I was prompted in the non-racing blog by this article http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/tour-shorts-losing-interest-time-trial-preparation-and-drinking on Cycling News regarding Matt Lloyd. Apparently the Lampre rider had what we term a ‘carpark crash’ where he fell off, not in the heat of battle at 60kph, elbow to elbow with the world’s best, but cruising in the neutral zone before the start of the race. Embarrassed much? The reason he gave was that he was “just losing interest”, which struck me as odd. He’s in the biggest bike race in the world and it’s all a bit of a yawn? It would be interesting to know exactly what DOES excite Mr Lloyd!
It was also how I had been feeling for a while about my own racing and training. Chalking it up to a ‘comedown’ after the World Cup circuit I have continued to phone-in my training sessions, putting my body through the motions even though my head and my heart were often not in it. I’ve still managed good results with a 2nd at the National Marathon Championships and an unbeaten streak in the Queensland XCO series. I am fortunate to be able to get on the podium despite not particularly being ‘in the zone’ or in the mood.
Being prone to periods of depression I’ve become quite good at managing it but with such a long stretch of being ‘up’ perhaps I’d become bit blasé in monitoring myself and using the mental tools that have been working so well over the last 12 months. There had been some emotional low points lately too, with the loss of my grandmother and some family upheaval. I wondered if I’d fallen out of love with mountain biking, the way one realizes in any relationship and has to tell their partner “I’m sorry, but I’m just not as in to you as I was”.
I’ve never particularly liked the winter months and my major bouts of depressive illness have usually coincided with this time of the year, which is what had me reading about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seasonal_affective_disorder. While my friends in southern states or in countries like Switzerland and Canada scoff that Brisbane does not even have a true winter, the disorder is less about how cold it gets and is more related to the reduced hours of sunlight exposure. I’m luckier than some and have a lifestyle that lets me wait until the sun is actually up before I train, but even then, covered in arm warmers, leg warmers and sunglasses coupled with the grey skies we’ve had lately it’s doubtful the poor little UV rays have had a fair go.
So I’ve added to my mood disorder toolbox a couple of new strategies and will try spending the last 20 minutes of my training session with a few less winter layers and with my sunglasses in my pocket to see if this makes a difference. It’s free, easy and must be better than sleeping for 12 hours a day and waking up tired and completely lacking in motivation.
My love affair with mountain biking is not waning and if anything is becoming deeper now that I have taken on a role as coach with http://www.pcscoaching.com.au/ and am looking forward to living vicariously through my athletes for my fix of athletic success. It IS time to find some new riding challenges though so any suggestions will be welcomed. J