T’was my first season in Europe, having signed with Cervelo TestTeam,
I’d made the next step in my career, this was living the dream!
With victories already dancing in my head, it all quickly hit a wall,
On Tour of California’s stage three, where my arm broke my fall.
This was back when T-o-C was in the wet month of February,
Getting my season back on track was a thought that made me wary.
But with discipline and patience and trusting the routine,
In short order I was back, baby, all lean and mean!
Well, not mean, per se, because I’m a friendly cycling chap.
That’s not the point of this story, though, that I’m trying to recap.
Rather, it’s that I went straight to the trenches, Liege and Amstel Gold,
Where the racing is frenetic, or so I’d only been told.
Then directly to the Giro, the biggest race of my life.
Where the speed was ridiculous, the action was rife.
Despite all that, we thrived; we won five stages.
A successful first Giro, I’m told. I’m not sure how one gauges
A favorable first grand tour in my first European campaign,
Especially when remembering back writhing in pain
From that broken arm I had suffered just a few months before,
My schedule was a bit nuts, I tell you, that story now lives in lore.
My digression is now complete. The real point of this rhyme,
Is that you can still be ready for The Coast Ride. Trust me, there’s time!
So embrace the holidays, whil’st still riding. Yes, that would be smart.
And if you haven’t committed yet to TCR, now’s the time to start.
The holidays are upon us and while never meant to be a stressful time of year, the compounding of the nonstop barrage of family and friends and hosting and traveling and making sure that the garland is hung just so, makes one’s angst rise just a little bit too. Onto all that, there’s no sense in shoveling on a second helping of stress in the form of worrying about The Coast Ride, so let me take a minute to assuage any fears.
Since you’ve just gleaned the story, above, let me skim over it quickly. The year was 2009 and it was my first on the European ProTour. With the highest of hopes for the season ahead, we kicked off racing at the Tour of California. Reigning Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre and Thor Hushovd were teammates, so I wanted to prove my worth from the get go. Those were dashed for me on stage three when another rider in the peloton – coincidentally a future teammate of mine on Liquigas – slipped on a wet manhole cover and crashed me out with a broken arm.
Cycling is unapologetically rote in this regard. From here, you go home, you heal up, and you slowly get into the routine of racing. Wasting no time, and testing the mettle of their new North American recruit, my re-entry to racing was Ronde van Drenthe — a hectic one day race in the Netherlands, Scheldeprijs — the typical final day of speed work before Paris-Roubaix, straight to Amstel Gold, Fleche Wallone, Liege Bastogne Liege, the Tour of Romandie, and the Giro d’Italia. Going into that period with a career high fitness is hard; doing it fresh off a broken arm makes it next to impossible.
But it’s not. And neither is getting into the right physical and mental state of mind to tackle The Coast Ride. It starts with a pre-January 1st resolution.
Start (or continue!) riding regularly. If you’re riding twice per week, make it three or four. If you’re riding four or five, then keep it up. Speak to a coach and figure out what specifics might be missing from your routine right now that’ll really help when you’re hauling down Highway One. Mixing it up with particular intervals can work wonders to keeping it fresh in this time of year often meant for hibernation.
Eating donuts is fun. So is eating carrots. With pumpkin spice wafting in the air the entire month of December, it can be tough to buckle down on nutrition. Trust me, I have a love affair with egg nog. Just as it takes some discipline to add volume to your riding routine, it’ll take a dose of fortitude at the dinner table too. With an insatiable hunger myself, I’ll never tell you to abstain from a single thing. I merely recommend you rethink your choice to go back for a third helping of mom’s special whipped sweet potatoes. And in tandem with that, when you find yourself eating more, I encourage you to find the time to ride more.
Trust in the process. Don’t get down on yourself if you miss a day. Don’t punish yourself if you indulge at a meal or three over the next week. Gains won’t be seen day-to-day, but over the months ahead.
There is still time. The Coast Ride sets sail one month from now. It might seem like tomorrow, but one month is an enormous period of time to still make the gains to truly impress. Make the commitment to ride, set your plan and then trust the process. Looking forward to seeing you at Sports Basement bright and early Saturday morning January 19.