Heidelberg Homeboy: Tough Lessons
Another dispatch from our Homeboy in Heidelberg. This week, Jered’s learned some tough lessons about overtraining, the value of “rest”, and sunscreen, ugh! Plus he launches his new website!
After a “good” 15 days of training camp in Mallorca, I’m back in surprisingly warm and sunny Heidelberg, and it is oh so nice to be home. I say good, meaning 15 “solid” days of training camp, because they were not at all good. My second foray into Mallorca was anything but fun: I’ll call it 10 parts reality, 8 parts pain, 8 parts watermelon eating, 3 parts sleeping, 2 parts studying, and 1 part fun.
The camp started off on a great note, as I found my name on the shadow team of 8 (6 would go) for a stage race in Croatia: Jadranska Magistrala. I was super psyched at the mere chance to go, and thought everything should go pretty decently at camp. I could not possibly have done more when it came to training, but then again, in retrospect, I think that was the problem. I was feeling supremely confident as well, the more I heard about other people not getting in that much good training, the more I thought I was in a better and better position. I had done the work, I had poured in the hours and kilometers, and now it was time to reap the dividends of a winter’s toils.
I Got WORKED.
After the first day, I didn’t feel so well, but didn’t think much of it, after the second day, didn’t feel so well either, but again, no worries, still lots of time. Then the first day in the mountains came, and I really didn’t feel well, and now it was time for some concern. Unfortunately, it didn’t get better.
Every day was just a little worse than the last, until it couldn’t really get much worse, unless I had broken a femur and collarbone. I don’t really know what happened, but I had without a doubt a Chernobyl-like meltdown. A little too much training, suddenly turned into way too much training and by the second week I could barely turn the pedals over.
Along with my overtrained state, Mother Nature took dead aim as well. Thus spake the evil one: “Well, overtrained or not, I think Jered needs a serious workalation – I shall add to Jered’s misery.” So, she offered up a good serving of violent winds, cool temperatures, and then some rain, a little colder, more wind, a lot more wind, and then finally, the Heavens opened for the climax: snow. Snow in Mallorca in March, whooda thunk it.
With all of this narsty weather, it would seem difficult to catch a hard burning, but not for me. I took advantage of the few sunny days to make sure I left Mallorca with the gift of remembrance: a nice peeling exoskeleton. Along with the traditional burned regions, I got a sweet sunburn on my calves: my notorious knee warmer/sock sunburn that looks like a large stripe across the leg. I definitely felt the burn all over: muscles, head, skin, confidence, etc.
Tell Us How You Really Feel
It was definitely eye-opening to feel so terrible. I wasn’t sleeping well at all, I woke up every morning punctually at 4, and could never really get back to sleep, I was just completely exhausted. I have never in my entire life had a problem sleeping. I saw hills as enemy, I loathed the thought of getting on my bike. It was that bad, but again, a little reality never hurts. It’s not fun to get slapped around like that, but it IS good to keeping one grounded.
The further I get away from the camp (a good week now), the better I see the experience. It wasn’t lots of fun, but that’s just how it goes sometimes. I learned a lot, and saw that sometimes it’s about baby steps. This is not a matter of life and death. This is fun, I like riding my bike, and I think I lost that morsel of peace in Mallorca. I was busy taking myself WAY too seriously. I grimaced and groaned in Mallorca, and now I sneeze into my handkerchief and laugh at myself.
Same Coin, Different Side…
The day to day life wasn’t so bad though. There were some bright moments everyday. Like eating. The endless buffet of love at my disposal every single day, it was just beautiful. I wasn’t a big fan of all of the food though, just the watermelon. The hotels in Mallorca do a wonderful job of keeping very large supplies of fresh fruit on hand, and our hotel was no exception. I rediscovered watermelon on this trip, and probably ate my body weight in that lovely melon. I think I formed an unhealthy addiction to it though, as every morning, I would wake up thinking about dinner when I’d be able to eat some more watermelon. When I was having a distinctly unfun time on my bike, I would begin to dream of the watermelons that would welcome my return.
I came home from Mallorca under orders from the DS to take it easy, and for once, I really didn’t need much coercion to follow through with that order. My not so great luck over the past few weeks seemed to continue though, as I got a sweet cold upon return, further encouraging me in my boycott against my bike. I didn’t unpack the poor thing for a whole 5 days, and didn’t go on a ride longer than an hour for 7 days. Yesterday was my first real ride, and it was a welcome return, I had a little one on one with the bike and I’m happy to report that we’re on good terms again.
I’m anxiously looking at my calendar right now, the first race of the year looms… Only six days until Zusmarshausen, the first race on the southern German calendar, subsequently, it is one of the best represented races of the year. A small field of 200 rabid riders who haven’t raced since October will be frothing at the mouth, ready to rock my world.
I’ll be standing there wondering why I don’t play golf anymore, but I’ll be frothing at the mouth too, just a little later than everyone else, right about 10 minutes after the race rolls out, but hey, after that point, there will only be 200 more minutes to go. At the very least I’ll get better acquainted with my handlebars, I’ll find my handlebars so beautiful, that I’ll begin chewing on them.
I do sound a bit dark these days don’t I? I haven’t even gotten started yet and I’m foreseeing the Apocalypse. It’s not that bad, I’m just trying to stay realistic, but I’m still holding steadfastly to these Quixotic dreams of mine, 15 days of hard reality: definitely not enough to bring down this tank. 🙂 Besides, I turn 21 tomorrow, I’m going to celebrate in my room whilst writing a research paper.
See ya in a few weeks, and then it will be time to report on some RACES.
If you’ve made it this far, how about going a little further and visiting my new website. I’ll be keeping a day to day journal there, which should be mildly entertaining every once in awhile. 🙂
Check out Jered’s new website: www.JeredGruber.com
Thank you to Jess Brown (
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Gratuitous Sponsor Plug
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Matt Russ, my most excellent coach, if you’re ever looking for an excellent coach in the Atlanta area or around the world, send him an email:[email protected], or take a look at the website: www.thesportfactory.com.