On Others..

Currently I am unable to walk too well.

Long story short – TT Sat: all fine.
Long run Sun: Turned into a race with a random vet who sped up as soon as I passed him, and my long “recovery” run became a 20min race to the petrol station. It was a good 20mins – I think we both enjoyed it – but it was verging on my 5k race-pace so not too healthy. But no pain.
Mon: Club swim – all fine. (major arm/shoulder pain – more lessons in all the technique I’m missing!)
Tues: Got on the treadmill, started to warm up, and PING. Entire right leg hurts. Of course, I continue to do 10x2mins hard, 1min recovery. Cool down. Since then – leg has been a twisted mess, starting from my bum and going all the way down to my ankle – eg sciatic nerve. I can ride, but driving/walking/etc are all pretty painful.

So enough of me – other than to say I’m seeing chiropractor today (fingers crossed for a resolution) and that RUNNING IS BAD FOR YOU. Today I intend to muse on others. It’ll stop me wallowing in self pity, for starters.

Yesterday, I marshalled at the SCCU 25mile TT in Horsham. I’ve never marshalled before, and all I can say is that it was truly eye opening.

Before I analyse, please accept this disclaimer: I’m mocking, but in an entirely friendly manner. I probably make all of the mistakes below. For the record, here’s what my heart is likely to be doing mid-race. I’m not big on all this Strava data sharing – but I do like to have a good bit of heart rate analysis..

So, it begins.
For starters, it was apparent there are a selection of different attitudes available.
1) I am racing this and I am going to ride as hard as I damn well can.
1a) As above, and doing it well, riding is smooth and controlled
1b) As above, and doing it badly, hufflepuffle, excess energy expending
2) I am taking part in this event purely for fun
3) Look at my shiny bike. This bike will make me fast. Even if I peddle slowly in a low gear. Even if it doesn’t make me fast.. isn’t it pretty?

All of those falling into category (1) are those who barely acknowledge the marshall standing on the roundabout. I totally appreciate this, the point of a time trial is that the clock is ticking and every second is valuable. Groups (2) and (3), instead, tend to firstly, slow down for non-existent cars, JUST IN CASE some magical car pops out from nowhere, then, they look at the marshall and say “thank you!” I found this truly confusing.

As well as making these mental notes, as my fingers froze up and my toes turned blue, I took to naming those taking part:
1) Hungry – spotted with a gel hanging out of mouth, unable to squeeze the contents as this will disrupt air flow over the elbows. Notably skinny, and considering consuming a gel 16miles into a 25 TT, I can only assume either did not consume enough breakfast and is now suffering, or has a body which burns calories like fire does newspaper.
2) Noddy – usuig around 50% of all available energy shifting madly from side to side, head bobbing, legs turning like a windmill in a sandstorm. Cadence through the roof, going nowhere.
3) Snotty – yep.
4) Happy – Sailing past, smiling, maybe even waving..
5) Mr(s) Smooth – The good riders, gliding past with a disc wheel making that satisfying “vroom-vroom-vroom” noise that fits so well with “P.. L..F..”

Myself? Well I’m probably ‘Angry’, usually stirred up by my pre-event Slipknot mantra (“I push my fingers into my eyyeeessss… it’s the only thing… that slowly stops the accheeeee” is the perfect song to sing when you begin to lose concentration).

You get the idea. I amused myself quite well with this game for, I suppose around 90minutes. I also ate an orange, and thought very hard about not eating the KitKat I got given as a treat for taking on the job (I ate a quarter of it instead..)

I think you can learn a lot through watching other people race – you can see the good riders, spot the similarities between them, and though you might never manage to emulate, a couple of tips might slip into your ride next time.

So, back to myself. I can’t run right now, and I’m avoiding riding, so maybe best to use my time to learn from others. Then, whenever I’m fixed, I’ll have a go at putting it all into practise.

Published by michellearthurs

I'm an NCTJ Journalist and work at Cycling Weekly. Previous to this, I was the Editor at Total Women's Cycling. I've also dabbled in marketing and copywriting - having been Marketing Coordinator and Social Media/Content Editor at Evans Cycles. My first job was working on a local newspaper.  I've written for a variety of titles on a freelance basis, too. I got into cycling when I entered my first triathlon in 2010. I now race crits, road races, time trials, and do a lot of track training for not very much track racing.

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