Let’s show some love

It’s the world road cycling championships. It’s the time where pros swap their work colors for country colors in bid for honour and glory.

There is sometimes a mixed reception to world championships. Not just in cycling, more often in professional sports.

A non-professional sport is when the world governing body does not have a professional league/circuit of any sort. Rowing is an example. There isn’t the equivalent of the WTA, NFL, PGA, NBA, UCI WorldTour etc.

This insta post came up that is absolutely heart wrenching and almost brought me to tears.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B26WoKqnj8T/?igshid=tjmjjigp49vo

This should be what it means to wear your country’s flag on your shoulder. This should be how much you really cared.

I don’t talk much about the journey I embarked on 12 years ago. It brought back some memories. The feeling of complete helplessness, is absolutely heart breaking. I know what it’s like. I can remember every minute of it, all 3 different occasions.

It’s hard to find such passion these days. Certainly not in this generation of athletes I have come across. As sad as I am to watch it, it’s encouraging to know it still exist.

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Do we need to start talking?

Bi-annually, for a few months, usually during the second half of the year, news on local sports starts show up just a little more. What better way to kick things off with some controversial, split down the line drama about SEA Games selections.

SEA Games are the Southeast Asia Games. Held every 2 years, involving the ASEAN countries. Based on personal and conversational experiences, it would seem that a majority of sports association considers it as the most important event in their high performance calendar.

A rather highly talked about topic at the moment, based on a Google search is the exclusion of our 2017 and 2015 champion in the Mens marathon, Soh Rui Yong, from the contingent.

There has been quite a few developments since it came up. Here is what the situation is now, as reported.

http://theindependent.sg/soh-rui-yong-turns-down-spore-olympic-councils-request-to-keep-mum/

Reporting can be biased, depending on who reports it. Soh writes about as it happens on his blog

https://www.runsohfast.com/blog/snoc-says-i-own-a-media-circus-are-they-the-clowns

He uploads the lawyers’ letters so you’re better off reading that and coming up with your own opinions if you have the time.

The underlining matter, if the people in sport are still bothered to address, in my humble opinion, is that athletes and administrators don’t talk openly and honestly. Quite like when you and your boss don’t communicate, things go sour really quickly. A main difference is, a vast majority of athletes in the national system don’t get fat pay cheques. Neither are they your average joes waiting for the clock to go from 9 to 5. You need to somehow have or be able to truly relate to passion when dealing with individuals who lay your lives on the line.

There is the snoc athletes’ commission, which has been fairly quiet all this time. I leave you to read about what their purpose and vision is supposed to be. What hasn’t been reported is how much involvement, if any, have they had in helping to improve the relationship between Soh and nsa.

This is probably one of the most publicised dispute between athlete and governing bodies in the recent history of singapore sport (i might be wrong). Along with it, hundreds more that have been swept underneath the rug.

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Road Nationals

Sometimes you think you’ve ticked most of the boxes, but still, fall miles away from the drop zone.

There was certainly more preparation done this year than last. The course is different but I didn’t take much of it. Probably one important box I should have ticked. I had a slight hunch I was in trouble at lap 3 but didn’t instinctively take action to get out of it. I couldn’t do anything to help our main man get onto the top step.

It was still time well spent with the boys. From good banter to the serious topics on and off the bike, we learn something about ourselves by hanging around people we trust.

We’ll keep trying. There will always be that amatuer, self-proclaim pro rider out there who will tell you that you won’t make it. There’s a difference between professional bicycle racing and amateur bicycle racing. It’s not rocket science why the even the amateur bicycle racing community continues to have an extremely elitist image. None of us are after a pro contract.

Great job to all who pinned a number on. Keep at it and enjoy the process.

Big thanks to the team from Recovery Systems for the awesome snaps.

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Data-driven? Or data collector?

It would be difficult to find someone who doesn’t feel good after realising they have achieved what they have set out for or gone better. Most of us enjoy the feeling of going that little bit faster, finishing that extra rep, setting a new PR, hitting that target you have set for yourself.

