Memoirs of a MAMIL #4
Cyclist MAMIL, Rick Jordan, finds how those racing the Tour de France aren’t the only ones struggling to keep up. Balancing essential Tour viewing, training for the UCI World Cycling Tour and having a life is an art that is not easy to master.
Ahh spring. A time when big boned MAMIL’s come out from hibernation. A time when they start their training for the summer crit season.
As regular readers are aware, this MAMIL hasn’t.
Most MAMIL’s have spent July soaking in the late night atmosphere of the Tour de France, silently urging “cuddles” on up the climbs, only to have him silently slide off the back while Australians utter a collective “doh”. For the working MAMIL, the only way to get through the Tour de France without alienating family, friends and work colleagues is to really pick and choose your stages. Generally, that means missing some of the flatter stages, and picking the high mountain stages.
Balancing the mix between the Tour and training, recording stages, and watching the SBS highlights is a must. There were a number of stages where it was easier to record the stages, then spend the training sessions on the trainer watching the action, simulating attacks and chasing breaks.
For those who have an indoor trainer, get a copy of Milan-San Remo from 2012 and try and race the last 30km against Gerro and Spartacus without ending up in a blubbering puddle on the floor.
Being September, and only 20 more days until the UCI WCT finals, the training program is getting into the race preparation phase, with shorter rides, but more intensity. Luckily around this time, there are a number of good time trial and racing scheduled at club and state levels to polish and fine-tune the engine.
Over the past few months there has been some quality racing. I’ve been working with Supercoach on tweaking my position on the time trial bike and had some serious training sessions. His guidance (and expert mathematical analysis) has managed to lower my position on the TT bike, moved my arms and elbows in and reviewed equipment, which should gain me 1minute+ over 40km.
Not only have Supercoach and I looked at the technical side, but through the joys of the Interwebs, I’ve researched the results from the Charly Gaul GranFondo in July. Because they use the same course as my final, I managed to computer simulate the TT course quite a few times at the Turbo Studio and also used Google Maps to “virtually” ride the course. I even did a hillclimb Time trial up Razorback (a notorious climb in Sydney) on the time trial bike with disc wheel, as the final has a climb that almost matches Razorback. I’m quietly confident I’ll hit a good time, but it’s the unexpected that you can’t plan for.
Take yesterday for example. Every month, there are regular Time Trials run at Calga by ATTA (www.atta.asn.au). A hilly, hard 43km out and back course that keeps you “honest”. Yesterday, I was on a blinder. At the 21km turnaround, I was 3 minutes faster than my solo time I rode back in January. Being country roads, the quality of roads can be sketchy with rough patches and potholes; tyre chomping, bike swallowing potholes. I happened to hit one at about 50kph. About 2 minutes later, there was that squishy front tyre feeling that says race over. I pulled over to put in a can of instant sealant and thankfully the tyre inflated, but there was still some hissing.
I rolled on down the road a kilometre further and the tyre was flat as a pancake. I had another can with me (can’t be too careful) so I put that in with the vain hope that would fix it. Nope. So set out on a 10km walk…in bike shoes. A few other competitors asked if I needed help, but they didn’t have follow vehicles so there was nothing they could do. I yelled out to a few club mates to send help when they finished, and continued shuffling back; just for the record, as you may know, it’s damn hard walking in bike shoes.
Finally, one of my club mates drove back down the road asking if I need a lift. I asked for a front wheel so I could finish and get a time – the time trial is part of a yearlong club consistency award I am leading. Yes, tragic, but it’s all about the points.
Once I got back on my wheels I smashed the last 10km averaging 43.5kph, drilling it up the last 1.6km climb (setting new PB in the process). Overall, it wasn’t my fastest time, with 1hr 50min being the official time for 43km. But importantly, it’s best to exercise mechanicals now, and I felt great; strong, fast, aero and in control, yet knowing there is a little more to go.
This Friday is the State Masters Individual Time Trial, my last hit-out before packing and getting on the big bird to Italy.
Weight: 70kg – yes, you read correctly. I’ve hit race weight and could not be more pleased…and a little shocked.