I have found it so hard to write this blog. I’ve stopped and started it for the last 6-8 weeks. The reason for this is I have had to make the hard decision to take some time out as I’ve been suffering with constant back, hip and leg pain. Whilst I can get away with riding my road bike, riding my time trial bike has become a real struggle.
In November last year I was knocked off my bike by a car whilst out training. At the time I never really made a big deal about it, but I have not been quite right since - with years of wear and tear on my body I think this was probably the final straw.
Through the winter of 2017 I was on a mission to make a massive come back to the top of the sport and even with the accident it did not stop me - within a few weeks I was back riding. Dealing with the loss of my mum I was able to go to some really dark places in my training, I just got totally in the zone. I’m not great company when I’m like this and had you walked in on my training sessions I would not have known you were there. I was totally on a mission dealing with the pain I was mentally going through.
So much so I started the season like 10 men achieving a 2nd place at the Eddie Soens Memeorial Race and judging by the numbers I hit it was clear that this was going to be a massive year. A few weeks followed and the success carried on with more race wins but by the end of March I was still suffering with my hips and back. With regular physiotherapy I am able to ride but trying to get power out on my time trial bike has become nearly impossible at a level I know I can ride at, which really frustrates me.
So a few weeks ago I underwent some tests with Barney Wainwright and Jamie Pringle to see what the issues where and whether they could be corrected! The good news is the answer was yes but it’s going to be a slow process.
After talking to the people around me I’ve decided to take some time out to allow my body and mind to recover. I’m not going to let this hold me back and I have a clear indication now of what’s going on in my body and the process of rehabilitation I need to follow. I will definitely be back. I am in no way ready to hang up my wheels yet!
So over the coming months I will be blogging about my recovery, about how I am doing and hopefully giving some tips and advice.
So why do I want to continue to push myself despite these setbacks? That’s a good question, I just love the feeling of speed knowing you're at the limit and pushing your body and mind to the edge. Having that feeling of adrenaline and the feeling you’re just flying is so addictive and I guess I’m just not ready to let go. I’ve won every national title, set the records of the fastest times ever ridden but I just want that feeling once more and I guess I feel I can still do it.
So what does it take to improve? How can you find that extra bit to push you further than your opponents?
Well, I call it the extra 5%. There is a difference between the athletes that really want it and the athletes that think they want it. The extra 5% is about pushing through the pain barrier when you think you can take no more. It’s the difference between victory and just shy of the win or a getting a personal best and just missing out on one. It’s in everyone of us - you just have to find the way to unlock it! Its all in the mind and in my opinion is the biggest area between success and failure.
You have to know how to home in. It’s not measured by power, heart rate or pace, it’s having a reason when the chips are down to go really deep and when the pain kicks in to continue to push through. This comes from emotions and things that are personal to you. It’s more powerful than any measurable quanitity out there so next time you're suffering or you think you can’t finish a set remember why you're doing it.
That’s my tip for this week. There will be more to come but for now I’m going to take some down time and refresh my mind and body to get back to that place again.