It’s been yet again a while between drinks on my blog and I wanted to put up a little update before things start to get really crazy! As you have read on social media, I will be lining up for both the La Course and the Commonwealth Games races. Within a week of each other, this will definitely be my most demanding week of the season, and I think more mentally than physically. I feel well prepared though after a big 6 weeks of training and a little racing and all I can do now is enjoy the ride so to speak.
Since my last post from the Women’s Tour of Britain I enjoyed a great little mid-season break of 5 days off the bike. It’s important to take rest where you can find time in the season, particularly for the Aussie girls who have been racing full gas since January 1st. I was lucky enough to have my best friend from home Jolien visiting me for two weeks, and I could enjoy playing tourist with her when I didn’t have to train. I felt refreshed and extra motivated again to hit the roads once my five days were finished, and I went straight into our team camp to hone our TTT skills.
The team is putting more emphasis this year on the TTT for the world championships to get the best result we possibly can, rather than rely on past experience and strength. It is one of those disciplines that needs attention to detail, and we were all keen to spend more time on it. This was a our second camp of the year and we got to do a few of our training sessions on an outdoor velodrome near Milan. Having not been on a track for a few years, it was very exciting for me to push the speed in the banks on the TT bike! I think we all gained a lot from our training and sports scientists giving great advice.
My next race block was at the end of May with the Holland Hills Classic and Aarlberg. I felt really good in both races and was active in the team’s tactics. I got to attack lots and even spent the better part of 30km in a solo breakaway in the Holland Hills Classic. It’s always a bit of a suicide move being away on your own, but I still had a lot of fun out there and finished the racing with a smile. Aarlberg was a little disappointing as there was no wind and it was a dead flat course, but we still gave it everything. Overall I was happy with where my form was after my little break.
My fiancé Stu met me in Italy the following Monday and was going to be staying with me for the whole month of June. It had been three months by then since we had seen each other and it felt like way too long. It is always difficult being an Australian professional because we can’t just make quick trip home very often, and we can’t rely on our loved ones to visit us either because of the costs. Having Stu come to live and train with me for four weeks made the Spring go fast and will make the last three months of the season fly by.
We spent a week at Lago di Maggiore where I have my base and did some long rides, hilly and flat. Stu was still recovering from a broken scaphoid and had to wear a plastic cast, but still managed to do a lot of my training with me even though he’d just had 5 weeks off the bike. He even did a whole lap of the lake with me, which is 170km! We then headed up to Stelvio Pass for five days for altitude adaptation (it is at 2760m a.s.l.) where we could only walk and do easy rides on the rollers. After acclimatising we went down to Livigno for two weeks for a very solid block of training. We rode nearly all of the passes in the area and I totaled over 20,000 vertical meters of climbing in the fortnight. I also did the race in Trentino which had been shortened from a tour to a one-day race in the middle of my training block. My legs were heavy but I felt better than expected and even made the main breakaway. It was all good signs that I was getting fitter and stronger.
Here is a little video I put together from my Alps trip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1nFmKian_w&feature=youtu.be
Stu left at the start of July and I had two weeks back at home to recover and do some intensity. This included sprint sessions and hill sessions of efforts ranging from 1 minute to 10 minutes. After all the long tough rides in the mountains I needed to spark my body up again to be ready to race. I also was doing high cadence work on the rollers most mornings to help my leg speed.
My first big race back was Thuringen Rundfhart in Germany with the Australian National team. I wrote a report about it for Cycling Tips: http://cyclingtips.com.au/2014/07/inside-line-gracie-elvins-thuringen-rundfahrt-de-frauen/
I am flying to Paris on Saturday to meet with my professional team ORICA-AIS. We will race a once-in-a-lifetime event and I feel very lucky and humbled to be a part of it all. I have dreamed of riding on the Champs-Elyses since I was very young but never thought it was possible because of my gender. Now I am only a few days away from a momentous day for women’s cycling. I hope this will be the first big step in the direction of gaining better coverage and support for our great sport. I know that we and all other teams will be putting their best foot forward to make it a great race to watch.
I then fly directly to the Commonwealth Games village in Glasgow to spend the week there before our race on the last day of the Games, Sunday August 3rd. I will do my best to not get too wound up with nerves and just enjoy the whole experience. I will be carrying the thoughts and dreams of others on my shoulders though every time I wear the uniform, so I will make sure to smile lots and just do my best!
Hopefully I will have some good news in my next post… until then, thanks for reading and make sure to tweet lots about #LaCourse and #womenscycling!