As an amateur athlete, there can be a lot of pressure on my time. I’m no high flyer, but this time of the year can leave me pushed for time. The Australian summer seems to be the time to rest a little, work a lot, then start to train properly again. But then there has to be a price to pay for spending a few months riding and racing your mountain bike in Europe – so it’s a fair cop.
PT Brock has again proven to be a good sounding board when things are piling up.
“It’s so hard being an amateur athlete and needing to support yourself. How do you make that step? You have to work so you can afford to live, but that means you either can’t train enough or you don’t recover properly. No one is willing to help you out, as you can never get the best form to get top results!”
Well said, although it is more representative of his goals and position than my own. But the point remains – competitive amateur athletes need to use their time wisely. My race free period is coming to a close, and the races that will end up being a wake up call are around the corner. Perhaps the one that looms the most ominously is the ABSA Cape Epic. In some moods and mindsets it is feared. In others I’m electric with excitement. It’s a stage race, and I love stage racing. Partly because I don’t have to think, just race, and follow my MarathonMTB.com team mate Will Hayter’s rear wheel.
So time is of the essence, and the work hours are being wound back when possible. I have found myself throwing the shop keys to a colleague so I can utilise daylight training hours instead of closing the store. As usual, I try to include training into my ride to or from work. When I lived 25km away, this was easy. I still haven’t met anyone who could beat Wattage Wakelin’s 106km round trip commute. These days, at 4 km away, incorporating training into my commute relies on a little bit more motivation and preparation.
And so the alarm has been going off around 5am, sometimes on the unhappy side of that. Combined with Sydney’s current heatwave and corresponding lack of sleep, it’s been a tough week! Today was especially brutal, with little more than 5 minutes being ridden with the zipper on my jersey in use. But it’s needed. The ABSA Cape Epic will be brutally tough, both due to the competition and the conditions. So mornings like today are a refresher course in how to suffer in the heat, when you really don’t feel like doing so.
From the three stage races I have completed in teams, I have had three great team mates. But you will always have a weaker or stronger rider. And this may change during the week, or even the day! And part of me wants to be weaker in South Africa. But I don’t want to slow Will down – so I need to keep training, and keep communicating with him. How does he rate his form? How does he want to approach the race? Although we have little MTB time spent together, we know each others qualities, and hopefully we will have a great International outing for MarathonMTB.com come late March!
Perhaps a few more long routes to work will be required though.