I cant believe that it is February already and I havent written a blog or anything about winning the World Cup Series in 2012… it meant so much to me and the support from you guys was incredible and made it that much more special. I will write one soon I promise. I learnt a lot of things that maybe could help and inspire other riders 😉
For now though, I’ll tell you a little bit about the start of our preparation for 2013, the goal being to better 2012: Stronger, Faster, Titles, Fun!
We decided that after 5 years of going to Southern California for our winter training for 6 weeks, we would try something completely different.
We also started working with a new Strength and Condition coach, it feels good to mix it up a bit. We still work with ‘The Cone’ Darren Roberts on some things, for example he’s staying in charge of our injury management – he is a part of who we have grown to be, but change and new additions are good for everyone.
The other something different was to head to Europe for shorter blocks of training. So for the first training camp we set off to the infamous resort of Playitas, on the South of the Feurtaventura Island…. we left behind 4 foot of snow and no hope of riding a bike to fly to 30 degree sunshine and one of the best sports resort I’ve ever seen!
Playitas is a resort fully equipped for the athlete. It’s a paradise for triathletes, swimmers, runners and cyclists, with a 50m Olympic pool, massive gym, courts, classes and perfect roads, not to mention chill out relaxing holiday areas, right on the beach. We were stoked and bowled over by the level of athleticism that surrounded us!
Anyway, training itself for me this year has already been 100 times better than the last 4 years. I have started off my winter training season at a position that I only managed to reach last year just before the race season.
It is an AMAZING feeling to come into a winter fully fit and functional, this being the first year for a long time that I have not had shoulder surgery at the end of the race season. Last year in 2012 I didn’t ride a mountainbike or any bike from September until March, this year, I haven’t stopped riding my DH bike , XC bike, my MOTO and Road Bike since the last world cup!
Coming into Winter training strong and fit instead of coming into training with a Re-hab and mobility programme really is the most wonderful thing, I have been able to start my strength training back in November at a level that I would’ve been happy to race at previously, and this first training camp away has been so enjoyable in the sense that instead of my gym time revolving around getting my shoulder strength back, doing stability work night and day, worrying which exercises I could physically do, I am able to concentrate on exactly what I need to, to become stronger, I can squat as much as I like without my shoulder stopping me holding the bar correctly, I can lift and swing and play like a monkey without having to really think about it, although having an acute awareness of my weak spots is now so ingrained in me that its second nature….and a good idea for anybody that trains hard because it certainly pays to be safety conscious.
Its really inspired me to try and spread the word, to try and tell people that you really can do anything you want to. I see people here at Playitas that are 60+ triathletes with the most amazing bodies, I see a women with surgery scars to her spine all down her back swimming the Butterfly, I see a guy with 2 prosthetic legs with his ironman T-shirt on, and I also see everyday folks training their bodies and loving life. I see my own shoulder scars as I lift a personal best, the only thing that seems to hold us back is our minds.
We have pretty much been Road Riding, Gym and Pool for 2 weeks, with a couple of XC rides thrown in for good measure. Road riding out here is mad, it’s so hot but the wind equals it out, so in no time you have sweated your body weight without realising it! Hydration has been key and we all had to buy extra bottle cages! The first ride we did was interesting to say the least…. everyone was excited and the pace was fast, slipstreaming and going for it I was really pushing to hang on, then we got to a long hill climb and for some reason I just went for it, absolutely grinding for 10 minutes up this hill, loosing Affy, Gee, Ben and Alan, I was really pleased with myself! But from then on I have been reining myself in and making myself stick to a lower heart-rate to improve upon my weaknesses.
Affy has been smashing the hours on the road bike out, hour after hour after hour, the guy is an absolute machine and seems to hold his muscle strength but drop his weight every day which is mental! One day we all set off on a giant ride with Triathlete Olympic Silver Medallist Javier Gomez, literally 2 minutes in and I was gone, off the back and couldn’t even pretend to try to keep up, Ben being my lovely boyfriend waited for me at the first roundabout and we rode our own ride, the Pelaton was a dot on the horizon at this point, they were going so fast they looked like a car, Gee and Alan hung on for 2 hours and then dropped off, Affy sat the whole 4.5 hours with Javier, his team mate and another dude, in the end there was just the 4 of them, going around and around in their little pelaton at 28mph, Affy said every time he slowed a little this old guy would shout and encourage him to hang on and they made it all the way home, Affy said it was the most gnarly thing he has ever done! But imagine that was just another day’s steady ride for Javier at 130bpm….how fit must he be?!!!
We rode a short and intense XC trail about a week in, dry as a bone and loose, like a desert moonscape, it was so rad to be on an MTB again, and I could immediately feel the benefit of the last few weeks’ strength training, altogether more connected and tidy, it was mega just smashing the climbs fast then pinning the loose descents, hopping around, having fun, it was just enough to remind me why we train, not to be good in the gym, but to be good where it counts, on 2 wheels 😉
Tomorrow we are off home back to reality, and hopefully back to the CRF250, which is my first port of call, Preston Docks! Whhooooop!
Thanks for reading and here’s to 2013, See you at the Races. x