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June 2017

The Final Countdown

That’s a wrap! Training: done. Aside from a short ride tomorrow, I’ve now completed my BCBR “non-training” training plan.

Surprisingly enough, I haven’t felt the need to use a Garmin or HRM at all. I expected myself to get a few weeks in and be ready to go, to compare my 5min power efforts to mid-national season, but I know i’ll struggle to hit my 410w/5min max from the start of the year, even at a higher weight now, and in the end the numbers don’t make you any happier. They are tools of progress and for motivation, but there is the light and dark side of that and I have enjoyed free-ranging it for a while, especially at this time of the year where the goal is ‘ride bike lots’.

Instead of looking to numbers, I have been able to gauge my increased fitness by my ability to suffer and dominate in local crit races (a great improvement from dying 20min into the first crit back after a couple of months off…I just quietly ghosted home after that!) and assessing my increased tolerance for multiple long days in the saddle. That being said, I haven’t done anything over four-ish hours, though I have backed up to four x 3-4hr rides in a row.

I’ve never been one for backing up, and so to be able to hit out a solid 10-12 hours in three days has been an achievement in itself!

Want to know what the BC Bike Race is like? Check this out, it’s well worth your time (entries for 2018 are opening soon guys…).

The recovery I talked about last post? Yeah…i’m still not so great at it. Nothing says recovery like walking the kid and dog for 5km then cleaning and packing the house in preparation to sell it, staying up late doing coaching and invoices and trying to hit deadlines. That in itself justifies the wine, which is unfortunate as it impedes recovery. However, that’s the story of real life and I know once I hit that plane I will be super relaxed. Maybe.

So what have I been up to this week leading into BCBR?

Monday: Off (after a weekend of Gravity Racing Saturday and a Social 1hr45 trail ride with an athlete and mate Sunday)

Tuesday: 3hr15 including 1 hr of mixed threshold and VO2 efforts, in intervals: last big hard session pre-BC (very, very hard session due to the intensity mixed into the longer session!)

Wednesday: 1hr recovery

Thursday: 2hr15 including 4 short singletrack efforts, with an athlete. Due to ongoing fatigue I cut the efforts short (for me, he had to keep going!); after all, it’s no time to dig a hole right now!

Friday: Day off including core stability and conditioning: no heavy squats and deads at the gym now.

Saturday: 90min short hit out with newly rebuilt bike, check everything is ok, then complete several VO2 efforts before packing up bike and everything else.

Sunday: Sleep in (until at least 6am!) and leave for BC! ALSO ARRIVE IN BC—what a time-warp!

So yeah; I’m coming good. I am not peak-fit but I know I can get through if I:

a) eat enough food during the race,

b) don’t try and race XC pace, and;

c) ride happy.

Packing and other preparation

Executive management skills don’t come naturally for me, so here is a picture of how my packing is going:

packing
Wow, at least I got the important stuff…like Fisiocream.

Also, I am not innately a happy camper so I have invested in a fancy camping pillow, ear buds, eye mask and no doubt a small flask of something to get me to sleep. JK about the last one…or am I?

 

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Me, every morning.

 

So now I just have to trust the process, relish the singletrack, enjoy my time away and just be me: a happy shredder exploring some of the best trails in the world!And now I leave you with one of the finest adieu’s out there…

The importance of recovery

The BCBR is fast approaching. It’s raining cats and dogs here, and I have just come off night shift and a couple of days taking it really easy after a solid 20-hr week, featuring some intensity; first in a while. Finally it feels like backing up is going well, and a few solid 3-4hr days with a substantial amount of climbing have been achieved without bulk-grovelling. Without having the top end speediness I would like (but don’t really want to work too hard on right now!) I am feeling pretty confident in my ability to complete BCBR! Cool!

Last week featured some solid backing up:

Sunday: 2hr15 Trail ride. 3x25min Time-Trials at Subthreshold, 5min rec between. 43km and 700m.

Monday: 3hr30 endurance ride. Felt slow. Multiple long seated climbs. 60km 1600m.

Tuesday: 1hr coffee shop roll (the best!). 25km. 30min slow dog run (ie: running slowly, plus the dog isn’t very clever).

Wednesday: 4hr30 road hills. Social 2hrs followed by 2x30min tempo/SST. 115km 2200m.

Thursday: 3hr30 singletrack and hills. Beginning with a few 10-15min climbs at tempo, followed by local singletrack loops. Backing up and singletrack riding when fatigued! 60km 1700m.

