Training In Review – Looking Towards My First 24 Hour Solo

Another Blog series about training! Gah! Why!?
Well its all part of the training that’s why!  Motivation is one of the key components to sticking with a training program; especially one in its infancy.

I find it easier to continue with a training program if I can share the highs and lows with others.  But this time around I won’t be subjecting the masses to weekly updates (to be honest I struggled writing a new piece each week last time) instead I’ll be doing semi regular updates detailing key milestones, mishaps and interesting things.

So welcome to my new series on my lead up training to my next big event…
The OnyaBike 2014 Australian Solo 24 Hour MTB Championships held over the Easter weekend.

Don’t let the Championship part fool you, there will be no riding for a fairytale podium finish; focus more on the Solo 24 Hour part!
Yes that’s right, I am aiming to ride in my first 24 hour solo race, so naturally I have to do some serious training for this upcoming pain train.

Training – Week 1 – The Long Journey Begins
After a fairly relaxed Christmas break in Brisbane riding in the stifling heat (by Canberra standards anyway) and climbing up the never ending series of steep hills I was in pretty good shape fitness wise to tackle my first week of training for the Easter solos.

With a few days left before I had to go back to work for 2014, I decided I wanted to put some extra kilometres under the tyres and set a big total for the week.  What I didn’t expect to do was ride more in the first week of my training than I have ever before.

Monday saw 87.3km on Kate the XTC during a ride to and from Mt Stromlo.  It was a hot day and I didn’t drink enough fluids.
BIKES 115.:Kate posing at Mt Stromlo:.

However I backed it up on Sara the Defy with a 100.3km ride around Canberra on Tuesday.
BIKES 116.:Sara chilling by the lake:.

Wednesday was a New Years Day ride at Mt Stromlo with some of the more dedicated The Berm crew (well those that didn’t race at the Wicked Wombat in Jindabyne the day before).  I rode 27.2km of sweet Stromlo singletrack to ring in the 2014!
BIKES 119.:A fine looking bunch of sober cyclists:.

Thursday and Friday saw the return to work for the new year and joining the Canberra cycling commuting community once again.  In two days I added another 97.2km to the weeks total, just 2.8km short of what I was aiming for.
BIKES 121.:Somewhat hot on Friday afternoon:.

Saturday saw a new bike join the stable and some short rides around Mulligans Flat dialling it in and trying to set some new Strava PR’s!
BIKES 122.:Introducing Emma!:.

As usual Sunday morning comprised of my regular Sunday Morning Social and Breakfast ride with The Berm crew.  A relaxed 56.3km in the morning followed up with a brisk 8.9km in the afternoon on the brand new Emma.

At the end of my first week actively training with a semi-set program and a clear end goal to achieve, I rode 406.9km.

Training Week In Review – Week 17

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.

Training Week In Review – Week 16

Week 16 was my week of training and preparation for the Scott 25 Hour.  The week started with a long weekend in Canberra thanks to Family & Community Day on the Monday.  So what better way to commemorate than to go for a spin around Kowen Forest/Sparrow Hill.

With fellow Bermers Roger, Tony, Alyssa and last years Battle of the Beasts riding buddy Argo; I enjoyed 34.7km of my favourite trails.

Wednesday was my first night ride at Bruce Ridge, partaking in the Regular Berm Loam’n’Lard ride.  A great ride followed by an awesome chicken schnitzel at Edgars Inn afterwards.

I stayed off the bike until Saturday morning when the Scott 25 Hour began at Mt Stromlo.  I rode a total of 111.5km during the Scott and a total of 167.3km for the week.  Not a bad second week on the bike after taking a month off.

If you want to read my wrap up of the Scott 25 Hour 2013 click here!!

The Call Of The Beast

I’m very excited to announce that the crew from BEAST-WORX, the organisers of the Battle Of The Beasts, have invited me to compete in their next venture: THE CALL OF THE BEAST.

BEAST-WORX are unbelievable supporters of SOLDIER ON & all Australian veterans, which is why they run their adventure races.  They have partnered with SOLDIER ON to bring you the best mountain biking/obstacle course/adventure races in Australia to raise money and awareness for SOLDIER ON.

