Over the last month of so, the topic of "Hard" in relation to training has come up a fair amount. I've encountered a  fair number of athletes that really don't know what hard is or who give up too easily. Training to be a top notch athlete is all about learning to cope with failure. One must fail over and over again and learn from the experience rather than though the hands in the air claim one just can't do it. It is part of the journey.

I have posted in the last month how I have managed to drop some 80-90lbs and be able to ride a bike faster than I could ever imagine. I have learned to ride the Donut Ride without getting dropped. Three years ago, just making it to 15th and Keele St on the Donut Ride was an achievement. I have learned to race the track in London, and I have gone from never finishing a race, to almost winning a few. I still have issues keeping up for 4-5 laps in the Morning Glory Ride, but racing a 5km circuit with a 16% grade hill in the middle will still take some time to tackle. I still can't sprint well - I need to see 1300-1400W to win races, and have issues at 1100W. In time, I will get there.

The point I'm trying to make: I have come a long way. I still have a long way to go. But the experience of remembering where I started also reminds me of a major crash along the way. I found some photos recently that bring back memories. It make me think of the whiners that give up to easily. They really don't know hard.

Mark XRay Jun 23, 2009 Mark XRay Oct 1, 2009

The first image is the XRay of my right leg after I crashed during the Midweek Crit in June 2009. I beleive I was told I broke the strongest bone in my body in two places. I spent some 8hrs in surgery and two weeks in the hospital. The second image is from Oct 2009. I still have that plate in my leg and the 10 screws that hold it in place. It took 6 months to learn to walk again. I spent time in a wheelchair and had a walker for a while.

From what I recall, I was attempting to sprint for the finish line. My garmin says I was travelling around 40km/h when I flew over the handlebars and landed some 3-5meter in front of my bike. I still don't know what it happened, but I can only assume my front wheel locked up for reasons unknown. Now, I've since checked the rules and the bike and rider must finish the race to win. As I like to say, I finished the race, but the bike didn't. Of course, also hurt the pocket book. The bike I was riding was brand new - two weeks old. The frame was trashed.

The funny thing is while I managed to recover enough to walk and get around, it was not until this year that I realized how much more time I needed to get my leg back to be strong enough to be competitive for cycling. I started with Lori at FITS back in Oct. 2011 becaused I walked to learn how to do weight training correctly. I discovered that I never really completed physiotherapy.  I will keep at it. I have a goal to be able to swat at least two times my body weight. The ideal case is three times. I can currently do one times my body weight.

So, if you are racing or out riding, and get dropped. Keep it up. I have have some major setbacks in my short racing career...and I keep pushing forward. I never let anyone tell me I can't do it. I work hard. I take my lumps. I accept my defeats and considering them learning experiences. Training is hard and it is supposed to be. Racing is harder, but if it weren't why would we do it? Just remember, that there a guy in the pack that has more metal in his leg that more people have on their bikes...and I'm still doing it. I won't get started with the number of carbon bikes I've trashed.

I always like to say: Anything easy isn't worth doing. 
 
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