Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Gloves and learning to recover

After my time in Italy where i felt i was reaching a good level of condition, i was full of optimism for my next race, the brixia tour. Things did not work out well, upon arriving at the race i realised i was super tired and desperate for sleep, that night and next morning i suffered from gastro and then hoped i would come good in the first stage in 40 degree heat. Well i didn’t and was again flat out just making my bike move forward. Normally gastro you can get over taking the stages easy but in this heat it was not working, i struggled on through stage 2 where i was in the breakaway, this really annoyed me as if i had felt atleast half ok i could have had a real crack at the day but the fuel levels were to low so was a missed opportunity. The team suggested i pull out and go home and rest up for the upcoming races before i get myself into a serious hole, so after i checked with my team mates that they were ok for the final day without me i finally did the smart thing and headed home for some r n r. For me i hate pulling out of races. Until this time i always took the mentality that if i could survive the stage i would be racing. This therefore has meant that i have had far to many days where i have performed way below my capabilities. The reason for this is cycling is too harder sport to expect to be competitive when you are flat out turning the pedals, and secondly by racing when you are that tired and sore only succeed in putting yourself in hole that the longer you race like that, the longer it takes to come out of it. Sure sometimes you just have bad condition and racing will indeed benefit you so suffering through can be advantageous at times, however this is not the case when you do have good condition but just tired which was the case this time. I guess my adverse opinion to pulling out of races come from my time in rowing. It is never an option to pull out of a rowing race. I guess there are so few big regattas annually that you never dream of not competing regardless of your condition or health. In cycling i have finally realised that every week there is atleast one big race and your team will more than likely not win them all so it is no problem to pull out of the odd one if it means you will benefit from it for the upcoming races. So therefore this was the case for me so after some easy days i was feeling fresh and strong again and ready for my next race.
Just as i felt all was back on track i did a very silly thing and crashed in training. Ok accidents happen but i have top admit this one could have been avoided. I was out with Ritchie porte exploring the country side behind menton when i hit a small bump on a non technical decent, hands flew of the bars, chest fell on the handle bars and after trying in vain to regain control of the bike clutching at the breaks i went over the handle bars and slid face first down the road. Again accidents happened but this one could of been avoided if i had only listened more to cadel evans one day in training. When we met for a ride in 2008 i asked him while he was not wearing a helmet, his reply was why are you not wearing gloves? Good question, so i said, if you wear your helmet i will wear my gloves! I did this for a long while but then stupidly stopped wearing gloves in training to avoid tan lines! Yes i know very vain and very stupid and in this case it taught me a valuable lesson as the only damage i did in this crash was to my hands, infact they were about as badly grazed as they could be without being a major injury so really the perfect wake up call to wear your gloves in training! Feeling like a complete dim whit for being so stupid i was again reminded by my dad that when i used to ride my motor bike he would only make sure i wore my boots and gloves, helmet optional although i always wore it, again he had taught me the importance of the gloves so finally i have learnt the lesson. Unfortunately the hard way. Again i was recovering but this time from an aching body, it came good enough in 3 days for me to resume racing on Sunday and thankfully i felt good again, i was up the front and super active, then going across to a break on the climb i did perhaps somthing even more stupid than my training crash, i crashed going uphill, i was so amped up and feeling good that i swung around a corner went for the accelerator, was still on to much of a lean from the corner and hit the pavement with my pedal and down i went. Very very very silly move. This time no major damage done and i was back on my bike that quick that nobody really noticed i went down as i was between the break forming and what was rest of the field. No major injuries but i did have a little bit of damage to the bike and was a little tight in hips so i offered myself for the work for the final part of the race so to the front i went to try and set up the race for leo. The race was 13 laps of a 14km circuit so with a lap and half to go the field was all together again and the attacks started in ernest with leo ultimately coming 2nd. For me i did not complete the final lap as my work was done and by this stage the body was a little sore from 2 crashes in 3 days and then having to ride on the front to try and control the race, so again the team told me to take an early shower which i duly did, i rode straight down to the beach which was 100m from the start finish for some AFL style recuperation, glad i did as now 2days on i feel like i am ready to go for another race which is on Thursday. So the last 2 weeks have been very good lessons for me in recuperation. Firstly because i was tired then secondly from crashes so in a funny way i have learnt alot and feel better equipped for these situations in the future, unfortunately these incidents are a little unavoidable in cycling from time to time.
Today is my birthday where i have turned 27years old. I guess i have fitted a fair bit into that time but it also reminded me that i am a bit of a slow learner in some instances like the gloves which i learnt this week and the pedal on corners. I have decided today for a bit of a resolution for my birthday that i need to learn quicker some things, especially things that involve me losing skin!