The CALL OF THE BEAST is an obstacle course like no other.  It is not for shirtless posers taking selfies covered in mud at the end of leisurely stroll with 4’000 other wannabes!  This is an event that will test you physically, mentally and make you earn crossing that finish line!!

I’m extremely proud to announce that not only am I competing in the Battle Of The Beasts mountain bike festival in October I will be competing in the Call Of The Beast on November 30; racing for and raising money for SOLDIER ON!

Dargle Farm 2013 004



Training Week In Review – Week 1

Almost two and half months ago I crashed during Round 10 of the 2012/2013 CORC XC Series at Mt Stromlo.  Leading up to that race I was probably the most cycle fit and confident I had ever been.  This (over) confidence lead me to attempt a tail whip ride at the end of the race; a decision that ultimately ended in face full of gravel, blood and a grade-2 tear in my left pectoralis major (a torn muscle in my chest along with some ligaments).


Over the past two and a bit months I have been riding with recovery in mind and doing my best not to aggravate a very touchy injury.  There were days I could barely get out of bed let alone ride a bicycle.  A poor sleeping position would mean I couldn’t move my neck and shoulder.  I still I have pain after waking up but surprisingly I’m very comfortable on a bike when wearing my chest brace.

The hardest part for me being off the bike was the disappointment at being injured and the boredom I was experiencing.  I was at a point in my riding where I was ready to step it up a notch; thus the CORC XC Races.

So after six weeks of recovery rides, including a couple of XC races, I decided to formulate and implement a gradual Training Program.  And this week was the first of many to come.

I aimed for 150km of good solid medium intensity riding for Week One.  I completed 120.6km with 58km of that being some quick singletrack at Kowen Forest/Sparrow Hill and Mt Stromlo.  Although I didn’t reach my target goal for the week I was very happy with the average speeds over the distances I rode and the Mt Stromlo climbs I completed with relative ease.

Plus the one and only David Blucher got a photo of me riding Kate in my Soldier On jersey on Duffy’s Decent on Mt Stromlo on Saturday afternoon.


Road(ie) To Recovery

Today I got back on the road bike for the first time in almost a month.  I haven’t ridden a lot since I crashed at Mt Stromlo on the 14th of April.  Not counting the 35km’s I rode to get home after I crashed; I have ridden a total of 40km’s since.  This is not a good thing; I went from riding 200-300km’s a week to not riding at all.  I was getting into a good training and nutrition regime that stalled abruptly, well the training side of it did.  In just under 4 weeks I managed to put on an extra 4kg’s by continuing to eat massive amounts of carbohydrate and protein rich foods.

I debated at length with family and friends whether or not I should race last weekend in the first round of the new CORC XC Series.  Well stupidly I entered and started the race.  Predictably I didn’t finish.  At around the 8km mark I clipped a tree with my left shoulder and decided I needed to pull out before I injured myself any further.  Luckily I pulled up all right and my ongoing recovery continues.
End result: Round One: Rider #266 – DNF.

Which brings me to today’s commute.  I decided not to ride to work this morning when I walked out into my courtyard and felt the chilly Canberra air.  So Sara got packed into the Girly’s car with the intention of riding the long way home.  Well that intention got left by the side of the road along with my confidence.

Today I felt something I haven’t felt since last September when I did my first mountain bike race with no lead up training.  Today I felt my quads.  I felt every single metre of the ride home as a deep burning pain in my legs.  I was out of breath very quickly and drank too much water which caused stomach cramps.  It is important to note that this was a 20km ride on tarmac with only a few moderate length hills to climb.  I have done a 100km mountain bike race and felt better afterwards.

Stupidly I thought getting back on the roadie would be as if the last month didn’t happen.  I had psyched myself up and honestly believed my ride home would be full of Strava personal records.  But alas it was not meant to be.  I came home quite disillusioned and somewhat angry at myself; I even managed to break the zipper on my Giant cycling jersey.

It wasn’t until I was in shower stretching out and enjoying the hot water on my aching legs that I realised what was going on.  I’m not as fit as I was a month ago and I’m still healing from a fairly substantial muscle tear.  I’m not ready to start training yet, I’m still in recovery mode.