Its been a while since I’ve filled you all in on the world of Simo, and a lot has been going on! Too much for me to remember really but i’ll do my best!
Annie - Steenokerzeel - By Bart Hazen
Returning from Belgium has been harder than i thought it would be, trying to back into a routine and trying to get my head back in gear to tackle pointless things like Metabolic Biochemistry! And after nearly 6 weeks now I’d say im just about there! Better late than never hey!
Check out Annie’s coffee and cake chat on Fillies a Velo. Well worth a read.
After such a long and full on summer I was looking forward to going home and relaxing with my family. Since I last wrote I had my 2nd week in the Alps. We witnessed some snow that week but nothing that stopped training; it just made the views more wow! The rides were just as savage, the climb up Col de Galibier being one of the memorable ones, where yes I blew, but I did reached the top. I was happy to sit feeling like I was on top of the world and wait for DS stef to come to the rescue. I’d pretty much dialled the climb up home by the end of the trip, but it always help when Ian allowed me to have a caffine gel…then I’d float up!
Annie Simpson - by Bart Hazen
We left the alps and drove back to Oudenaarde where I had a few days to rest before the mission back to Yorkshire. In this time I got to sample a few of the cafes in the area ready for next year and catch up with a few friends. Me and Helen also carried on shopping for the essentials for their new house, this included fridge, washing machine and as of today I think they may now have the luxury of watching TV again!
Road convert Annie Simpson has answered a few questions for us now she’s hit the end of her first road season.
If you could sum up for your first season on the road in one sentence, what would it be?
A hard and eye opening season of learning and adjusting to the life of a road rider.
Annie Ready for Tour of Limousin
What is the most important thing you have learnt this year?
Well I’ve learnt so much but one of my main things is positioning in a bunch. It has caught me out so many times this year in races, and my best races have been when I have got positioning correct. Continue reading
My summer in Belgium has come to an end and to finish off my summer I have travelled to the Alps for 2 weeks of training with DS, Helen and Ian Field. For Helen and Ian this is there pre season training camp for the fast approaching cross season, and for me its a great way for me to get in long, consecutive days of training.
I have never had this road training camp experience before and it is perfect for strengthening my knee in preparation for next season, so I can have an issue free season, unlike the start of this year.
The team returned late last night from one of our last major races of the year. We were in Germany, near the Black Forest and to my surprise the place was beautiful. Real nice setting for a bike race, and I loved the hills! Now, I’m not exactly a veteran when it comes to stage race attendance but from my experience this year and the wise guidance of Helen Wyman, I soon realised that where we were staying was exceptional for stage race standards.
Annie and Gabby - Albstadt 2010
It was a sports excellence college and the main thing that stands out for me was the food! Oh how it made me so happy, and it was a joy to stuff my face 3 times a day in that place…and now as I sit on my bed in rainy old Tielt, I’m missing the idea of Chocolate Museli for breakfast!
Since the Tour of Limousin in France I have been concentrating on getting my knee back to strength after I think it got pushed a little too far in the hills. I attempted Herentals post tour criterium and due to the massive section of cobbles I had to make the decision to stop.
Annie Simpson - by Bart Hazen
I have found that jumping out of corners and particularly cobbles are the main things that make my knee hurt a lot. I decided to miss the other post tour crits and concentrate on letting my knee get better. I went to see a physio in Belgium who gave me ultrasound, and although my knee seemed worse at first it gradually got better. I tried to have a few days off the bike, but in Belgium there isn’t much else to do but ride your bike and I was going a little crazy staying in whilst the others trained, so I opted to just do easy rides.
The Tour de Limousin was to be my 1st pro stage race so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. With around 170 starters it really was going to be tough race and looking at the stage profiles basically showed that for the next 4 days there was to be no flat, just ups and downs. The drive to France was really long and when we arrived we did a quick spin which was really needed as my legs felt horrendous. Alex Greenfield attempted to get us lost in rural France but luckily she failed and we made it back to our box of a hotel room to enjoy an evening of free Wifi.
Annie rolls out for stage 4
Our main accommodation for the tour was in a school, with school dinner type meals, consisting of food that had been cooked to within an inch of its life! A personal favourite of mine being the sausage which you could peel (which we then found cut up in our salads the next day). Most meals you had to just tuck into mountains of bread as unlike Helen Wyman we weren’t fans of miscellaneous lentil dishes. I was rooming with the notorious Alex Greenfield and fellow Yorkshire lass Penny Rowson and we were the ‘naughty room’ although after having to enforce a ‘euro in the pot’ rule for Helen’s immature ways I personally feel we were wrongly labeled.
The past week we have been preparing for our first Pro Race as Horizon Fitness RT that was at the Dwaars doors de Westhoek. This was a UCI 1.2 race and with a field of around 120; we had 6 riders. Me, Alex G, Britt and Helen from Horizon and 2 guest riders who were Claire Thomas and Lotte van Hoek. ‘
Horizon Fitness Racing Team Dwaars Westhoek - Bart Hazen
We got to the race nice and early and moral was high in the team. We knew the race had some brutal Belgian style hills in the first 40km and we knew if we could get over those with the front group then it was flat to the finish. This was my first pro race ever and at near 130km it was definitely longer than any race I had done before, so I was a bit apprehensive the day leading up to it (you can tell this because I go slightly quieter, emphasis on slightly.)
Since my last blog I have had quite busy time in Belgium and I still haven’t cracked. The weather has been unbelievably hot! Up in the mid 30′s most days and even at night, which has made it so hard to sleep. Alex and me have developed techniques such as sleeping with soaking towels, removing duvets from the sheets and even standing outside in the crazy Belgian storms, all in attempt to cool down.
Annei attacks - By Bart Hazen
This week I have been training hard and had 2 races. Tuesday was a double day for us and in the evening we went to Zolder race track for a bit of a no holes barred chaingang. It was pretty savage with hundreds of people there most with the intention to smash it! I enjoyed it but had definately had enough after an hour. Continue reading