Tiffany Cromwell has been preparing for the second half of the 2016 season with some much needed rest after a busy classics campaign and then a carefully managed training and racing phase designed to bring her to peak form for her next objectives.
“The past couple of months have been a bit of a rollercoaster of form and emotions, but the last weeks things have finally started to turn around helping my confidence, drive and motivation. After the classics season I was feeling very fatigued both mentally and physically from my heavy early season race schedule, combined with the travel that comes with it and on top of that, the pressure I put on myself to perform. After a post classics break things didn’t get immediately better. I transitioned into a heavy rebuild training block leading into the Women’s Amgen Tour of California, but unfortunately things came undone again as I came down with some sickness just before the race started. Things went from bad to worse, my performances were well below what I know I’m capable of, and I found myself trying to find a ladder to climb out of the hole I was in.”
The next major objective for Tiff is the 10 day Giro Rosa that starts in Gaiarine on 1st July with a prologue time trial. In getting ready, she spent a month out in the USA, bookending an altitude training camp with some hard racing. “I rode both the Amgen Tour of California and Philadelphia International Cycling Classic with my Canyon//SRAM racing team. In between I went to altitude at Snowmass/Aspen, Colorado where I was sleeping at 2500m and training up to 3600m. The scenery was amazing up there, the training was great and I met some lovely locals who showed me around and made me feel welcome. For the majority of the time I was suffering a lot with the altitude and together with my coach we monitored and managed my training very carefully as the main goal was to get out of the rut I was in and start finding my legs again. Finally in the last days that I was up there things began to look more positive as I started to come around and see signs of my old self again with power returning in my legs.”
On returning to racing at Philadelphia Tiff started to notice the impact of the combination of recovery and altitude on her performances but even more so at her last race, the Aviva Womens Tour in the UK where she played a strong support role for her team mates. “Despite Tour of California not going as I had hoped, the trip to the USA overall was really enjoyable and the change of scenery I was needing. Along with the racing and training that I did, we also had some fantastic sponsor engagements with Rapha at their Cycle Clubs in both San Francisco and New York City as we had the chance to engage and ride with some of our fans. In the UK the atmosphere at the Aviva Womens Tour is always a highlight and really motivating when you race. I was back performing almost at my best, racing at the pointy end being able to make the selections, help the team and my confidence grew during the 5 stages.”
After a 10 day recovery and small training phase at home on the Cote d’Azur, Tiff will head to the Giro. “As a team we will be focusing more on stages than targeting the overall and personally I want to get a stage result. I have been working hard and I feel like I’m in a good place again both mentally and physically. I won a stage back in 2012 so it’s about time I did it again!”
You can follow Tiff on the Giro Rosa on Twitter and Instagram @tiffanycromwell.