A busy end of the year

We started December with a training camp in California in the region of Los Angeles. In Malibu. It sounds like a nice way to spend your holidays but for us it was no vacation. 4 hours of cycling every morning biking up and down the Malibu hills. I can tell you that more than 2000m of elevation gain per session is a calorie burner for heavyweight rowers. A 90kg and more on a bike are not easy to bring up a mountain. Most people would have called it a day but we were not on a training diet. A couple hours of rest, just enough time to have lunch torn by two contradictory feelings: eating or sleeping. You know you are hungry but you are so tired that you cannot eat because believe it or not, it is tiring to eat! No time to think and we were back in the weights room at 3pm to lift for one and a half hour. I could see myself in Mickael Jackson’s video, Thriller. A bunch of zombies walking around while music is playing in the background. However, because more is never enough, we closed everyday with an erg session (18k aerobic or high intensity session).
Without further ado, we would go back to the hotel, eat and sleep. Repeat! We had 4 afternoons off that really helped us to recover and survive! We all went up and down physically and mentally but no one got injured because of the camp. The Californian summerlike conditions combined with great food and excellent accommodation helped our more-than-tired bodies to overcome the training regimen.
Back on our Canadian island on December 12th we knew that a full week of testing was ahead of us. Physiology step test, 6k erg test (Rowperfect), 6k erg test (Static Concept2) and a 6.7k time trial in single scull. It was busy over those 7 days. Once more, I am so impressed by the abilities of our bodies to perform even when put to a severe test and under heavy stress. The key is to approach the problem with the right attitude and an unwavering mental commitment. I have to admit that I grit my teeth and dug in hard. I was rewarded with some very positive and encouraging results. A PB on my Concept2 6k erg test (18’24 – 1’32’’0 average) and I won the time trial on Shawnigan Lake. I am very happy and relieved that my body holds on. I feel better than 2 years ago and even if I had some issues training full time last summer after the surgery, it feels like it is the past. I still work hard on my rehab and it is promising. I am still able to play my A-Game.
I have decided to stay in Victoria over the break and I am sad not to be able to spend Christmas with my family. But I did it last year and it was very tiring over such a short period of time while still training. I want to keep training, light but steady. We are 3 months away from our European Olympic Qualification campaign and I feel like I need to keep the rhythm going. Not to mention the fact that flights are damn expensive. And I have the chance to have my little sister over here for Christmas as she faces the same dilemma (regarding flying back home) in Los Angeles where she rows and studies. We have a “small family” reunion on this part of the world.
I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas. As a gift, you can find here a short video (HERE) that I put together with the stunning footage from Nick Clarke (our Strenght and Conditioning coach). An easy way to discover one of the most beautiful places in the world that I was given to row on. Enjoy and see you soon in 2016.
“The adventure goes on...”