Friday: 2hr. Social Bunchie. 50km 650m.

Saturday: 2hr30. Local Criterium and home. 80-90km, dead flat but good intensity and feeling strong at end of a solid week means it’s all going in the right direction! First time I have felt the crit was relatively ‘easy’ speaks volumes in terms of gaining strength and fitness.

Sunday: 2hr30. Ride to MTB race and race (race time 1hr10: mud-fest!). Felt tired but able to push (even though legs slow) and good skills in the wet despite fatigue!

So…many good things about this week! Multiple core-stability sessions (~2hrs) but no heavy gym through the week.

A crucial part of any stage race is recovery, something that doesn’t come naturally to me in the rumble and hubbub of everyday life. In order to get through my 20hr week, I had to prioritise recovery after sessions, and now am taking stock of how i’m feeling after finishing that week with a very wet, very wild 45km day on the MTB which included a 20km race. The signs and symptoms of a sinus infection are here: I am super congested, snotting out gross stuff and have a headache, but two days off the bike (admittedly, working) and listening to the body has helped a lot and hopefully i’ll get out of it with minimal harm!

This week my plan is emphasising recovery before the next shabammmmm and bringing some more top end into the mix:

Monday/Tuesday: off/work

Wednesday: Rollers (raining) 1hr, easy. Do some bendy stuff.

Thurs: Endurance ride Noosa 3hrs. Gym potentially: 1hr.

Friday: Ride Noosa 2-3hrs.

Saturday: Singletrack ride and efforts ~2hrs

Sunday: Commute to work (1hr) + Gym (1hr)

As you can see the volume is pretty tiny compared to what I have been doing, and that’s fine because I am fitting a bit more work in around training this week. I am also working at Noosa (hence the rides will not likely be a high quality)

41 days until #bcbr2017! How are you feeling?

A post shared by BC Bike Race (@bcbikerace) on

Some recovery techniques I used throughout last week’s hard week, and through this easier week include:

• Eating well and hydrating well throughout the session. As I have upped the elevation and intensity of my sessions I have added extra carbohydrate into the mix and it has helped a lot. The best way to start backing up for the next day is to not finish your ride completely fucked…

• Getting stuck into a quick, easy recovery meal or drink straight after. If at home this may be a late lunch or second breakfast, which features enough carbohydrates and protein to replenish muscle glycogen and aid muscle repair for the next day. If I am on the run a quick protein AND carbohydrate shake is easy enough, and they usually taste delicious. When looking to purchase a recovery drink, remember to look for one that has adequate carbohydrate AS WELL AS protein. Sometimes they are sold as ‘muscle gainers’, which can be offputting for the aspiring whippet, but you need both protein and carbs to recover!

More tips can be found at the Sports Dieticians Australia Page.

• Stretching/yoga/foam rolling/trigger point. Definitely one where I, and many others, fall over in the recovery spectrum. It’s hard to want to get bendy at the end of a ride, or end of the day when it’s chilly outside and the couch and wine is beckoning! But keeping your aches and pains and tight spots in check is crucial. Many overuse injuries can be avoided by merely spending few minutes working on problem areas. For me it’s glutes and hamstrings, as well as continue to strengthen my shoulder post injury, but pay attention to what’s sore after a hard ride and your body will tell you what needs work/maintenance!

• Keep off the booze. Backing up hard sessions, your body is working hard to recover, and inflammation is a part of the recovery cycle that is impacted greatly by alcohol. I am not saying don’t drink, ever, but perhaps hit up some H2O or electrolyte instead of the red between hard sessions.

• Adjuncts: recovery tights, massage, cold-water immersion; these are all things that you can use between hard sessions to manage fatigue and increase the chances of you having a great day the next day. There is limited data on these things, due to the subjective nature of ‘recovery’ and difficulty in objectively assessing their efficacy. But it can’t hurt, right? At worst a placebo effect is better than none at all!

• Chillin’ like a villain. Yep, there’s never a better time for some Netflix and chill (real, not implied meaning) than between hard sessions. As your fitness increases, your need for chill time will decrease as you become stronger and your body is capable of dealing with a greater load, but that being said a solid nap does wonders for recovery: stimulating some extra, natural GH can never go astray!

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Wet, muddy, disgusting. I had a great time slipping and sliding and working on the wet skills we tend to ignore here in Australia. The race gave me some confidence for wet conditions (but maybe not wet bridges…) in BC. While I am not in destroy mode on the bike yet, I managed to have a good time which is really the main goal!

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