Thursday, 20 November 2014

Food for thought.

A day out the office and on the road is always a chance to spend time in the car thinking about Triathlon.
I've had a real urge this week to get off the turbo and hit the road, doing some TT sprint work and a quick 5k race pace run like I do through the summer before work. Then I think about The (training) Program, the fact I would need to do long base distance (not sprints) and look at the weather and know it won't work out like that. Chances are I would come off my bike again thanks to the wet and the mud, and the leaves, that abound on every favoured back road route, and I'd get injured.... like last year... and going full circle : hence why I have the turbo now anyway.
Thinking about this it occurred to me today that training and racing is a lot like the allotment. When I go to the plot there are often jobs I would like to do. I might fancy cutting the hedge, picking some flowers, or harvesting some fruit. The reality is that what I do is governed by the time of year and what I must, rather than what I would like to do. Seldom do the 2 coincide, but you can't fight mother nature, you have to work with her, so you just embrace what she dictates that you do.
My time is precious, and when I am down at plot 41 I have to strict. There are the continuous maintenance jobs that need doing, like the weeding and grass cutting, but outside of that if its time to sow leeks - then Martin sows leeks. If its time to earth up the potatoes, then Martin best get on with earthing up the potatoes. Eventually, by doing all the jobs at the right time you will get round to the reward of collecting the harvest and enjoying it.

Right now in November its time to rotovate and dig everything over, ploughing lots of horse muck into the bare earth so it can soak up the goodness ready for next springs plants.

I learnt something from a old guy a few plots down a few years back. A really good gardener, and he said to me 'Always feed the soil, not the plant'. He was right.
This analogy fits nicely with Triathlon. As much as I want to be out sprinting about, racing, and doing speed work in the sunny crisp morning air - now isn't the time. Now is the time to feed my muscles a good healthy dose of endurance, and work on that underlying base fitness that will govern the extent of my success next year. By feeding my core health thoroughly and productively now I am giving myself the best chance of success come summer when I will want to pick the rewards of my hard work with some decent results in the field of competition.

The hours in the garage on the turbo right now sometimes stink as much as the horse muck I'm lugging about, but reminding myself that by suffering this seemingly mundane leg work  I will have a much better crop of Iron Man size marrows come summer keeps it all in perspective. When all is said and done, its race day that counts. Like when I dig the first carrots of the season and take them home for tea -the family don't care how I grew them, as long as they are the best carrots they have ever tasted.

So after thinking about triathlon, I thought I better talk about it too. A friend called me up about a problem with his turbo. His tyre was shedding rubber at the back because it had started rubbing on the edges of the roller that contacts with the tyre. He had decided that the skewer was the wrong sort, thus making it unbalanced and off setting the tyre from the centre of the wheel causing it to chafe. The way he saw it, at this rate of wear the tyre would be lucky if it got to see Christmas.

Rubber Splatter!
Notice on the photo above, the rubber has pebble dashed the lovely lime green paint, see how the tyre wall is pressing on the edge of the fly wheel....
By coincidence I had suffered a similar thing a few weeks back. The garage floor is still smothered in tiny balls of rubber. He didn't know this when he called, but I'd learnt through an identical experience that the locking nuts need to be intermittently adjusted, and occasionally reset. All that pedalling brings them loose, it wobbles about, and the position of the bikes back wheel can migrate. 10 minutes of oily fingers, a bit of jiggery pokery later, and hey presto.
A nicely re-centred wheel on the turbo.

All it took was a friendly chat, and my team mate was sorted and ready to train. Not only that he could cancel the order to Wiggle for the Skewer that he had placed earlier on and so saved himself £20. All because we bothered to Talk Tri. There's a huge pool of knowledge out there, and its often the most simple thing that gets overlooked because we are swamped with techno babble & gizmos. Just by the fluke of having suffered it myself I could help. There are plenty of times its the other way round, and a problem I've been vexed by for weeks can be resolved with the simplest of suggestions after mentioning it to someone else.
After that I had a bit of an exchange with a Team Mate. He's come up with an interesting challenge, but that's for the next post.......