Fading into the background. Getting dropped like a fly

I’ve fallen behind on SO many occasions that I can’t help but start to wonder how many times can someone actually get beaten down and still expect to get back up. What’s worst this time was that I actually worked my butt off going in. Numbers were constantly going up, the training was focused, confident I was on the right track. But I came out with a beating so bad, I’m struggling to find any positives at all to walk out with my head up.
You might be on the right track, getting faster, but not fast enough yet. People on the outside don’t care about the process, they just want to know the outcome. Like life, racing is brutal. If you get dropped, you’re not fast enough, period, don’t bother trying. That’s how people are on the outside.
While I would have preferred to have my trusted circle run through this difficult weekend with me, I have to settle for an exchange of wise words thanks to the wonders of technology. It will be a trying next couple of weeks as I look to dig myself out from six feet under.

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Camp and the rest of it all

Went into camp with a positive frame of mind, both physically and mentally. The bulk of the work has been done and what I needed more was familiarity, with all the elements of the track, equipment especially. I probably should have psyched myself a little better because by the third day in, I was beating myself up pretty badly for the lack lustre times. Somehow I’ve always managed to screw things up between the ears. Maybe I’m not as mentally tough as I think I am. Okay, obviously I’m not.
As our host starts to prepare itself for the Bangkok edition of the Track Asia Cup, I can’t help but sense that the feeling of elitism is very much still present. I miss having that team element. Hell the last time I ever felt like I was in one was back in 2010, 2011 with Mercs.
It was great to touch base with my mentor and to hear of some awesome news. Words of encouragement from people you trust goes a long way.

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Is it a level playing field

In sports, often or not, it’s unlikely a level playing field. At an elite or high competitive level, where top honours is at stake, the intrinsic or sometimes even tangible advantage is usually the make or break. Perseverance and determination is the building block for a tough athlete. But let’s face it, in this day and age, there is no middle ground. You either make or break. Your pat on the back is forgotten as quickly as the pat itself.

If you’re deemed to have natural talent, you’ll be served up on a silver platter. That’s talent ID. You’ll have all the resources at your disposal to develop that talent. That’s as good as a 30m head start in a 100m race. I was going to say 50m, but let’s be as objective as possible. How you choose to run the rest of the race is besides the point. The talent to suck up to people is also a talent by the way.

Getting into recreational sports and fitness, like competitive sport is all about how deep your pocket is. Gym memberships, exercise classes, proper coaching, injury prevention, equipment, use of facilities, going to races.The budget competitive athlete and/or recreational go-getter is tied to whatever budget he/she has. So if you’re born to a silver platter, but is a late bloomer, you still have a head start. Again, how you choose to run the rest of the race is besides the point.

The rest who are not and don’t display signs of natural talent are basically left with the message: Spend your life earning the big bucks and you’ll be able to afford whatever toys you want in the future and your kids might have a chance to be an elite athlete.

Even when we look at it on a global scale, depth of pocket is one of the major factors in elite performance. The more money you pump in, the higher the chances of bringing back silverware. Again, how you choose to run the rest of the race is besides the point.

The against-all-odds stories gives people a sense of hope. But it should not be used as a primary source of motivation because these cases are far from being the majority. Not only that, its effect varies across different sporting cultures and environment. Hard work pays off. Its how you choose to run the rest of the race. If you start the race 30m behind, is hard work going to be enough? What are the chances that everyone else you’re racing against isn’t working their butt off? Because at the end of the race, your hard work will be forgotten as quickly as the hand shake you get.

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G8 Pro Series 2620

The long awaited Pro Series 2620 from G8 Performance came in the mail about 3 weeks ago.

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I’m going through a massive training block to put it through some serious abuse. More about the training block later.

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The foot bed is lined with a nice suede-like material to give the foot good traction while in the shoe. Another improvement from the 2600 is that the dots of the removeable arches have been shifted forward.

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I took this opportunity to do some fine tuning and went for a higher arch. For me, the positive difference it made was immediate: Greater comfort, little to no hot spots, the feel of connectivity with the footbed. I totally get the “no power data to back it up = not legit” approach. But when you’re no longer bothered by your shoes during 4-hour rides or motorpacing sessions, that’s certainly a step forward.

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Over and Under

Nothing exciting to report to be honest: DNFed most or nearly all my races. The training block really only took off in the last 3 weeks. I struggled to find my feet at the beginning 3 with lack of direction and focus. Talk about a roller coaster ride, besides the rolling hills.

If I was going to chuck in any of the goals I kicked, at least I’ve worked up the grades. First crack in an open A grade race in the form of Pickering Brook. Well you gotta throw yourself into the deep end to know where you are and how far away the shore is. Working through the mental side of things alone isn’t a fun game at all. #characterbuilding

At track side, I definitely struggled to find any track legs. It could have been a combination of a number of factors, but I’ll remain focus on what’s within my control: my own progress and performance.

Push through, and good things will come out at the end. I left knowing and seeing that I’ve stepped up (with some valuable help) and made new friends. Cheers to the AvantiPlus boys for smashing me in the hills and the crew from BikeForce Success for looking out for me when I made the hike down to have a hit out at the Peel races. Top job by the Peel District Cycling Club.

It’s been a blast catching up with everyone. They say cycling is cliquey. While I won’t agree entirely, neither will I entirely disagree. More about that next time. Thanks Track Cycling WA for welcoming me back. Till we meet again.

