London 2012 Olympics: Training camp and mountain climbs the acid test for Team GB track cyclists


It is all about Oakley Sunglasses Cheapd. In my main event, the team pursuit, which is 12 laps of the 250-metre track, you get hit by waves of lactic acid in the last minute and a half of a race that lasts 3min 15sec if you are riding at world record pace. How you deal with that is the key part of the race.




I’ve just returned from our second Cheap Sport Sunglasses in a month in Majorca, where we have been digging very deep indeed, training hard in the mountains for four or five hours a day. Instead of riding with lactic in your system for a minute and a half, we might spend an hour and a half working hard when the lactic acid has already kicked in.




Lactic means hydrogen levels building up in your blood stream, which your body struggles to eliminate when you are flat out. It can cause bad cramps, a burning pain and sometimes riders even talk of their vision being affected.




Gradually you can build up a tolerance and when it comes to racing back on the track, a minute and a half of fighting the feeling that your body is beginning to close down doesn’t seem so bad. The mountain climbs are a necessary evil we endure because we know it helps massively with the endurance side of the event. It doesn’t necessarily win you a world or Cheap Armani Sunglasses gold medal but you aren’t going to put yourself in contention without it.




So that’s why we have been beasting it again in the hot sun with the ‘highlight’ of our training days being the 10km Sa Calobra climb, which averages a seven per cent gradient but can rear up to 25 per cent on some stretches. Ouch. Majorca’s own Alpe d’Huez. These road camps there are hard work but I love the routine and the confidence it gives you putting in all that high quality training.



The four of us from the women’s team pursuit squad - Dani King, Jo Rowsell, Wendy Houvenaghel and myself - and the men’s team pursuit squad were there pretty much doing the same routines. It was here they laid the foundations of their success at Beijing in 2008.


Since then all the GB track tortoise sunglasses endurance squad have trained on the island. Part of that routine I enjoy is that we always stay in the same hotel in Alcudia, up on the north east coast, which is handy for the mountains and the flatter roads down by the sea. It’s perfect for cycling. It’s a couples hotel - no kids, late nights and lads on tour. All very peaceful and a good environment to base our work. This time I was rooming with Wendy, normally its Dani, but Paul likes to rotate us occasionally to keep everything fresh.


Office hours in Majorca are basically 7.30am-4pm with all of us riding out no later than 9am, often earlier, so we can get up the mountains, and more importantly down them, before the worst of the tourist traffic arrives.


Breakfast is a simple affair. For me it’s porridge, no matter how hot the day, and wholemeal toast. The temptation is to cram in a massive breakfast but that would be a big mistake. When you are doing the workloads we are putting in you need to be eating - fuelling up - virtually non stop with energy bars and Gatorade when you are riding, and if you eat a huge breakfast you won’t feel like eating anything for a couple of hours. By which time it will be too late and you will encounter the infamous energy “bonk” when basically you run out fuel. Little and often is the trick.


I will never like climbing despite the fact that being fairly small and light and with a good power-weight ratio I would seem to be well equipped for the hills. I love the descending though, full speed all the way except for a wicked corner coming down off the notorious Lluc climb near Escora where you ride down from a famous mountain-top monastery. I crashed there pretty badly the first time we ever trained in Majorca so now I take it at virtually walking pace. It’s the only bend anywhere, home or abroad, where I do that.


Down on the flat - well flatter - roads we tend to do four-minute bursts as our race lasts 3 min 15 sec, the theory being that again it will feel that much easier when we go back on the track and race or train over the 12 laps and ride for nearly a minute less.


If you take into account a late lunch and massage it’s normally 4pm before we can clock off, sometimes later. It’s a tough physical regime and I found it even harder on our first visit last month when I began to suffer the delayed effects of of my crash in the Czech Republic in May. I thought I had escaped with just the five stitches on my chin, a black eye and a bloody ear but as we attacked our first training climb I could feel a little discomfort in my lower back. Luc de Wilde does the massage and straps everything up with that blue tape which seems to be everywhere these days - it certainly worked for me.


Our evenings are free in Majorca but filling the hours is no problem. There are no distractions so I sleep and doze on the balcony, phone home, watch the TV and religiously write up my daily training logbook which I have done since I joined the GB Academy.


It’s one of the things we were trained to do from the start. Esme Taylor, our sports scientist, will call round with the performance figures for the day - the wattage I produced at all the key stages of our day - before we head for the team meal at 6.30pm.


After that I will get stuck into my O.C. box sets, I’ve just discovered the programme and am only midway through the first series so it could be Christmas before I finish, a real long term project. Lights out is 10pm for me and at least nine hours sleep. The body recovers best when sleeping and I get exhausted on these Majorca camps. Bliss.


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