The Frustrations of Dealing with a Cold and Racing Cyclocross

On Sunday 22nd May I couldn’t stomach anything besides some mandarins. In the afternoon I felt really exhausted and went to bed at 3pm and ended up sleeping for 15 hours. The next couple days I started getting the symptoms for a cold. I took it easy, in bed and blobbing out watching TV series and online videos. By Thursday cabin fever had set in and I had to get out of the house. So replaced saddle on my Specialized Carbon Crux Expert with a Specialized Expert Power saddle, as the previous saddle was a bit small for my bum. I decided to take my bike with the newly fitted saddle for a test ride on the Cornish Track to Korokoro Dam. I am loving the Specialized Expert Power saddle is so comfortable, fits my bum like a dream.

Korokoro Dam.jpg
Korokoro Dam – Just Add Water. Photo by Lisa Ng

Sunday 29th May was the first race for the Huttcross series. Being sick still I didn’t enter, instead I took photos. I did envy the other out there riding it look like lots of fun riding through the bog and sliding around in the mud.

Second week (30th May – 5th June) of having cold I did a couple of road commutes and a mountain bike ride nothing to strenuous.
Week 3 (6th June – 12th June) of the cold; I start to feel much better. I know it was still lingering in the background, Queen Birthday I ended going for a mountain bike ride as it was too nice not to. I received and started using the Powerbreathe Plus on Tuesday, this device is to help with sport performance and asthma improvements (a full blog on the Powerbreathe Plus in a later blog.) I felt well enough to commute to and from the city for work, as well attend football training on Wednesday. Every now and then I forget that I need to pace myself; I need to progressively warm up and then get into my riding. Otherwise my Exercise Induced Asthma (EIA) will get the better of me, especially on these cold winter nights. This happen to me on my return home commute on Wednesday… I ended up doing 65km of commuting and mountain biking before the cyclocross race.

Powerbreathe Plus
Powerbreathe Plus – More to come on this device in a later blog.

Sunday 12th June round 2 of the Huttcross, I felt well and ready to race. On my arrival to Moonshine Park and it was drizzling with rain. This was the first time racing a cyclocross event on my Specialized Carbon Crux Expert. I entered into C Grade (30 minutes of racing.) Adjust the tire pressures of my Crux to 25psi, as I usually run 35psi for commuting. Dressed in my roadie lycra gear with a thermal and leg warms on, I set off to do a warm up lap to get a feel of the course, after a lap I decreased the tire pressures to 22psi. I continue to warm up riding up and down the tarmac until the race was about to start, totally warm up time of 17 minutes. The rain had stop for the start of the race, I started right at the back of the field. The problem with start right at the back of the field is once you hit the first corner it becomes a traffic jam… After the first lap my average heart rate was 186bpm and EIA was upon me… so 17 minutes of warm up is not enough. Second, third and fourth laps I was focused on controlling my breathing (reduced breathing), my heart rate was in high 190’sbpm. Every lap I was moving up the field, I end up placing 17th out of 64.

Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 8.24.02 pm
Heart Rate in the red line over the race period.

I’m really happy with 17th place considering I started at the back of the field, my asthma came into effect and more than like also cold as well. I start to get frustrated when I unable to performance at my maximum capacity. Each race is a learn opportunity. For the next race I’ll be doing a longer warm up and starting in the top third of the field. I’m glad I didn’t race in A grade as it bucketed down with rain.

Lisa - CX R2
Me smiling after finish C grade and bike cover in mud. Photo by Mike Milner.

The resurface of the cold. After my commute on Tuesday 14th June, I discovered my cold has resurfaced. Which is annoy and frustrating, I have to let my body recover because I have been over doing it. So I’ve been cycling to the train station and commuting via train. Also there won’t be any football for me this week… Forcing myself to rest is hard….

Photos I took of Kids, B and A grade:

Lisa Ng

The Frustrations of Dealing with a Cold and Racing Cyclocross

First Enduro Race of the Season

Wainui Enduro 25th April 2016

This was my first race of the season. I started ride my bike again in February, it had been a year since I last rode my bike. As I suffered depression for the whole year of the 2015. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder (manic depression) in August 2014 (I will be posting a blog on my bipolar story once I have seen my long term bipolar psychiatrist.)

What was my preparation for this race?
I had been riding for just over two months before this race, doing average four rides per week. Most of the mountain biking rides I was doing were at the Wainuiomata MTB Park with Dave Hurst. I was definitely familiar with all the tracks before the race.
Doing a MTB Skills Clinic, a couple weeks before the race help a lot with my technique, carrying speed around corners and riding faster and more aggressive over technical tracks, thanks Dave Hurst for the shout.

I suffer from asthma, this hadn’t been a problem for the last couple of months, but on race day it was a nice brisk cold morning. My lungs did not agree with cold, biking up to the top of Freewheel the asthma kick in my heart rate started soaring high and my breathing was rapid. Unfortunately, I couldn’t utilise the underbreathing technique I learnt from my nutritionist Gary Moller to control my breathing.
Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 3.15.34 pm.png
Screenshoot of my heart rate vs the altitude.

The Wainui Enduro is a timed 3 stage downhill event:
First stage; Freewheel, 4WD, Beeline, Beeline Ext and Pump track.
Second stage; Labyrinth Down, Snails Trail, Option 1 Snails Trail continued (easy), Option 2 Scrims (McMillans), Snails continued, Banker, Pump track.
Third stage; 491, Spoonhill, Nga Tuna, Family Loop, Swamp, Pump track.

Strava link of race ride:

On the first stage I crash on Freewheel trying to overtake a follow ride, I hit my handlebars with hers and I ended up on the ground, I quickly picked my bike and jumped back on. Then on start of Beeline there were two walkers with their small white dog, so I had to slow down ride around them since they decide to stand in the middle of track. I don’t think these walkers got the memo that there was a race on…. Even though the tracks were taped off and there was lots of signage that there was a race on. Beside from the two hiccups it was an ok run down.

The second stage was much better run for me as I had ridden the new Labyrinth Return track quite a few times before race day. I took the easy option line on stage two as I hadn’t ride down the hard line and apparently it quite gnarly, I wasn’t will to risk another crash to save time.

Stage three feel slow than usually down 491 and it was as the week before I set my fastest time down it. Maybe I was feeling the fatigue and battling with asthma. It felt like every run was a battle with asthma, breathing rapidly and my heart racing to try and pump the oxygen through to my muscles. I try slow down my breathing during the races but my lungs weren’t having it….

I placed 2nd in the Senior Women and 4th in the overall Women. I was stoked with 2nd place, after all I have only be back riding for just over 2 months and before that I wasn’t doing any exercise at all.
_MG_5584Photo taken by Dave Hurst
I’m forward to racing Cyclocross (Huttcross) and training for next seasons Enduro and Endurance mountain biking races. I’ll be working on fitness and strength, nutrition and managing my asthma over the winter months.

For those whose are interest in managing their asthma. Here is an in-depth article written by Phil Welch – Successfully Living with Asthma

First Enduro Race of the Season