Training Week In Review – Week 10

For the first time in a long time I entered a new week of riding and training without feeling any pressure.  I ended last week on a high after relaxing and just enjoying my time on the bike.

So on Monday morning when I woke up feeling a bit tight and sore in my hamstrings I opted out of commuting to work and rested.  On Tuesday I took Kate the XTC into work and rode home via a loop of Bruce Ridge to start my week of riding.  I rode a total of 43.6km in what felt like freezing temperatures but was in fact a balmy 4’C.

I took Sara the roadie into work on Wednesday morning and did a quick lap of Lake Burley Griffin with the intention of doing a bigger ride in the afternoon.  Unfortunately my beloved Giant Defy had other ideas and I ended up with a busted derailleur and had to abandon any further road rides.  I am yet to fix this bike and with more time to spend on the MTB before the Battle Of The Beasts, I doubt she’ll get another ride in the next couple of months.

Thursday and Friday were literally washouts for riding in Canberra.  I had no intention of riding in the wind and rain so opted for some time in front of the TV honing my XBox skills.  Saturday was a ride-free day due to the Girly flying out of town and my vote to ride having been vetoed.

Sunday kicked off with my regular ride at Bruce Ridge with The Berm crew followed by breakfast at Edgar’s Inn.  I haven’t ridden Zooey the Giant Anthem off-road since I bought Kate the XTC a few months ago.  I have been riding her to work quite often but this was her first time on dirt in a long time.  It took me 10km to get used to her not-so-tight cornering, non-carbon weight, dual suspension and longer wheel base.

I was heading out to Mt Stromlo mid morning for a short spin and with some time to spare I went home and swapped Zooey out for Kate.  I was glad I did as I met up with Bermers Roger and Alyssa and followed them around one of the Scott 24 Hour loops.  After finishing my ride with 14.2km under the wheels I packed up my bike and gear and went home with a total of 92.4km for the week.

BIKES 096.:Kate at Mt Stromlo:.



Training Week In Review – Week 9

Last week I rode a disappointing 86.9km after being sick all week and chalking up a DNF at the JetBlack WSMTB 12hr at Dargle Farm.

As I have written earlier, I lacked the motivation and will to get back on the bike for a big week of riding after a week of being sick and under-performing at a race I felt confident going into.  Week 9 was a week where life and procrastination got in the way of my riding.

My first ride of the week was at Bruce Ridge on Wednesday afternoon.  A short 11.1km to test out my new tubeless setup on Kate the XTC.  The new tyres felt good and looked good on my Crank Brothers wheels.

On Friday I braved a cold and foggy Mt Stromlo morning for a ride with MTB newbie John.  12.8km later I was back in my heated car on the way to work.  In the afternoon I headed back to Bruce Ridge for a short 13.1km ride for what felt like a very ordinary and non-fun ride.  I wanted to ride on Saturday but didn’t want to push it too much.

On Sunday I headed out to Bruce Ridge for my regular Sunday Morning and Social and Breakfast ride.  A sneaky pre-ride loop followed by the group ride and I had added 15.7km to the week’s total.  This coupled with a very enjoyable 24.6km at Mt Stromlo after breakfast and I had reached 77.4km for the week.

After a week of not having the motivation to ride, I ended the week on a high and the desire to spend more time in the saddle before I have a few weeks break for my Honeymoon.

JetBlack WSMTB 12 Hour Wrap Up

As I rounded transition for my eighth lap of the Dargle Farm course I knew my first venture into 12 hour mountain bike racing was soon to be over.

Initially my lead up for the JetBlack WSMTB 12 Hour went according to plan.  The week preceding saw me ride more than 350km including some long stints on the mountain bike and some solid racing during Round 4 of the CORC XC series at Mt Stromlo.  I felt fit and confident leading into the week before my first 12 hour race.

I started feeling the signs of an oncoming head cold on Monday morning when I woke up and got ready for work.  I started taking cold and flu tablets and increasing my fluid intake to try and limit the duration of what starting to build in my sinuses.  I decided if I was going to beat this thing I would need to stay off the bike and out of the Canberra cold.  By Wednesday I was feeling the effects of a full blown head cold complete with sore throat, headaches and blocked sinuses.  I still hoped I would be able to get some, albeit short, time in the saddle.

