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Getting back to racing and planning ahead
Posted on 6/15/2011 8:32:29 PM

Returning to competition in Ster ZLM Toer, will miss nationals

Hi readers, it’s been a while since the last update so here's a run down on what's been happening since.

In that blog entry I said that I’d been having breathing issues in races; since then we’ve been working on that. The team didn’t want to race me while we were still to understand fully what the situation was. That’s why I haven’t done any racing since the beginning of April. A couple of weeks ago I went to London for five days to have tests done, and saw the best guys in the country in this area in terms of breathing.

They come from a sporting background themselves, so they could understand what I was going through. We did tests like a VO2 max test, measuring the lungs through the machine and things like that. It was all pretty positive. I had done a VO2 max the month before, and this time round the improvement was massive. So things are going in the right direction.

Anyway, as we suspected before, it turns out that the breathing issue comes from the fact that I had so much muscle wastage in the accident. The muscles around the abs which control your breathing are pretty weak; in terms of muscle and strength, my legs have improved quicker than the breathing muscles, so it is the case that when it comes to a hard effort, my breathing can’t produce the same oxygen as my legs need. It means I can’t push myself as hard as I want.

The good thing is that all the tests show that things are gradually picking up. The breathing test results were good for the average person, but obviously they expected the results to be better than that for a rider. But the way I have got to look at it is that a month or two months ago, in terms of breathing, I probably wasn’t even at the level of the average person! So I am still making gains, and I am sure I’ll keep moving forward and moving ahead.

In the meantime, I can use the powerbreather to help develop the muscle. They said to use that three times a day for five minutes; I am doing that and it seems to be working. They have shown me the best technique, so I have been doing that. I also have to push myself on the bike, work those muscles, as that is going to improve it too. Hopefully with racing I can move forward again. The plan is that in a couple of months, I will go for another VO2 Max test and a couple of more tests just to see the improvement.

Anyway, it is good news because it’s nice to have a proper reason from someone who knows what they are talking about. Looking at all the scans and stuff, everything is in good condition. There is nothing to worry about there. My lungs are fine, it’s simply just muscle weakness. In time and with a bit of patience, it is going to get better and better. I am happy, I am just going to do what I am being told and go from there.

Back in action:

From the team’s point of view, they wanted to see exactly what the specialists said before getting me to race again. As we have those results now, they have decided to put me in the Ster ZLM Toer. I wasn’t originally down for it and I came back to the UK for a bit of down time. I’m not really prepared for it, but the team said not to worry, there is no pressure, just go in and do one or two days and then just stop and go home. We will have a sit down, put together the training and go from there in terms of when my next races will be.

One race I won’t be at is the nationals. I’ve decided to give it a miss. From my point of view, it is a bit of a waste of time…I just don’t want to go there for the sake of it. I prefer to just stay away, do my training and build towards my next race, whenever that will be. After the ZLM Toer, I’ll come back to the Isle of Man until the end of the month. Then at the beginning of July I’ll got back to Italy, get in some decent training and build towards my next race.

The team looks like it is going over to Colorado around the 12th of August for a month and doing a new stage race around that area, plus those Canadian WorldTour races. There’s talk of me going along to that for a month and doing some races there with them. I think eight to ten riders from the team will go. It is at altitude, so that will be good…I’ve never been to altitude before. So that will be an interesting experience…

Thanks for reading,


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