It’s also fairly easy to convince yourself that you’ve gotten fitter and faster. Technology has certainly played a massive role in helping us with that. You can now monitor speed, heart rate, power and even your position in real time. If you just started diving in on output measurement, take your time to understand what the numbers really mean and the assumptions that might come with some of them. It’s easy to convince yourself that you now have the physical ability to ride constantly at an average speed of 35km/h when you were sitting in the bunch the entire time, just as an example.

There is also the option to dive a little deeper to find out how your body is responding to physical activity. What used to be only accessible to really highly competitive and/or professional athletes, physiological testing is now more readily available to the masses. But because of its perceived elitist status, it still hasn’t quite caught on with the age-groupers.

“Why would I want to know how efficient my body is in delivering oxygen throughout my body?” If you’re serious about preparing for an event and time-crunched while doing so, it might not be very efficient use of your time if you aren’t working on an aspect which might be holding you back. It’s not often you meet someone who high-fives at the thought of doing something they aren’t particular good at. More often, there is a greater inclination towards the feel-good factor.

With the help of technology, we can now easily get a whole bunch of numbers. But if it was that easy to make any sense or put those numbers into reliable perspective, for them to be of good use, everyone would be a world-class coach or sports science practitioner.

What’s your approach? Are you data-driven? Or a data collector?

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Training, Coaching, Exercise

The number of exercise and/or fitness programs has certainly increased in recent years. Along with our society promoting greater accessibility for an active and/or healthy lifestyle, it’s so much easier now for someone to pick up a new sport and/or a new fitness regime.

I don’t have the figures, but I’m fairly confident that just based on your social circle, the number of people who is a member of a gym or part of a fitness/exercise group of some sort now as compared to just 5 years ago, has drastically increased.

We all have our reasons for partaking in exercise. Again, with no figures for verification, my assumption is that the vast majority are on the path of active lifestyle or as a social activity, or both. There is the growing minority who have set themselves slightly more tangible goals. It could be an aesthetic goal: to slim down, build muscle etc. It could be a competitive goal: to prepare for a sportive, race, etc. It could be a quantitative goal: to lose or gain X amount of weight, lift X amount of weight, run X distance in X amount of time. It’s easy to transit from one to another to another and back to where you started.

You hear ‘I’m going for training’ being used often. If you have a competitive or quantitative goal, you are training for something. But if you aren’t, you are exercising. Describing your time in the gym or your run session as training to have an active lifestyle can be slightly exaggerating. Your body does need time to adapt to increased physical activity. But I would hardly consider that a training regime.

From 2007 to 2011, I was training to qualify and compete for the Olympics. The goal was crystal clear. So were the short and mid term goals. I fell short of that. To be precise, I was never given that chance in 2011 to attempt for qualification. When I switched to racing bicycles, the goal was not crystal clear and I didn’t have the short and mid-term goals. In short, it was a complete mess. I made the huge mistake of not getting a coach on board, primarily because of the costs involved. I began straddling the line until the grey area got too big that I went no where.

It’s not just about telling your mates that you’re going for training or exercising. Knowing where you are on the spectrum affects a bunch of other factors in your life: lifestyle and diet choices, work and/or study vs life priorities. If you have goals you are working on achieving, and serious about it, I strongly suggest getting a coach on board.

A coach should not only be giving you a training program to follow, you have to trust him/her as a life mentor. There’s much more to do between the ears than most would expect.

There’s now a whole bunch of cycling coaching groups/companies out there. If you don’t know where to start, give Kristján Snorrason, aka Snozza, a ping through his website:

Cyclingtraining.CC

His knowledge and experience in sport, along with his people skills, naturally steers people to put trust in him. Trust that he will get the best out of you, trust knowing that he has your best interests at heart.

After all, it’s still a two way street. There is no template to find out who you trust your personal goals with. But if even we ourselves aren’t sure what they are, no amount of training or exercise is going to get us there.

