While Christmas and New Year is a welcome break full of merry temptation for most of us, for the aspiring racer it’s a time of danger. For our tame racer Rab Wardell, the plus side of having his cast removed was balanced by mixing training with the devilry of turkey and pigs in blankets – welcome back to Rab’s World:
“The festive period can bring a number of opportunities as well as threats for those aspiring to get fit and race the following year. It can be some time away from work to rack up miles in the hills and on the trails, with the reward of good food, drink and fun times with friends and family; or it can simply be the food and drink!
Inevitably, if you don’t maintain some kind of exercise to indulgence ratio you can kick of the New Year with a hangover, overweight and under fit. Some of you know me might remember that I can sometimes enjoy one too many shandies and I can eat for Scotland so Christmas is tough time for me! I’m glad to say that this year I managed to keep my demons at bay.
It all started very positively. As you may be aware I’ve been having a little bit of trouble with this pesky scaphoid break. I was lucky to have my cast removed a little early after seeing another doctor before Christmas and I have moved into a ‘soft cast’. This Velcro splint has allowed me to resume driving as well as light bike rides to compliment the turbo training, running and gym work I was already doing. Following the news that I could drive I loaded the van with all necessities for a Christmas away from home – I was now to be on the road and away from home for ten days.
First up I headed back to see family and friends in my hometown Dunfermline as base as well as some time in Edinburgh with friends at the German markets. It was great to have a catch up over a few mulled strawberry beers and a wee dram in the whisky bar. Back at my parent’s house was a haven of delicious culinary treats including a 16lb turkey; a good spread you might say.
Christmas Day was the usual affair; nephews playing with new toys and causing havoc, food everywhere you look and enough booze to sink a ship. I did my best to stay off the cheese and wine until night and squeezed in an hour getting a sweat on, pressing the pedals hard on the turbo trainer. Crisis averted and I kept the sacred ratio in balance.
The next few days I kept the good training and eating habits up and ventured out onto the road for my first spin for 3 months. I don’t remember being so nervous on a bike before, and as I pedalled my legs felt bizarre. The pedalling action outside was alien to the straight ‘up and down’ from the indoor trainer I had become used to. My legs where flying through the down strokes then catching the dead spot at the bottom. I felt like there was something wrong with my free hub and was looking down for any tell trail signs. After a few miles muscle memory kicked in and it was business as usual – two more training hours in the bank.
Before New Years I was waved goodbye to the family home and a great Christmas with everyone. It was time to head north to see my girlfriend and spend some time with her and her family. In fact it was time to head way north, as far north as you can go on mainland Britain, to Dunnet Head near Thurso in Caithness. I was lucky to have Allan Clarke for company through the blizzards and white outs on the A9 and battled the black ice to arrive safely after six hours; job done. I felt like Scott of the Antarctic.
The days spent in Caithness moving from 2011 and into 2012 were awesome and I managed to keep the exercise to indulgence ratio correct again with some hill walking, road riding and running. One of the highlights of the trip was accompanying friends around the trails at Golspie by foot as they rode. I’d never visited the trails there and I was envious of everyone riding the slab sections up top following the lung busting climb. We didn’t quite make it to the highest point on the trail due to deep snow, but the views over the North Sea were breathtaking. This trail is definitely on the ‘to ride’ list of 2012. Running down the longest man made trail descent in Britain just didn’t quite cut the mustard. I’d encourage anyone venturing north to make the extra effort to ride here.
Following the festive period I am back home in Glasgow it’s time to increase training and focus on the up and coming races. It’s also time to draw a line in the sand and say goodbye to the Kinesis Morvelo Project. I’ve enjoyed the last three years with Kinesis and Upgrade bikes, and the last two with the support of Morvelo. I have a new band of sponsors and I will introduce them fully next time, as well as some details on my new bikes and kit. I will also update you on my first ride back on a real bike! I can’t wait to hit the trails and get lost in the hills.”