Pursuing a higher education has always been a legitimate reason to keep riding my bike. Racing it, gives me even more legitimacy to ride my bike for obscene hours. Or so I think at least. I’ve come a long way, in all sense of things. I’m 26 this year and pursuing my Honours (research) in sports and exercise science. Actually, I was about to type, pursuing my studies in all aspects of cycling. That’s the plan anyway – to do my PhD studies on female elite cyclists. There’s a whole host of things that I’ve dabbled with, cannot wait to validate with scientific research and seek solutions for. The paucity of scientific data on female elite athletes is rather in-your-face alarming and I hope to shed some light in that regard. I’ll come back to this next time since I’ve digressed again.
By a long way, I meant that I flew from Singapore to Melbourne at a whim. One Facebook conversation and ten days later, I found myself staying in Melbourne for the past nine months. That’s me the past few years – doing things uncharacteristically me. So I got lucky with the Holden team (thank you!), managed to find my way into Victoria University and convinced my parents that Melbourne is the place to be for this year. It almost sounds like an amazing, dream-come-through journey right? Yes, and no. It’s been a physical, mental and emotional roller coaster ride that I really could do without in my life. I think.
For a good example, let’s just start with this weekend. I had to make the decision to miss a race for school. You know, that shit moment when life gets in the way?! I’ve just come off a 25-h training week despite it being lab-testing week for my research studies. I’ve just come off a 3-week training block, off a pretty good performance at a flat and windy NRS race (not quite my thing with my physique) and off a 7-day antibiotic course prior to that race. Before that, it had been on/off for a good 4 to 6 weeks due to a whole host of bad luck – when it rains, it pours. In my case, it storms, floods and overflows the banks. I lost the big chunk of goodness I gained over the first half of the year (I was the fittest I had ever been in April/May this year) and I was just about getting this back….
So I was struggling the first few days of this week trying to recover from the big bout of effort and doubted (rather incessantly) about my ability to pull it off in the race over the weekend. Snozza, my amazing coach from cyclingtraining.cc., dealt with me admirably and convinced me that the legs would come good on Friday. It did, but I was riding (and weeping) on the trainer as I contemplated the “what-ifs”. I was meant to be unleashing those pistons at the morning TT and afternoon kermesse. I had left my team one down – I’m sorry teamies.