was trying to avoid hills, but this proved futile as I only found more climbing. This actually helped me though as I found it rather exciting to be on small, winding roads leading up and down steep slopes. This then gave way to attacking each “côte” with a great deal of enthusiasm. I was just riding for fun, not worried about my exact training, and this was what I needed. It re-sparked a deep-rooted passion that had seemed to fade earlier with my overtraining and the stress from my deteriorating condition. As I came home, it began to rain. I did not mind this much, as I was warm and I felt like my normal self.

Back on the bike Tuesday, after Monday’s rest day, I found some more new terrain to excite the senses. Not only did I have the enthusiasm, but a good deal of power to add to the ride. Despite being in France for three and a half months, I still get excited to ride a single lane road through the countryside. There is so much to see here and I keep finding myself surprised when I take a new road and see something totally unexpected.

Wednesday was a day I had been looking forward to for a while as my coach, former Alberta Bicycle Association Technical Director, Andy Holmwood, would be arriving to visit for a week. The day’s ride proved optimistic as well with a temperature of 23 degrees and some good riding. I rode a little harder than I maybe should have, but every time I came upon a rise in the road, I could not help but get out of the saddle and throw it into a harder gear. Adding to the optimism was the fact that I posted a personal best peak power in a sprint that was not a full effort. After the ride, I watched the Fleche Wallone live on TV and in the evening, Andy arrived.

This weekend I will race the Boucle de Pay de Troncais in the Auverne region with the remaining Category 1 riders who were not selected to the Circuit Saone et Loire. The Circuit is an exceptionally difficult stage race based out of Le Creusot and put on by our team. Each team can only enter 5 riders. Past riders include Alexandre Vinokourov, Mark Cavendish, Michael Barry, Cyril Dessel, Richard Virenque, and Clement Lhotellerie. For the Boucles de Troncais, I will be happy to race again, now with a renewed passion.

Spencer

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