Thursday, October 29, 2009

Evolution of a cyclist

Wordle: Mountain bikingImage created on

While out on a ride the other night, a mate commented on how my style had changed since I first started. It is a more aggressive position with the seat moved forward, more weight over the front wheel which is better for climbing and cornering.
It got me thinking to how we evolve as cyclists. Training to be more than just a weekend warrior is never a linear process, there are up and downs and a few bumps along the way. Over the last month or so I have encountered some of those bumps, but I am hoping I have found the solution and it will be back to sweet single track for a while.
Recently I started to find I couldn’t ride as far as I had before and my training load was rapidly heading south. It wasn’t a lack of energy or time or even fitness, it just seemed every time I needed to push hard, the legs started to hurt much more than usual. At first I thought it was overtraining or perhaps I needed to modify my diet to get more nutrients in but nothing I tried seemed to improve my situation.
After a few months of this I realised something was wrong, it just didn’t make sense. Last Monday I played squash and while my legs were still hurting from the weekend ride, I was looking forward to this hit out with a quality player, and I hadn’t played for months so it would be a good workout. Sure enough the next day I was walking like an old man the gluts were so tight I must have looked constipated trying to walk up stairs.
Then driving to work on Tuesday I thought to myself, let’s just pop in to the Chiropractor and see what he has to say about all this. Sure enough with a few telling prods, he had diagnosed the problem. The final test was lying on my stomach and lifting my thigh off the table, trying to hold it while he put downward pressure. Nothing, no power there at all. The pelvis was completely locked resulting in a loss of power from my gluts which was causing me to strain the hamstrings. As soon as he released my pelvis, I could feel the powering surging back into my legs.
The next day I was still a little sore from squash but I did the Wednesday night ride anyway and rode pretty well. The next day was Thursday and I was feeling much better again. So now I am thinking great, I have a little over a week to top up my fitness for the Fling. Forget it. I learned that one a long time ago that you can squish 3 weeks of training into the week before a big race. So…..
Start from square one. An hour on the trainer at 70% listening to a 150bpm podrunner podcast gave me a great lift. I find the trainer is a great place to start training from. It gives you a really good feeling of where your fitness is at as well as your mind. I find if I have had enough after 30 minutes then I just stop as I probably need more rest, but if I can power on through that 45 minute barrier, I can do a solid hour and burn 600 Calories. Not only that, it has a soothing effect on my muscles because I can modulate my effort so easily. I just adjust the gear and the resistance so that my cadence is in time with the music at the heart rate I am aiming for, then you can just grind away for what seems like hours.
November 2009 will see one of the biggest months ever for me and racing. This weekend is the final round of the CCOMTB club champs. It is a 6 hour race, and the other TORC riders have thrown down the gauntlet to see if they can reel in my seemingly untouchable lead. Next weekend is the big one, the Highland Fling. This race really suits me with some tight single track, plenty of fast flat fire road and some big hills to bomb down. Following weekend is our Canberra odyssey, 4 tracks in 2 days, should be loads of fun in MTB heaven, then the next weekend is the Fat Tyre Festival, 8.25 hours in a pair and it’s game on the TORC masters with Trek vs Ibis. So stay tuned it is going to be interesting to see how the body holds up, but no matter what happens, I am sure it will be heaps of fun.


chops said...

everything is happening in november!!! The morale of the story???? SEE A CHIRO. i see mine every 2weeks

mightymike said...

Serious? Every 2 weeks? Wow I guess that makes sense.