Monday, 9 April 2018

Something New!

For those who read this blog, I have mentioned that I have had surgery to remove tumours from my uterus and this has impacted on my energy levels as well as changes to my wellbeing. It has been 6 weeks and my body is still adjusting to the change in hormone levels.

I am starting to sleep better, sometimes with the aid of menopause relief medication. With improved sleep, I am also able to start training again. Post Easter, I have done the Tuesday and Thursday Lead Out Cycling sessions but didn't join the group for the long ride on Saturday due to lack of sleep and the mistake of a pretty hard massage on my back on Friday evening. I ended up doing the double session at Art of Cycling instead. I have been doing the AOC endurance session on Sundays for the last 4 weeks now and these sessions have been great. I actively work on my strokes, endurance and mental strength.

In addition to the usual cycling sessions, I have also started track cycling with the Melburn Hurt group. The session is on a Wednesday night at Brunswick velodrome 6:30 - 8pm. I travel all the way from Glen Waverly on Wednesday nights but so far I have learnt so much about track cycling that I am definitely going to make it my regular.

My first session was on 28th March as my friend Juliet wanted to try and I thought I would take this opportunity to step out of my comfort zone. I have my own bike so when the session started, I just rode around the bottom part of the velodrome. Due to my junior gearing which came with the bike (46/17 46/18), I was spinning like crazy with no abilities of going more than 30km/hr. I did have two anxiety moments when the coach (Sarah Knights) wanted me to ride towards the fence instead of stopping and unclipping to stop and riding off the fence with both legs clipped in. Doing these two actions was totally out of my comfort zone in terms of what you normally would do with cycling. My heart raced like crazy and I might even have had a little spew in my mouth. I did about 3 more of each in between sets before the end of the session which meant that I overcame the anxiety. There were a few factors which helped with this, one being that I didn't give myself a chance to think about failing or injuring others.

My second session was last week 3rd April. I was the only one there with the coach for the first 30min from 6:30pm so after the warm up, the coach had me to repeats of riding off the fence and improving on riding towards the fence. Due to the uncertainties and now knowing what the hell is going on, I was riding towards my spot too late and at too sharp of an angle. Sarah got me to ride up towards the fence earlier and riding along the fence at a more controlled speed until I got to where I needed to be. I am not sure how the change in gearing will impact on how much control I will have. I have ordered an upgrade of my sprockets and chain ring. I will be moving from a 46 to a 48 chainring which is what the bike would have come with if purchased new and a set of sprockets. I will most likely be on a 16 as it is also the sprocket which comes with the bike if purchased new. An increase of 46/17 46/18 to 48/16 will be an increase in distance of 69.1 to 86.4 inches per revolution (5.45m to 6.83m) per revolution.

Anyways, I digressed. When Kia arrived to the session, I joined her in her warm up by doing track turns for 6 laps. Slightly different from road riding track turns is that after the lead cyclist does a right shoulder check, flicks their elbow and swings off the right instead of left like on the road. It took some time to adjust but I eventually go the hang of it but I was too scared to swing too high on the embankment.

After the warm up, we did some sprint work where Sarah would blow the whistle for us to do our sprint efforts and then would back off when she blew the double but I found that even on sprint efforts, it was practically impossible for me to go more than 30km/hr. The second set of training involved working on slip streams and utilizing the draft zones for a strong acceleration. I forgot what this term is called. This is where I was more comfortable and accelerated at the highest speed of 35km/h. I left the session early at 7:30pm in order to get home at a reasonable hour to prepare for LOC the next day. I ended up doing about 13km over 53min (moving time of 33min). The graph below shows the variation of speed of the whole session.
1) Solo warm up
2) Ride off and towards the fence
3) Kia warm up (rolling turns)
4) Sprints
5) Draftzones (twice)

On the way out, I saw Kia doing laps of the velodrome out of the saddle and accelerating out of the saddle. I am yet to learn this skill, not as easy as you think as you can't coast or rest after the efforts.

I might change my saddle before the next session with one I used for triathlons. Looking forward to the next session.

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