On Thursday I picked up a Soldier On banner to set up at the event centre, I then packed my race bag, camping gear and prepared Kate the XTC for the drive up to Dargle Farm the next day.  Health-wise things got a little bit worse for me.  A case of gastro set in and I was riding the porcelain bus for the next several hours.  My ideal lead up had well and truly sailed off into the distance.

Friday morning I packed the car and headed up the Hume Highway / M7 / M5/ back-roads / random car ferry and arrived at Dargle Farm to set up my camp site.  Fellow Bermers; Ben, Adam and Nigel were already there and almost set up.  My minimalist approach saw my site up and running in a few minutes.  Without much coaxing I was lycra’d up and soon Ben, Adam and myself were off for a recce lap of the 9.9km course.

I didn’t know what to expect from this course; I had been told it had some technical singletrack, open fire-roads and a tricky climb near the end complete with a rocky pinch to overcome before the rewarding downhill back into transition.  The first part of the course was a short stretch of fire-road leading into some impressive singletrack.

The thing that immediately struck me was the construction of the trails.  More often than not; trail-fairies will manipulate the landscape to suit a more fluid track.  Dargle Farm was the opposite; the trails had been built to accommodate the natural features and embrace the various obstacles.  After overcoming a few tricky corners and drops complete with some tree hugging from Adam; we were off onto the next part of the course.  Some short fire-road linking into some fast and free flowing singletrack.

About seven kilometres into my introductory lap of Dargle Farm I rode over a small branch and tore open my rear tyre.  I had been contemplating changing my Crank Brothers wheel-set to tubeless during the week but opted out due to the valves not sealing properly last time.  As I pulled a three inch long stick out of my tyre and tube I knew even a tubeless set up wouldn’t have kept me pedalling.

I wasn’t too keen on flipping the XTC and changing my tube in the thick mud so I limped back to the staging area and did my repairs and finalised my prep for the next day’s race.

Dargle Farm 2013 002.:The Berm Banner on display:.

Dargle Farm 2013 001.:The first bonfire of the weekend:.

I woke up with a fairly stuffy head from the cold night before and tucked into a breaky roll and coffee before getting changed and ready for the rolling start at 9am.

Dargle Farm 2013 004.:The Berm / Pedal4Pierce / Soldier On Race Headquarters:.

Dargle Farm 2013 010.:Just a few thousand dollars worth of carbon and aluminium:.

Dargle Farm 2013 005.:Dargle Farm getting busy:.

Dargle Farm 2013 008.:Race HQ:.

Dargle Farm 2013 012.:Ready to tackle the Dargle Farm course:.

The race began slowly with a rolling start with a couple of hundred riders heading down the fire-road and into the singletrack.  As was expected it was slow going and plenty of walking the bike until the field spread out and passes were able to be made.  I started with a steady pace averaging 16.9km an hour over my first lap.  Already I was starting the feel the heat and was sweating profusely.  I was very happy to have shed the knee warmers and opted not to wear my usual long sleeve shirt under my jersey prior to the race start.

I was sticking to my hydration plan of one bottle per hour so after finding my flow for the second lap I rounded transition and pushed onto my third.  I had found a pocket of similar paced solo riders and followed them through the singletrack and pushed past them on the fire-roads.  I had to slow down a little to avoid blowing up too early and was soon being over taken by the team riders.

At the end of my third lap I was averaging 16km an hour when I pulled into race HQ for a bottle change and quick feed.  Already the temperature had risen to 22’C and I was feeling the vast difference between here and the relatively freezing temperatures of back home in Canberra.  I started off on Lap 4 and saw a bunch of slower riders heading into the singletrack.  Not wanting to get bogged down and lose momentum I pushed past them and powered through the first singletrack section and down the rocky drops into the first section of extended fire-road.  Coming out of the cool trees into the full sunlight was a shock.  I could feel the sun starting to burn my skin and see the sweat dripping across my glasses and onto my bike.

JetBlack12hr 009.:Digging Deep and trying to avoid hitting other riders:.

