The experience of a professional athlete develops over time and there are moments in an athletes season where their mental strength and belief just gets them through. However, the true test of them is when they are able to stand back, re-assess and build new goals that bring renewed motivation when things aren’t going quite as they planned.
Tiffany Cromwell is at the end of the classics season. A period of the season she had trained hard for, focused on, set goals in and as she went into that phase she truly believed a big result was possible. But, this season it was not to be. The big result just never happened for her or the CANYON//SRAM team. Many times they were close, but they just couldn’t quite put the icing on the cake.
“Personally, I didn’t have the spring I wanted to have. I rode a few decent races, and the signs of good things to come were there, but for some reason I just couldn’t find that last little bit for it to all come together. Looking back, my best rides of the Spring were probably at Le Samyn and Dwars Door Vlaanderen where I had the opportunity from my team to go for the win, and Strade Bianche in a support role for my team mates. For me though, the hardest part of this Spring campaign was not being able to perform how I wanted and know I’m capable of in the major classics, despite feeling like my preparation leading into them was good. We are all human, it happens and you can’t account for waking up and just not having the day you expected.”
However, Tiff has walked out of the classics season and into the next phase with a real determination and focus. “After speaking with my team management and my personal coach, we have re-assessed my race programme and shaken it up a bit. I now have clearer goals and a stronger structure to turn things around for the remainder of the season. We’ve added in the Tour of California, an important race for our team, and I’m excited to be returning. It fits in well in the middle of a 3 week altitude block in the US, and with two of the four stages being raced at altitude around Lake Tahoe, we decided it was a good addition.”
Tiffany benefitted in 2016 from a good block of altitude training in Colorado where she arrived last Tuesday before heading to California. “In 2016 I found myself in a massive hole around this time of year, I had no energy, no power in the legs and I was struggling for motivation. I decided to head to Aspen, CO for a change of scenery and high altitude training between a couple of races in the US. For me Colorado is a happy place, there’s something about the mountains and the relaxed mentality that seems to rejuvenate you, and it also gives you a really challenging place to train. I’ve done a lot of altitude training in the past and I’ve always responded well to it. This time I’ve based myself in Boulder, a place I lived when I was racing on the US circuit in 2008/09. It’s a bit lower than Aspen, but it’s a place with great training roads and a strong cycling community. This next period will be focused on rebuilding fitness, long sustained efforts and high intensity race specific work. The plan is that the altitude block will be used to build the foundations towards my goals for the rest of the season.”
Tiff is ready to aim for some big performances in the coming months. “I will come back from altitude towards the end of May and then ride The Women’s Tour in June and Thuringen Rundfahrt in July. Both races I am targeting stage victories, it’s all part of the bigger goal of the World Championships in Bergen, Norway. The aim is to race races that have similar characteristics to that of worlds, train specifically for them and to perform strongly. From what I’ve heard and seen of this years worlds, I think the course suits my strengths and style of riding when I’m in my best form, and I want to get back to that level.
Overall I have new motivations, new goals and I plan to take what I’ve learnt about myself during this Spring as fuel for the remainder of the season to get those big results that we’re always chasing.”