km

Driven

Monday 26 of May it was dark and cold. This was the first ride of 820km that I covered during this heavy training week. There wasn’t anything special or terribly exciting to report during this week. It was more the mental journey and logistics of the whole week. I wanted to get most of the kilometres done before the weekend because there was a Mountain Bike Orienteering race on the Sunday that I wanted to compete in for navigational practice, so I wanted to have an easy day on Saturday.

The mornings consisted of dragging my body out at 3-3:30am, making some jam sandwiches and eating some cereal then hopping onto the bike at 4-4:30am rolling out with my AYUP lights, arm warmers, vest and sometimes leg warmers.

Why do I get up so early to ride? Well I figured I had to fit 150km a day to get all the km’s in before the weekend, but I had time restraints because I start work at 9am and it goes to 2pm. A 100km ride can take me 3hrs 15min to 3hrs 45min depending on weather, hills and how fresh I feel. So the mornings were early and the nights were early to get enough sleep.

This week was obviously going to be a huge mental challenge and a challenge to organise my self so it was easy to crawl out of bed and plunk my self onto my bike and ride off. So after my morning ride the riding gear went straight into the washing basket and I went and had a shower, a little bit of a second breakfast was consumed, pack some lunch and I would ride into work on the single speed. Riding the single speed was great! It spun out my legs on the way to work and it was just easy and carefree to ride.

Heading back from work to home in the afternoon after 2pm I would arrive home around 2:30pm and have a little rest, as I was feeling fairly drained from the morning rides plus work. I would eventually get my self ready to go out for a ‘river loop’ ride which is about 45km. Again it’s another mental step to do two sessions a day, especially doing 100km rides in the morning. These river loops were good because they were fairly flat and it’s easy to break down into sections. So before you know it you’re pretty much at the end of the loop.

Rolling up the drive way, riding gear goes into the washing machine and I try and refuel so I can last until dinner time. Lube goes onto the bike chain and I have a nap until dinner. My family all arrives home around 6pm and so we usually have dinner fairly late around 7:30pm – 8pm. So I pretty much have some dinner and fruit and make sure my washing is drying out next to the heater for the next morning and my bike is all set and my lights are charged as well as my Garmin 800 then hit the hay.

So this was pretty much my day to day routine for four days with the fifth day ending on my last 100km for the week. At that point I was up to about 745km. The next day I rode the single speed around my local trails with this social group. It was very easy and relaxing, getting to cruise with some of my friends.

Sunday was the Mountain Bike Orienteering race out at Samford. Competitors have two hours to collect as many checkpoints as you can which are worth different value of points. Every minute you arrive back late after the two hours you lose twenty points. This event was very forgiving since it wasn’t all on dirt and a lot was on road which suited me due to the amount of kilometres I had done prior to the race.

I was 51 seconds late so I lost twenty points, no real harm but I got enough points that won me the event. Out of 1700 points I got 1330 after the 20 points deducted. I was asked to pick up check points as well after the event so I got a few extra kilometres and in total racked up 820km.

All this week I was using Strava to track my data. Here’s the link to my profile: http://app.strava.com/athletes/660244

So that wraps up my week and now I just have to plan more of my European trip!

Rough, Tough and down right STUFFED!

After the selection races I have gone back into base training. Which means, you know it – lots of hours on the bike! This is fine, and since Monday I have been waking up at 4am and going out at 4:30-5:00am to do 3.5-4.5hr road rides. This also included some easy/fun MTB sessions in the afternoon to help regain some confidence in my single track handling skills.

This week was going to be a 1,000km week, but I mentioned to my coach that I have a XC race at Toowoomba on Saturday (which is very steep and rocky) and a Long distance MTB-O race on the Sunday. So we still decided to have a hard week but half the amount and I managed to rack up about ~400+ kms by the Thursday and did a promotional shoot for MTB-O with the ‘Totally Wild‘ show which is a Channel 10 show on the Friday.

 

So today I was feeling a little rested, but I was doubting my chances for staying with the leaders after having ridden the course on a practice lap. It was rocky, and I mean ROCKY, as well as steep. I felt, O.K. on the climbs in the practice lap but it was a whole different story when the race started.

I knew it would be an absolute shit fight to get into the single track due to the lack of overtaking chances on the whole course and the sudden rough technical climb. I think there was about 100m of track that was viable to overtake, unless you wanted to spend a huge amount of energy to ride over rocky ground in the bush faster than someone else on smooth or rocky track.

So the race starts and I hit the first climb hard to get an O.K. spot, then about in the first 100m I knew this wasn’t going to be a race against the other guys. This was a race to see if I could make it around four times. My legs felt shot and they weren’t recovering and the close trees and rocks where making me nervous and slow.

The rough descents were effecting my left shoulder and my arms were already fatiguing on the first half of your course on the first lap! I have done mainly road cycling since I was given the O.K. to cycle again but the rough track shook me to bits, let alone my whole body already feeling like it had done the course four times.

It was a mind game and I was losing the game. I came around through my 2nd lap and stopped and had a talk to with Dad and I had already felt defeated for awhile. My back was telling me to stop and my arms were barely keeping control of the rough and narly descents. Don’t get me wrong, they were fun and I loved them but my body wasn’t dealing with it well.

I pushed out a third lap but I was exhausted and my arms were weak and the shoulder was doing weird things. Having seen stacks on the course I thought I would play it safe by pulling out and resting. I wanted to do four laps, but my body didn’t have it in me that day.

The winner Ben Forbes powered through for a victory with a healthy lead of Michael Illing who also had a healthy lead over Aiden Lefmann.

 

There is a lot of work to do to bring me up to speed. I know I am slow on tight windy tracks and I don’t quite have the explosive speed as the other guys. improving my technical skill is crucial as well. Heading into this race I could have trained differently, but this isn’t what I am training for.

My focus right now is the World Mountain Bike Orienteering Championships in Estonia and I need to get kilometers into my legs then put some speed into them. I do want to improve my XC performances seeing as it will be better to aim for to have competition to push me to go faster and train better.