Sunday, September 22, 2013

The need for rest

It's fall here in Eastern Canada. Racing is over for good and after a few good days of complete rest, my body is jsut telling me it needs more. I caught the classic September/October cold so it means im on my butt for at least a whole week. Training or just riding when being sick is just silly. That's one thing I could not get my head around when I started training seriously but I now understand the impact of training when ill and the major consequences it can have on your body and on the season's training cycle. So im now more disciplined with regards to training and illness.

The forced break will have its benefits. First it will serve as a mental rest from physical activity in general and from being on my bike everyday. Mental rest is a key to a good start to winter training. I need to be as fresh as possible mentally to be able to cope with the serious intensity planned for the long winter months.

Second, it obviously serves as a physical break. Replenish those energy stores, rebalance the endocrine system which certainly has taken a solid wack during the racing season. It also means giving the body time to heal all those minor injuries, joint pain and other painful body parts. 

It is important to get enough rest before the winter training regime starts. In the past few years, I was'nt getting much rest between the end of the season and winter. I was basically just riding along on the road or in the trails and taking a few days off here and there but no structured rest period. That recovery week will leave me very fresh and not too detrained. Hopefully the illness heals fast too. 

There is some serious training coming up for winter. Keep following if you like a good dose of training articles and geeky training stuff!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Group-set dreaming

It is the perfect time of year to play on my bike and try different tire set-up and other stuff. Last week I just mounted some new cables and housing because the old ones were getting quite dirty already. I love how a new cable and housing set-up makes your bike shifting feel like new.

So new set-up is mounted, indexation is ajusted but the bike keeps shifting like crap. Investigating the cables reveals nothing wrong so I tighten it back and try it again: same result. I then start questioning the housing. Yesterday, I dismounted everything and mounted some new cables and housing again, only 1 week after I changed the set-up to a new one. Result: same crappy shifting.

While trying to adjust the cable tension via the Sram XX grip shift barrel adjuster I realized there was something wrong with the shifter. The part tapering toward the barrel adjuster is broken! Heck, I have'nt even crashed with this bike and the shifters were bought brand new and ridden for approximately 5 months. Needless to say I am not impressed with Sram, even though it could have happened to any parts from any brand. The worst part is the local bike shop is not even sure it will accepted under warranty!

I have been thinking a lot lately about switching my group-set but I first need to sell my bike (shameless plug). The more I think about it, the more I lean toward a full Shimano XTR group-set. The shifting appears to be super smooth, the set-up a bit less finicky and the brakes are definitly way more powerful.

My next bike will be full XTR equiped for sure. I just need to sell current bike and I am patiently waiting for the news from teams onto which I have applied for next season. Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Racing's over, time to relax on and off the bike

Last week-end was the final event of my racing season, an 8h team relay event on a very nice course with some fast riders. The event was such an awesome time to catch up with some riders, chat, hit the course multiple time and just relax inbetween laps. I met Antoine Caron over there, a very down to earth guy, super symptathic! Enjoyed the chat with this guy who's apprently a bit of a weight-weenie and training geek too!

The team relay was a very good training session. Nine laps lasting anywhere between 12 and 13 minutes. Hitting the same lines nine times means you get to try some new angles, new approach and exit speeds and it is a very good bike handling practice a race-pace-ish speeds.

Now racing is over and it's time to get off that rigid training schedule, sleep patern and constant riding. Up until the end of the month I will be riding whenever I want to and I'll pick back up lifting too. I've mounted some agressive tanky tires on my bike and will go out for some serious trail shreding with jumps and stuff, should be good!

Im definitly looking foward to my winter training. It should be interesting and I should have a few good training topics to write about. Stay tuned for more updates. Meanwhile, im off to the couch!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Season is coming to an end

Hey! The blog is not dead yet!

My racing season is about to end. I should be done by september 15th so there will be more blog updates by then.

I plan on making a series of article related to my season, inspired by different topics: training, racing, recovery, traveling, equipement choice and tests and what I learned from all the racing I've been logging since the month of mai.

Feel free to leave any comments and also suggestions regarding what you would like to read on my blog. Having some inspiration from readers would be nice. Anything really, feel free to suggest.

Stay tuned for some updates!