This month has only seen improvements for me, the beginning of the month I thought had turned the wrong way again with a course of antibiotics, but if anything it kick started me again and reset my body.
I finished my medication on the first training day in Livigno of our altitude training camp. Altitude training is something I have never done before, and if anything it effected me the most from the team, every day watching the guys ride away from me after looking at my heart rate, people telling me, “Jake enjoy the views, it’s a lovely place to train” there probably was some nice scenery, but in a 6hr training ride I’d say I spent around 5hrs 50 minutes looking at my Garmin and my heart rate, making sure that I was doing as I had discussed with the coach.
I can’t say it was easy in the mind there for me, but it got easier when I was told there was no pressure, no worries just do what I was told. But still when people are riding away from you, I don’t believe your a competitive cyclist if you don’t question that for a moment, and also question the people around you.
On return from Livigno after a lovely 10 hrs in the van I had a few days before my first race that weekend, I’ll be honest when I say I didn’t feel amazing and it took a while for my legs to get competitive, but when they did I was able to play with it a bit making the front group on the road, but after a while and the lack of racing in my legs I dropped back to the peloton, which to my surprise was around 25 riders, out of 150 starters only 55 finished, I saw that as a positive.
My 2nd race back was another pro Kermisse, I turned up to see The world tour team FDJ there and several professional continental riders and continental teams, then to my surprise the Belgium Champion (Gilbert) was also on the start line, he eventually won the race. I was calm and relaxed and felt very good, a few laps in though that went down hill with a puncture, we were the last team car on narrow roads, so after the wheel change there was a lot of solo chasing, a bit behind the car, enough with out. Trying to catch a peloton at 45-50kmph is a quick way to go to deep, but that is better than just giving up and saying well it’s not for me today, I eventually got back and made it another 6 laps before the pace came too relentless for me.
The 3rd pro Kermisse before my return to UCI racing when ever that may be was yesterday, we turned up with a team of 7 and for all the race the numbers were in our favour, I and Jasper were in the early break which eventually was joined by a bigger group, with my legs tiring later in the race and with 6 of us in the front group, I decided to hit the front with team mate Oli to pull a 4 man group back as we had no one from the team in there, as we closed the move Jasper was able to attack and take another group away, that was my job and energy done for the day and Jasper went on to win the race with me a minute or so behind.
I can’t complain this month, I’ve returned to racing, I’ve made the moves that have eventually gone on to win the races, I’ve become fitter and I’ve become stronger, but I can’t say I’m there yet, but certainly I’ve come a long long way from where I was a month ago.
When the doctor said to me last month that I would start to feel good half of July I was surprised he could be so confident, when my coach said one day you will just feel normal on the bike I wasn’t 100% sure, but they were both right and I can’t describe how good it is to be working with people who want to help, and the people that keep supporting me through out.
As Dory says, just keep swimming.
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