Alistair Brownlee’s in training

January is often a tough time of year for training. Christmas has passed by and the new season all to quickly feels very close. The weather in Leeds is normally awful and this year I had a recurrence of a niggling ankle injury. The year started with a long ride around the stunning Eskdale Valley in the North York moors after an entertaining evening in Whitby the night before. I knew at this point I should do something drastic in an attempt to heal my ankle so wore a boot for a week which seemed to do the trick!TW09C-221

The weather has allowed me to get in some good consistent cycling miles around the Dales and the views, as always, did wonders for the motivation! In between the training I squeezed in a quick trip to Sartrouville in Paris to visit the home of my French team and a few days in Lisbon to do some filming for a new sponsor; VISA. I was entertained and looked after brilliantly in Sartrouville and it was good to see the town and meet the Major that put so much into their Triathlon team every year. The filming in Lisbon was a lot of fun but not half as exotic as it sounds. Running out of the Atlantic and up a beach in January isn’t the warmest thing I’ve done in a while but I really enjoyed the whole experience.

I had to unfortunately miss one of my favourite events of the year; the Yorkshire cross country champs, which Jonny won, and I have slowly built up my running since. The tough and fragmented  training early in the month was made all the easier by the knowledge that I would be heading to Tenerife for some even tougher training towards the back end of the month.TW09C-309

Arriving in Tenerife I had no idea what to expect apart from that I was staying on top of a mountain,  there should be lots of good running, the pool is good but a trek away, the weather should be clear but possibly chilly at the top and the cycling might be a bit hilly. I had the ever  committed and suffering Rhys with me as a training partner and coach Joel to help us out for the first few days.  First mistake was setting off to do a bit of a Saturday morning session on the first day. I was ready to collapse at the end of the first rep. Second was setting off on our bikes after a quick glance at the map and finding three hours later we had about 25miles of uphill to do to make it back to the hotel. The third was thinking I’d feel great anytime I wanted to do something intense at sea level and the fourth mistake was not learning from any of the others. 

It did prove a fantastic place to train -  the running is rough but fun, you can climb, climb and climb some more on the bike and the swimming pool at the T3 training centre is great. A few rides are particularly memorable experiences. For one of our long rides (  Joel dropped us off near the coast and we quickly climbed up to 3000ft. Great, just less than 5000 to go! Unfortunately we found ourselves plunging down to nearly sea level before climbing up some ridiculously steep side roads and finally finding the road up to the top along with a rather large number of uphill kilometres along it to do. I found a nice rhythm and left Rhys to make his own way up. It got colder and mistier all the way up until I popped out of the clouds at about 7000ft at which point it got suddenly even colder with a good foot of snow on each side of the road and very quickly dark. Thankfully I just made it over the top and down to the hotel in the dark and snow and was extremely satisfied to see the total climb dial on my Garmin as —-ft because I had climbed over 10,000!

On another occasion I was riding my cyclo-cross bike through the pine forests that flank the sides of the mountain and rather irresponsibly lost track of time. On realising I had no chance of making it round the planned route due to the pending darkness I set off back and got my second puncture which again, rather irresponsibly, I was unprepared for. Bike on shoulder I set off up the quickest route back up to the ridge. Complete darkness arrived much quicker than I expected and in the depths of the forest the only light I had was from the screen of my Edge 800. I’m sure I heard wolves in that forest and I didn’t hang around to find out as I bolted up the path to the ridge and found my way through the lava fields and back to the road. Kev (BTF nutrionist, who was out for a few days)came to the rescue and found me on the road in complete darkness just about navigating my way between the two white lines !
We had a lot of fun in Tenerife and I am very grateful to Rhys for basically doing all the crazy training I made up and to the coaches and staff who came out to take care of us. I’m looking forward to getting home and relaxing back into my normal routine.

All the best