My little bike and me are very happy! We love nothing more than a Saturday spin, always including tea and cake. Up hills, down hills, through puddles, country roads and motorways! It doesn’t matter where we go.
So when a Club trip to the iconic French Alps came up, I couldn’t say no! Sure what harm!? Sign me up, I’m in, it’s ages away I will worry about it later!
Except it is later! It’s now April and La Marmotte is only 12 full weeks away! 170km of beautiful French countryside, spoilt by 4 huge climbs.
I was doing fine training wise. Gale Force winds and torrential rain didn’t stop my winter cycles. Throw in a few spin classes, a couple of runs, lots of yoga needless to say, I thought I was on schedule.
So what’s wrong? Well, other people!
Training in a group is the best way to keep motivated, work harder, push yourself and help each other along. It also has the drawback of comparing each other. Who’s doing what, who went where, who’s bike is better, who’s doing sneaky spins on the side! It’s only natural.
Training for any event is an accomplishment in itself. At the start line of the Marathon the host and compare told us, “today is the celebration of all your training, it’s just the icing on the cake.”Training is the hard part, getting up on weekends, going out in the rain, being dragged across the road in high winds, waiting on punctures to be fixed while we all freeze in hailstone showers! It’s what we do, it’s what makes us strong enough to face a trip to the Alps.Now the clocks have changed and the evening are brighter it’s time to ramp it up a notch! We had a meeting the other night and some past Marmotte-rs came to tell us of the road that lies ahead. I got scared, really scared in fact! So frightened I lashed into the wine to drown out the horror stories they were reliving!Tales of how you think your mountain climbing then you turn a corner and find out what a real mountain looks like! Very steep apparently. Reminiscing about the tears, the tantrums, the large lady walking beside them in flip flops, she was going faster than them on their bike! Nausea, light heads, blindness, (temporary but cycling blind on the Alps is not recommended), dehydration and sunburn to name a few! I have actually paid to do this by the way!
So twelve more weeks of training in Ireland, thats at least 24 spins to get prepared! 24 more times listening to others and comparing my training to theirs. So what to do? Quit the group? Go out on my own?
No, of course not!
The group is great and we all have fun, but it is important to buffer yourself. I need to remember that most of them sit down all week, they don’t work nights or exercise like a lunatic for living. Some of them have dinner put on the table for them every night. It all adds up! My life is hectic enough, I physically don’t have any more hours in the day to give! My only secret weapon, back up plan is Yoga and Marathon endurance experience! Yoga hopefully will keep me centred on the day! When the going gets tough the tough BREATH! My core is strong and my muscles are flexible. My mental endurance has been proven, I finished two Marathons without taking a taxi! Yoga has kept me injury free. I have no doubt I will complete the Marmotte. I may not be first home but I have a feeling I will be the least stiff!
Let’s see what the next few weeks bring! The only thing guaranteed is, the days are getting longer!
About the Author:
Sinéad Kennedy is a Physical Therapist, Yoga Siromani and Pilates Instructor, based in South County Dublin. She treats and teaches people from all walks of life, including many athletes, especially cyclists, runners and golfers. A keen cyclist and proud member of Orwell Wheelers she is currently training for the Marmotte Sportive, Alps, July 2014. Sinéad has completed two Dublin City Marathons, numerous Adventure Races, Half Marathons and Cycling Events.