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Australian Professional Cyclist

China’s injury treated, packing for Spain

Firstly, I must apologise for not writing an update after the China World Cup! That was 15 days ago now and a lot has happened since then. I was very quiet in China about a knee injury that developed on the flight from Venice. In China I was pedaling with one leg, my left leg became so sore that my masseur could hardly touch it. My right leg with the painful knee injury was fine – it had done no work! It was my first experience with an injury as such so I had no idea what was going on inside my knee; most of my pain was behind the knee. By the end of the World Cup race my right leg was useless. I had perfect position with 200m to go (3rd wheel) but when I got out of the seat I just fell straight back into it and was passed by a heard of riders. I finished a disappointing 8th place in the World Cup.

First Day Testing Knee

First Day Testing Knee

I had trouble walking down stairs and squatting etc on the trip home to Venice. I immedietly planned my trip to Belgium to see the best knee surgeon in the business, Dr. Dirk Petre. My first examination with him was early in the morning. He already had my MRI from the day before (done in Italy) and as he was looking at it he spoke a lot about cartilage damage and surgery… he showed me some of his surgery techniques and it was scaring me!! The recovery time post surgery is six weeks completely off the bike! Dirk sent me for some more specific (higher res) MRI scans and then I returned to him in the afternoon. We spoke about an alternate treatment for my condition. The medical term/report for my knee injury was; An MRI of the right knee reveals oedema of the cartilage of the medial facet of the patella, an inflammation of the medial retinaculum of the patella and a distal iliotibial band friction syndrome. With strong support from the specialist I decided on the alternate treatment for the pain caused by the cartilage damage, the treatment was an intra-articular injection (under the knee cap) with Durolane (Hyaluronic Acid). This substance is described as a gel like liquid that provides lubrication inside the knee- it takes up to eight weeks to take full affect, and lasts up to twelve months.

This treatment only required 2 -3 days complete rest before I could start riding again. I must admit that when I did start riding again I still had a lot of pain all around the knee and was advised to push through it. It didn’t feel right, for two days I was advised to push through pain that was bringing tears to my eyes and making me squeal at the sharp pains. I think the purpose was to push the gel around into the right places… I was cursing the doctors in my mind as I pushed through the pain, thinking that there was something more wrong that they’d missed. Then, like magic, after 2 hrs on day two I started to ride pain free- completely pain free! I’ve had a good week back on the bike with lot’s of climbing, strength efforts etc without any pain! Unbelievable. I’m cured. The doctors say that the cartilage damage will not get any worse and the treatment can be repeated each year.

So, that’s the explanation for what went on with me in China and what I’ve been up to since. It was a very big scare that was treated promptly and in all, only cost me less than a week of preparation.

I’m feeling fit and strong ahead of Spain.

Packing for Spain;

I just love washing my bike. I have a Tacx bike stand, a nice set up with my hose connected under the ground of my driveway and a snazzy wash kit made up of all the best brushes and morgan blue product (supplied by De Grandi Cycle & Sport).

There’s always sun on the driveway so I get into my gumboots, dressed in black and I get stuck into it, if I’m really enjoying myself I’ll splash some water and soap over the CR-V while I’m at it!

Rest at Campag Shoot

Rest at Campag Shoot

Next job, to pack the Dogma in my Scicon Comfort Plus bike bag. They’re designed with a solid base with axles for the forks and rear-stay to drop into. The rear-stay that drops onto an axel is designed so you don’t need to remove the rear derailleur. There’s a metal protector that covers the derailleur but I find that when tightening the skewer it applies pressure to the rear hanger (slightly bending it) so, if I decide to leave the rear derailleur on, I travel with a spare hanger or two. I also remove the cable and housing from the rear derailleur because the bag is a tiny bit too short and when zipped up, the bag squashes/bends the rear derailleur/gear cable. I always remove the bidon cages when travelling as I’ve arrived to races in the past to find the carbon ripped out of the frame due to pressure being placed on the cages. I always remove the pedals- this bag has a cool little pocket for the pedals and wheel skewers. I’ve taken the skewers out of the wheels and slipped them into the cool wheel compartments inside the bag. Done. No need to touch the seat post/seat or handle bars at all… I love that! There are a few clips inside the bag to hold it together, nice and snug. There are wheels on the bottom of the bag and a handy strap for towing it around airports.

I don’t usually travel with a bike as my team normally have my two race bikes in the team truck, then I have an identical Dogma at home for training, plus an additional Paris training bike. I’ve ended up with one of my race Dogma’s at home since China- so I’ll take it to Spain in order to have two identical race bikes there. I wont bring it home again as my training Dogma is always here. The idea was to avoid flying with a bike this year…

So my bike is normally the first thing I pack, after washing. Then I pack my supplements; vitamins, salts & minerals, BCAA’s, protein powder, asthma medications/puffers, High5 nutritional products, voltaren gel, bandaids etc…  Our team truck also carries a bit of the heavier stuff for me like the High5 gels, sports bars, protein bars, protein powders and sports drink mix… and my High5 bottles. So, I only need to travel with the product that’s low on stock in the truck.

