A brief Spring update 2019 and a bit of suffering in cycling

IMG_9304 2.JPGIt’s been a while and a very dark winter, but I thought I would give a short update on 2019 racing and something I’m musing. Spring is finally making an entrance and that always brings brighter days for a cyclist. I am currently at my highest volume across all sports that I will reach prior to the Worlds Champs (long distance triathlon) in Pontevedra in 6 week’s time. I must admit after completing my longest run this week I was dead chuffed to have gotten to this stage. It’s been a very intense training block circa 200 hours in 12 weeks, of which 199 hours have been by myself (that 1 hour was when I returned to Thursday night group Wattbike training this week). It’s been a long slog, but I am pleased with the results and I am responding and recovering very well.

The following are my races for this year so far. It is a shorter schedule than usual, I have saved everything I can, and I love racing, but I have decided to race less and target higher performances. This doesn’t reduce any pleasure for me because I love to train and feel I can also deliver some higher performances in training that will feed into my racing. I have recently fallen in love with the North and South Downs again and can see myself putting some quality miles in on the bike down there. I also know I can very effectively spend time in Tenerife.

ITU World Champs Long distance –  5th May 2019

Outlaw Half Nottingham – 19th May 2019

Outlaw Half Holkham – 7th July 2019

Outlaw Full Nottingham – 28th July 2019

Almere Amsterdam ETU long distance European Champs – 14th September 2019

Outlaw Special X North Nottingham- 22nd September 2019

In the next few weeks I will begin my taper into the World Champs and start doing some race specific training e.g. shorter and faster. After that I will have to train to reach peak again for Outlaw full in July, but that should be much easier after the intensive block I will soon finish.

Over the past month an invitation to write a book proposal keeps floating past my eyes. I would love to write The Academic Athlete text I have planned but sadly now is not the time. It would be too much to ask with my current projects on vaping in workplaces and gender equality in sport. That won’t stopping me making plans for the future though!

However, I do have a Sunday project that will help me along in the final weeks of my taper when I am training less and travelling with time to read. I’ve long thought that cycling has a serious problem with mental health and sadly a recent example is Kelly Catlin who took her own life after a spiralling effect of a crash and struggling to return to peak performance. There have also been some recent accounts of what it is like to “suffer” on the bike, Jens Voigt being a prime example. I can definitely attest to that, even as an amateur. Riding a bike is very painful indeed. Anyway, I want to think more about suffering and mental health in sport. I can’t help but wonder that one of the factors that feeds into mental health problems is the over glamorisation of professional sport as a form of work. Again, even as an amateur, I get pretty mad when people have said to me “cheer up, you’re an amazing athlete”. OK, I clearly have a pretty well-trained body and perpetual self-discipline but this in no way accounts for the suffering and struggles I have endured during and outside of my sports. I’ll get to thinking now. Happy Spring sunshine.

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