To those of you that know me or at one point in time followed my blog of my adventures or misadventures racing cross in Belgium it comes as no surprise that things have been a bit quiet for a while. I hit a wall. After 3 years of racing summer and winter, driving to Belgium, and maintaining a life on the side I had finally had enough. I wanted to get my desire for riding back again, I wanted to want to ride again, not just have to. So I took it easy for a while. People continued to a ask when I was coming back? Will we see you at the Koppenburg this year? But I had had enough, enough of the bullshit of being treated like a second class citizen when I show up to a race in a car and not a camper with my photo on the outside of it, relegated to parking with the Juniors and not the Elite men. I had had enough of 10hr drives and 2500km weekends. To be honest if there was anything that I really missed it was the people. My friends that took care of me, supported me. The people that came and cheered me on, came by the car to say hi, took photos and maybe collected a postcard. It was them that I had a hard time saying, no, I won’t be back again this year.
For months I did nothing. No training, very little riding, waiting for my desire to return. A big turning point for me was strangely enough building a new bike. I had had enough of riding bikes that went fast, I wanted a bike I could have fun on. So when Chris from Kingdom hooked me up with his Vendetta, a titanium hardtail with 150mm of travel, things started to turn around. The next problem was my condition. It had been slowly slipping through my fingers and the further I got from my previous form the harder it became to start crawling up there again. This was compounded by the fact that every time I had a window to get into training again it would quickly result in e getting sick or just over doing it and injuring myself. A prime example of this was me ‘starting out’ with trying to do back to back spinning classes. That left me of the bike for a couple of weeks after that.. Finally I felt like I had reached rock bottom, unsure of where to go but just knowing that I had to start with something.
As I am sure with many people that have taken their sports seriously enough that they have had coaches, or had to visit a physio every now and then you will no doubt be informed at some stage a long the way of your body’s shortcomings. Bad hip mobility, shoulder rotation, posterior chain, ankle mobility, the list goes on. But when you have a job, family and commitments it is had to spend what little time you have for training on these more subtle things. Time is more often than not invested in km’s of riding, sprints, intervals, things that give concrete and measurable (in the short term) results. But here I was at the bottom, needing to find a way to get started again. So I figured it was maybe time to work on those things I had been ignoring over the years. So spinning, weights, and running became yoga, swimming and sauna sessions. As low impact as possible with the goal of after a few months then I could start building it up to something a bit more. It is amazing the change that you notice after going to yoga classes 3-4 times a week for even just a couple of months.
So now just a couple of weeks out from the European Single Speed Championships in Scotland my flexibility has never been better, I swim a few km’s a week, sauna more than I shower at home and have not ridden a mountain bike for at least 2 months. This compounded by the fact that I managed to strain my knee anyway and have been commuting on an E-bike I borrowed from the shop (Pieter would be proud) for 3 weeks, my expectations are kind of low. In spite of this I am soooooooo looking forward to going! I recently signed a sponsorship deal with Endura and hope that I can prove to them that the faith that they have put in me was not misplaced. I see this as the first step in a long journey back to where where I once was. And who knows, I might even sign up for the Cyclocross Worlds in Denmark in 2019 😉