Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Pro star

WARNING: if you are currently stressing out about how the hell you are going to fit in training, racing, work and family/social life this week, do NOT read this!! It may cause anger, bitterness, tears, or complete rage.

I am not going to lie to you. I have just discovered that the life of a professional athlete is pretty sweet. Now when I say professional athlete I don’t mean racing in the pro category on weekends, I am talking about really living the life - thinking, breathing, eating, sleeping your sport (and hopefully getting someone else to pay for it!!). Lots of girls that we race against are professional athletes so it might not seem like a big deal. But to a racer that has to squeeze in training every morning on the way to work, manipulate holidays to plan their race schedule and is an expert at high speed, one pot dinners, I was pretty pumped when I was given the opportunity to live the life, if only for ten days. And since I KNOW that most Velo Bella’s are like me – squeezing everything (and more) into their week – I figured you guys might want to hear what its like from someone who can totally appreciate it.

I guess I should back up a bit. A couple of weeks ago I found out that I had made the Canadian National mountain bike team and was heading to Rotorua, New Zealand for the World Championships at the end of August. Yeah!!! This goal has eluded me so I was pretty happy to get the news. Happy but tired from a long spring/summer of racing, traveling, and working. I was signed up to race the last two NORBAs but the national team coach was planning a training camp in Victoria, BC. Ten days of focused training to get ready for worlds. Although I wanted to end the season off with the rest of the VB-K girls, deep down I knew that the training camp would be much better preparation for worlds than more traveling and racing. Lucky for me I have the most supportive team in the world and they gave me full clearance to do what I thought would be best. Thanks Velo Bella – Kona!

So I stayed at Alison Sydor’s house in Victoria. Uhm maybe you have heard of her?? Three time world champion?? Olympic silver medalist? Yeah, I would be doing some training with Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain Business Objects) who has never been below top 6 at worlds and Trish Sinclair (Scott USA) who has been to worlds 11X. My learning curve was going to be steep.

Racing every weekend seems to always take away from my endurance rides so my first goal was to get a few long rides in. I did my MSc. in Victoria so I knew the area really well and did some of my favourite routes along the coast. No rushing, no early mornings, no stress, just a couple of wicked 5 hour rides in the sun. Already my training buddies were pushing me as I discovered that Alison “full throttle” Sydor has one speed (freakin’ fast) and Trish is a little mountain goat. No problem. With the only things on my “to do” list being: train, massage, stretch, core and eat well, I was recovering nicely. Next up : a 4 hour MTB ride with the local boys – all ex-pros. It was great training as the ride was either full out, straight up or high speed technical. If you got dropped – find your way home. I was totally scribbled by the end of the ride and realized that I definitely need some more intensity in my training at home. A much needed easy day included some running because Rotorua is experiencing a LOT of rain these days. A check up with the team doctor, meeting with the team Mental Coach and a trip to the bike shop for some repairs made it the busiest day so far. Then I was back on the intensity with a team trial workout and some motorpacing. Massage. Video of the Rotorua course. Blood work to make sure iron levels were good. Easy spin with the team. Easy run. Seven minute hill repeats that simulated the opening climb at Rotorua. Massage. Meeting with the nutritionist (need more meat). Team spin. Presentation about minimizing the stress of traveling. Race simulation. Another ex-pro MTB ride. And suddenly my ten day training camp was up.

I didn’t put in a huge number of hours but the quality of training was a lot higher than if I had been at home. I wasn’t rushing my workouts, I had training partners that pushed me (Norm is too nice to attack or drop me!), but most importantly I had time to recover and do all the things that are so important but you never seem to have time for: sleep, stretching, massage, good nutrition and more sleep. I know ten days isn’t going to catapult me to rockstar status at worlds but it has certainly helped me feel physically and mentally ready for such a big event. Unfortunately, it hasn’t helped me in real life because my head is about to explode from a typical multitasking day of training, working and having a life. Ah well it was nice to put it on hold for a ten days and see if I could handle being a pro cyclist. Sign me up!


At 7:10 AM, Blogger Chris said...

Very cool post. Thanks for the peak at living the rock star pro racer life. 8-)

Best of luck at World's and the upcoming 'Cross season.


At 10:47 AM, Blogger Soigneur_Tim said...

Congratulations on being picked for the Canadian National team. I know that was one of your goals for this season. Good luck and keep us posted on how things are going, but only when you have some down time between training, eating, massages, meeting with team staff, and of course hobnobbing with those rockstar teammates of yours!


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