Getting hard core in the off season

Your body changes a bit in the off season

I’ve been back in Australia and my office desk for a bit over a month, and after some quality time away from my bici we have patched up our differences and are back together. So apologies for the blogging drought – I’ve been off doing other things.

Some of those things include getting settled in at the VIS. In the last 3 weeks I’ve seen their doctor, physio, strength & conditioning coach, physiologist, masseur and nutritionist. It’s nice to have the luxury of having some breathing space now before the next race target, which is nationals in early January. It means I can really get back to basics and iron out all those niggles I’ve been keeping under control during race season. Despite what the ID man at Liquorland says, I am getting OLD. And with the Melbourne weather being as charming as a slap in the face from a polar bear, now is a good time to get into the gym.

One of my favourite core strength activities is pilates. I was introduced to it last year when I got injured for 6 months. I had a very frustrating year in 2009 – I had some blinding form, and then I got injured for pretty much the entire racing season. All my mates were overseas doing amazing things and I was stuck at home feeling sorry for myself. Getting injured for that long is a real headcrack and there were 2 people in particular who really helped me through it. The first was Andrew Wynd, who now heads up Balwyn Sports & Physio Centre in Balwyn. The amount of time he put into my rehab was incredible. Wyndy has spent his fair share of time as an elite athlete himself and is now keeping busy managing everyone else's injuries at his clinic. If you have a sports injury, I really recommend giving him a shout.

The second was Marcus Speed at Perfect Pilates in Brunswick. Everyone has their favourites, but I think he is the best pilates instructor in Melbourne. It helps that he's a cyclist too! Marcus used to take the pilates classes at my old work gym and, when I couldn't do anything else except rehab exercises, twice a week I'd rock up to his classes. I started off pretty crap and inflexible, but slowly got better, and my pilates classes became the highlight of my week. Marcus went out of his way to give me help and encouragement and it really helped get me through a very difficult period of injury, mentally and physically. It's also improved my core stability no end, which is a big thing for a bike rider. I now count pilates as an essential building block for my training. When I went to Europe I missed it so much that I had to put in an emergency call to Marcus, who sent me a heap of 'pilates homework' to keep me going. Now that's service! Marcus has just invited me to be part of the Perfect Pilates family and this week I've been to a couple of his classes. If you want a good hard workout, try his Thursday 5:30pm sessions - if you can do all the exercises I'll send you a free St Mel Ride Happy t-shirt!

I’d like to say all this gym and core work is for self-fulfilment, but to be honest I’m motivated by a deep-rooted fear that I won’t be able to hold Jo Hogan’s wheel at our next training session. Man, she is GOING! I’m really looking forward to racing as a team with her and the other VIS chicks, Kendelle Hodges, Steph Hansen and Bridie O’Donnell. They are a top bunch of girls. We haven’t all been in the same place at the same time yet so I can’t wait to get out and have some good hard racing together.

Till then, ride happy