Gearing Up

Whoa – second post in one day. Either I’m on a roll and have a lot going on or it is quiet times at you know where… Actually, a bit of both.

Had a banner day of training today. Started the day earlier than usual with a trip to the gym for a weight work-out. This is an intense phase of lifting but lucky John Zahab of OHPC has prepared me well for this increased load so my body and brain are responding well. Thought I’ve got to say there is something to be said for the fatigue I feel after lifting. My muscles just feel kind of limp and useless. The feeling passes but it is a definite sign of a good session.

I got home with time to see Marc off to work and do a few odd things around the house. And most importantly, have my second breakfast. Today I had one of my favorites: 1/2 cup of 0% cottage cheese, raspberries and one scoop of chocolate Proteins + protein powder. Stir it all up and enjoy. Super tasty and chock full of protein and good for you carbs.

Next up was my first cyclo-cross ride to kick off the 2009 – 2010 season. Yep, ‘cross ride in May. It has to be done. If I learned anything last winter in Belgium it was that I need to improve my technical skills. The time is now. Time to get out on the ‘cross bike: identify areas to be improved, figure out how to best learn the technique, and practice, practice, practice. So today was the kick-off for this. I had a great session with one of Ottawa’s local ‘cross stars. We hit up secret park and went through some drills and skills.

It is simply amazing. We met for only an hour but I learned so much in that hour. It really was worth as much as a three-day cyclo-cross camp. Goes to show how much a skilled teacher combined with a one-to-one student to teacher ratio can pay off. So what did we work on? Well, sorry to disappoint but there was nothing truly “ground breaking” here. We worked on climbing, cornering at speed and braking.

See, like I said, nothing really new but the messages were new and the drills are new. I learned some new technique for climbing. One of my headaches in a ‘cross race is steep climbs. For some reason I just can’t seem to get my bike up and over these things. Frustrating. Frustrating because I watch other girls do it and I know I’m just as strong as they are. But now I know why… I’ve learned the subtle technique.

Also got some tips on my ‘cross bike set-up. So I’m going to make a couple of adjustments and see how this helps as well.

Really I think for me it is going to come down to confidence. I need to feel confident in the bike and with myself. It is hard to explain but in a crit, if I bump bars or rub tires, I don’t panic. I simply keep pedaling because I know everything will work out. But in a ‘cross race or even ‘cross training, if one of my wheels starts to wash out or I’m freaked out by a section, I stop pedaling, brake and basically loose all my momentum. This is not good. Forward momentum and speed are what we want. So I need to train the brain to get used to these things happening in training so in a race situation I don’t panic.

This weekend I’ll be taking out all three bikes. Road bike for some power/speed training. Mountain bike so I can get in some technical trail riding and get comfortable with varying terrain. Cyclo-cross bike so I can practice what I learned today and keep moving forward.

Dudes, I’m so excited. In a way it is nice to know that I have so much room to improve technically. This is encouraging. It tells me that with hard work, I can meet my goal and earn a spot on the Canadian team and race in Tabor in 2010. So stoked right now. The future is looking super bright.

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