Ossola Sport

Irena Ossola – Dedication and Determination

End of Winter Training, Off to Europe

First off, I apologize for the delay in posting.  When training volume gets higher and then I have to travel a lot I don’t have much free time.  So here is a big post with lots of pictures and what I’ve been up to the past couple months.



From the beginning of December until mid February I spent in Arizon training to be ready for this year. I took 2 weeks away over Christmas and New years. It was a great couple months and a lot of hard work.

My time in Arizona finished with a feeling of fatigue and a bit of delusion for why I didn’t have the spark I usually do. I was able to ride long amounts of endurance, but when in a group ride I really struggled when the pace picked up or with intensity.  When I went back to Santa Fe I got a blood test for my iron and discovered that it was incredibly low and the lowest I’ve ever had it.  So I immediately started taking an iron supplement.  Iron is so important, and since I don’t eat much red meat and was training at such a high level my iron continued to drop and I felt more and more fatigued. It’s a feeling I’ve never had before and the tired and lack of power in my body was quite worrisome.  But I’m glad I figured it out.

The weather was up and down all winter, and now as I was leaving it was holding out with some warm sunshine. I packed up all my stuff and headed back to Santa Fe on Feb 15th. It was a long drive, but I was also looking forward to upcoming travel that made me excited but also nervous. My legs are pretty much allergic to travel, so I always fear cramping when I go on long trips in a car or plane.

















Santa Fe

Arriving in Santa Fe I started having some cramping right away, so I knew this would be a week of rest and recovery before Europe. I was not worried for my fitness as I have a HUGE base from this winter’s training. So I took this time to swim, unpack my car, see friends/family, and pack my bags for a long 2.5 months in Europe.

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I left February 21st and began the LONG few days of travel. Going through Atlanta to Toronto, then spending the night there. The next day flying out of Toronto to Montreal and getting a flight from there to Paris. The overnight flight didn’t involve much sleeping, but I tried getting up and walking around as much as possible. Arriving in Paris our team soigneur (massage therapist, and overall helper) picked up me, Sarah, and Frederique (my teammates from Canada).

We drove in a tight van 6 hrs to Bordeaux. There we arrived at our director’s house. It’s a small farmhouse in a VERY small town (like 5 houses), and beautiful countryside. The next couple days we relaxed, rode, and had a team presentation for the smaller national team, DN17, that we attended as well.

The first evening, I got a small massage from David and I think that helped with cramping. I still had some cramps after the massage, but the next day on a small ride I didn’t have any so I was positive. It was the following day on a longer ride that the cramps came in full blast. At first I held back and thought to do the relax thing for them. But soon realized that they were in the cramping “zone” where I have to “break” them. It’s a strange feeling, but the only way the cramp stops is if I do slow pedaling and really hard pushing (big gear). I also did some intervals and it makes them go away. The cramping traveled all over my legs, going from my glute (butt), to my quad, then the other quad. At home I relaxed but knew to really get the fatigue out I had to get back on the bike and spin. So I got on the rollers and sure enough my other glute cramped before all was complete. I knew that that was a turning point. Unfortunately I was once again feeling nervous for ANOTHER round of travel.

The next day we got in the car at 6:30am and drove all day (11hrs) to Peniscola, Spain. It’s a small town on the coast. It was a LONG drive, and unlike the plane, I couldn’t get up and stretch/walk as much. So as often as I could I got out for a little bit. But by the end I was feeling the drive fatigue and sitting. My legs were not happy and even started cramping a little in the last hr. So as soon as I arrived I asked to get on rollers, and to David for a little massage. I took it easy on the rollers and just listened to my legs. My quad started wanting to cramp at one point, but I just got off and stretched it and then after it was ok. With the little massage also, in combination, it was my saving cure for this trip. The next morning I got on rollers again and despite some interesting sensations from my legs, they never cramped. I was cautiously optimistic. In the team ride I took the first bit super easy, but then soon realized I was in the clear and began to have some real fun.


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Spain Team Camp

It has been amazing here. There are 2 teams, the DN17 developing girls team. And SAS-Macogep, the UCI pro women’s team. So about 16 girls in total. There is the director, Jean-Christophe, David, our siogneur, and a couple other people that are here helping out. It is an amazing set up and the support is so fantastic. I am very impressed and grateful to them all for the help. They are obviously experienced as the rides everyday are organized into times and efforts. I really like riding with this development team also, because these younger girls are very strong and growing in the sport. This big group makes the rides fun because we are all at different levels and specialties, so we push each other and have fun too.

The weather has been great. A bit cloudy the first 2 days and a little cool. And now 2 days with sun and warmer. Still wearing long sleeves everyday, but shorts haven’t been a problem.

I am feeling great and having so much fun. I feel my endurance and strength on the bike and have no problem with efforts or being with the group or guys. I am so excited to race next week and for the whole season. The first race for the team will be the Tour di Valencia. Here in Spain starting next week on the 8th, Wednesday.

Tour di Valencia- 4 Stages, 4 Days- TT, RR, RR, Circuit. I will post more information and about my results and how it goes.

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