Sunday, 19 December 2010

Oh "Bother"!! - update on my 24 hour race training

Friday morning and I am late for work! 
I sprint, heart racing to the station. I slide through the closing doors and as I jump on board I happen to glance down at my feet.  Something seems wrong. I take a second look… I have odd shoes on!! Oh bother (Actually I said another word beginning with b but for the sake of this blog let us assume I said “bother”!).  I am on the 7:46 heading to London Victoria with odd shoes on.  The doors have shut and I am stuck in my black, similar, but obviously different boots.

If I had an office job I guess I could have got away with this blunder by hiding my feet under the desk.  Unfortunately, as a Physio my feet are on show to my patients all the time; either as I demonstrate exercises or as they lie on their tummies on my treatment couch, staring through the face hole seeing nothing but my feet. "Bother!"

I mentally curse the reason why I am standing on the 7:46 in odd boots, ready for a day of humiliation.

Thursday night had been spectacularly late. This morning I had overslept and got dressed in a panic. I grabbed the first shoes I could find and ran at full speed to the station.  I know what you are thinking - Party season it may be, but the late night was nothing to do with going out.  I had not been out on the tiles drinking, nor had I been embarrassing myself dancing the night away at the work Christmas do.  I was actually riding my bike ‘til 3 am.

What????!!!!!! Yes, that's right, I was in my pilates studio at home, music cranked up until it made the walls shake, drinking nothing but water, spinning away on my turbo trainer ‘til the wee hours.

Why??!! Well, the previous weekend Ian and Kate Potter (I have blogged about them before - from AQR (A Quality Ride coaching) had come over to spend the day with me and Simon. We spent a portion of the day talking over our goals and aspirations for next year. Kate is a wealth of knowledge and has tonnes of experience of all things bike racing and training.  I was excited to learn that she too had just booked into Exposure 24 – The UK national 24-hour solo championships. We are both going to be racing at this event! (thankfully in different classes) and had so much to share!

To compete in a solo 24-hour race you have to be a bit bonkers. To train for a 24-hour race you have to be completely insane.  Kate and I had a fun time talking through the seemingly crazy training techniques we have used to prepare ourselves for 24 hours in the saddle. One thing she suggested, which initially even I thought was particularly crazy, was nocturnal turbo training. She admitted to getting on her turbo trainer and pedalling through the night to get her body, and more importantly her mind, used to 3am exercise. Eventually, as she explained the rationale, I started to see the merits of this approach.

Another suggestion she made was to practice doing bike maintenance when exhausted to simulate a mechanical problem in a race situation… I had struggled at the World Championships trying to mend my bike after 17 hours of riding so this clearly made sense.  So now to find a suitable night…

Thursday night I found myself wide-awake at just past midnight and “jiggy legged” (Is it just me who gets this?). I remembered my conversation with Kate and thought, why not jump on the bike now? Timing was perfect as Simon was in America and the kids on sleepovers – I had the house to myself and Simon would be similarly exhausted when he got back, so why not!? I actually began to get quite excited about the prospect of dusting off my collection of 1980s music (which the kids never allow me to listen to) and to spending a few hours with Bon Jovi, Duran Duran, Foreigner and Peter Gabriel reverberating round the house.

By 3 am I had had enough of my solo Karaoke party. I jumped off the bike, took the rear wheel off and changed a tube. It took ages because my brain was knackered and still banging around my skull from the exceptionally loud music, but I did it, hurrah!! I showered, collapsed into bed and instantly fell into a coma.

The next thing I knew the alarm was going off. I must have made myself slightly deaf, as it had been going off for a while. Oh “bother” - I was late!!!

So here I am on the train in my odd shoes, aching legs, heavy head, slightly deaf, wondering how I am going to cope with the day. The day....???? I am looking at the Metro newspaper belonging to the man in front of me. Friday. Friday? Friday!!! The significance of Friday gradually sinks in. I don't work on Fridays!  I remember now I had chosen Thursday night as my nocturnal training session as I knew I could lie in on Friday. I had forgotten to turn the alarm off and I was on the train for absolutely no reason. Oh double “bother”!!

As the train pulled into East Croydon I stepped off and walked across the platform, hoping no one would look at my odd boots, to wait for the next train home.

I was very cross that I had been such an idiot in not turning the alarm off, but had no regrets at all about staying up half the night on my bike.  I really enjoyed my nocturnal turbo spin down my 'musical memory lane' – it had been a long time since I had spent a night alone with Simon Le Bon ;-) I had had no distractions. Just me, the CD player and my bike – a perfect start to my training for next season’s 24 hour races!

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