Halfway through Lap 4 I felt the familiar rumblings in my stomach.  My digestive system wanted to purge itself of the morning’s breakfast and coffee… and now!  I rolled through transition and onto Lap 5 and then made a detour towards the toilet block.  I’ll spare you the details but I wasn’t feeling the best.  I pushed onto Lap 5 and found I was starting to get a headache.  I had been sticking to my nutrition/hydration plan and felt reasonably comfortable in that regard.

Lap 6 was more of the same.  I had slipped into a routine of casually riding the first section of singletrack, pushing out on the fire-roads, dealing with the technical singletrack and then attacking into the climb.  I was enjoying myself and relishing the times I was in the trees and out of the sun.  Although the climb was tough and easier to walk most times, I pushed up as best I could and looked forward to the downhill section leading into transition.

JetBlack12hr 023.:Dargle Farm – Down the Hill:.

I took an extended 20 minute break before I pushed onto Lap 7.  Even though I was feeling quite sick already, I made the effort to have a bite to eat and swap out my bottles.  I pedalled off onto the seventh lap and instantly felt my energy levels drop and dizziness start to set in.  Lap 7 was the beginning of the end for my 12 Hour venture.  I found the final climb incredibly difficult this time around and walked the pinch with a lot of other riders.

I decided to push on with my eighth lap even though I knew I would soon be stopping.  My legs were feeling good but the rest of me had started to give up.  I had a blistering headache and was starting to feel nauseous.  Halfway through the lap I began to vomit and any attempt to take on fluids was met with immediate evacuation from my body.  I was experiencing a form of ground rush and dizziness was starting to affect my balance.

JetBlack12hr 015.:Rider 29 – The new Mayor of Struggletown!:.

As I rolled past the timing area at the end of my eighth lap I headed straight back to our Race HQ.  My race was now over and I found a nice shady spot to lay down and try to cool down and stop the world from spinning.

While my first 12 Hour had been a failure in many regards I put this aside and started focusing on helping out the Pedal4Pierce team and solo rider Rocket Rolls.  Preparing the bikes for night riding was on the agenda and so was sorting out new bottles and food.  Adam was keen for pizza and I made sure it was waiting for him in between laps.  The P4P team were smashing out the laps and amazingly Ben was riding his fastest laps in the dark even after riding throughout the day.  While the boys were tearing up the course, P4P co-founder Nigel was busy in the DJ tent busting out some phat beats.

Dargle Farm 2013 017.:DJ Nigel:.

As the night drew to a close, both Adam and Ben smashed out their final laps minutes before cut off time.  At the end of the night the course was closed and the presentations completed, there were smiling faces everywhere; and even a unicorn.

Dargle Farm 2013 022.:Unicorn:.

On the Sunday morning I packed up and headed for home feeling tired, sick and dejected.  After all my gear was cleaned and packed away I contemplated if I would ever attempt another 12 Hour race again.

It wasn’t until a few days later when some words of wisdom were imparted on me from fellow Bermer Kris:
“It’s good to have a failure race.  You need to know how it feels to DNF, to bonk, for little things to not work so when the time comes when it has to work you know how to fix it and deal with it.”

Training Week In Review – Week 7

After a week spent (attempting) snowboarding I started Week 7 feeling very sore.  I had many small but painful bruises all over my limbs; and an extremely tender left shoulder.

Not one to do things by halves I jumped straight into my riding by commuting to and from work on Monday on Kate the XTC.  The week off the bike was quite evident with a heavy build up of lactic acid in my leg muscles and butt cheeks!

Tuesday was a slight sleep in and a shorter commute into work.  Ignoring my screaming quads I rode out to Mt Stromlo via Lake Burley Griffin and had a quick spin around some of the easier trails to get 21.1 km of dirt under the tyres.  The commute home was a painful 38.1km in the cold of Canberra’s night-time.

After a fairly intense 95.3km on Tuesday I took a rest day on Wednesday before taking the easy route to and from work on Thursday.  Even though I felt like I hate skimped out of some quality riding by taking it easy I did reach my goal of 200km in just three days of riding.

On Friday I decided to break out Sara the roadie for some easier commuting for my early start at work.  After a fairly long and tiring day at work the decision to take the short route home was an easy one… But I had to work hard for it.  Canberra decided to put on some incredibly strong wind gusts that almost blew me off the road and into the gutter several times.