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OCBC Singapore National Road Championships 2019 – Team Time Trial

Last weekend kicked off this year’s Road Nationals with the TTT. Plenty of buzz leading up to it, with heaps of fancy TT bikes getting serviced and riders getting TT-fitted on social media.

It’s a discipline about numbers. How much power can you put out against the drag against you. You can pretty much buy the least amount of drag you’re up against with the best bike fit and the best equipment suited for you. What amount of power you can put out, well, money can’t buy much of that. But if you’re handicapped in one aspect, you can only hope others aren’t as strong or as aero as you.

The cyclingtraining.cc boys lined up in the quad to lend our support for local racing. I’ve never had a proper go at time trialling, even though rowing was a lane racing sport. But that was a long time ago. The few subpar IPs i’ve done on the track should not be mentioned as well. But it’s a good 40+ min effort, so I put my hand up.

Photo credit: Kelvin Liew Fu Lin

Coming out of it, it’s clear I need more work on my position on the bike. I would love to get a professionally/scientifically done $500+ bike fit, which everyone seems to be getting but my athletic goals don’t justify that. I remember clearly when I just started to have a good go on the track, that I thought a bike fit would do me some good. A couple of experienced local riders snuffed and suggested I should just ride more first. The culture has gone a long way.

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Getting back in

All has been on the quiet front here and it’s probably a good time to kick start things again.

Being able to ride my bike has been absolutely brilliant. Another is going back to rekindle an old flame with my first love, rowing. I haven’t got around to getting back in a boat, but the erg has definitely sparked something. They say looking back isn’t particular helpful in moving forward. I do however believe in never forgetting your roots and to always have the people who have stood by you, close to your heart.

I’m excited to pilot Row Revolution‘s technique workshop class, where I will be sharing with you the little experience I have gained throughout the years with all my amazing rowing team mates and coaches, and hopefully help you to row better on the ergo.

Capture

Row Revolution, Singapore first and only indoor rowing studio is a great platform to experience and give indoor rowing a go. With 12 Concept 2 rowing ergs, it is also an excellent venue for crossfitters to get in a solid rowing workout with your squad.

Their class timetable is available here. The technique workshop will kick off on 8 May, 2019, at 7pm.

I will also be taking the regular workout classes pretty soon! Ping me if you want to find out more!

 

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Full steam ahead

The power of a positive environment. My competitive sporting career literally withered away over the past 3 years, not being surrounded by the right people, to put it nicely. With it, so was confidence, trust and belief. I would lying if I told you that it was a breeze trying to find a new life. No one from any sporting body will be there to help once you’ve done your service. There wasn’t even a ‘thank you’.
The working world was a whole new unknown. I stepped in on what I would consider as coming out from the lowest point in my athletic career. Not the best way to start, but what the hell. All I can say is that Decathlon helped me back up on my feet. The power of a positive, nurturing environment. I’ve always believed in it. It’s great to be part of one again. Thanks G.Horan, AB, Lizzi and SuBC, Al, Sandy and Mercs, Plews, John L, Andrea, Cormac, J.Baran, Big Dave, John H, Louis, Muzz and TCWA, Noda and CCC, DB, Wibbs, Matthews, Chuas and A.C for being the amazing people that you are.

I’m excited to see where this new journey with another bunch of amazing peps will take me.

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Keeping up

Still settling into the life of a weekend warrior. It’ll take a bit of getting used to. Trying to squeeze some decent ks or efforts in before work. Staying alert and putting on a smile at work with the help of 5 coffees. Late finishes, late commute, same early shit the next morning. Sleep-ins are now legit. Smashing yourself on off days. Two things haven’t changed: 1. Being out there makes me happy. 2. Dealing with snarky comments by sedentaries

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Finishing on a high

2015 has been far from smooth sailing. Sits up there with the rockiest of times. It’s been a year of revelation, soul searching, coming to terms, finding myself.
It’s exciting to be part of something new. New people who hopefully will become new mates, new opportunities, new goals. Let’s not forget what defines you. I’ll always be the athlete.

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