Am I on track?

Am I on track?

Friday, 19 October 2012

An injury setback...

I suppose it had to happen eventually, everyone gets the occasional injury.  But I like to get my injuries in particularly ego-destroying ways...

Late in our family holiday at Burleigh, we were going for a walk through the local shops. As we browsed through one of the old surf-shops, my oldest daughter yelled excitedly - "Look Dad, we can hire a surfboard all day, and its only $20!!  Can we??"

Now, I've never, ever surfed.  But only $20 for a whole day - what could go wrong?  Famous last words...

On the 2nd last day, we headed back to the surf shop.  I handed over $20, and was given the longest, widest, 'floatiest' board they had.  We carried it to the beach, and away we went.  My two daughters, not surprisingly, did very well for their first ever surfing attempt.  I had a great time helping them out to the breakers, and launching them off into smaller waves...

Inspired by their success, I took my turn.  Paddling out for my first attempt I tried to pop over a breaking wave. The board hit me in the chest pretty hard, and I felt a sharp pain. "You are kidding..." I thought to myself as I grabbed my left lower ribs...  I hadn't even tried to catch a wave yet!!

Bottom line is I cracked or fractured a rib.  Could not believe how sore it was!  I was OK to walk around, and breathing was fine - but coughing or laughing hurt like buggery, and lying down, rolling over, and getting in/out of bed was sore too. 

After a bit of research, I decided against going to the doctor as there isn't really anything that can be done for a broken rib.  I was careful to monitor myself closely for any changing pain or symptoms that might suggest I'd scratched a lung or anything else, but otherwise decided I'd have to take it easy so as not to impair the healing process.

I bought a bottle of Caltrate Plus (calcium, vitamin D, and trace elements supplement) to assist with bone repair and strength, and popped a couple of tablets a day.  Not sure if it made a difference or not, but figured it couldn't hurt.


So I find myself now, a little over two weeks later, finally starting to approach normal.  It took about 10-12 days for the pain to drop a notch or two, and for the last couple of nights sleeping has been much better.  Its now just 'sore' rather than painful, and I can feel improvement each day.  Finally!

Having avoided the bike the whole time, I'll lycra-up for an easy spin tomorrow morning and see how I go.  The plan is to stay in the saddle and ride at a cruisy effort, avoiding any efforts that might need me to push-&-pull on the handlebars.  With some luck, the ride will be fine and I'll be able to ease back into more normal efforts over the next couple of weeks.

I've definitely got itchy feet after being off the bike for so long, so I'm really looking forward to it.  Hopefully this will be the start of a build into the HPRW Twilight Criterium series - its held on Wednesday afternoons after work at the Nundah criterium circuit, and starts in late November.

UPDATE:  Went for an easy 30km cruise on Saturday (20/10/12).  No soreness or pain in the rib, which was fantastic!!  Could feel it 'pulling' a bit though, so will just make sure I don't do any intensity-stuff for the next week or two so I don' aggravate it.  Very happy to be back on the bike though!!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Race 8/2012 - Nerang Twilight Criterium, Gold Coast.

I was lucky to be able to take my road bike with me when we headed off to our family holiday at Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast.  One of the many opportunities that affords you is the chance to race at a new venue if your stay coincides with some local racing.

On the 2nd Wednesday of my stay (3rd October), the first round of the Nerang Twilight Criterium series was being held - perfect timing.  It was due to kick-off at 5pm, so I was very keen to head out and try some Gold Coast racing.

Arriving about 4:30pm, I did a quick spin around the circuit to see wheat I was in for.  The circuit is at the same location as the Nerang Velodrome, with the criterium circuit being a long loop around the outskirts of the 'cycling centre'.

The Nerang Velodrome, you can see part of the criterium circuit around the outside and behind the stand...

First impression - hilly!!  There is a genuine, real hill on the criterium circuit - what was I going to be in for during this race?!

The circuit reminded me a little of Lakeside motor-racing circuit, a regular venue for criteriums used by the HPRW club near Caboolture, in terms of its hilliness.  I knew this was going to test my legs, especially after a week or so of mainly easy riding whilst on holidays...

Off to registration  which was a very smoothly run affair.  After a chat with one of the commissaires, I was (thankfully!) put in C-Grade for the race.  I paid my $10, pinned my number on, and rolled around the velodrome for a few laps to warm my legs up.

Around 20 or so riders lined up in C-Grade.  The commissaire announced it would be 40 minutes + 3 laps, and sent us on our way.  D-Grade (30min+3) and a combined A/B Grade (50min+3) were also racing on the circuit at the same time.

First time up the hill, and my legs were already hurting!  I've talked before about my lack of hill-climbing ability, and so this circuit certainly was NOT playing to my strengths...  I decided that I would just work as hard as I could, and see how long I could last for, setting myself the goal of at least making it to the halfway mark (20min) before getting dropped.

To my surprise, I was stronger than I expected! I ended up lasting the whole race, only drifting off the back when the race exploded up the hill on the final lap.  My legs handled it really well - I wasn't a front-runner on the hills, but I was able to stay in touch and not dangle off the back...

My performance was a genuine surprise to me, my first real test on a hilly circuit in a long time and I was able to handle it! Further proof that my training and form are both heading in the right direction, and another big confidence and motivational boost.

Stats for the race (if I remember correctly) were 45min of racing, covering 26-ish km at an average speed of 35.5km/hr.

If yo get the chance to race at this circuit - do it.  It is a genuinely 'honest' circuit that gives you a great test of your legs.  The organisation was terrific as well, running very smoothly.

So what's next?

I'm off to Canberra for the next week, meaning a week off the bike.  Then I've got the Northshore Open Criterium (Brisbane) and the Be Better Psychology Open Criterium (Toowoomba) on consecutive Sundays - it'll be interesting to see how I go in much faster Open fields with my current form...

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

September 2012 Review

I am having a great time at the moment, enjoying a 2-week family holiday at Burleigh Heads. It has been a perfect mental recovery time, and I am having a wonderful time.  Fortunately, I was able to bring the bike with me to keep up a bit of mileage and maintain a bit of consistency in the legs.

But first - my stats for the month:
Mileage - 539km (year-to-date total - 3833km)Weight - 77kg (1kg loss)

Very happy with my consistency again, and I can certainly feel the difference its making in my legs.  I'm comfortable and strong on the bike at the moment, and my form is tracking in the right direction.  Its very motivating, and I'm looking forward to testing myself in some club and Open races during October.

One of the highlights has been 'road/track training' at the Nerang Velodrome on the Gold Coast.  I took the chance to join in while I'm down here on holidays.  Basically, it involved 100 laps on the 365m outdoor velodrome (on road bikes), with every 10th lap being a sprint.

It was a very, very hard session!  There was a decent crowd of 20-30 riders, with a mix of abilities across all grades all riding together.  To be honest, I probably spent the same number of laps circling on the outside of the velodrome gasping for breath and recovering as I did in the paceline!  It was a heap of fun though, and was a great mid-week hit-out to smash the legs.

That's it for now, the beach is calling me (holidays are tough stuff!) - plenty of time to reflect on what's to come when I rejoin the real world next week...  :)