With Round 4 of the CORC XC Series being held at Mt Stromlo on Sunday I intended to take some time on Saturday to service and ready Kate for the next days race.  Instead I took her out for a spin around Bruce Ridge with fellow Bermer Tony on his new Trek Superfly (which is sooo nice… pity it’s not a Giant!)  It was a very enjoyable 50.1km of riding but I still needed to prep my bike for the CORC race.

Race Wheels For Kate

I don’t warm up very quickly when I ride.  It’s generally around the 7-9km mark when on the mountain bike before I’m actually warmed up enough to take on the singletrack with speed and confidence.  Because of this I will either ride out to a race if it’s close to home or do a few laps of the course beforehand.  On Sunday morning I joined fellow Bermers Andy & Tony for a ride out to Mt Stromlo.

It wasn’t long before I was tearing off layers of clothing in the crisp Canberra morning; I was warming up very quickly.  We arrived with ample time to register and unfortunately enough time to get very cold in the chilly air, light rain and sweat drenched clothing.

Soon I was off riding Mt Stromlo’s western trails for some quick paced XC racing.  I hadn’t ridden the first part of the course before and was in for some technical and rocky trails.  I handled the course well on my first lap and made up a few places before deciding to attack the faster riders in front of me.  I took a few chances and was quickly passing the juniors and slower paced riders.  Fast fire-roads and different lines up the short but rocky climbs allowed me to use Kate for what she was designed to do; quick acceleration and powerful climbing.

After worrying about not riding the trails prior to the race I was really enjoying the experience on what I felt was a great course.  Halfway through my second lap I pulled up to see an injured rider laid out on the trail.  Young Pedal 4 Pierce rider Chris had taken a spill and was concussed from the fall.  A few of us diverted race traffic and helped out until an ambulance arrived to take Chris to hospital.  Thankfully he got the all clear and was sent home later in the day.

I finished my lap; came last in my grade and helped pack up the rego/event centre while enjoying a post race coffee.  When all the dust had settled I packed up my gear, rode down to the main car-park and headed off to lunch in the city.  After scoffing a pizza at Debacle I headed home slowly with a full stomach and 81.4km under the tyres for day.

At the end of the week I finished with 352.5km on the bike.  My biggest week of riding this year.  Although I’m a little sore in the legs I’m looking forward to another big week in the saddle with my first 12 Hour solo race this coming weekend at Dargle Farm.

CORC XC Rd 4 02

Training Week In Review – Week 5

For the first time in a long time I was looking forward to tackling another week on the bike. After taking a few hits mentally during the past couple of weeks it felt really good to want to spend more time in the saddle. Thanks to the previous week’s 250.3km of fairly high intensity riding I started the new week quite tender and fatigued.

While I had grand plans of long commutes on the roadie, Canberra decided it was going to be a very wet week with lots of fog. It is a fact that skinny tyres and wet/icy asphalt don’t mix so I prepped Zooey the Anthem with some lights, higher pressure tyres and dragged out my waterproof jacket.

I wanted to ride at least 50km each day while commuting; a goal I achieved on both Monday and Tuesday while riding in some light rain each time. Even at this early stage of the week I was feeling a lot of muscle fatigue but was still making gains while getting very wet and muddy.

Wednesday was dry enough that I was able to ride the roadie, but the aforementioned muscle fatigue was now in the fully fledged DOMS stage and any aspirations of a massive road ride were halted before the wheels began to even turn. But I still reached my 50km/day goal with a short commute into work and a longer commute home. I even managed to wash both Zooey and Sara taking advantage of the break in rain and brief sunshine.

Thursday was another mild Canberra day so I decided to take Kate the XTC into work. After riding Zooey and the ultra stiff (in a good way) Sara, riding Kate felt amazing. By swapping out a few components I’ve managed to keep my carbon hardtail under 10kg. With the front forks locked out and a good tucked position I quite often overtake most road bikes on the commuting climbs; something I relish doing. There’s nothing worse than tackling a long and difficult climb and having someone pass you looking cool, calm and collected. I aim to be that person; especially on a 29er while my prey is on a road bike sporting aerobars.

