Cycle training in Mallorca
Posted on 20th December by John Hampshire
Mallorca is a wonderful venue for cycling and hand cycling, particularly at this time of year and on into the spring. At this time, before the holiday season has started and the roads are clogged with cars, thousands of cyclists flock to the island and take over the smooth tarmac, rolling hills and mountains. The weather is warm but not too hot and there is very little rain.
I’m here with GB hand cyclist, Karen Darke, avoiding the British winter weather for her to get some quality training in. It’s pretty much a case of lots of time on the bike with some threshold sessions thrown in at this time of the year - pure hard work. Adding some heavy gym work and a few cross training sessions that Karen calls poling (pushing herself along in her chair with ski poles), I’m sure you can imagine that her muscles take quite a hammering.
Karen is a strong advocate of regular massage and a few things I have read recently have highlighted just how much time top athletes spend on the couch. On this trip we have adopted a very frequent and quite intensive treatment routine, not as much as the 6 hours a day that Gerard Hartmann’s excellent book states he provided for Paula Radcliffe in the run up to her 2:15 London Marathon, but around an hour each day of often quite deep work.
As we work together I can feel changes in the quality of muscles and tendons, and the quality of movement and range of motion at each joint. Rather than the usual muscle, tension stiffness and fatigue associated with such hard training, Karen’s muscles are actually getting better, aching less and performing better. The regular massage is allowing Karen to train harder and probably enhancing the training effect by speeding adaptation in the muscle physiology.
This morning, Karen told me “I was lying in bed this morning thinking how novel it is not to have sore shoulders whilst training this hard”, comments like that are what make my job worthwhile and fuel my desire to work harder in promoting the benefits of proper support in the pursuit of sporting goals, whatever they may be.