June 29, 2016
Our time in Rockhampton is coming to an end. Six athletes, two coaches, a soigneur, a sports scientist and a gym coach on one Quest hotel floor for 27 days. Of those 27 days, just one was subject to rain, and that happened to be on our day off. That’s why we came to Rockhampton; it’s the middle of winter in Australia, yet we have had near-perfect weather, ranging in the low to mid twenties for over three weeks. That’s meant we’ve been able to put our heads down and get on with our training. Other than a few gym sessions a week, we’ve been outdoors in the elements, day after day. Whilst it’s been sunny, it’s almost always been windy, which has really played a role during our outdoor track sessions.
Yes, outdoor track sessions. In this day and age, most international teams are privileged enough to have an indoor velodrome to train on. This creates consistency, not just at training, but at velodromes across the globe. We wanted to try something different. By coming up to Rockhampton, we’ve been forced to train on a concrete track, open to the wind. In an event that requires sitting just centimetres off the wheel for aerodynamic and recovery purposes, the wind has certainly played a part in our training sessions. We’ve had to use muscles we didn’t know we had, in order to stabilise the bikes as each wind gust arrived. We’ve had to work on not just our reaction times, but our predictions as each member is affected by the gusts, one after the other. On top of all this, we’ve had to get stronger. Indoors, there are no outdoor elements, no constant wind gusts to get you from the sides, after you’ve done your turn. In Rockhampton, our recovery has been minimal. We’ve had to work so much harder to ride at a similar pace as we would have indoors.
Will this be beneficial? We will soon find out. We’re heading home on Thursday for a few days at home before our final camp begins. We’ve put on more muscle, we’re feeling fit, and we’re confident we’re on the right track. The 2016 Australian Olympic Cycling Team will be announced on July 5, so keep your eyes peeled – hopefully there’ll be an Edmondson (or two) on that list!