With my abs of steel firmly in place I finally made good on my decision to go back to racing my bike on the road. The kids were bigger and our Bike-Fitting and Yoga businesses were ticking over nicely, so I felt I could gift myself some brutal Sunday racing.
I had raced in the Paris region for around 5 years with Team Chatou Cyclisme and missed the camraderie and intensity of racing in the French peloton. The reality of rain, snow and cobbles had slowly become a misty-eyed hipster coffee-table book of dreamy nostalgia – quite unlike the reality of racing in the mountains of the South of France.
My friendship with the Nice Cavigal Cyclisme president Emmanuel Portmann of Björka cycling clothing led to my licence application for a year on the road with the Tour des Vallées in my sights. Power-based training programs were drawn up and feverish Strava studies of the circuits became part of my daily routine. Perfect!
I have dabbled in Trail Running for many years, with my childhood and teenage holidays filled with running around the Australian bush and time spent in the Alps of Southern New Zealand.
I had already knocked on the door of top-ten Trail finishes but like any good cyclist kept finding myself grabbing a bike instead and going ‘further’.
The opportunity to run the Great Wall of China gave me wings, and cycling placed itself in my recovery and endurance program nicely.
I wanted to keep the training fun so included in my program some winter snow trail races, back-country ski (SkiMo), sled-pulling and steady trail climbing rather than intense interval training.
And some bike tours of course!