Summarizing one year in one post… That’s going to be a slightly longer one, but you can just leaf through the pictures if you get tired of reading ;) .
Last winter, having been hampered by a stubborn running injury for several months, I decided to ditch the running – and hence duathlon, my key discipline until then – for a while and concentrate exclusively on cycling. Concerning training methods, I gave my “train by feel” approach a bit of an upgrade by purchasing a powermeter (power2max) and, of course, Allen & Coggan’s “compulsory” book on Training and Racing with a Powermeter.
The first race that was important to me was the Glocknerkönig in Austria at the beginning of June, a climb up the Großglockner High Alpine Road finishing at 2445m. To be honest, my legs were not really in shape yet at that time and my watts were far below my expectations. Anyway, it was sufficient to achieve the 8th neto time in a rather strong women’s field and first place in the 20-29 age group.
A physiologically much better result – albeit at a much less known race – was my second place at the Pujada al Turò de l’Home, where I averages 210w over 1:32 hours (3,82w/kg). I would improve my threshold considerably over the rest of the season, but at that time, the watts were as good as I could have hoped for.
A real highlight both in terms of the scenery as well as the physical experience was a 4 days “training camp” in the Pyrenees organized by Velodromstudio (thanks for the awesome time and the photos!). I am writing “training camp” in quotation marks, because it was probably not the most intelligent thing to do in terms of training, but the experience was just awesome: Going absolutely to the limit for 4 days in a row – for those who understand powermeter lingo I accumulated over 1600TSS. The body’s repair capacities are just amazing; I was dead at the end of every day, but the next morning I just had no choice but to turn the pedals again – and not at any speed but going close to all-out at every climb to chick some of the guys… ;)
Only one week later I did the Ruta Minera (July 20), my first “Cyclosportive” and with 166km/4150m the perfect format for me. Its reputation as Catalonia’s toughest cyclosportive comes from the incorporation of the infamous Coll de Pradell with its ramps of up to 23% on the last 3km. I finished the cyclosportive first in the women’s field and among the top 6% of men, quite to my surprise.
I continued training well during August, although I caught some hamstring niggles towards the end of the training block and had to reduce my training a bit. The next major event, the Alpenbrevet in Switzerland (August 25) went amazing though, I paced myself perfectly on the 172km/5294m “Gold” course (what a wonderful ratio of vertical to horizontal distance!!) and finished as the first woman with almost 25 minutes lead over the winner of the previous year. Also, I chicked 95% of the guys ;) .
Continuing the sequence of accumulated heights of ~4000m and ~5000m in my first two “cyclosportives” I added another ~1000m to finish the season with the Endura Alpentraum, an awe-inspiring 252km/6078m race starting in Sonthofen (Germany), crossing the Alps via Hochtannbergpass, Landeck, Pillerhöhe, Reschenpass and in the end the beautiful but seemingly endless Umbrailpass before reaching the summit of the Passo dello Stelvio and descending into the Vinschgau valley, from which the final ascent is made to the finish line in Sulden (Italy). As an aside, I don’t judge the toughness of an event by its length – the toughness only depends on how hard you go, no matter if it is 1km or 400km, and is not a feature of the event itself. It’s quality that counts not quantity. I don’t want to finish, I want to finish well. So much for that. Still, riding and suffering for so long has a certain additional “epicness” for me and the last 3 hours have burnt themselves deeply into my memory. I crossed the finish line after 10:36 hours, coming second after Nadja Prieling (10:21).
After the Alpentraum I needed both physical and mental recovery. I kept the system alive by doing some short intense workouts, but nothing long and overly exhausting. The goal was to finish some local events in Catalonia in a decent way – the cyclosportive Terra del Aigua (150km, 2800m) and the hill time trial with my crazy Catalan bike club Club Ciclista Gràcia. I won the Terra del Aigua quite easily two weeks after the Alpentraum.
The short hill time trial of my club meant 14:34 minutes suffering at an average of 250w, and then lots of fun with my friends from the club, hammering a few more climbs to end the final day of the season with some sweet suffering.
Now time for some rest, reading and plotting a plan for next year ;)… And studying.