Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Time off



This season has been pretty tough. I have beenr acing from February until September with very little down time, the down time I did have was when I was forcibly pinned down to my bed by a combination of IV drips and opiates when my appendix stopped playing by the rules of the game.

I raced my last race about a week ago, it was a TTT which unfortunately got cancelled due to a pretty brutal crash. Sadly the officials decided to let the race go on while the ambulance was dealing with the wounded warrior, this meant we did 3 laps of the 6 mile circuit where we were diverted onto the beach for about 500m. riding a disk in sand is quite entertaining, I think my experience riding in rubbish weather helped me there but sadly we shall never find out as the race didn't finish. It's an idea though eh? Storm the beach time trial, like d day but with bikes, clock starts when the front of the boa comes down and you ride up the beach then knock out a 25, I can see it taking off.

In the tt I felt shocking, I knew I was tired and that the end was nigh but right after the tt I called it a day and decided to rest for a while. Then I went for a ride the next day! 30 miles in 3hours, a nice café spin to call an end to the season, I ate a muffin the size of my head, drank a ton of coffee and chatted with my friends who I hadn't seen all summer while I was away. Since then I have been sat roundly on my backside. It's nice to have some time to do the stuff you put off to go cycling. I have been sorting out the house, planning stuff and even looking into getting a pet gerbil. I haven't been steering clear of the old ales either ;)

On Tuesday night I threw down an off season performance on the track, nothing special but it was fun to be back on the velodrome. I'm trying hard to recruit lots of freshers to the UCSD cycling team, im not sure if they were more impressed by the ride (not great) or the fact I chinned a beer before changing out of my skinsuit (quite hardcore).Tomorrow I'm off to vegas and interbike to try and hook up some deals for the uni club and get good kit for the beginners at a cheap price, nobody should be priced out of our sport.

Now with classes and teaching starting again and the weather in San Diego being stooped hot I need the time to adjust, all to soon I'll have weights to lift, miles to ride and intervals to do but for now I am enjoying the rare phenomenon of lying in past 8 on a Sunday morning!


Ps any tips on the gerbils? I have seen some amazing cages with helter skelters and all kinds of stuff. I want a gerbil 'cos they don't live too long (I will only be here for 3 more years) and don't go mental at night. Other suggestions welcome

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Travel tips


Justa super quick update today. I'm back in the US of A after a monster session on the plane/train. Perhaps an ill advised decision was to go for a 10k run, my first run in about 10 months, the day I got on the plane. I had just finished my last race on the road (I broke a wheel, not happy, so unhappy I'm not going o write about it) and was pretty excited about the 'cross season.

I packed away my bikes for the trip and headed out with my pooch. At first she as laying the hammer down and running all over the place, after about 6k she got distinctly more mellow and by the end I really thought I was going to have to carry her! I got ome from my run and felt good, only about 3 hours later did I realize how fundamentally wasted my body was, I had been doing run ups (up steep slopes) and hurdles, this pounds the old shins and quads a fair bit and most of the 11 hour plane journey was spent in quite precocious amounts of pain/cramp.

Anyway here are a few brief tips for long haul travel:

  1. Wear compression socks – you look like a granny but at least you don't get blood clots
  2. Drink, drink drink – dehydration is not your friend
  3. Take melatonin at local bedtime for jetlag

That's all for now


Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Disappointments, diabetes and a double flat

Well, to cut along story short this weekend was a bit of a bummer. I really wanted to win the road race on sunday, it was on the first course I ever raced on. When I entered that first race I didn't know about entry forms or licenses or any of that malarkey, I wrote on a bit of paper "hi, my name is James, can I enter your road race" then I wrote my phone number, that was all. Thankfully the bloke organizing the race was a top legend and called me, told me about how bike racing works and took me under his wing. I did the race 2 weeks later and flew out of the back like I was stuck to the road. Paul continued to help me with my riding and without his help I have no doubt I would not be where I am today without his help. He drove me to races, taught me how to ride in a bunch, how to chaingang, how to eat on the bike ( it took me a while to grasp that one, I never eat enough) and all the skills you need to be a bike racer.

Ever since that first time on that course it has been a bit cursed for me , I have raced on it twice since then, both times in the very early season, both times in snow. One thing my life has taught me is that God did not fashion James stouts for going outside in cold weather. Had it been any other race I wouldn't have started, one time I was violently sick, I hung about for 1 lap before unceremoniously vomiting all over my bike, not the finish I was dreaming of. The other time I just minced off the back shivering like a reed in the wind (which is probably what I looked like) both times my parents came to watch, this is about the only time they have ever come to watch so I was pretty gutted.

This time, my parents came to watch, the race was going well, I had been with all the jokey moves that always go on the first lap and felt fine, on the second lap my best mate and wily sidekick matt had gone up the road. We rarely ride without each other and I could see he was looking lonely in the wind so I went with the next move that was headed up the road, we had a gap and were smacking it pretty hard to get across. I was on the wheel of some bloke from the cyclingbargains team and he neglected to point out a stupid, pointy stone which had absoloutley no business being in the middle of the road. I looked up just in time to see his rear wheel swerve, being as there was less than an inch between our wheel I couldn't react, my front hit the rock, so did my rear. I heard a loud hiss and, for a while hoped I was imagining things. At 30 mph a while gets you about 100m, but with two flat tyres that same while allows you to completely loose control of your bike! I got my hanbd in the air to signal to the bunch that I was in trouble and they came past giving me a wide berth, I pulled over and treated anyone in the vicinity to a veritable thesaurus full of four letter language. Then I tried to hail down a service car, but there wasn't one. I ended up riding back ot the HQ in a farmer's truck holding my bike out of the window, must have provided an interesting sight to those who overtook us. Matt assures me the rest of the race was "wheelsucking crap" and I wouldn't have enjoyed it anyway. We rode the 20 miles back to my house and moped around quite a lot. I ate a whole tub of ice cream and watched the office, this made me feel marginally better and a lot fatter.

The next day was the last of the upavon evening races which are generally windy, bloody hard and start at 7pm. For some reason I CANNOT get my bloodsugar right for these evening crits and as a result I was hanging after about 3 laps and after 5 I was sat in the carpark looking for someone with a packet of jelly babies. Not the best of weekends then.

On the plus side I made a really good rice pudding AND discovered that rice pudding with bananas and custard is a top notch breakfast or desert. I also went on a really long walk with my dog and picked lots of blackberries.

AND this morning a massive package of goodies arrived – trek protein flapjacks, amazing raisins and Nakd bars, I was like a little kiddie at xmas (I'll upload piccies of my stash soon) I can't say thank you enough times to the people at natural balance. As a diet conscious, wannabe healthy diabetic I find their foods not only yummy but also healthy. You know you're hooked up when people come to your car before the race to try and beg borrow or barter an energy bar!