Friday, March 15, 2013

Now onto road season - 1st up is Tour of Cyprus

It has been a busy February with six races left on my calendar.  To read about my adventures in the events, click HERE. It will take you to my published article on CYCLOCROSS Magazine. The article is aptly called, "Bring on the cookies and jenever."

After my last race on February 27, the Cross Masters Waragem (set in the middle of a town where we rode around swingsets set in sand and down the main drag that runs you through the city center), I took a full 3 days off the bike. The first day was the best of the three. Jonas and I spent the day at a spa, courtesy of his sister and her husband.  The package also included an "aprodite" massage where they first put you in a bathtub filled with rose water for 20 minutes, then they lay hot stones on your back and finish you up with a tender back massage that feels more like a feather than a massage.

Part way through the massage part, i mentioned to the guy that i usually get my legs, not my back, massaged. After a couple minutes of talk, i got the message across that a real massage would be more appropriate for my body type. How excited was he! It turns out he hates giving silly feather massages and had even studied sport massage and is a soccer player.

Well, half way through my massage it was my turn to get excited, or rather more nervous, when i felt him spread my legs. My first thought of course was, NO, that is not the massage i signed up for! But then i realized he was preparing to massage my legs. SCORE! Legs were not even part of the massage package so it was a bonus - MY kind of bonus, that is. And it was very welcome considering i had just raced the evening prior.

After my three days rest, i got going again to be at least semi-ready for Tour of Cyprus.  It is the perfect kickoff to spring training for me.  We travel through the most picturesque mountains, visit quaint traditional towns, get treated to all the delicious delicacies that Cyprus has to offer - all on two wheels!

This will be my third time taking part and it is, for me, an event not to be missed. This is why i get back on the bike so soon after cross. While i doubt i will be race-ready by the end of March, my goal is to at least have a basic level of endurance and climbing so that i can better enjoy all that is up for offer. Each of the three stages is 1200 -2000 altitude meters, which is always a shock coming off a cross season where the most we did was 200. But bring it on! My mind is at least ready for some warm sun on the quads after sitting in dark, cold, snowy, rainy Belgium where we saw the sun maybe once in the last six months. I'll be gone from March 25 through April 7 to make the most out of the trip.

In preparation for the hills, I did a trainer workout that simulated the Black Forest terrain in Germany. For three hours i powered up those hills and by the end my quads were on fire, literally. I felt electrical sparks! That was my key to get off.

As it continues to snow here, making the roads too dangerous to ride most days, I am often relegated to the trainer but i doubt i will be doing any more of those 3 hour rides. My legs -and ass - can only handle so much.

Upon final reflection of cross season, i want to thank everyone who has made all the diffference in the world for me. A big thanks again to all my sponsors such as BABOCO, STEVENS, 3T, Challenge, HempAge, Tifosi, PROBAR, Mt Tam Bikes, and Specialized for excellent support, to Jonas for doing more than humanly possible to keep me on track, to Jonas’ mom for dropping off meals at our house after the races, to my coach Elmo for repeatedly patching me back up enough so I can stand at the start lines, to Peter Meere, Sofie Piens, and Jürgen Landrie for serving as my on-hand support crew, and to everyone who cheered for me, read my blog or even had a kind thought about me over the last six months. I appreciate it all!


etienne bonello said...

See you in cyprus.

Anonymous said...

OMG is it Cyprus time again? It seems like only a couple of months ago that you were heading over there. The mention of the tour of cyprus makes me think of where I was last year fitness wise and as a mark by which to measure progress I can see that I have moved backwards... Still I will use your post to catapult myself back on track. :)

Funny about the massage, glad it turned out OK. Always a worry when going some place new.

Cyprus must be fun, to keep you going back. A great way to start your road training, less pressure, better weather and I am sure great scenery and company.

Have fun and take care, and remember spring is coming your legs and butt won't need to take that turbo-trainer punishment anymore! ~ Chris