Having always been slightly bigger build than the average human being I used to find myself playing in the middle of the front row of rugby teams since high school days and way too long during varsity (for the current Varsity Cup Champions, just saying) with the odd occasion, well more than I would have liked to, also to the left of the guy in the middle of the scrum. Anyway so like most of us getting older that participated in this physical sport, it catches up to you. And then for some unbeknown reason you decide to take on one of the toughest mountain bike races which requires a sh!tload of riding. Needless to say your back is quite involved in this training and former sport participation, so the odd lower back pain will set in.
Now in beginning December I was getting a much needed massage (as our athletes in training do) when Nicole Walder mentioned that my spine is a bit out of line towards the left. My answer: “It should be, from lying on the couch during winter hibernation, for years some might say.” But after indulging the painful merciful muscle release torture she mentioned I should perhaps go to a chiropractor to sort me out, get me straight one would say. Now that has been playing on my mind since the beginning of December. I have never been to a chiropractor, does it actually work and being a bit stingy, what would it cost. So I just delayed and delayed and being from the tough parts of the North West province, toughed it out – until now.
So I finally got the courage together to book a chiropractor visit for yesterday. Having the image of Alan Harper from 3 & ½ men as chiropractor in my head, I was not convinced that it would work. But training for the Absa Cape Epic one will try anything. So onto the table I went. Going through my history with chiro Carl de Coning he made me feel at ease (even if he is a Sharks supporter) and explained exactly what he was going to do, first the needles – and OMG, do you know how deep those things penetrate and bend (should have taken a photo). The needless was not as bad as I expected and then the manipulation started. Snap, Crackle, Pop.!
“You and I am going to scrum now, and I will help you to get in all the position you need to be in” Eish, I thought. What am I doing to myself, Snap Crackle, Pop. I did not know there are so many things that needed to be popped back in line. Carl was great and personally it was quite a weird experience to feel all these thin (lol) skeleton bones be manipulated back in place. The popping creaking in the neck was the worst…
Talking about popping creaking sounds, another snap, pop, crackle sound I experienced during the week was me destroying a Fynbos plant on my technical skills ride on single track through Tokai. Shhhh, don’t tell Sanparks, Fynbos are protected; I’ll be in trouble for destroying it. In my defence, the Fynbos should never have grabbed me by my handle bars as I rode past it, what did it think…I wouldn’t defend myself? Of course I would as a gently flopped my body onto the plant, snap, crackle, pop – and there you have it a wider single track going up Tokai. Mountain bikers can thank me later (I really should apologise to the Fynbos, I think – I am slightly bigger than it).
Well this week riding has been interesting as coach Swen Lauer gave me some specific training rides to work on my cardio recovery including a pyramid ride. I won’t swear about this one, plus some hill repeats, lovely. But overall it was a good week as during my technical skills rode I conquered and rode all obstacles but one that I have been able to clear in the past. And yes Thinus, I managed that top single track rooted corner down (not up yet) without getting off or falling.
With 50 days left the nerves are slowly setting in as the prologue is getting closer every day. Next week I will be off to Isuzu Ride The Rock in the Cederberg (www.cederbergevents.co.za) for a 3 day stay race. This is truly a great event, so relaxing and in a surreal setting with no cell phone reception and fantastic red wine.
Back to the chiro, I feel fantastic today and can actually look far left and far right again as I can freely rotate my neck. Back feels great and on my ride in Stellenbosch tomorrow we will see how it holds up.
One last thing, congratulations to everyone that completed the Ironman 70.3 in East London last week, it’s a great achievement and special mention to my friend Chantel Rall who overcame cancer and was determined to walk the red carpet at the event – inspirational. You make me believe that this Absa Cape Epic 800km 15,000m of climbing 8 day mountain bike stage race can be conquered, creaking back and all.
Read her race report and journey here: http://www.theworldaccordingtoaprincess.co.za/2014/01/my-ironman-703-journey-after-it-all.html
Next week will be feedback on why I shave my legs, and/or should I wax….eish