Sunday, July 15, 2007

Noosa Enduro - July 15th 2007
100km Mountain Bike Race (almost 6 hours for me)

We'd just climbed a fairly large hill, which had come not long after a similar fairly large hill and we were making our way up a ridge which was really just another fairly large hill. At this stage we'd come out of the forest and it was a pretty ordinary place to be if you were a cow. But we weren't cows, we were mountain bikers, we'd been pushing ourselves for about 4 hours and as I felt myself nearing my "brink", I felt sure the two cyclists next to me were feeling the same. I couldn't help laughing and saying to the others, "we're a strange bunch."

And that's kind of the celebration that an event like the Noosa Enduro is. It puts the challenge out there and the people come. I feel really lucky that people have been out there for years, building up the mountain bike scene, so that people like me can stumble into it. Everybody out there today was giving it a go, giving something a go, giving a life a go. It doesn't mean they're superhumans, but in my opinion, they're often interesting people.

It's funny that we like to push ourselves to the brink, it's funny exposing ourselves like that amongst a group of strangers. Really they're seeing us at our weakest but strangely enough they're also seeing us at our strongest. It's amazing howmuch you can know about a person from riding beside them in a situation like that for a day. The same person you don't recognise without their cycle jersey and bike.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

I was in Melbourne for a few weeks in May this year and as a Queenslander I struggled with the cold. Eventually I solved the problem, Skins. The benefits of Skins for recovery are widely published and I've heard many people praise their benefits to this extent. My first experience with them however was as training attire. Running and cycling in Melbourne I was layering myself up until I almost couldn't bend. I obtained some Skins which kept me warm as an inner layer without getting sweaty.
I've now got top and bottom skins and I use them in almost every training session. I feel they assist with posture and warmth and afterwards my recovery from running. For cycling I wear them under my arm and leg warmers during cold weather. I'm finally winning against the cold.
Finally, after running the Gold Coast Marathon earlier this week, I can testify from personal experience that they aid recovery. Some of the aching in my legs was removed immediately when I put them on to sleep that night. I can't explain why but I felt it.
Felt - B2
I'm now riding the latst B2 Model Felt. After a year on my S22 Felt, it's taking a little while to get used to a new set up. I'm also coming out of a rest period and I feel I need to earn my position on this bike. I seem to be getting stronger quickly though so I think we have to attribute half of that to the bike.

Gold Coast Marathon: July 07
3hrs 10 minutes

About 3,000 people ran the marathon this year and over 16,000 were involved in the events. I had a good day. Two years earlier I ran my first marathon here, and this time it was a pleasure to watch the kilometre markers drift past in a much healthier state. Ironman has made me appreicate that any kilometre you've already run in a marathon is one you don't have to walk if everything suddenly goes wrong.

I'm now very appreciative of those "bad days". The most important thing about them is they are in the past. I've done the suffering, I've been to that place and all that they can do for me now is remind me that I've been in worst situations than this. So I'll take the good out of them now.

There was a huge contingent from Central Queensland at the events. The Frenchville Frogs Triathlon Club, Gladstone Roadrunners and Rockhampton Roadrunners were all out in force. A happy reunion for those of us living in different places.

Mount Perry 6 Hour Enduro Mountain Bike Race

My introduction to mountain bike racing,came four days after I was introduced to mountain biking. I got a Felt Hard Tail, with a team issue frame and snazy componentry. The bike was definitely the strenth of the team, as my mountain biking skills left a lot to be desired.

The event was really well organised, well attended and really, really friendly. Out there on the course everybody was polite and supportive. I guess the suvival element of the sport makes it a bit more condusive to comradory during events. I think I ended up doing nine laps of the course and I fell off a similar number of times. However, I did improve througout the event so the majority of these falls were in the first laps.

Port Macquarie Ironman, April 2007
10hrs 13mins

I had a tough day. Maybe I rode to hard, maybe I didn't have enough electrolyte, maybe my training wasn't good enough, maybe I just muddled something up. Whatever the reasons, I started the marathon feeling quite wrong and after a bit more running I started feeling even more wrong. It was my longest time yet for an Ironman but it didn't detract from the satisfaction at all. Race day is about pushing myself to my limit, and if I do that I give myself a 10. My first comment after the finish line was "I don't care what the clock says, I never expected to get through that thing, I did and I'm proud of myself." Of course however I have to look for the learnings and whilst some of them appeared immediately, others turn up a little later. Reflecting now, I feel fortunate for my "bad days," because they're the ones that make me appreciate the good ones.