Worse Than Man Flu

It's time for the speculation to be over. All the is she, isn't she gossip. It's true. My screaming A type personality credentials can hide it no more. I'm a perfectionist. Don't come at me with the nature versus nurture debate. I'm pretty sure my mum won't disown me over this one. It's official, I'm out of the closet.

Recently, my natural tendencies have been on overdrive. Self discipline to the max. Cramming as much as possible into life in the not so slow lane and spurred on by recovering from a pinchy buttock nerve thingy after riding my bike in circles for 24 hours, I was determined to eek out as much as possible before heading to Canada. This was rewarded with some awesome figures in training and a big ego boost. Until things started going less than perfectly.

I'm beginning to realise, that it's not what you do when it's going right but what you do when it's going not quite right that counts. Having thrown in the towel with this racing game malarkey twice before (in 1998 and 2006), I can wholeheartedly sympathise with the idea that things going not so right aren't always easy to accept and sometimes even less easy to not take personally. I'm a little more resilient nowadays. So, when the usual seasonal occupational hazard struck last week I was determined I could get on top of it perfectly.

Echinacea tea. Mandarins. Vitamin C tablets. Manuka honey lozenges. Foods rich in antioxidants. Lemon. Ginger. Honey. Garlic. Homemade soup. Time off the bike. Whinging. Whining. More tea. Pre race taper reduced to dog walking and ironing.

I have learned two things in the process. Firstly, there is something worse than man flu. It's called doctor flu. If physician can't heal thyself there will predictably be much whinging (my apologies to the significant other). Secondly, I'm not quite as resilient as I'd like to think. That's not a slant on my immune system, but I've still got a long way to go on the road to acceptance when things are going less than right. And I'm sure, during the course of a week long stage race in ten days time, there will be plenty of times when that happens. Here's to a whole new learning curve.

Fall seven times. Stand up eight. But first, more lemon, ginger and honey.

Balancing Act

Time flies when you're having fun. It also flies when you're running around at a faster than usual speed while attempting to maintain the ever elusive holy grail of life-work balance. Mine is more of a life-work-training-pizza eating-sleep balance and has certainly been elusive of late. Particularly the pizza eating bit.

Recent events have all been a bit of a blur but I will try to recount the various highlights since my last post. The first World Cup race in Albstadt was over three weeks ago now. It was muddy. A lesser known Aussie fella won (awesome). The same weekend heralded similar conditions in the Southern hemisphere with mud extending it's grasp to Rotorua during the Moonride (cut from 24 hours of racing to a meagre eleven) and even the mighty Hutt succumbed to the pattern at Wainui Wurldz (even though the damp stuff held off during the race unlike our comrades in Vegas).

It's good for the complexion

While I was caught in the wonder of how much easier it is to ride 6 hours solo once you've ridden 24 hours on your lonesome, the Cowbelles were busy winning the women's team division. Cowbelle, Amy Champion, surmised the experience perfectly. Friends + Bicycles + Mud = Fun. Something I will totally be looking forward to with the arrival of the kiwi cross season in the not too distant horizon.


It's nearly time to get your 'cross on

A week later, I was busy talking about me. While I guess I'm seen as a bit of an outgoing type, I really do prefer not to keep the topic solely on myself (kinda ironic to write that on a blog all about me, me, me but anyway..). Being part of an amazing club, I was totally humbled to be invited as guest speaker for their Awards Evening.

Club kit in exchange for stories!

Looking back on where you have come from is often an entertaining exercise - if not only for the dodgy old photographs that provide much hilarity and amusement for your friends. 

You can stop laughing now, Emma

In the course of preparing for the evening, I found a cool little snippet of one of my favourite training climbs when I was a junior. It's the notorious Devil's Staircase in Mid Wales, which used to feature in the Kellogg's Milk Race back in the day. It's 5 kilometres in length, pitches to 25 percent at the start of the climb then eases to a more "sensible" (as described in a guide book) 12 percent incline through the hairpins before levelling out to a mere three percent at the top, by which time your legs are completely screwed and three feels like 33. As a bonus, the video even comes with entertaining Welsh commentary courtesy of Swansea Wheelers.

The fact that that was one of my favourite parts of road for training on probably says a lot about why I like riding up stuff.

Yey for going up stuff!

This weekend involved plenty of riding up stuff. It was always supposed to be a solid three days of training prior to departing for Canadian shores. Tour of Taranaki was the host for those sessions. Some you win, some you lose, some you experience an unfortunate series of events before the race to ride the first 60 kilometres home to make up for it. Sadly, the latter was the case this weekend but gelato and coffee made it feel better.

It's funny how things work out. My Did Not Finish became a Do Not Fret and I had a fab time training with fellow Mud Cycles team mate, Justin Price, in his final bit of prep pre Marathon World Champs in Austria then soundly rounded off a holiday weekend with some hilly roadie kilometres the next day before returning the pizza consumption balance to its rightful status.

The man who comes bearing ENVE wheels must be repaid in pizza

So, I think the balance is back to normal. Thirteen days left at work then it's all on for riding North Shore goodness and eating my body weight in maple syrup. Awesomeness. I will endeavour to add blog updates to the balancing act from now on!