Monday, 8 October 2007

A week to go...

So what happens during the week leading up to a World Championship event? How does it feel to being going into your first ever World Championship event?

To be honest, I feel the same as I did before my first Nationals (this year) and my first states (last year). Nervous, excited, anxious (about making a fool of myself, about going slower than I did in March at Nationals, about coming last). I am more excited though. The thought of seeing some fantastic racing, of being a part of something bigger than myself, of meeting people from all over the globe who have similar interests and ambitions as yourself is pretty inspiring and fires up the emotions . Everyone wants to do their best, whatever that means to them. For me, it’s not letting Mr Legs and Coach down, acting professionally (ie not losing it, which hasn’t happened racing yet, and keeping myself focussed, assured and assertive mentally) and giving myself the best possible opportunities mentally and physically to give each race all that I have got plus some. It’s also about supporting my fellow competitors, be it cheering them on, providing a calm, supportive presence pre-race, and being as competitive as possible on the track, so they can get the most out of their racing.

Final preparation this week includes practicing a new warm up routine, continuing to fire up the fast twitch fibres, less volume, working on timing, pacing and rhythm, continuing the quest to improve breathing technique, swapping to my pursuit crankset (aka Mr Legs’ crankset, so a complete swap between his bike and mine. Maybe Santa will drop a new sugino crankset down the gas heater flue?), buying new tacky gloves as my old gloves are worn and slippery on the carbon, cleaning gear, final fine tuning equipment set up for the TT and the IP, continuing to monitor my diet (to make up for eating crap all day Saturday, and part of Sunday), being anal about getting minimum 8 hours sleep each night, lots of mental rehearsal of my IP and TT starts, even down to seeing myself in different skin suits so I know which start is which in my head, lots of mental rehearsal (with cue words) of laps 4/5 in the IP when it will start to hurt (if it happens before I am in trouble) and then the last two laps when I will lift and bring it home, lots of deliberately making myself nervous (I freeze up when nervous) and working my way through that. So if I seem distant and preoccupied, I am.

This weekend I measured the bike to ensure the aero bars are within length limit regulations and the nose of the seat really is 3cm behind the bottom bracket and not less (it actually should be more, but I will claim the vertically challenged option for exemption). I also weighed the bike, with aero bars and training wheels to get an idea of legality. It came in at 8 kilos, which surprised me considering the feather weight of the frame. Coach and I have discussed configuration of the aero bars for the TT and IP. If I do an aggressive standing start, my left knee hits the rear end of the aero “stick” , and as I won’t/don’t use them during the TT, we have decided to remove them altogether for the TT, replacing them for the IP.

And whilst all this stuff is buzzing around my head, I am also working as usual this week, like the majority of domestic masters competitors. Unfortunately, as of last week, I have been given extra duties with a very tight deadline (Thursday – how convenient, my last day at work!) so the stress is on. Perfect timing. All the better for practicing dealing with stress, pressure and anxiety, and keeping a part of my head clear so I can keep a focus on the important things in life.

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