Monday, August 25, 2008

Team Bicisport

Shane Sutton must be pretty pleased with himself at the moment. The Aussie and former Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist is head coach of the Great Britain track cycling squad and has overseen their rise to a remarkable dominance at the Beijing Olympics (and the most recent World Championships). It was great to watch all those world beating performances and the world records by the Team Pursuit and Team Sprint squads were tremendous. The bar has well and truly been lifted.

I coach myself, mostly individual riders but at times I help out with squads. Over the last couple of months I've been helping out with my own club's (Bicisport) efforts at the State Team Time Trial Championships. It's a great event to participate in. Four riders work together to complete the 40+km course in the shortest time possible. Just like the team pursuit, it is the time of the third rider across the line that matters.

Our club fielded five teams, all in the Masters racing categories. Two womens and three mens teams. The race was yesterday.

All the teams rode very well, with no mishaps. The women went one-two but unfortunately only two womens teams qualified to ride, which was disappointing.

The big result came with our MMAS 1-4 squad (under 50's), who won the championship in a time of 1:01:30, with a margin of only four seconds to the second place Manly Warringah team. I believe that is a course record for Masters. Team2 were one minute off the podium in ninth place and our MMAS 5+ team were eighth in their division. Unlike the women, there were 40 teams in the Masters mens.

A winning combination:
Ian, Phil, Mike, Alex (coach) and Jayson

It was great to watch them ride, with the key elements of team work showing through.

A big thanks to Mike O'Reilly for getting much of the logistics sorted. Nice work Mike. Also to all the others who helped out and riders that supported the training efforts.

The photo at the top is of the winning squad with me on the right showing off Schooner II. For my mate Phil, this was his 12th attempt at the event. Persistence pays off! Well done lads, a great ride.

As for me, well training had to take a back seat for the past week and a half. I was beginning to have some problems with my leg stump - a kind of bruising type of pain and it was aggravated when I rode and hurt when I walked. Not good. I thought it might go after a couple of days of rest but it didn't, which got me down a bit as I was going along really well with my training.

I called my prosthetics guy (George) last week and arranged to go and see him today and we talked it through. It would seem the solution is about the way I am using the socks that go over my leg liner. I won't bore you with the details but I now have something to try. I mocked up a sample of what I need and then did a 30-minute trainer ride this afternoon. Got through that no problems, so will get back to training again now.

George looked at the way I walked and could see the dramatic improvement in my gait from last time.

Everything is new again and I keep learning about the challenges along the way. I have said before, the mental challenge is the hardest part. Recognising what's important now and doing what you can do now to get to the next step is what matters. I can be a little hard on myself, which is OK when you are trying to train hard but I also have to temper that with the realisation that losing a leg ain't no small deal and in reality I am doing well.