…But anyway, I took Kate to work on a particularly foggy morning the longish way and managed to push out 31.1km prior to work. On the way home my quadriceps were incredibly sore; but I wanted some off road time. A quick spin around the more fun tracks at Bruce Ridge went down a treat and I then headed off home covered in mud.

Thursday was also the day an article about my fundraising for Soldier On was printed in the Australian Army News.

Army News Jpeg

Friday was a complete wash out for commuting and to be honest I don’t think my aching legs had much more than a slow roll left in them. My bikes stayed at home and instead of riding I signed up for the JetBlack WSMTB 12 Hour at Dargle Farm on 10 August 2013. This will my first 12 hour and I’m looking forward to pushing myself over an extended period of time to test my body and mind before October’s Battle Of The Beasts.

This will also be my last race before my Wedding in September; so in some roundabout way the race will be my Buck’s Ride and I’m looking forward to spending the weekend riding with some of my good friends from The Berm.

At the end if this week I managed to push out 215.3km in four days riding.

Next week will be a much smaller week for riding as I only intend to ride on Sunday due to spending some time on my board in the snow.
Snow Gear

Training Week In Review – Week 4

Week 4 was going to be a larger week for the numbers from the get go.  I needed to break past 150km; a weekly goal I had only achieved once in the past three weeks.

I had decided I was going to spend more time on the road bike, but also knew I didn’t have the endurance to smash out the long rides I wanted to do.  My fitness has improved dramatically over the past few weeks but my quads are constantly screaming at me for a rest.  The only option was for some good paced commuting to work.

Monday I took the roadie to work along the short commute racking up 18.6km in the chilly Canberra morning air.  On the ride home I took in a more scenic 30.1km around a bit of LBG and exploring some of the bike paths near my suburb.

Tuesday was the day my beloved Kate was booked in for her first service at Onya Bike Civic.  I had experienced a fair bit of gear skipping during the previous Sunday’s CORC XC race at Kowen Forest.  As always the service, both mechanical and customer, was first rate and I soon had a singletrack eating machine firing at 100%…. Well for a about 6km of Bruce Ridge actually!  I managed to clip a stray fallen branch and snapped a spoke on my Crank Brothers Cobalt 29er front wheel.  After cutting my ride short at 7.1km I managed to fix the spoke with a spare included with the wheels.

Wednesday was a short commute to and from work on Zooey my Giant Anthem X 29er…  Not a lot to say about this apart from riding a 29er dualie on the road is a lot harder than sub 10kg road bike running 110psi.  I earned those 38.6km!

Thursday’s commute to work was on the roadie in subzero temperatures.  I was relatively warm in my leg warmers and wind-stopper; but still had ice on my legs when I arrived at work.  The commute home was a shit-fight of epic proportions; twin punctures, spat at by a bogan and a small stack due to a moron who didn’t have her inbred dog on a leash. <end rant>

Friday saw a ride to work in subzero temps and some incredibly thick fog!  There was even plenty of ice on my legs and crotchular region!
Ice Crotch
The ride home was almost as big of a fail as the previous day.  The dirty little secret of Canberra cycling community is the abundance of glass littered in cycle lanes and cycle paths.  There is a stupidly large amount that never gets cleaned up because TAMS (Territory & Municipal Services) couldn’t give a rat’s arse!
TAMS Tweet

<end rant>
After copping my fifth puncture in two days I called the girly and got picked up 2km from home.

Saturday was supposed to be a few laps of Mt Stromlo with some of the guys and girls from The Berm, but alas due to an oversight in forgetting my front wheel thru-axle that plan was aborted and I ended up riding in the afternoon.
My ride around Bruce Ridge and to home pushed me over my 200km goal for the week.

The close of the week saw a ride into Bruce Ridge and a spin around the grippy singletrack before the usual breakfast at Edgar’s and a steady ride in the pouring rain to home.

By the time my all my bikes had been cleaned and stowed away, I had amassed 250.3km for the week.  All in all I didn’t push myself too had and despite a few mechanical issues with two of my bikes I was happy with the end result.


