Tag Archives: Bangkok

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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Trying to keep my head up

So my recent hit out at the last round of the Thailand track championship in bangkok didn’t go quite as planned. Carrying some improvement in form from last month, I was aiming for a good showing. I madet the decision to try out a few changes with my gearing.

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Photo courtesy of Thai Cycling Association.

I probably should have stuck with Carl’s rule of thumb: use a gear the fastest YOU can go at to give yourself the best chance of winning.
So I might have bombed out (again), but this is up there on the valuable lessons learnt.

It’s about 3 months before Asian champs and I’ll be getting into the thick of things. I head back to CCC Shuzenji in December and I’m working on a training camp in January. In the meantime, plenty of ergo and gym sessions.

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Moving forward

So it’s still not too late for a lowdown on my time in bkk. 2 weeks well spent with the people from CCC Shuzenji and a great training group. Because I knew how the camp would be run, I could get straight into the thick of things, not wasting any of the efforts. This time round, there were a few more peps who weren’t that fluent in English. So I did my part to translate the best I could.

This is my fourth time with CCC Shuzenji and I felt I got the most out of this one. I made very sure to apply everything I picked up from Carl and the aboc squad right from the get go: Getting into the right frame of mind, like I would in order to chase down the motorbike. With the ACC Track Asia Cup scheduled after the camp, it’s pretty much just over a week’s of proper training before they need to tone it down to taper for racing.

Even though my Track Asia Cup results aren’t exactly newsworthy, the improvements made were certainly encouraging. Having the coaches tell you that you’ve made significant progress and seeing your times drop by the second, is sign that I’m on the right track.

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Plugging away

The ongoing #AG2014 #Incheon2014 has seen some amazing performances from #OurTeamSG and the effectiveness of social media has helped fuel the athletes with local support, something which has been heavily critiqued for being grossly absent. My days of major games are behind me now but I’ve noticed some difference in the approach and attitude of local media.

These days there may seem to be a little too much ‘pat on the backs’. Credit definitely has to be given for effort, but where and how should we draw the line? Has effort properly been evaluated as a best-performance or does a half-arsed effort also deserve any commendation? To give an idea where this is coming from: I raced my first AG in rowling (which also happened to be my first major games), after 3 years in the sport, to the lack-of-delight of the rowling a-sociation. I finished 9th and of course that got me a C grade by the stalate times. At that point in time, did I think I deserve a C? No. Because I thought effort counted for something. I rowled 3 years out of the boathouse at Pandan, literally on my own. I looked for my own coaches who believed in me because no one in the rowling a-sociation ever did and couldn’t be bothered. Did anyone report that prior to me going down under to Mercs to train under Alastair, the previous head coach demanded he get a cut of the prize moolah if I brought home some bling? Did anyone report that I rocked up at the boat park to find out that a boat rental was not arranged for me? Maybe that’s also the athlete’s job. My bad for assuming administrators role is admin. And did anyone report that after hours of wait and eager anticipation I managed to pick up a left over scull which was too small? My bad for having long limbs. I suppose no one outside the circle knew because the 2 hr bus ride from the games village to the rowling site (that makes 4 hrs to and fro) was not worth our own media’s time for a lone competitor who is an outside chance for a medal.
From a high performance perspective, did I deserve a C? Yes. I didn’t come in top-6, which is what is required to qualify for the AG. I taught myself to harden up.

I raced at the SeaG the following year and bombed out in both my events. There was definitely no pat on the back for all the drama I went through: from a coach, who was hired 4 months before the games (I was already at Mercs), kicked out one of chaps in the doubles, threatened that he’ll pull me out of the single if I don’t fill in the double, insisted I cann my stint at Mercs early to train with him (which of course I said no) and he resigned even before I got back. Talk about short term planning. Did anyone report that, EVERYONE else in the team fell ill/sick, Which meant I was pulling a sick dog down the course, 1 hour before my singles finals. My bad for assuming that you get rewarded for being responsible for yourself, staying fighting fit, to give yourself the best possible chance of winning. The exact words from the grand master at rowling afterwards: “You lost, you’re not good enough. We won’t send you to 2012 London Qualifiers.” A slap on the wrist. A slap on the face, if I told you someone else was entered in that race I trained 4 years for.

So I never really got my share of ‘A’ for effort. But if you look back, our athletes were usually harshly judged based on performance. Now there is an effort to paint a fuller picture. It’s an encouraging step forward to building a sporting culture. Let’s hope it’s a genuine attempt to let the public be in the shoes of a professional athlete

At the end of the day, if you’re in it for high performance, my opinion is one of your goals has to be to reel in the bling. That’s just how it is. Maybe I’ve had too many bowls of nails of brekkie. But high performance is not what you go into if all you want is a feel-good rah rah.

So here I am in Bangkok, plugging away with the CCC Shuzenji coaches hoping I’ve made significant progress on my way back into the elite sports system, the hard way, because me and pats-on-back don’t seem to have much in common.

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Week in review, Singapore Road Cycling Criterium Series

I was meaning to write about the rebirth of criterium racing in Singapore last weekend. Procrastination got the better of me. One thing led to another and here I am, a week past and I’m waiting to board my flight to Bangkok for round 2 of the Queens Cup, which is the Thailand National Track Cycling Champsionships.

Rewind a week ago, Singapore saw the rebirth of criterium racing, courtesy of the people at Rad Events. What I would estimate would be a 100 over riders, gathered at Tampines Industrial Avenue 2 for Round 1 of the Singapore Road Cycling Criterium Series. The turnout was wonderful: teams with tents, photographers sprawling all around, spectators at the critical U-turns to catch the action. I can imagine the many other riders’ hesitation and were eager to see what it would be like before signing up. Round 2 will be a blast.

I’m definitely no crit expert, but I’ve had my fair share of racing, all learning the hard way. I wasn’t particularly comfortable with the two right U-turns, but so were all those in B grade. If you’re wondering (more like questioning) WHY I’m racing B grade, like I said, I’m no crit expert. It’s the socially responsible thing to do. I’m not able to take the U-turn at speed and getting stuck with the A graders is just a disaster waiting to happen. I went on full gas with 2 laps to go but it wasn’t to be. I didn’t take lap times, so I obviously had went too early. I was caught at 3/4 lap to go.

On to more exciting things this weekend: Track race! I can’t wait to get on.

Here are links to some photos from the crit series. I won’t insert any into this post, but if you have Facebook, get on and check them out!

Sports Snapshots
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.499876116759716.1073741833.369289756485020&type=1

Rad Events
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.492982487456300.1073741830.411801865574363&type=1

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