This past tuesday, I successfully completed my 3rd training test .. 18, 20, 18, 20, and 20 hour rides. What made this week more fun was these rides were done with a broken wrist, wearing a large cast on my right arm.
I tried to consistently ride at 25km/h; 26.3 km/h and then 27.3 km/h on average for each ride, but the incredibly strong head wind often made this a big challenge.
I stayed in a RV parked at Babel Shams resort (which is the area I like to train) for the 5 day training test, and Bob was my great, loyal crew who assisted me for the week.
Riding for 18-20 hours a day for 5 consecutive days with an uncomfortable cast on my arm … brought about many emotions.
On the 3rd day, my wrist hurt so much that I nearly quit. There were a few hours where in my head … I was done.
I felt the pain was too much, and I must be hurting my wrist by riding my bike.
But I called Dr. Yusef during my 15 minute lunch break at the 9 hour mark … and my Dr. told me that the pain was normal because I have 2 broken bones in my wrist … “of course it hurts!” He reassured me that my wrist was fine and because I was wearing a cast, it would not be damaged further. At the end of the call, he told me: “Fight on!”
But still….I kept moaning to myself and to Bob about the pain and I kept thinking that I should stop, etc. Ohhh I wanted to stop.
I got passed by several cyclists throughout the day, so I started to think about how weak of cyclist I am … and all the people who passed me on the bike path touched my ego … and I kept wondering to myself if I am ready for RAAM??
Then it started to rain (again) .. riding in the rain with a strong headwind … with a cast that became soaking wet … doing the same 50km loop over and over and over again was absolutely miserable…especially, since thats all I focused on for this period of time — was negative thoughts.
At the end of the 18 hour ride, my wrist hurt badly … and before I went to sleep, I spoke to my coach, Mario Huys and I told him how I felt.
Mario has been my coach for 4 years and knows me well. He gave me a sort of pep talk about how tough I am, and how doing this with a broken wrist was impressive, etc … so it got me pumped up for the last 2 days. He told me that he was certain I am in shape to complete RAAM, and now it was just up to seeing how mentally tough I am/and will be during RAAM. He told me in his firm Austrian accent: “stop being such a pussy and just focus on making this happen.”
As I laid in bed for my 2 hour sleep, I reflected on the pain and started to understand that it was more mental than anything else. I was just looking for an excuse to stop.
I woke up at the usual 3:10 the next morning and told Bob that it was showtime … that I was back and my wrist was fine – no more moaning.
The last two 20 hour rides were both the fastest, best rides of the week, and probably the best bike training I have done. My wrist did not hurt much at all after I decided to stop focusing on it — the pain disapeared.
The last 20 hours … I was off my bike for a total of 18 minutes the entire day … and I ended up riding 20 hours and 31 minutes. (bob kept a stop watch and timed each 90 second water break or 15 minute lunch to ensure I stuck to my schedule – but the last day, I took only a 7 minute lunch break and never left my bike – which made a massive difference in the way I felt and rode – much much better than the rest of the week.)
I don’t want this blog to be just a training journal entry…
But think about the power of the mind. And how can you relate to my story above?
When I thought of positive things… I rode very well.
But, when I felt sorry for myself, I rode terribly … and nearly quit.
Day 3 – My wrist hurt .. to the point where I couldn’t even touch the handle bar because of the pain.
But as soon as I started to think of positive thoughts, and stopped focusing on the pain, it went away.
To be completely honest, I have no idea if I can complete RAAM … but if/when I do … it’s going to be a great story.
And this “great story” is what is going to drive me across.
My last training test is May 19th – 22nd where i will do 4 x 20 hour rides. I will still be wearng a cast!
Mario will be with me to do a test run of my nutrition, schedule of breaks, my experience of sleep depreviation, etc
A friend of mine in Dubai who is a strong cyclist doesnt understand why I am doing so much training …but, unlike him, I have no historic cycling base so I have to cram in as much hours as possible.
I am certain in my Coach and his training program he gives me.
This past test week – I woke at 3:10 each day to ride from 4:00am.
I rode with 3 water bottles and stopped for 90 seconds every 5 hours.
At the 9 or 10 hour mark, I stopped for a 15 minute lunch break. Bob kept a stop watch and kept me on track …
I noticed my best day of training was the last day where I ate and drank the least throughout the day, but I probably need to eat more over the day rather than have lunch breaks where I ate too much all at once.
I rode at 25 km/h for the first part of the day, and gradually increased over the day. I noticed that I ride the fastest around 4pm, once the sun started to go down.
We shall see how mentally tough I am…