Try telling a competitive cyclist that by riding less, they will get better. It's not an easy sell. But that's exactly what I've been doing for the past few weeks – riding less and not more.
As I sit here writing this, bags and bike all packed and sitting by the front door, waiting to be piled into the car for the drive to the airport and the eventual flight to Italy for my participation in the Paracycling Track World Championships, I find myself rested and chomping at the bit. And why? Because I've actually done very little training over the past month or so.
Don't get me wrong – the training I have done....has been HARD. But it's been short, sharp efforts (often on the track) and not the hour after grinding hour on the road that I'm used to. And in that time, I've watch my personal best times drop. And drop. And drop.
I will still have about a week and a half in Italy doing final preparations before that actual competition. But this will be what we call 'tapering' – more short efforts and lots of rest – building the speed and strength in the legs so that come race day, I will be in 100% peak condition and ready to go. It's just very odd to be asked (or forced) to do less riding and still watch the performances improve.
I think most cyclists (at least the less-experienced ones) have the instinct to try and do more leading up to competition – thinking that they must get that 'last long ride' in to get better or that some extra long road miles will help their fitness. It's not always the case.
And so.... I am off. Off to Italy and to the track to put my best efforts up against the best efforts of the premiere disabled track cyclists in the world. Not to put too much pressure on myself, but this competition will largely determine my cycling future – do well and I'll be on the fast track to London. A poor showing and I may be back to doing my local races in club colours and my International career will be over.
But I've done the work (and very little of it!) and am ready. I have confidence that on race day I will be the best I can be (sorry to the US Army for stealing their slogan) and will be ready to show the world what I can do. And so.... I will see you all in a few weeks!
*Link to event website: http://www.mondialiparalimpicimontichiari.it/uk/