"Farmer Tony, when are you going to post your tour report? Last years write up was a great read.
This is a cycling post but there is probably more ground to cover and we'll see where the key board takes me.After last year's Tour of Bright I had a holiday from cycling, or at least serious training for the whole of December,restarting in January with some big goals for 2013.You'll probably laugh but one of them was to win B Grade at the Wang Tour.In the previous 2 years I'd first won D Grade in 2011,then last year C Grade so B didn't seem out of the question although it would be a massive step up.It's hard telling people your goals,their quite personal and even if not completely realistic,you need them to motivate yourself.The Wang Tour was was one of them and I'm going to keep the others up my sleeve for now.
Back in January when I got back "into it" my term for serious training I'd mentally decided a few things.Ride more and ride harder in training.I was basically going to nearly double what I'd been doing.Instead of going for a 50 km ride I'd go for 100km.
I felt very motivated and nothing could stop me.Little did I know this theory would be tested sooner rather than later.Early February I had about 3 weeks in the Noosa area of Queensland with some family and friends, of course the first thing I packed was the bike,then the surfboard.In the morning I'd do 80-100 km on the bike then we'd surf for 3 hours in the afternoon.I was quite pleased with myself and remember saying to my life guard nephew "how many 49 year olds could handle that".I should have known better than to be so cocky.
Arriving home from Queensland there was a big race coming up in Dookie, near Shepparton.The Goulburn Valley Vets CC were holding their Open for 2013,I'd actually won the race in 2012 so was keen to have another go.I didn't have big expectations but was ready to start racing again for the 2013 year.
The day before the race I rode one of my regular loops around the Boorhaman area and decided to include a few short intense efforts.It was during these efforts I started to feel a niggling pain in the outside of my left knee.Deciding to give up on the efforts and slowly ride home there was no doubt something was not quite right.I still packed the car in readiness for the next day hoping that a good nights sleep would fix all.Getting out of bed the next morning as soon as my left foot hit the ground I knew there would not be any racing for me.
In the past if I'd ever had any injury, it would only take a few days and all would be well again.I decided to go and see a Myo-Therapist in Wang,after some massage and dry needling I thought that would be the end of it.A couple of days off the bike and I would just take up where I left off.Unfortunately this was not the case,I lasted 10 mins on my next outing on the bike before the knee was complaining profusely.
This was the beginning of several trips to various health professionals throughout the region in search of treatment that could get me back on the bike.After about a month of this it became clear that there would no quick fix.There seemed to be no improvement and I was so frustrated,I had all these goals but my body would not co-operate.My search for treatment found me at Osteo Health in Albury which is operated my Tom and Lisa Barry, both of whom are cyclists.I'd briefly met Tom and Lisa at some other bike races and had a good feeling about them.Tom was very honest from the start suggesting this was going to take some time before I'd be back to full strength.I'd go every couple of weeks and get treatment and different exercises to strengthen different muscles.I had other help from Myo-Way in Wangaratta and also Pete Goodman from Goodman Chiropractic.However, I believe that Tom Barry's treatments have been the most beneficial in the long term.
It has taken about 3 months to be able to ride again at a reasonable level and coming into the Wangaratta Tour I'd realistically been back training properly for about 3-4 weeks.I was offered B or C Grade but probably unwisely or stubbornly chose B.I wanted to ride in B Grade,I'm sure I would have been well beaten in C Grade too but I somehow needed to look forward and B Grade is where I needed to be.
The Wangaratta CC Tour is a great event and it was disappointing that the first morning was washed out due to heavy rain.Now instead of 4 stages their would only be 3,the Kermesse was omitted leaving 2 road stages and a Time Trial to finish off with.I was pretty much second last on both road stages,it was a little demoralising, but on another level motivation will come from the disappointment.Many people have been so supportive and positive and I am very thankful for that.The cycling community is quite close knit and most people have been through their own challenges so understand what it's like not to be able to compete at the level you're capable of.
Back to the Tour for a minute,the Time Trial was quite good in comparison to the road stages I finished 10th out of 25 in B Grade which made me feel a little better.
Having this injury has made me realise I'm not bullet proof and will see me being more conservative with my training methods.Listening to my body is something I've always been good at,thinking back it appears I forgot to listen.There were a few warning signs I probably ignored.Also when I finally got around to seeing my bike fitter Steve Hogg .He had to make some big adjustments to my cycling shoes/cleats.I wish I had gone to him earlier but didn't think there would be any problem.He told me in 30 years of bike fitting he had only altered 1 person more(between visits) than what he changed with me.I've seen him once a year for the last 3-4 years and normally we don't change much at all so this was as big a surprise for him as me.
I'm hoping this is now the beginning of a better year, at least as far as cycling is concerned.Off the bike, life in general, is pretty good.