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With the tail end of my super short racing season covered in previous weeks on my HC race reports from the CTT Scottish and Scottish Cycling National I then covered a bit on my nutrition. The next obvious subject to delve into at this time of the year is winter training. The first step being to plan my winter ahead.

It’s looking like most other people are either on their “off season” breaks or are now coming back into the swing of things after enjoying some time off the bike. My plan since resuming training back in June was to focus on returning back to a good level of fitness which I accomplished a hell of a lot quicker than I thought I could. This resulted in me doing a 10 mile TT in early September and then the two HC’s this month in October. This was all a bonus scenario for me to be racing this year. Now that I have come out the back of those events with two top 10’s in the Scottish Hill Climb’s and the racing is done with abruptly, it has caught me off guard so to speak, as I thought the majority of my winter 2018 into 2019 would be spent getting back to previously held fitness levels…… That’s not the case and that is of course a good thing which also helps me plan out my approach to winter training in an easier fashion at least.

I am not taking an “off season” break. These breaks are for the poor souls who have been racing since March/April of this year. No doubt they will have been counting down the days until their season ends so they can have some down time and have a bit of a refresh both physically and mentally. My approach is to enter winter and declare the past 4 months as a prolonged base period to which I will keep on building until February 2019 at least. In my head it actually may put me at an advantage early season form wise but the trickery will come mid-to-late season where I have to ensure I don’t burn out too early. I could be the one desperate for that “off season” break right around July time easily enough which is far from ideal.

CX, Time Trialling, Road Racing, Hill Climbing & Establishing My Goals:

Starting with the easy stuff and arguably the most important. Without goals and ambitions I simply have nothing to aim for or work towards. I also do not see the point in setting the bar low on what I want to achieve regardless of how ridiculous others may see it initially. So what event types will I be focusing on and what are my goals for these?

CXNope! That would mean another bike in man heaven (the garage). But whilst I do fancy “giving it a go”, I am in no position to commit to it by buying a CX bike and I don’t believe it’s worth doing something if you are not doing it properly. It’s also very dirty. So the executive decision is that I won’t be doing any CX this winter which will sadden my good friend Chris, as he’s a mud loving nutter who more than anyone would love to see me enjoy(!) the same misery he does. NO GOALS HERE.

Time Trialling – This will be my primary focus for 2019. I love training for time trials and I love racing time trials. There is something very satisfying about smashing yourself against the clock and there is no hiding from yourself in a time trial. My inner geek gets its fix through all the data gathering/analysing whether it be through power data or aero data. I love it! My disadvantage in TT’ing comes on the money side of things, I do not have the disposable income to quickly make changes that would aid my performance nor to kit my bike/myself out with the best of gear. That is, however, something winter will help with through saving money over time and hopefully making improvements across the board whilst I better my physical capabilities on the bike as well.
TT Goals in ranked priority:
#1 – Sub 21:00 for 10 miles.
#2 – Top 10 in Scottish National 10.
#3 – Top 10 in Scottish National 25.
#4 – Aero/position gains. This includes everything from a better skinsuit (already accomplished), better helmet, positional changes (in progress) and through winter saving I hope to actually ride on dedicated and proper aero wheels next season.
#5 – Race some CTT events in England (and Scotland).


Road Racing – I will do some road racing next season but I am only going to worry myself with local-ish races. I say local-ish but living in Conon Bridge means any race other than a handful is going to be 2.5 hours of a drive away at a minimum. Luckily, over the past few years, there has been a North of Scotland road race series established and this means 4 local races which are very competitive. I am not going to set myself any goals for road racing for 2019 as I will only be using them as I enjoy racing my bike and spice up training for time trialling as I fully believe that racing is a super form of training.

Hill Climbing – This will be my secondary focus for 2019 but only because of the way the event season as structured. I love going up hills as fast as I can and, if anything, it is the one thing I am actually pretty good at on a bike I dare say. In reality this could be labelled as my secondary primary focus because the HC season doesn’t typically come until a month after time trialling has finished up for the year. HC’s are time trials themselves of course, but the focus just shifts to getting ones skinny arse up a hill quickly relying almost solely on big watts, rather than getting from point A to point B (still needs the big watts!) in as slippery a position as possible on the flat/undulating.
HC Goals in ranked priority:
#1 – Podium at Scottish Cycling National HC.
#2 – Build a proper dedicated HC bike…. or more so change it up on my road race bike for the HC season so I am not riding a 7KG+ bike next year!

Identifying “A” Priority Events. AKA the events you want to be at your best for:

What specific races will be my top priority for next year?

Scottish National 10 Mile TT – Early May 2019.
Scottish National 25 Mile TT – Early June 2019.
Scottish National Hill Climb – Mid October 2019.
British National Hill Climb – Late October 2019 – If it’s down in Exeter like recent rumours suggest then this might be a no-no for me unfortunately, purely due to the logistics of it.

These dates are just based on the when these events have been held over previous recent years. They are in no way set in stone at the minute until calendars are populated and released by British Cycling/CTT.
“B” events for me will be the likes of the RTTC 10 mile and 25 mile time trials. I am nowhere near happy enough with when they could be both date and location wise to even pencil them onto my plans yet. So that will need to wait for the time being.

There are typically some very early time trials in March. I will take these as they come closer to the time so I can see where I’m at but the weather in March could easily still be full on blizzard/ice/slush/-5 degree’s. It’s never good to commit strongly to racing in March as it’s very much up in the air until closer to the actual time.
2019 season is realistically set to be April until October with a mid season refresh coming after the National 25 in June (possibly).
I essentially want to be at my best for May/June time and also for October. That’s a really nice split time period wise but man does it all seem so far away at the moment.

^ With rough dates for the “A” events my phases will be something very close to this.

Seems like a semi-solid plan of attack to me:

It’s not concrete due to no proper dates. It is still beyond useful for the year ahead though as my goals, ambitions and intentions will not change. Even if events are shuffled around from their usual dates of recent years my overall focus remains the same.
With objectives and priorities set to establish my training periods, I can now move on to look at what actual training I will be doing both on and off the bike(s)…… Which leads me on nicely to my next post, which I will publish very shortly!