Week 17 or The Last Training Week In Review Until I Find A New Race To Train For…
After riding the Scott 25 Hour the previous weekend I found it extremely difficult to find motivation to get back on the saddle. Feeling a little tender but otherwise quite good; I hit up Berm-Master Nat for an easy spin around Bruce Ridge on Monday.
Before I start whining about how Nat flogged me and made me ride up hills including the dreaded Bruce Ridge pinch; I have to say not only is Nat an amazingly generous and nice person…He is an unbelievably skilled cyclist (note I didn’t say mountain biker… I said cyclist!). The previous day he had a little spill and ended up with some mean looking deep tissue bruising on his quads; I on the other hand had finished riding over a hundred kilometres with no sleep the day before. “Let’s take it easy”, he said, before speeding off and leaving me staring at a Nat-shaped dust cloud ala Looney Tunes!
I enjoy riding with faster and better riders, you can watch how they ride and learn. Mountain biking is always about adapting to change and getting better; and when you follow a rider of Nat’s calibre you pick new tricks and fix bad habits.
During the Scott I managed to overcome my bad habit of two-finger braking as a matter of necessity. My hands were cramping and when I started my decent of the downhill section I found I didn’t have enough hand on my grips to safely navigate around obstacles at speed.
So during my ride with Nat I watched him corner his super-light Open at speed and copied his body position and soon realised I was able to lean into the corners more and rely less on tap braking to ensure I don’t wash out and meet the ground with my face.
After the ride I started to feel a bit off colour; something that would follow me well into the week and keep me off the bike. It had nothing to do with the lap of Bruce; maybe the chest infection I picked up in Vietnam had one final trick left for my immune system. I felt flat all week and found it very difficult to get up each morning for work; and considering I usually open my eyes and literally jump out of bed, this was a strange thing for me.
So Week 17 ended up being a rest week with very little interaction with my bikes at all. So now as I prepare to tackle The Beast I’m feeling quite relaxed with no muscle soreness for the first time since I began training for this race. Maybe a week off is what I needed.