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RAAM training test #3 … how much do you want to achieve your goal?

RAAM training test #3 … how much do you want to achieve your goal?

The power of the mind.

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…





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