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Thrills and thankfully no spills

I’ve ridden the Speed Dome quite a number of occasions now but this year is my first Perth Winter Grand Prix. My first planned attempt at the GP was back in 2012, which was also my first go the boards. I ended up spending the day at A&E getting stitches. Rookie mistake.
3 years on, and I haven’t moved up the ranks to A grade. Disappointed? Yes. But if I count the days I’ve been bike racing, or actually rode a track, I know I shouldn’t be too hard on myself. It’s difficult to make a comparison with people from different backgrounds racing amongst the top ranks domestically in a cycling nation within 18 months and it doesn’t take sherlock to figure out why.
The less then healthy atmosphere within cycling back home at the moment is just turning from bad to worst. And lets face, because there aren’t many cyclist, competitive or recreational, you’re bound to get caught in the cross fire. It’s not top secret that I wasn’t welcomed with open arms into the world of two wheels. If you’re not willing to be someone’s biatch, forget about getting into the frat house.

My time working up the competitive ranks lacked focus and direction. Started off learning to put my foot in the water. Then thought I could dabble in the sprints (that obviously didn’t work out) Now I’ve moved on into the enduro path. You can’t take back time, but judging by the moves I could still pull off in a club level match sprint, my time with Carl and the aBoc crew hasn’t gone to waste.

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Photo courtesy of Tony Lendrum Photography

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Photo courtesy of Tony Lendrum Photography

There’s going to be alot of suffering in the next few months as I aim to be enduro fit. I’m just glad and appreciative that I have someone I trust and has faith in me on board now.

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Photo courtesy of Conor Sherwin

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Photo courtesy of Conor Sherwin

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In search of the missing pair of track legs

Two weeks now in Perth. Can’t complain about thr weather. Yet. Definitely good time to get in those road ks.

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The boards haven’t been too great unfortunately. The 501 laps TourdeSpeeddome was canned due to lack of entries but there was Round 3 of the Winter Track Series to look forward to last Friday. Training on the boards haven’t been upbeat as I’m struggling to look for the speed I had. Not promising considering the plan was to find more speed from where I left off. Needless to say, racing on Friday was far from acceptable. Throw out the back, fought to get back on. Once, twice, thrice But there’s just so many times the legs can do that.
Apart from that, having to fiddle with my setup and hunting the second-hand market for the right bits to chuck on has put me a little out of sorts. The second-hand market here can be quite a pain to deal with.

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No racing pictures to go along with it cos there probably isn’t much to take when you can’t even mix it in on the action.
Brand new start to the week, let’s work towards some gainz. My Velotoze is probably going to come in handy this week. Look out for that.

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Getting back into the enduro side of things

It’s been some quiet few months. Nothing eventful as the typical Singaporean lifestyle had taken over and attempted to suck the life out of me.
But the Perth Winter Track Cycling Grand Prix has come to the rescue. I’ve made the trip back down to get a solid 6-week block in. Being here just 5 months ago, I doesn’t feel like I left.

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The roads outback can be rough. But living in a city state, you seldom get to peddle for 3 hours non-stop without having to wait at the lights and face a block head wind. It sure is fun becoming an enduro.

The 2015 SEA Games are underway. Be sure to watch out for my man Wille in the triathlon on Sunday 7 June. Get amongst it!
And don’t miss out on the high speed action that is cycling! #OurTeamSG
Full schedule can be found here
http://results.seagames2015.com/

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Just ride your bike

After a slight mishap with a vehicle on the road three weeks ago, everything is back in full swing. The scabs have all fallen off, the bruises have faded away. I’m glad I walked away from that. No matter how light the accident may be, never take it for granted that you’re able to get back on the saddle.
The new 11-speed components are pretty swanky. Though just minor improvements, the gains are pretty significant, in my not-so-professional opinion.
With sponsor’s commitments, riding hours are limited to before 12pm. You can do heaps before 12pm, if you’re up at 5am. Four hours on the road and still have time to make eggs and a second cuppa. Or a lung bursting, leg screaming sess on the wind trainer plus two hours on the road before heading into work. Or some big squats and deadlifts. Less of the bench presses nowadays.
Not getting too caught up with marginal gains. I’m keeping it simple: HR monitor, cadence sensor, get it right between the ears. Counting down to the Wintet GP.

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finding myself

I’ve been lazy with the updates.

In regional news, the 2015 Asian Track and Road Cycling Championships was on a few weeks ago in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, aka Korat. Great hit out, especially those gunning for a slot at this year’s SEA Games. If you haven’t heard, only the Road team will be out in full force. Bummer for the trackies, mountain bikers and bmxers.

I finished 17th in the Keirin and didn’t qualify for the sprints. Full results here. Needless to say, the competition ended for rather early for me. It gave me plenty of time to evaluate how I should progress. Preparation leading up was pretty solid. Squeezed in as much track time as I could get with the help of CCC Shuzenji and Track Cycling WA, but it dawned on me that I haven’t picked up enough of the technical skill needed to handle the sprint events. All the strength and power work I’ve been doing just isn’t going into the bike quick enough to stay in the race. You always question the decision you’ve made when I doesn’t turn out right the first time. Should I have dabbled in endurance right from the get go? Maybe. But I don’t regret it one bit.
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Focus on the process and you are sure to take something positive along the way. Well, at least it worked for me. I believe the people I’ve met who has helped me with my cycling, the tracks I’ve been fortunate enough to train on, was because of the decision to have a go at the sprints. The lessons learned along the way helps you find yourself. In my case, I’m better suited for endurance.

So I’ve started the long road back to 4 hours on the saddle and high intensity intervals. I almost forgot what torture and suffering felt like, but it didn’t take me long to get reacquainted. Looking back, with the measly amount of Ks I have in my legs, I could still put my head down and keep up in the 100-lappers in the Speed Dome. My first dabble back into bunch riding last week showed plenty of promise. Not quite like the speeds in a points/scratch race, but I wasted no time putting the hurt down. So you’ll probably see me on the road alot more now. Don’t forget to say Hi
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