With my supplements I try to minimize weight by counting out the exact amount for each day. I’m away for 7 days this time so I count out seven servings of each supplement and I place them into smaller zip-lock plastic bags and label them with a marker. The issue with this is that if WADA were to search our hotel rooms on tour and I had product that was not in their original bottles/tubs/bags etc., they would have to confiscate the product for testing. Even though all my vitamins and supplements are pure, tested, guaranteed and legal, it is possible that the media would write a headline like; ‘suspicious product was confiscated from Team Lotto Honda athletes for testing’ and, it’s unlikely that weeks later the media would announce ‘by the way, Team Lotto Honda had no forbidden products which were confiscated 2 weeks ago in Spain’.

So, it’s risky business but if I had to pack a big tub (made for 100 servings) of each product… I’d need to bring a bag as big as my kitchen cupboard!!

Testing New Campag Wheel

Testing New Campag Wheel

Ah, a big truck just pulled into my driveway- he’s filling up my gasolio, which is stored in a big hole under my driveway and is used to heat my tiles and water… and run the air ducted heating which is never needed as the heated tiles heat the two stories.

The next thing I pack is my electronics bag; computer, charger, USB stick/storage device, SRM PC7, SRM downloading cable, spare HR strap, camera, camera charger, external DVD drive, DVD’s, HR finger clip monitor, phone charger, travel hair straightener, bank security access key, cad5 internet cable, I also pack my ear plugs and eye mask in this bag,

My selection of Oakley’s also go in this bag, I’m traveling light with Oakley’s for this trip. I’ve selected just one pair of casual glasses (Silver metal DART) and 3 pairs of race glasses, two radar (Chrome/Red Iridium & Black/Red Iridium) and one pair of white Jawbones.

Then I pack my bathroom bag; nothing too exciting goes in there- I always get nice comments on my groovy shower caps!

The last thing I pack is my clothes; cycling clothes first. My cycling clothes take up most of my bag as we always need to pack for all weather types; big winter jacket, long knicks, long-sleeved jersey, vest, rain jacket, rain vest, undershirts x 3, arm warmers x 2, leg warmers, warm shoe covers, water proof shoe covers, long finger gloves, gloves x 2, knicks x 4 and Jersey x 3.

Casual clothing is easy; we have these really nice ‘sexy’ black Honda T-shirts! I’ll only pack 3 x t-shirts, one Honda jacket, one Decca jacket, team tracksuit, additional gym pants and a pair of jeans. 6 new pairs of socks…underwear etc.

My hand luggage will consist of; passport and travel documents. Computer, wallet, phone, Synertek colostrum tablets (love the taste, yummy snack on the plane), casual sunnies, promo cards for fans or potential sponsors I might meet in airport lounges or on flights, hmmm… and not much more!

That’s my packing day, which was today (Wednesday). I don’t fly from Venice until early Friday but I have a big training day tomorrow morning and want to relax in the afternoon before a long travel day. After training tomorrow I’ll stretch and watch a DVD (I’m watching an Australian series at the moment called UnderBelly, I can watch three episodes in one stretch session. Then I’ll have a steak and vegies and an early night!

I will need to leave home at about 5.30am on Friday morning for a 9am flight from Venice, and won’t actually arrive in Valladolid Spain until 8.30pm. That’s a long travel day! It wasn’t easy to find flights to Valladolid from Venice.  In the end I chose to fly through Brussels so I could go to the Decca factory- to be custom fitted for some completely new design of knicks… it now seems that they (the factory) might be having a lazy Friday off following a public holiday in Belgium on Thursday! So, I’ll take a hotel at the airport and take a few hours nap- easy!

On Saturday I’ll be in Spain and go for a short spin, maybe with a few accelerations, then I’ll pay some attention to fine tuning my bike, catch up with team mates, enjoy dinner and then we’ll have our team meeting to discuss race tactics and peoples current form leading into race day; Sunday.

The World Cup is on Sunday the 5th and starts at 10.30am. It’s an undulating course of 123.8km, finishing with 5 small laps of about 7km; this lap contains a short sharp hill that normally decides the race. This World Cup has finished in the past with a small breakaway group -so It’s important to make the split over the short climbs on the final laps.

Then we have a rest day on Monday before we race again in Durango Spain on the 7th: It’s another UCI race- 1.2 This time the race is 110km starting at 3pm. It’s a tough race, more suited to the climbers than the sprinters.

After Durango I’ll fly back to Venice from Bilbao, through Barcelona. It’s a bit easier to get back from Bilbao than it was getting to Valladolid! Team Lotto Honda will stay in Spain for a 4 day UCI 2.1 tour from the 9th-12th called; Iurreta- Emakumeen Bira.

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