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Sports Tours International and Jo Rowsell Shand’s first project together will see the double Olympian take on one of the Etape du Tour on July 16th which is the 18th stage of Le Tour de France. The 178km event will start in Briancon and finish on the Col d’Izoard. Jo will be the first ever female track Olympian to take on the toughest stage of Le Tour. Jo has kindly promised to share her journey with us as she prepares for her longest ride.
Jo’s April Training Diary
As I write this blog we are now less than 3 months away from the Etape du Tour on 16th July. A 178km ride in the Alps following the route of the men’s Tour de France stage 18. It seemed like a great idea when I signed up to it! However reality is now kicking in that I will need to do some training.
In case you missed it, on 14th March I announced my retirement from the Great Britain Cycling Team. It was an incredibly hard decision but ultimately I have achieved everything possible, there is nothing higher than Olympic Champion and World Record holder, and the temptation to try new things was greater than the temptation to try to repeat success. As a result of this decision I have now left the GB Cycling Team and all the support that comes with it. This means no medical cover, no physio, no nutritionist, sports scientist or strength and conditioning coach ready to answer my questions or worries 24/7. We had fantastic support and I am extremely grateful for all the hard work those people put in, so now is the time for me to draw on everything I’ve learnt and apply it to a new challenge. I still have a road bike but for the first time in a decade, my training is no longer my number one priority.
As a full time bike rider training always came first and I used to have to attempt to fit in life around that. However now I am no longer a full time rider it is the opposite way round and my training is having to fit in around a busy post-retirement lifestyle. I have a new found respect for all those people that have full time jobs and then race their bikes on the weekend. Gone are the days of me riding my bike all morning then taking a nap in the afternoon to aid recovery!
But I am really enjoying this new challenge and it’s helping me learn a lot about the barriers most people face when it comes to keeping fit. The most important thing for me is to be organised and plan. When I have a busy week, I make sure I plan in some exercise not only to keep fit and train for the Etape, but also to give my brain a break if it’s been a busy day of meetings. My Wattbike has been a great way for me to keep some intense sessions in without taking up too much time. I have also been mixing up my training a bit, which I was unable to do before, by including some swimming, hikes and running. Okay running may be a bit of an exaggeration. More like slow jogging. But either way it has been fun and keeping me interested!
I am learning you don’t need all the time in the world to train, but as 178km will be the longest bike ride I’ve ever done, I am still treating the event with the respect it deserves.
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