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2003 was Sting's 'bestest' year ever in cycling. After a few months of unstructured training and living like a rock star he's back to training and monastic living...

Its been a looong time since I wrote something about cycling. I've got updates on my personal website but nothing specifically on cycling. That's cause it was the off-season and whilst my National Team friends had serious races on their minds like the Real Tour of Thailand and the SEA Games, an enthusiast like me gets to go pubbing, stay up late, getting re-acquainted with alcohol, and pretend to be a rock star for a few short weeks.

After the Tour of Trengganu and the Sentosa race, I found that there was nothing left to race for. Ok, so there was a race in December, but I wasn't going to keep going and get burnt out just for a race. Besides, I was getting a bit mentally fried, having started my build for the 2003 season in August 2002. In the whole year, I'd experienced the elation of getting faster and faster and the pain of overtraining to the point where you get no feeling in those Bus 11s for days on end. It was a good year and I was looking forward to a break.

The few months of unstructured training was fun. Visiting pubs and meeting chicks again after living like a monk for months suddenly reminded you that "Hey, there's life outside of amateur cycling." Hahaha. Those few months were also spent working conscientiously at the office trying to justify to the boss that you were worthy of the space and air you occupy.

Anyways, its like you try to squeeze everything you can into those few months. You watch all your bike racing videos, you start dating again, you *gasp* clean your room!!!! Besides the usual, what else have I done? Oh yeah, take up Harmonica lessons (something I've always wanted to do), review my insurance policy (dammit, I still can't find a company willing to insure a bike racer in a bike race), think of investing your left-over money somewhere before the bike gobbles it up, explore more eating places in Singapore (at least that can be done while out on a date), and yeah, started on my long overdue graduate degree.

In the whole of the last four months, I only raced once at the Pesta Penang and that was another disaster for the second year running. Before the decisive break was made, someone rammed into my rear wheel, breaking the spokes and permanently damaging the rim (now I'm riding it with uneven spoke tension leading to some iffy sprint training). However, the Penang trip was not a total waste, as I discoverd a pub behind my hotel called the "Slippery Senoritas" and the chicks there are slippery indeed.... I shocked Eddy "1.6", my room-mate by coming back at 4am! Hmmm...come to think of it, I shocked myself too.

Anyways, now its February 2004. I was trying desperately to get back on schedule in January but a death in the family required me to be away for sometime and when I returned to Singapore I was feeling not too high on morale. Followed by the Chinese New Year celebrations and family obligations on my visiting parents, I didn't really do any structured training for January. Not that I mind. I kinda know whats important to me in MY life.

Little wonder that I feel as strong as a worm at all the Thomson rides. I keep getting dropped from where I want to be but I do feel the strength returning every week. Who am I kidding. I never could follow the fast boys at this time of the year anyway! But I feel the Need for Speed returning. I look forward to all my training sessions. Despite a change in training schedule due to my graduate course, I feel super-motivated to tackle every scheduled interval session with gusto. I guess the "no-racing" break was good for me mentally, huh?

What are my aims this year? I guess to improve in my time-trial and sprint. I don't care too much about climbing and all that because there's no hills in Singapore. As long as I can get over the hills with the breakaway I'm happy. Besides, demands on my time make it unlikely that I can go for any stage races overseas. I do wish to become a better time-triallist and improve on Team Absolut's Team Time Trial this year but those goals are months away. In the meantime, its back to your regular scheduled programming, "Hard Work and High Pain Tolerance". After all, goals in August/July are won in the early months right? Till next time!

P.S. As I was writing this, the Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia came to an end. It was a thrilling spectacle with the first time in recent memory that had breakaways surviving to the finish on flat stages and the Colombians playing cat-and-mouse on Genting against the other teams. Contrastingly sad, was that the life of Marco Pantani came to an end the day TdL ended. I was no tifosi of Pantani but you can't help but admire his passion for his work. I can't say anymore but leave you with a quote of his that I find most beautiful:

"...I am an artist. The road is my canvas and the bicycle is my paintbrush..." Marco Pantani (1970-2004). 

Comments or criticism can be sent to sting@teamabsolut.net
 

This page was last updated on 02/27/04
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