Training Week In Review – Week 3

Week 3 started off well.  I commuted to and from work on Monday; the short way and shortish way respectively.  Tuesday saw an early start at work and the need for me to drive in.  I put the XTC in the back of the car in the hope I’d be able to hit the trails after work.  Thanks to be oh-dark-hundred start I made my way out to Sparrow Hill for some quick fun on the immaculate trails.

I cheated on Wednesday and put the roadie in the back of the girly’s car for a quick commute home.  The ride itself was fairly standard except for the now infamous bike pump versus car bumper incident.

Thursday I strapped on the Shimano MTB shoes and took Kate in with the intention of taking her for a spin around Bruce Ridge on the way home.  The weather was a bit ordinary with 80km/hr wind-gusts that tried their best to knock me off the bike and into Lake Burley Griffin.  So I rode home via Belconnen and around Lake Ginninderra.

Friday was meant to be a medium length ride around Kowen Forest and Sparrow Hill on my Giant Anthem Zooey.  But alas it was not meant to be thanks to a single phone call.

Saturday was a rest day/bike maintenance day spent preparing my XTC for Sunday’s CORC XC Race.  I replaced the standard Shimano rear derailleur in favour of a Shimano XT Shadow to reduce the annoying chain slap.  This didn’t quite go to plan and I was left with about four non-slipping gears for the race the next day.

I wasn’t feeling the best before this race.  My heart wasn’t in it and my head definitely wasn’t.  I woke up early and decided I’d give it a go.  I’m glad I did.  I managed to pull in fifth place and pushed myself further than I had before on a short course race.  I went out fairly easy at the start and picked up the pace quite considerably for the second lap finishing almost 3 minutes faster than my first.

At the end of the race I was 149.9km for the week… 100m short of my 150km target.  So after my shower I took out my single speed flat bar and rode a quick 500m to reach my 150km goal.  At the end of Week 3, I had some ups, plenty of downs and one hell of a good time at Kowen Forest racing.

CORC XC Rd 3 #02 CORC XC Rd 3 #01


I haven’t been on the bike for ten long days.  I’ve been sick and nursing my injury; so getting better has been my priority.  In the interim I have been aggressively fundraising for Soldier On and acquiring new parts for N+1 (which is a few weeks away at best).

Bike Pics 020

Today didn’t start off too well; cycling-wise.  While driving to work I heard a rattle on my windscreen which I assumed to be the missing plastic tyre lever I most likely placed on my bonnet while fitting my tubeless tyres the night before.  Oh how I was wrong.  When I turned on my wipers I saw a black object fly across my windscreen and onto the car next to me on Northbourne Ave.

It did not dawn on me until I was at Sparrow Hill this afternoon that the black object was in fact the 15mm thru-axle that secures my front wheel to my forks; Rookie_Error indeed!  Three bike shops later and quite a few phone calls I tracked one down at Bike Culture at O’Conner.

Two hours after I left work, I finally arrived back at Sparrow Hill for my first ride in ten days.  I intended to ride a couple of laps of the course for this Sunday’s CORC XC Race; but after one lap I headed across the highway into Kowen Forest.  I was not disappointed.  The free-flowing trails spoke to me as daylight quickly faded and night-time set in.  I switched on my lights and had the entire forest to myself for a brief moment in time.  Just me, my bike and the trails.  All of my troubles disappeared into the pine trees.

Today I was reminded why I started riding mountain bikes…  Because it’s fun to ride.



Recovery Week In Review – Week 1

After last weekend’s disappointing DNF in Round 1 of the 2013 CORC XC Series I hopped back on Sara, my Giant Defy road bike.  My first roadie commute on Tuesday afternoon didn’t go very well; I was slow, out of breath and my legs felt like they were on fire.

I was quite dejected and even let out some of the little dark clouds I keep hidden in the closet under the stairs.  But soon I realised I was still recovering from my injury and all I needed to do was get some more kilometres under the tyres and take my time building up my strength, fitness and endurance.

I woke up early on Wednesday morning and decided to ride Zooey into work.  It was a cold morning and I wore too much cold weather gear; by the time I arrived at work in the very chilly 2 degrees I was sweating profusely; a lesson learned prior to the sub-zero Canberra winter.  My ride home was quite enjoyable with a little extra km’s thrown in.  Later that night I joined Sonja and Fi for a lap around LBG. I started off taking it very easy and then stepped it up a few notches.  Finally I was feeling comfortable back in the saddle.

