Strength of a seven year old girl!! Flattery of that kind will rarely get you anywhere, but just once in a while, 'bout as often as a Hincapie classic win, it's gets you further ahead.
That's how today's workout session went - tell ya anything?
Now to be fair, Coach Phil did preface it with, "Ger, you're a bit of a strange case, you have great strength in some places, but in others..." and then game the lil'girl shot across my handlebars. But today it was deserved. After a great Monday workout, back on the big blue balance bubble, feeling on top of it all, not a pain on the horizon (or my back), I felt like I had built a new engine room and was call'n Paul Sherwin to check it out. That was on the heals of Saturday's 105 miler-O-fun ride with the 'kids'. So, ya, feeling good. Then boom today.
But this is what it's all about, good days and not as good days. Bottom line is the overall curve is upwards, I have legs, and after tomorrow's X-ray and check up I hope to report lungs in ready to roll condition. So an occasional workout where the back decides not to play along is acceptable at this stage of the ride. Believe me it's frustrating, but I'm really rethinking the season and success points along that journey. Racing is clearly backseat - and I'm starting to face the serious reality of it just not being part of the game plan this year - between writing and interview obligations for the new cycling book in Europe, try to stay consistent in rehabing the body, and then getting in quality training on the bike, too many non-tangential paths ahead.
The above paragraph is a huge part of the answer to "Why a coach?" Perspective. It's very difficult, with or without experience, to see where you are. Today I would have pushed harder, tried to push through the discomfort, and the result? - an ice bag, some ibuprofen, no cycling tomorrow, and a big mistake. A coach plugged into you sees the long-term, the long-range goal - not only this week, this racing season, but life. Phil and I are constantly talking about what I do now changes my life fitness and health.
I think that's where you have to be careful, while Phil Claud is called and is known by many as a cycling coach, I'm not working with him for the bike, but in many ways, because of the bike. He is helping me re-train my body to move, that proprioception thing. Cycling is a highly repetitive activity - what other sport essentially plops you into a single position and then says go at it like that for the next 3, 4, 5, or 6 hours, and in a race you do it without a break. I never learned early in life how to move correctly (ps - I can't dance) and then you combine that with an injury or two, lugging around 50-70 camera packs for 20 years and what happens is the body learns how to do things its own way, unfortunately the wrong way - at least for life long health. So that's how I got here, "...great strength in some places, but in others you have the strength of a 7 year old girl."
Another thought regarding "Why a Coach?" There is an article that popped up as I was writing this - 10 Signs You Need A New Trainer - by John Berardi, reading through the 10 points he has some valid and not so valid point - at least relating to me. My guy, Phil, doesn't look like Mr Atlas, since his pro cycling days a couple decades and pounds have been added - BUT - ask the dude to do some agility drill and that turkey can move with the grace, agility and swiftness of top athletes. I wish he would drop a few pounds, jack up his cardio, but that's because over the past few months he has now become a friend and I care. But what I pay him for is noticing the little things, talking to me, and making adjustments, his mental agility on the fly when I need it - that will change my life in time, and over time, and for all time.
So back to the back and the workouts. They are clearly at a new level despite the occasional slide like today. When the little girl shows up she screams and pouts a lot, but doesn't hang around too long. Phil ebbs and flows my workout subtlety tracking my body and making inner-workout adjustments as well as stopping for honest conversations about how my back or hips or lungs are doing. Today we both had to admit we needed to be nice to the little girl.
One note on our friend George:
Ronde is this Sunday (live on the web@Steephill.tv ), and after a fine s.t. 4th in last Sunday's cobbled Ghent, let's all pray Big George stays upright and gets a clean set of wheels for the finish - with a new tougher route, as blessed by the King Pave Boonen himself in this VN article, maybe the cobbles will shine for George.