For any of you following my Facebook updates you would know that last week was one of the most amazing weeks of my life. 6 days of intense cycling training in one of the most beautiful areas on the planet, the Southern Highlands. I wont bore you with all the details of each ride, but at the very least it is worth chalking up a post here just to say I would love to do that again. 18 blokes all with a common goal, to perform at their absolute best in the upcoming WSC2010.
There were no plonkers here and no negative talk. Every bloke was 100% committed to getting the most out of this week as well as forming some great friendships, not to mention the truckload of delicious and nutritious food we consumed.
A typical day started at around 7am, when we all bounced out of bed and got a leisurely breakfast in our cabins. I love this time of the day as you quietly go about the business of getting ready for a big ride
- take on some carbs,
- get your body prepared for the day's training load (no need to elaborate on that one!)
- choose clothing to keep you not too hot and not too cold on the bike
- mix bottles, and select fuel to carry while while
- finally don the helmet, glasses, gloves and shoes and you are ready.
The day's riding usually began at around 8:30 and after a brief recap on the ride, we roll out for around 5-7 hours of . Returning around 2 or 3pm, it's a quick recovery drink, into the pool for an ice bath and stretching and then get to lunch as quickly as possible. From 4-7 it was just chill time, that was usually taken up with checking over the bike, a bit of washing, calling into home and maybe a quick nanna nap.
From 7pm the eating really begins and there were times when I looked at my plate and thought "there is no way I am going to get through this much" but within a few minutes I had virtually inhaled the beautiful curry or pasta or shepherd's pie we were served and I would be washing it down with a nice piece of bread and jam, followed by fruit and yoghurt. Huge thanks to Sally who did an incredible job of keeping us all fed and watered with truly great tasting food worthy of us champions in the making.
The nightly lectures were also extremely interesting focusing on race nutrition, training philosophies and techniques, and the use of powermeters as a training tool. Having access to such a successful cyclist and coach as Mark Fenner was an absolute privelege and there wasnt anything that Mark left out. Even when he was in the grips of a nasty stomach upset, he was still happy to share all his wisdom, experience and insight from many many years of involvement at the elite level of this sport. We all really appreciated his enthusiasm to answer every one of our questions, no matter how simple, so thanks heaps mate.
So here we are, into the final approach for World Solos and there is still so much to organise and think about. Apart from figuring out the right level of training now in order to strike a balance between maintaining fitness and staying fresh, the bikes need to be prepared, food plans and equipment need to be organised, I have to keep healthy and avoid and unnecessary stress or injury, and the list goes on. But just to get to this point has been an incredible journey over the last 9 months and no matter what happens in 3 weeks time, it's been worth it.
To finish I just want to go back and touch on a point I made earlier about the friendships we made this week. I know every one of us will agree that it will make all the difference, when come 3am on October 10 and the legs are really starting to fail, I know that seeing one of my camp buddies on the trail and exchanigng a smile and a quick word of encouragement will make all the difference, so thanks everyone for an amazing week, I look forward to seeing you on the start line.
PS. thanks to Dean from TORQ Australia for his support especially with fuel and recovery products. These products are the best!