Monday, August 25, 2008

The setbacks and decision time...

It has been an odd season, to say the least.

So far, I haven't got even close to the goals I had set for myself in terms of race results. Perhaps, I have set them too high for a Masters A level and didn't train hard enough to come up with the cash...

The training program I followed in the beginning of the season was an experiment. I had a limited amount of time, before the start of the season, therefore no time for Base Training. I went straight into a power increase mode, with strength and speed exercises, making sure it didn't make me too tired. Short high intensity rides were in the menu.

It did work to a certain point. I was able to finish every race in the top 10, finished the tours,
Tablelands and Sunshine Coast, in 6th place overall and managed to give the big hitters a bit of a fright in a few races. But, I never felt that I had that "something extra" needed to finish it off in any of the events.

I am aware of some tactical mistakes I made, I am also aware of some nutritional factors in some of the results but in general, I didn't feel strong enough to put myself in real contention for a podium place in any of the races.

Then, there were the setbacks. This year, I got sick more often than the previous years and in many occasions it took me longer than my usual couple of days to recover. It might have had something to do with "another" experiment. For this year, I decided not to take supplements in form of pills and tablets and relied solely on what I get from a good semi-vegetarian diet. Something else to research on and perhaps have modified for next season.

Being sick not just slowed me down in terms of training but, also, stopped me competing in some major races. I missed out on the State Championship (Road and ITT) and the Club ITT Championship. These are important races in the calendar and are also events in which less team tactics are used, giving individual riders a better chance in their age groups.

Then, when I got over all that, mentally and physically, and decided to focus on the positives and concentrate on the next goal, came the
accident which is keeping me completely off the bike. The next race being (at this stage!) Grafton to Inverell, a tough 225 km race which includes a 17 km (970m) climb on the Gibralta Range and less than 27 days away, isn't looking too promising now, is it? XXXXXX

For this race, I put together a 75 days
"crash training" program with lots of climbing, a few long rides building up to the race distance, short recovery rides and some local hard races. It looked good at the time but browsing through my training log today, I realised I have only done around 1/5 of the scheduled training so far... and I am off the bike!!!

Last 39 days of the program, prior to the big event (20 September)

OK, time to do some serious evaluation around here and make a final decision on racing or not racing the BIG event. For the injuries sustained in the accident, I will see a physio and hopefully get some positive advices. I have been on the bike after the crash, and felt good but I am presently having some real issues with my neck, shoulder and a deeply bruised leg. Chances are that I will miss a few more days...

If I was a professional rider, and I wish that was the case, the D.S. would come to me and would lay down the plan. Probably, it would be something like: "Skip the Vuelta, get better and stronger and lets focus on the next major event, or even the next season!". As an amateur racer, I have to think that just doing the race, and hopefully finishing it, could be an experience I could use for next year's preparation.

One might ask, how complicated can training and racing at this level be... Well, this is part of it, the "... AND MORE" of this blog.

Lets hear from the physio first!

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