I got up this morning, after deciding last night, I'm going into the office , thinking I need a book to read. I work at home three days per week, and circumstance what they were, I've been working at home for the last week. I wanted out of my cage. The trek into the office is one that takes me from Milton on the commuter GO Train into downtown Toronto, and up the subway line to just north of the downtown core. The trek takes about 2hrs total one way and gives me a change to read. I had spent the last four moths studying Abnormal Psychology, a 3rd year course towards my degree, at York University - something I started back in 2002. Today, was the first time in months I could read on the way in something that wasn't course related. I needed a book. I looked at the bookshelf and found something I bought a few months ago: How Bad Do You Want It by Matt Fitzgerald. I tossed in my bag, and headed out the door.
Reading through the forward and introduction, I knew this was the next book to read. It was about what it takes to win. Ed Veal, former local champion, and now Canadian National Team track pursuit team member, always asked me, "Don't you want to win?" and was very good at pointing out that it is the person that can suffer the most that crossed the finish line first. The book's first chapter is a riveting account of Kenyan's endurance runner, Sammy Wanjiru's win of the Chicago Marathon in 2010. The man had come to the race after a few injuries and set backs, by no means in peak form, to pull off the win of his life to winning the race against his challenger, Ethiopian, Tsegaye Kebede by fighting ever step of the 26 miles of the race up to the sprinting hill to the line 19 secs in front of his rival. It was a good example of mind over body. I'm looking forward to read this book. The mental game is something I lost at this year.
The open chapter was a good read. I've spend the past 4-6 months kind of floundering after burning myself this year. I had have some of the worst performances of my short "bike racing career" - worse than my first year of racing. I lost enthusiasm for the sport, other than standing around and watching it as a commissaire or other role, done to feel part of the game, I really wasn't into it this year. After being ditched by my training partner and spending the evening alone with my rollers and track bike doing cadence pyramids, I wanted back in game and *I* would have to do it: for me, myself, and I -a personal challenge of sorts.
I started into cycling to lose weight, and fell into bike racing because, dammit, it's fun. Even if one doesn't win often, the fight is part of the fun. Pushing yourself and testing your limits is part of the fun. Reading that book on the way in to the office got me to thinking, this year, I'm training for the Canadian Track Nationals championships. That will be the A race this year - ideally working on Individual Pursuit (IP) - because, let's face it, even without training this year I PB'd at this year's nationals in the IP. While I will do some road races sticking largely to criteriums, it is, and has never really been my focus. I want to get back to racing too much, because it is what works for me on the mental side of the game. The threat of being dropped pushes me to go harder when on the trainer it's too easy to give up. It is a way of working on mental endurance.
I want to get back to doing some "stupid endurance work". I used to ride to Niagara Falls and back almost every 3-4 weeks. I want to get back to that. For fun, I'd like to try it on my fixed gear bike. That was on my mind this morning as well. Why? Because no one else would think of it. I want to do the TTNT - the Toronto to Niagara Hairshirt ride again. 327km ride in one day. Maybe I'll push myself and try and stick with the leaders. I just need to find a group willing to work. I want to go as many 40km TT's as I can. I didn't do a single one this year. I want to race in Buffalo and get back to finishing the CAT1/2/3 race. I want to get back to being able to doing stupid things like tearing off the front at Midweek weekly crit to test my mental endurance.
I want to work on getting better at hills, mostly to build strength. Hills repeats on Rattlesnake Hill here in Milton - a 900m climb with a switchback hitting 17% seems like fun. I will use France this year to work on that side of my endurance.
I'm looking forward to getting a training group started for those winning to train with me. Puck Bucket Tuesdays for sprint work and Endurance Thursdays for long hard efforts. Track training on Saturday and Sundays at the Forest City Velodrome.
This weekend I was a commissaire on the track. I put on 10lbs because of all the standing around and watching bike races. I want to be on the bike. Challenging myself. Last night, was the first night in months I could train without anything else in the way. I'm looking forward to more of that. After a 4-5 month break and a bad season, I'm looking forward to get back in the game, and seeing if I can test myself and win, just like Sammy Wanjiru did.