17 August, 2013

Peaks & Troughs

Fair warning: Today could be a philosophical one! I’ve been suffering with some fatigue over the past week and so there’s not really any racing content to be spoken of.

A peak.

Cycling, like life, has ups and downs and I’ve found that the lows often come immediately after the heady heights of success: it’s a long way to fall! Over the last week my body has been telling me things along the lines of “I’m tired, Doug” and “Why are you making me do six hours today, you nutter?” Yes that’s right, I have an inner monologue now. But being an athlete of the most pig-headed variety (a cyclist) I persevered. Cycling can be such a strange sport in the demands it makes because the key personality trait that allows you to improve - stubbornness - can also be your downfall if you’re not careful.

A trough.

Luckily I have my coach who knows me inside out. JB from TrainSharp.co.uk is a master in ‘crisis management’ as he calls it. Looking back over the last five weeks during which I’ve raced fifteen  times (including two stage races) it’s not hard to see that the workload has been heavy, but of course hindsight is crystal clear and cycling is not generally a sport for pure analysts and thinkers, it’s a sport for doers.

A peak.

You have to be a strong character to get up every morning, go out there and get it done, but a lot of people thrive on that hard graft, the brutality of getting your head kicked in every day in a stage race. I think of myself as one of those people, a good sufferer. Maybe one of the best, one day, because that’s what the professionals get paid for. But sometimes you also have to be strong and know yourself well enough to say: “No, I need another day to recover. I need a little more time because my body is telling me it needs to rest”. That is what I am doing today by taking the day off and not racing. I am trying to be strong by doing what appears to be weak.

Another trough.

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