I was feeling motivated and drafted up a training program to help me get race fit once again.  Because of this, Thursday was a self-imposed rest day.  Friday saw me take the quick route to work; a ride I’ve done at least one hundred times before and a ride I did in a little over 4 minutes longer than my best time.  My legs felt good and so did my overall fitness.  I was starting to think Tuesday morning may have been an off day so I decided to test myself on the ride home.  I crossed into NSW and headed the long way home.  41.2km and a few decent climbs later; I was a sweaty, hungry and very happy rider.

I woke up on Saturday morning, had breakfast and kitted up for the long ride out to Mt Stromlo for some XC laps with fellow Bermers Tony and Pad.  By the time I finished riding some of Australia’s best singletrack and gotten home I had ridden 80.6km on my beloved Zooey.

Sunday morning is traditionally The Berm’s Sunday Morning Social and Breakfast ride; but being Mother’s Day we were forgoing the regular breakfast at Edgars.  I rode out in the cold and incredibly foggy Canberra morning.  The sun was yet to rise and even if it did, the thick morning fog would not let it shine through.  By the time I arrived at Bruce Ridge I was completely soaked from the heavy humidity and I had lost my cycling glasses.

The ride around Bruce was enjoyable as always.  The tracks are tight and it’s easy to get lost in the thick eucalypt forest.  But with our fearless leader Nat out in front on his new Open hardtail, we carved a quick but enjoyable ride through the dusty tracks.  But like all good things, the ride came to an end and I headed back home on my mud and dust caked steed.

Zooey With DirtAfter uploading my ride to Strava I discovered I had demolished my weekly goal of 150km and had ridden a staggering 277.4km for the week.
Strava Week Ending 12 May 13

To say I was happy is an understatement.  Although my legs are a little tender I know I am on the mend.  I still experience a dull pain in my chest and sharp pains in my neck and shoulder at times; but I’m not pushing myself to my limits.  I’m confident I’m on the right track and I’m doing all the right things to get better.

Weekly Wrap Up

Back On The Bike (Possibly Off It Again)

It’s been three very long weeks since I had my crash at Mt Stromlo during Round 10 of the CORC XC 12/13 Series.  It was my first venture into short course racing after entering and successfully completing several endurance mountain bike races.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I went into the XC race full of confidence… Maybe too much confidence.   I’m not saying it’s the reason I had my off or is responsible for the extent of my injury; the truth is I entered the race as I wanted/needed a challenge and it just so happened I felt fully dialled in during the ride.   But then, seconds from the finish line I attempted a jump, didn’t stick the landing and have been going through the last few weeks in considerable pain.

I’ve never been one to sit back and wait for injuries to heal and for rehab to work.  The truth is I’ve torn muscles, broken bones and had bouts of acute illness and gone straight back to work or back into sport.  It’s a stupid thing to do and as I get older and my susceptibility for injury increases; it takes longer for me to heal.

So now on the eve of Round 1 of the new CORC XC 2013 Series I face a conundrum:
Do I race or do I sit this one out?

There is not straightforward and simple answer; only more questions…
Do I want to race? … Yes
Should I race? … No
Am I fit enough? … Maybe
Has my chest & shoulder healed enough? … No
Is it safe for me to ride? … Maybe

I went for a ride yesterday afternoon on the same track as tomorrow’s race.  I only did one lap and I struggled a little bit.  It takes a fair few kilometres for me to warm up and by the time I had reached the 7km mark I was finally warm.  My chest and shoulder held up well, but I didn’t go as fast as I normally do and will need to go during the race.

However I woke up this morning quite tender and tonight I’m in considerable pain in my shoulder where the tear originates.  As with all muscle injuries you don’t feel the full extent until you cool down; and well I’m feeling it right now.

I’ve prepped Zooey and set my alarm for tomorrow morning with the intention of riding out to Mt Stromlo as part of my warm up; although a 30km commute seems a little excessive for a 20km race.

I guess I’ll just wait and see and if I decide it’s best not race tomorrow I’ll go out to Mt Stromlo and cheer on the rest of The Berm riders and help out my local MTB club.