Just a week left until I line up for another World Marathon Championships. It seems a crazy thing to say 'another', but I'm taking a pretty relaxed view of this years Worlds. I'm going to the Dolomites on Tuesday and I plan on enjoying myself. I'm staying with my friend Imogen and Mike from MarathonMTB.com who I haven't seen for a number of years, if they want to go for gelato and pizza we'll go for gelato and pizza. On Wednesday and Thursday I'll be out riding the whole course taking photos, enjoying the views and trails, I won't just be sat in the holiday chalet with my legs up.
I put everything into National Marathon Championships and then fell off injuring myself a week and a half before the event. Everyone said how skinny I was, the leanest I'd ever been. I trained without fault to get my fitness and power into a winning position but then had to rest for nearly 2 weeks, then had to race with a swollen taped knee and a pretty nervous mind on the trails. I won silver though and came away happy. 2 gold medals and 2 silver medals is a pretty good run! Gold next year though please! After the race I had another 1.5 weeks rest before I could start tentatively training on the knee.
All smiles with coaching clients after Brighton Big Dog.
Since then I've just been having fun with my training, doing workouts I enjoy, riding some great trails, smiling through some epic rides. The training stress has been good some weeks and poor others. I won Brighton Big Dog which is a big highlight of the UK calendar. Skaidi Xtreme went well, a podium and an amazing week making memories in Norway. We did many great things, visiting the reindeer farm, the club coaching, the rides with my coaching clients, having dinner with the race sponsors, biking some awesome trails with Pippa on her borrowed e-bike, having lunch on the beautiful sandy beach with food cooked by a chef, the ferry from Hammerfest to Skaidi....
I've been home for 5 days catching up on coaching work, playing with our cute fluffy rabbit Porridge and riding some fun local trails. I've been off-road nearly everyday making most of the last of the dry weather. I've been doing some fun off-road structured workouts finding my flow on the trails again, there's definitely still some confidence missing after that crash in July. I unpacked and excitedly started packing for the trip to Italy. The Simplon Cirex has been rebuilt and cleaned after its trip to Norway and the lightweight climbing Razorblade is being tuned ready for the big mountains we'll race up next week. Each time I ride the Razorblade I think wow this bike is quick so hopefully that'll give me some extra few watts next week.
Norway was one of the big 2018 highlights
It's an honour to represent your country so pulling on the kit always gives some extra motivation. It's World Champs so most people will be there on top of their game, I'll be there not quite on top of my game, missing some fitness and power but I'll be having fun, making memories and racing with passion. There's a big GB team going to Worlds this year, all paying their own expenses and some like me travelling without support to do bottles but hoping to find someone to help before race day. With feed zone support i can race at 100%, without support I have to pace it at 85%. I know at home though I have a big support crew wishing they were there with me and willing me on, I'll do my best to finish the season on a high.
It's crazy it's nearly the end of the season already. It only seems like yesterday we were in Gran Canaria for the Ben Thomas Coaching Training Camp and Spain for Andalucia Bike Race, both in February. Since then I've been to Portugal, Italy, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Isle of Man, Norway and quite a few UK races. A lot of events have been stage races so I've racked up the racing days and time away from home. It always feels good to come home to my fiancee Pippa, getting engaged in August was the biggest win this year!
Love racing in Belgium, looking forward to taking another group of guest to BeMC next year.
Now just one day of racing left but there's a whole week of a fun in Italy about to begin. After Worlds is complete I'll be back home enjoying coaching my clients, supporting them at events like World 24 Hour Champs in Scotland, riding some epic road rides, and preparing for next season. Plans are already in place for the Ben Thomas Coaching 2019 Training Camp and Pro Race Camp. I just need to decide what races I'll be targeting and where the most fun will be found.
I'll try to write again from Italy next week. Have a great weekend.