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Pain Free Stromlo

By Fatboy - Posted on 09 September 2013

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.
Re: This ride meeting: 
Shimano MTB GP - Round 5
Position (Overall): 
Position (Category): 

My event started back in July when I was talking on the phone with my mate Gordo about my training which has improved this year and next thing I'm in his lounge room for half a day taking in an enormous amount of notes as he offers to coach me and starts by sharing his experiences and tips with me and builds my training plan. As an aside, I always assumed he wins the tough races because he's prepared to live inside the hurt box more than anyone else but now realise he's a perfectionist and lives by the mantra "Practice doesn't make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect".

We discussed my back problem which used to cause me hell in all races but these days it is only the switchback courses where I'm constantly accelerating from slow corners that kill me so I tend to avoid those events. We began working on my technique and Gordo sent me to his physio and bike fitter Rob Standon. While early days, Stromlo was the perfect test to determine how I am progressing.

Friday night at the Crowne Plaza was interesting with a fire alarm interrupting sleep. My wife Liz had a cold which developed into a fever during the night. I went down to breaky in the morning leaving Liz in bed with our 6&4 year old kids who would now have to stay in the hotel room for the day while daddy was off racing. Happy days...

My 6yo son Lachy had given me a pair of socks on father's day with 'dad' on them and said "dad, you can wear these in your Canberra race". I took a pic of my feet before the race and sent the pic to show him dad remembered. It meant a lot.

At the start I decided that as I normally get extreme pain on that first climb I’d start at the back and take it easy. What an annoying decision that was. The course this year used a climb out to the right side which had lots of exposed rock on slow corners and when you are in a long line and someone has to stop on a techy bit the whole line has to stop. The first 3 laps felt like a slow procession.

Once I had a clear track I resisted the urge to charge as I had no back pain but put it down to the fact the first 3 laps were quite conservative. It wasn't till the end of lap 5 that I started thinking my back was good so I should start pushing harder. I hit the big drop off about 200m before the finish line too fast and on landing my rear tyre burped and my bar rotated. This meant a lengthy stay at the start of my next lap fixing both problems so I then cruised to the finish.

I was so excited at the end of the race that I had completed a race at a twisty track without the usual constant stopping to stretch and gob down pain killers. My Whyte M109S bike felt like a lounge chair throughout the race and bombed the descents.

Back at the hotel the room looked like a war zone and it was clear Liz & the kids had ordered room service for breaky and then lunch. I then took the kids out for a while. Gordo called later in the arvo and I was so excited about my lack of pain in my back I actually didn't have a clue how I had gone in the race or how many laps I'd done but jabbered incessantly until he said "mate I haven't voted yet and it's a quarter to 6". I then bumped into his Rockstar teammate Kyle Ward and our own @antsonline who were staying on my floor. What a massive scalp for Kyle running such a strategic race and smashing Blair & Wombat in the process. His mentor who was obviously proud of his own 4th place was beaming at how they stuck to a strategy that beat the best.

Sunday morning we left Canberra to take the kids for their first trip to the snow and after a few hours in perfect Spring snow did the long haul home. While still early days on this journey I sit here today with no pain at all and thrilled out of my skin that I will be able to race pain free and actually focus on racing not survival thanks to Gordo & Rob.

Craig good to hear that you had a great race and after some ups and downs your on your way back to your best.

Well done to perservere and trust the advice.

See you at the races !

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