The transition for me from predominantly ”training” based days, to days spent mostly on the DownHill bike, is always a tricky period.
The deep winter training time has become something that I love, being able to see and measure your improvements, your weaknesses and your strong points so exactly is great, and this winter we have been working very closely with Alan Milway our new coach; having that consistency every time we are in the gym allows each session to be perfect and the gains are massive.
I love the gym, warming up, stretching my body and getting myself to the point where we rack the weights on the bar and lift, knowing exactly the reps and sets makes it so easy to just do. I just lift and my body does what it’s told, and setting a personal best on lifts every couple weeks is amazing, compared to riding your bike, the variables are small, and so seeing the improvements is easy, which in turn makes you feel great!
Sometimes I have to be careful and get reminded that at the end of the day I am a mountain-biker and not a weightlifter because I just want to push on and on, but have to rein it in a bit!!
It’s been great these last few weeks training with new team mate Taylor Vernon as our junior rider. He is in amazing form, he’s a fairly small guy, but his strength is incredible and I have to make sure I don’t let things slip as he is just behind me on the weights…I’m sure next winter he will overtake me! Damn!
The road also plays a big part of our training and is something else that I love, the boys mostly head out an hour before me, then I head out and eventually we meet on the road, where Gee heads home and Affy turns around and comes on my ride with me… road is so good because again you can really see exactly what you are doing, and any strength or weakness is highlighted. There is no hiding on the road!
You might wonder what I am dribbling on about right now but I wanted to highlight the transition and the noticeable gains between gym and road based days, to riding DH again properly, fast, testing, suspension set up, the whole shebang… Don’t get me wrong, this winter I have ridden more off road; DH, Moto and XC than in the last 5 years, having no shoulder surgery to recover from, and it is amazing to be in that transition period and be quite comfortable on my bike already…I put most of it down to the moto, riding moto in the sand most of the winter has probably been the best thing I’ve ever done!!
After we had been on our first training camp in Feurteventura, where we were in the gym and on the road constantly, I came home and rode Llandegla trail centre with my dog, and it was AMAZING! I could feel the benefit of every gym and road session, it was like I was a different person, never having felt so fit or strong. We were home for a couple weeks and now we are on camp no. 2 which is what I call the transition period, gym and road sessions in the morning are followed by DH sessions and full days of riding, which is amazing fun and feeling the benefit of all the winter sessions already is great, although sometimes this last week when I have been tired on the DH bike my body tries to set itself in a squat or deadlift position! It is my body’s default now!!
Right now I am sitting on the sofa of the house we are in in Malaga, Taylor is opposite me in his Onesie and we are watching Jeremy Kyle!!! This morning is a rest morning after a week of intense road, gym and DH…totally knackered…we are daydreaming about our Motos and my clutch finger can feel the feathering as I smash into a nice deep sandy turn ….. this afternoon is gym and then next week the DH will step up to the next level. Sooner than we can say ”80kg squats” it’ll be the first National round, and that’ll be it for the year of racing! TIDY!
See you at the races, Rach. x