My view of the 2014 Season started in October where I did a few races and the odd hill climb. I had the view of 2014 was going to be a great season, I had lost my 2nd cat license due to not getting into shape quick enough and loads of frustration in races as I could just keep up but not strong enough to attack! 2014 was going to be a good season as a ex 2nd cat in 3rd cat races I thought with a good winter I could clean up and had targets of winning the local road race the Banbury star road race.
So as November hit I had an idea of my FTP around the 240 watts mark, not that impressive but I had ideas of improving it alot. The training was all fitted in around working 45 hour weeks Sundays were always long rides to start with I did the local club run and then some extra solo as I always had when I was in good shape. I then started ride with local riders Luke Souter and Justin Belcher who are both strong riders. We were riding an hours ride to chippy to do a few hours with local pro's some of whom are top hitters racing in the tour series so it was always a fast and hard ride. These rides were so hard that I used to get home completely done in. On one instance I got home so tired and covered in mud I collapsed against the cupboard in the kitchen and just tired to force food down, I also took the photo below.
I took this photo after a extremely hard ride one winter training ride of 80 miles.
By the time I got to January I was in the best shape I ever had been and the FTP test I hit my target that I was hoping to hit in march which was amazing and fantastic, I was quite surprised! I did a few races out at Stourport on a very good circuit but it was very hard circuit with the wind! Me and Justin did two of these and the day after the 2nd we did the Harp Hilly Hundred an early season Reliability which are always treated like a race. Me, Justin and another local guy Jered Allcock did it with a guy I've raced with alot called Steve Torley who is another strong rider who spent a big chunk of the ride on the front. The reliability was going well and till the 50 something mile I punctured I stopped to fix it and did it in record time of about 3 mins. I chased to try to catch the guys I was riding with but it was too late I was too tired and I just took it easy back to the HQ.
About a month later in February I did the Startford Reliability. The story of this starts two weeks earlier. I had a cold so I had a week where I off the bike, just as I was getting over it my clutch went on my car. The following week I did a 6 day week at work and ened up doing 50 hours at work. I also fixed the clutch on my car in that week but did something to my back and ended up with alot of back pain. I had been used to back pain mainly in my lower back from hard racing or training (more on the later). However this pain was different. With a long week of work and no training I was itching to get out on my bike and what better than a reliability out at Stratford. I got up early and cycled the 20 miles there, and on the ride I felt ok and at the 54 mile mark (from home) I had done that quicker than the last time I rode this reliability a few years earlier. But by the time I had done 65 miles I was getting cramp and I got dropped from the group I was with it was ok as I was on local roads but I was in pain Matt Clinton (ex National hill climb champion, fast tester and great guy) hung back for me which I was grateful for but he dropped me on the long drag as the cramp got worst.
I got on to the flat to try and get back to HQ I knew if I could then I could get a lift home and sit down in the warm. I hit the next hill. It was horrible I couldn't turn the pedals the pain in my legs was like cramp but when I stopped the was no let up. It took me along time to get to the top. I got down the other side by just freewheeling knowing there was one hill left. It was no good. I stopped, I got off, I tried to walk, This was a flat road that had beaten me and I had cycled along this bit 3 hours earlier. I cracked I rang home for help after only 70 miles. I needed to stop but for someone to pick me up would take a while for them to get out to me. I got back on and cycled abit further but had to stop and sit down. It was no good it still hurt and to get back up was a struggle. I managed to cycle a bit further and as it started to rain I stood under a tree. Knowing my parents where not too bar away I turned around and cycled as slow as I could back down the road and there was the best sight I had seen, my parents car.
The following day at work I was still suffering I could just about walk but I couldn't straighten my legs I knew I had over done it and pushed myself too hard, my back pain was back too but I didn't think about that much. That evening once I got home I had tea and them my mum took me to the hospital. The blood test show CK (Creatine Kinase) levels where high like there were when I was last in hospital with Rhabdomyolysis when I was 8.
So after a night in hospital I could only leave the next day (Tuseday) if I could walk to the end of the hall and back. I did, it hurt but I managed it. I was free. The rest of the week was spent at home eating to try and recover.
By the Sunday, 5 days out of hospital I then rode Banbury stars reliability which was 62 miles. I took it very easy all the way round riding with old man but I was disappointed with everything that had happened.
I rode a few races and tried to train but I lost motivation, mainly with training after work I was still tired and not fully recovered. In that time I did the Banbury star Hard riders time trial at 23 miles not too happy with my time. I then did the Spring chicken RR and after my 2nd puncture I was being paced back to the group by the car and then the car stopped for someone else whom had punctured so I was left on my own I gave up shortly after. The following week I did a race at MK bowl, I love racing at the bowl I have always done well there and this time round after a hard race of an hour I got 10th place and a point so I was very happy with that.
Then the Bill Jinks memorial RR, it was going well I was sat in the bunch I was tired but that wasn't going to stop me. Then as we where going down a hill there was a crash in front of me I had no where to go. I remember see people go down and I remember being on the floor with my hip killing me but I don't remember going over the bars which I'm pretty sure is what happened as i hit someone on the floor. It took me a while to stand up my hip hurt but I got away lightly as one bloke broke his collar bone and another looked like he'd been dazed. The race was called off shortly after that.
A few days after I started to feel more and more ruff I had picked up a virus that turned into a chest infection and the week before I was due to go to Spain for a weeks training I was off work hardly able to get out of bed. I was on antibiotics to get over my chest infection. This was my first chest infection and it was horrible I had coughing fits that lasted for a long time and the worst being coughing for about half an hour to the point of being sick and keep coughing covered in sweat. It got to the point of being so ill I though it was going to kill me and this was my 2nd week of being ill, this was a low point. I thought it was never going to end. But after my 2nd lot antibiotics aqnd a few weeks more I was over it finally. But it took a few months to stop coughing.
In April I started racing again but my FTP was down to 220ish watts even lower than when I started training in November. Even more disappointment.
Now as I write this I'm much happier with how the 2nd half of the season has gone and I've learned alot, I haven't done any road races since the last one I crashed in and not sure if I'm going to go back into road racing, Time trialing seems to suit me more I recover from it alot better and I seem to be less of a sprinter now, not that I ever was. Since I have come back from all the illness I seem to have just gotten better at going my pace, and the last club run I did I kept getting dropped on every hill from people sprinting off yet I can ride at my pace for hours now, which given the choice is how I want to ride.
Worcester St Johns Open sporting couse.
So far this year the highlights include a 21:36 on a ten mile TT and getting a 3rd place at Worcester St Johns open time trial on a hilly course. I have been doing club time trials in the week and I getting happier and happier with the results every week.
So now for me the season is not over yet I'm targeting a few races and going to see where the season takes me. I'm looking forward to the hill climbs at the end of the season, and next year will be better!