Tag Archives: racing

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.

image

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under training updates

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Racing, training updates

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.

image

Photo courtesy of Tony Lendrum Photography

image

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.

image

Photo courtesy of Conor Sherwin

image

Photo courtesy of Conor Sherwin

Leave a comment

Filed under training updates

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.

image

 
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.

Leave a comment

Filed under training updates

Southeast Asian Track GP

It’s been a rough few days. 8 days to be exact. I always look forward to track time but I never seem to be able to come out with a positive experience. Being left behind by the bunch, again, is a crappy feeling especially when I still not able to put everything I have in the tank out on the bike.
Thanks to the couple of trained sets of eyes who have helped zoomed in on what is holding me back.
Apart from the weather, the proceedings went well. The SEA GPs are great for us as we don’t have a track. Being able to race the likes of the french, malaysians, aussies (in last year’s edition), doesn’t come often if you’re not world-class. You’ll definitely learn plenty, IF you can at least hold onto their wheel, which I can’t yet. So it hasn’t really done me any good.
An intervention is absolutely necessary. It’s in the works.

Leave a comment

Filed under training updates

Back on the road. On the track

Things haven’t been all smooth sailing and that’s a little of an understatement. Hitting crossroads and massive speed bumps all at one go, sure put some doubts in my head.

3 months since I last raced (and spend time on the track), it’s given me plenty of time to reflect, physically and emotionally. I’ve always had belief in myself. Strong belief. But it’s starting to waver, and fast. I spent my previous years as a rower, surrounded by the people who believed in me, who set my mind straight and were responsible for grooming me into the athlete I am today. Almost 2 years of struggle as a cyclist, it’s clear that without the support structure, everything is starting to crumble.

Time isn’t on my side. There’s only so much more I can hold on to. It’s good to finally be able to get at on my feet again and it’s thanks to a couple of people who are showing belief in me. The next few months will be crucial as I make some important decisions that, in my opinion, will either make or break.

The next 8 days at the Southeast Asian Grand Prix will be a good start to turn things around.

Leave a comment

Filed under training updates

Japan Track Cup rundown

I need to be more prompt in penning down these race experiences, even though its still rather fresh in my mind, like it was just last week. Those psych sessions with John from way back certainly did me some good.

International teams didn’t stay at Cytel. We were put up at a cottage-like hotel, Olive no Ki, 30 mins by bus away from the track. Better facilities and amenities, but I would have preferred convenience over comfort.  Of course, Cytel would be meant for local teams and technical officials.

There were reasonable expectations going in. In a country where the keirin is professionally raced, you can only expect a huge depth of really strong riders. I started out conservatively with regards to gearing. Bad decision. After the first lap, I knew I was in trouble as I was already running out of leg speed. So I kinda threw that one away. Shucks. Then I rode big but it was clear I still didn’t have enough horsepower to ride side-by-side with the big guns yet. Leading up to this, bulk of the work has been focused on strength gains. My 200m time was nothing to cheer about either. There is still quite a long way to go.

1538803_743927122285617_1091249636_n

Apart from that, it is the familiarity I have with my bike at high speeds. At 60km/h and above, the slightest twitch gets magnified. I followed for as long as I could, but it felt like I was fighting the bike as soon as everyone throttled. I kept losing momentum in my legs as I fought to stay in.

1689807_743927248952271_1111098390_n

The coaches at CCC Shuzenji could see improvement. The standard of the race was simply too high. In spite of that, I still took plenty of lessons back home. I’ve gained some first-hand knowledge on what is physically required to race at that level and that is something I can work on on the road. One thing’s for sure, motorpacing sessions are vital for me. So if anyone knows of anyone who does it, give me shout. I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks to Noda-san and CCC Shuzenji for the support. It definitely made a difference knowing that I was looked after. I envy teams that go to races with an army of support staff. It’s been a while since I’ve been to a race with even just a coach/manager. Big shout-out to MSTI for the entry and race kit, as well as the continuous and unwavering support of Maximuscle, Rudy Project, The Sufferfest, Compressport, G8 Performance and Solitude of Strength.

20140126_090004

Photos by MakotoAYANO

https://www.facebook.com/cyclowired.jp

http://www.cyclowired.jp/

Leave a comment

Filed under training updates

rollers, needles, wake-up call

The ever-present challenges in competitive sport always seem to hit me the hardest when I’m down. Things looked like it was going to pick up coming back from the Southeast Asia GP in KL, which now seems like eons ago. I continue to adapt to my training environment at home by making the most out of what I have and focusing on what needs to be worked on. Roller sessions have now become a regular thing for me. Not good news for my rusty, not-so-trusty ol’ e-motion rollers as the elastic band decided to snap. I wasn’t about to let her retire as I didn’t even have enough moolah on hand to buy myself another set of rollers. If cable ties can hold MRT tracks in place, I’m sure it can secure a roller frame. So the no-motion is back in business.

Just as I’ve solved one problem, a back injury decided to haunt me again. I won’t bore you with the how it happened this time, but I didn’t get it fixed the last time. Time will heal all wounds obviously didn’t come true. You must be thinking why I didn’t get it fixed the last time? Reminder, even though I have ridden with national colors, I’m recognized by the federation, but literally non-existent to big brother. Private consults don’t come cheap and I needed every penny I had to make it to the Continental Cycling Center Shuzenji. In times like these, prioritizing was crucial. I made the calculated decision to rest it off, which I do NOT regret. As a part-time joe worker, I got enough hours in to afford to get it properly sorted out. After some needles by Dr.Cormac at The Belle Clinic and a physio session by Kelvin, I can now bend my back properly again.

The physio session with Kelvin was timely. I needed that slap to the head about how I approached my trainings. I had lost focus on the little thing that mattered, control. Like when I was in the boat, going about solo has taken its toll on me. In my opinion, it is quite impossible for someone to compete at an elite level without systematic, structured, professional support. Athletes who have been fully supported before will grow when the support is taken away. With new found discipline and appreciation, there lies the opportunity to improve by leaps and bound when they are able to have that support team around them again. The same for athletes who have had to work their own way into the system. The question is, what level should the athlete be at in order to deserve national support? Going private is always an alternative, if you can afford it. You can even buy some medals if you have spare change.

I have always been a believer that we got to get out there and make it happen. I’m sad and disappointed to admit that for the past couple weeks the drive had slipped and I drifted a little to the dark side. There are many factors to blame, the only one worth mentioning is myself. It’s time to get back out there again, knock on plenty of doors and get back on track. (punt intended)

Leave a comment

Filed under Randoms, training updates