Vineyards and Taper Blues

Posted on 30th July by Karen

Wide angle shot of Karen's bike heading into a vineyardAh, its a hard life missing chunks of the British summer…out in Italy again, to race and train…except FlyBe (aka MayBe) sent my handbike on a romantic mini-break to Paris. It took a while to track it down and get it to Milan, and in those four long bike-less days, spectating the races, trying to squash my frustration, I discovered the joys of ‘taper blues’ - normally experienced when easing off on training in the run up to an important race, but this time brought on by enforced rest. 

The symptoms aren’t great - feeling more tired than when training hard, emotionally flat and a bit fed up, new aches and pains appearing (got my first ever proper migraine, but maybe that was the heat), feeling anxious about losing form. When hours of exercise a day becomes normal, its hard to stop. Even a day off feels like forever. What I have to remind myself constantly, (with a bit of help from Fit for Purpose coaching!) is that rest is as important as training.

So I try to believe that four days without riding has probably done more good than harm, though it did mean missing out on some vital team points for the London 2012 slot allocation. On the up side, Fit for Purpose have been stretching me lately - setting training targets that have been hard to reach - but this week I managed to reach the power targets for the first time…so maybe that rest wasn’t so bad after all, a short respite in the run up to the World Champs (only 5 weeks to go).

In the small town of Roskilde, not far outside Copenhagen, Denmark, hundreds of the World’s fastest paracyclists will race in early September, competing for places in the London 2012 Paralympics. The circuit, course and info is online at British Cycling will have a team of around 12 to 15 cyclists at the event - each rider aiming to be on the podium, otherwise London 2012 becomes a lost dream. No pressure then…

Meanwhile, I’ll enjoy the journey. Flat country roads through vineyards that wander towards the foothills of the Alps, a pool outside my bedroom window, a coach, a masseur and a mechanic all to hand. Better than sitting in front of a desk I say!

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