Tuesday, 18 November 2008

[Insert ‘cross-training’ wordplay here]

Yep; it’s that time of year when ingenious ‘cross’ titles appear in magazines and websites everywhere! Well, no not here! No siree! But I have started doing ‘It’ and for good reason. Too many road miles, a gait like a guerrilla, and the realisation that a good Coast-to-Coast crossing will depend on far more than just spinning the cranks, have released me from ‘repetitive training syndrome’. With a series of severe bike carries on the Coast-to-Coast, I realised that I have to strengthen the muscle groups that we don’t use when seated on a bike. You know the ache you get in your lower back when you have a severe push / carry? Well, I need to mitigate against that; I must finish this section relatively unscathed if the sub 24 barrier is to be a possibility…

So what do you do? Take one big steep hill and a backpack with 8 kilos in it. Go for a nice walk! A few of these and lo and behold; I can feel the strength developing in my legs and lower back! It’s also a great way to spend the day with humans who are not obsessive compulsive (that’s Charlotte, that is!).

Another great activity for countering the negative physical impact of being hunched over bars is surfing and I’ll be doing plenty this winter. Pulling your shoulders back, arching your back and paddling all perfectly counter the impact of bike posture. Flexibility is key and comes naturally whilst surfing. Most importantly though, it’s flippin’ brilliant fun! Surfing is one of those activities that massively boosts your fitness, but you never feel like you are doing ‘exercise’. Winter is the season (!) in these parts and perhaps growing up surfing in The North Sea has contributed to my tolerance for physical discomfort….

Press ups, sit-ups, static stretches…. a bit of that too; it’s all good. Grab a couple of minutes here and there and it’s amazing what you can fit in. The sheer variety of my new ‘training’ approach has been thoroughly liberating; the massive rides are no longer routine and I’m feeling stronger all the time.

Oh, and last but not least there’s the CX bike I’ve just ordered…. Can’t wait to get some big half on / half off-road rides in during the endurance building phase.

See! Not a single bit of dodgy wordplay in sight!

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