Monday, May 20, 2013

2 rest day wrap

Reloading for the final charge to bresia

It seems like the past week has past in the blink of an eye. The 2nd and final rest day before the race reaches it's conclusion in brescia on Sunday was certainly welcomed by all involved with this years giro. We all thought we had a tuff run in the first week with weather, terrain, and sickness but nobody could have predicted it would get even more brutal in the second. Some big names have left the race with what it sounds like the same dramas I had in the first and start of the second week, it seems the common consensus is allergy problems which has led to bronchitis and followed by a respiratory infection. In a nut shell it means that as soon as you push yourself your body reaches for oxygen which is not actually there as your respiratory system is not capable of working at the level required. Once there is no oxygen in the body the working muscles rapidly turn to lactic acid and stop working for you and as you need oxygen to clear lactic you are stuck with it as your body cant deal with it. The result?? You feel like and absolute block of concrete trying to pedal a bike and just have to prey that from somewhere within you body will be able to scrape up enough energy to atleast get to the finsh. The fortunate thing for me is at least I can just plug away and if nothing else help where I can with my team mates and while I know I wont return to 100% health in the next week I will certainly take any opportunity I can to contribute again to the race.

So with all that said and another week of feeling lousy, the doc suggested today I don't bother leaving my hotel room and give the body a greater chance to recover a little bit more. I certainly did not argue with him and I can proudly announce that in the 24hrs that have past since the finish of yesterdays stage I have been asleep or at least dozing for 18 of them! That's a record for to spend so much time in bed and I think it's something I will try and do more often. Obviously your natural instinct is to o for a ride but in reality if you do or don't won't make a huge amount of difference. I have days off completely regularly at home, about every second the 3rd week so no different to that. Also with a head cold it's probably much more beneficial not going outside and stirring things up for at least one day. To honest I can't wait to get back on the Rd tomorrow, I just really want to get stuck into everyday. I have no idea how I will feel when I wake up each morning but I definitely hold out alot of hope every night when I go to sleep that when I wake up I will have a good day. With a day off you also think I better not have too much to eat. On the contrary, you spend the whole week running on vapors that the rest day offers a great opportunity to refill the fuel tank and it's reserves so as to give you the best chance to get through the final week as strong as possible. Infact you probably eat more on a day like today as usually we don't have any lunch as we are on the bike. Today's give you the chance to get an extra big bowl of carbs in the form of rice or pasta into the system which will be very valuable in the coming days.

Feeling as average as I have the past couple off weeks has not only taught me to become emery conservative on the bike but also off it. I don't think I ever really embraced the whole saving energy thing in cycling off the bike until this past week. I usually enjoy a little walk after dinner to settle the stomach, this week I have been sitting down in the elevator if there has been a seat in it back to my room! Stretching has always been a major part of my daily routine and while still do it as I know how crucial it is for recovery, I have invented new exercises basically using the least amount of energy to stretch each muscle, alot of exercises which rely on body weight for force as appose to producing it myself. With the departure of our captain Ivan basso before the race even began I also inherited my own room. With 9 riders one rider always flys solo, usually the captain and in this case I got the gig. As a result I had been enjoying plenty of space unpacking my things each day without the worry of encroaching upon my room mate. Thing with this is it always requires an extra few minutes in the morning to pack the suitcase as we transfer to the next hotel. In the past days I have learnt toto out only what is absolutely necessary and in turn save that time and energy in the mornings. Also on days where we leave the hotel not long after breakfast I pack my things before breakfast and then go directly to the bus from breaky. This gives me the chance to relax and enjoy m favorite meal of the day and also not be stressed and rushing back up to the room when every person in th hotel is using the elevator and so forth. Just little things that not only save physical energy but also mental energy which is also very draining. It's  amazing how these little things add up and give you extra time and energy to use for what most important, recovery. Again going forward into future grand tours it's been important to learn something from every situation I find myself in. At the end of the day its all extra tools to put inside your tool box.

The 3rd week has always been what I have been looking forward to the most. I prefer the bunch when it's a little more tired and a little less stress. It just feels like you can ride your bike without having to spend a bucket load of energy on fighting within the peleton. Also the final week sees the arrival of the hardest stages and they are always the ones you want to get stuck into. The opportunity to test the body against the best riders in the world on some of the most brutal stages ever ridden in the grand tours. It's truly going to be a very exciting conclusion to the final week and the 2013 giro

CJW