Thursday, June 17, 2010

It was a roller-coaster of a time and getting on with it.

Hi all!

It has been a long time since I posted here. Too long? Maybe. The fact is, it has been a bit of a struggle to write as it was a bit of a struggle to ride. How is that for a double confession?

I could start writing a list of excuses for both statements but that would just become a record of justifications that no one really cares about. So I won't. Even I would tell myself to "Just get on with it!"

Week eighteen was set as recovery after the Battle. Physically, I didn't feel too bad after the three days of racing. Mentally, after getting dropped very early on both road stages, was another story.

I know I shouldn't have felt too bad about it, it was early in the season and I had not done enough intensity work to get me ready for racing. But not being able to hang on for a little longer and help the team was a little more than annoying. Of all the races, the criterium was the one where I managed to do a better job for the guys dragging the bunch for a couple of laps and closing a gap, putting a team mate in contention for a podium spot.

Battle on the Border results

Week Eighteen: Recovery
Time:  8 h 30 min
Dist.: 162 km

After that, it all became too hard. First, I started having some considerable issues with my neck and back. I was having terrific pains after a day's work or a bit of intensity on the bike. Pains which would start on the right side of my lower back and find its way through my neck and end in a kind of headache that left my right eye throbbing...

Scary stuff, which lead to all sort of deliberations with regards to my body, my age, my work and cycling. Should I be doing all this training? Has my body and mind recovered from the accident last year? Will them? Or just live with it and increase the pain threshold level...

I was also looking around and could see people doing great things on their bikes. Like commuting to save the world, which I don't do anymore, or riding 1,000 km for a good cause (like my friend Mick Young). Are these perhaps the things I should be doing on my bike? I wasn't sure.

It wasn't all lost and the week was saved as Sandra, patiently, convinced me to use her power meter for some tests.

The first test was the Functional Threshold Power (FTP0)...

The Power Profile was the second test...

The results? What did all mean? Not sure but Sandra told me it wasn't so bad as I needed to learn to control my efforts. We will see results when I test again in a few weeks and it meant I won't get a pro contract in this life time...

Week Nineteen: Test
Time:  5 h 
Dist.: 156 km

Things, or kilometers didn't pick up after that and with a few things happening at my workplace, some good and some bad (not going there but some of it was in the media), time on the bike wasn't really happening.

There was a club race somewhere in there. Just a windy club crit where I burned all my candles breaking away with three others before the half-time sprint and missed by a couple of centimeters... I didn't win but I really enjoyed those few laps with the young guys.

Admittedly, there was a lot of Giro viewing and with that, a lot of dreaming of riding those climbs and through those small villages in Italy...

Well Done! to all the Australian riders, especially C Evans and M Lloyd for their terrific wins.

Week Twenty: C Race
Time: 5 h
Dist.: 145 km

Week 21 appeared to be a good one with a couple of open events on the weekend - The Motorama Metros.

Again, I raced well in the criterium as I put my hand up to initiate breaks from the start and cover attacks from the other teams. That put me in the first short lived break of the fast, rain affected 30 min race and pulling a big turn to chase an escapee with just a lap to go.

We ended up with a second and a third, beating all the local teams for my gladness. The winner was a team less, older rider. I was anyhow delighted by his victory.

In the road race, I did my big effort by chasing a four-riders group in the start of the second lap of the 92 km race (four laps) and that was my race coming to an end. The undulating Mt Alford course has been my nemesis for years so once again, I pulled out after the second lap to watch the finish. Rightly so, as a team mate crossed the line first.

Still not in my best, it was undoubtly a great weekend for the Team. And Mt Alford, I will be back!

Week Twenty One: B Race
Time:  6 h 15 min 
Dist.: 162 km

Motivated by what the team had achieved, more suitable working hours lately (it doesn't last very long) and a bit of a "get on with the pain" attitude, the training hours and intensity of the sessions increased a fair bit in the last two weeks. And some of the rides have been just fantastic!!!

I finally managed to start the build phase of the program I've put together and have done a couple of big weeks (my standards) on the bike, doing lots of medium and high intensity rides. I have gone back to some of my old training routes (Clear Mountain and Bunya Road) and have done a couple of great team rides going through new areas, which has been very enjoyable.

Week Twenty Two: Build
Time:  17h 10 min 
Dist.: 477.5 km

Week Twenty Three: Build
Time:  19h 10 min 
Dist.: 522 km

Right now, I am just hoping that my back and neck can hold on for the rest of the season and, who knows, I can get hold of an old commuter bike somewhere... And by the way, roller-coasters are still fun!!

Cheers, AMR


Will said...

For what it's worth - and coming from someone that has never liked or done stretching: In my old age, my back can be super painful, including when cycling. I have recently started doing Yoga - and it really helps (my younger self would be mocking me .....) ;)

AMR said...

Hi Will, glad to hear.

BKS Iyengar was an influencial person through a few phases in my life. His Yoga style is my favourite.

Last year, I used a DVD twice a week. I believe it did wonders to my cycling. Must start doing it again... urgently!!

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