My legs are covered in bruises! My arms are covered in bruises! My ass is covered in bruises! Pretty sure my bike is covered in... you get the idea!
The last three weeks have been dedicated to getting some kind of foundation in place for my first cyclocross race, which is this weekend (god help me!). I have been studying races, paying close attention to the way they effortlessly throw a bike over their shoulder in one fluent movement.
I have rehearsed hurdles by turning the surrounding greenery of my local Tesco into an urban CX course. I have hurdles big enough to cause my first attempt to throw me to the ground with my bike landing heavily on my ass (more bruises). I have slalom routes, which are closely planted trees perfectly distanced to allow a strong surge of power on the exits. I have a slope steep enough to allow me to dismount, throw the bike over my shoulder and run! Every little helps...
My dedicated rehearsal has been packed full of ups and downs. Unsure if I will ever master dismounts through to unwillingly launching myself into descents that make NO DIFFERENCE if you apply pressure to the brakes - you just continue to head south! Each lesson has been influential but more importantly it has been brilliant!
Cycling in fields is a huge benefit for me! Falling off suddenly becomes less life threatening ! I suffer from Haemophilia A, the same as Alex Dowsett! I was recently chatting to him about the scars of over using veins and comparing the long term marks our Mum's made on us, desperately trying to inject screaming toddlers with Factor 8! The real heroes of this disorder! This means falling off on grass is much more attractive than concrete. My Doctor is not fully satisfied but is at greater ease to hear when I do fall it is on softer stuff.
Bike riding has always been a point to prove for me! I have always wanted to stick one to Haemophilia, showing that anything is possible! I spent most of my youth learning to walk properly. I was born with a bleed in my right knee! Doctors were not sure what was wrong, so drained the knee of blood only to discover it kept filling back up! Someone finally recognised the symptoms and treated me correctly. Those four months of bleeding left long term damage! That blood ate at bone and muscle from day one. The hamstring on my right leg is considerably thinner than my left leg, we refer to it as "The Chicken Leg". In the cycling world, this means I have a lot less power generated on one side of the bike.
I was the boy that had to be taught how to walk upstairs, the boy that laid in bed for 5 months with a weight strapped to my leg in an attempt to strengthen it - which I might add did not work at all! The only benefit was my Nan feeling sorry for me and turning up with hundreds of new toys - RESULT! Contrast those images against running up a hill with a bike on my shoulder goes to show that hard work pays off.
My first race is an exercise of all these morals! I couldn't care less if I crawl home in last place, quite frankly I am not even fussed about winning (although that would never happen!). This does not mean I am not competitive though! I have a point to prove, Haemophilia has a race this Sunday and I bet you that I beat it!
Roll on race day! I cannot wait to pop my CX Cherry! See you there!