Sort Me Out

A winter in British Columbia, Canada, is pretty rad; I had an incredible experience with an awesome job and it allowed me to drastically improve my skiing skillz; however, there were a few factors I really missed. Apart from the obvious: my British friends, family and little doglets, it’s been the first time I haven’t been able to ride my bike or run.

Although I did lots of DH skiing and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) classes, I really missed my cardio workouts. I’ve never felt so restricted and trapped by the weather. I know us Brits love a good moan, and for some reason it’s the weather that gets the brunt of our complaints, however, this winter really made me appreciated UK winters. Yes, it might be wet, muddy, dark, cold, but it never stops you going for a run or riding your bike, in-fact some of the funnest rides I’ve been on, was when the weather was terrible and you come home covered in mud, it’s the closest I get to feeling like a kid again.

I’m used to looking up at mountains, then going there, no questions asked. Please don’t get me wrong, Revelstoke is fantastic, full of badass athletes and professional skiers, with everyone getting out there ski-touring, but I wasn’t a skilled enough skier to head out into the backcountry of the Rocky Mountains, you need to be a good skier who’s confident enough to handle avalanches… I am not!

With only a few short sessions cross country skiing and lots of Down-Hill skiing, It was the least active I’ve been in years, I put on weight, and although I did yoga every single morning, I’ve never been in so much non-injury related pain. Everything started to hurt, but why? Eventually I realized a connection; after having a trampoline accident 15 years ago, I always suffered with back pains, until I started running and biking regularly, then my back pain finally diminished. Stop me doing my regular endurance activities, throw me into a cold Canadian winter… I’m seizing up.

It’s now spring and I’m back home visiting the UK, first things first… I’m booking an appointment with Ben Calder at The Centre for Integral Health in Shrewsbury. I worked with Ben a lot last year and I had the pleasure to experience the effects of Bowen Technique. As a masseuse, I’m used to being very hands on, the deeper the massage, the better I feel, but Bowen Technique is completely different, it uses very subtle movements to reset the fascia in the muscle. I didn’t think I had any problem areas when I went to Ben, at first, I didn’t notice much difference… But as I continued going to Ben, the results were outstanding!

You know that tired feeling in your legs when you first start running or biking, it always takes a few minutes to warm up before your legs stop feeling so heavy… I no longer had that, my legs were full of energy and ready to go, it didn’t matter how much I’d done during the week, after seeing Ben regularly my legs were ready to go 24/7. I noticed I recovered from races a lot quicker; on average, races I competed in were 3-5 days long, 2-3 days practicing with 2-3 days racing. Each day I’d be riding for 7 hours, completing daily loops of 50K, sometimes more, after maintaining this for nearly a week I usually come home feeling hung over, tired and can’t even think about biking for a few days, I just eat copious amounts of food and sleep, but after seeing Ben my recovery time dropped substantially; I’d have one rest day then I’d be back to it, without any tired legs. I also noticed something else; I do a lot of running and when I push myself, it’s the same muscles that ache the next few days, but on one particular day, I entered a Park Run, ran my usual race, pushed myself like I usually do, not only did I get my PB for Shrewsburys course, completing in under 21 minutes, the next day muscles were hurting that I’ve never felt before. I’ve run Mountain Marathons and lots of 5-15mile Mountain races (fell runs) and not once have these muscles hurt. Ben enlightened me, my body was finally working efficiently, muscles have stopped compensating allowing the muscles I truly need to do there job, I was amazed and extremely excited.

Needless to say, I’ve really missed my regular appointments with Ben, I walked into Ben’s clinic feeling a wreck, he tested my muscles to see which ones were/weren’t working properly; interestingly he found my glutes and hamstrings were weak, as he started the treatment he found they weren’t firing properly and reset them. I’m looking forward to seeing how they test next time. I’ve struggled with my lower back and hips this winter, but, as soon as I stood up after the treatment, I instantly felt better, I was no longer seized up, I could’ve cried… It’s good to be home.

I’m finally able to train every day; road riding, running and mountain biking, I feel 100% better physically and mentally. Seeing Ben is the final piece to the puzzle, stay tuned to find out what he helps with next week.

Thank you Ben

Heli-Skiing … Whaaaaat

Over the season I worked At Eagle Pass Heli Ski lodge as the Masseuse, and part of my roll was to instruct the 6am stretch class with the guests. IMG_4898From day one I loved the job, Mike had to take off to Hawaii for a month to film Dream Ride 2; turns out we’ll have a handful of long distance episodes for a few years to come. However, it was great timing, I had my new job to adapt to and keep me occupied.

Getting up at 5am took about a week to get used to, one thing I continued to struggle with was the split shifts; some nights I’d be giving massages until 11pm, getting to bed past midnight, then, up again at 5am for stretch class. For awhile midday naps became essential, which didn’t leave as much time for skiing as I’d hoped. The staff were great, and within a few days I already had a nickname, apparently the chefs had misheard my name as Tron;

images I’d told them a little bit about my family and they just assumped my parents were some young hippie 80’s kids who called their first child Tron… Not far off haha!! I swiftly claimed the “Mega Tron” status, always followed by the classic super hero air punch.

 

I wasn’t even one week into work and I got to go heli-skiing. I’d just said bye to all the guests and their guide came running back in. “There’s a free spot, who can take it?”

He asked the chefs, they hadn’t done their training yet, they asked house keeping, she didn’t have her stuff… Finally they turned and asked me.

“Have you done your training?

I nodded

“Have you got your gear?”

A second nod

“Can you go?… ”

A third and final nod came shaking out, the staff were so stoked for me, leaping up rushing me to my things… “GO MEGA TRON!”

Before I knew it I was in my gear sitting in a helicopter … what just happened, I was still shaking, the adrenal came over me in a flash.

It was an insane day of skiing, luckily one of the guests was my level of skiing, so we stuck together. I had the biggest smile and before I knew it I’d accumulated another nickname; Giggles. As soon as we met up with the other heli group for lunch, my group couldn’t wait to tell them how funny I was: “whatever she does she has the biggest smile, she giggles non stop, even with every crash all you can hear is her giggling, we just started listening out for the giggles to know where she was.”

I had no idea how much I’d been giggling, and I definitely didn’t realize they could all hear me. It was an insane experience and I couldn’t have gone with a better group of guests.

After that experience I was on a mission to improve my skiing ability, if I had another chance I wanted to make sure I was stronger and less likely to hold the guests back. However, for an entire month I went nearly every day skiing at Revelstoke Mountain Resort, but I just got worse and worse and worse. Mike was still in Hawaii, my new ski friends were all boarders so they couldn’t help me. I had zero control, I was crashing on the easiest of things, I’d be cruising down a groomer until … POW!! Right out of the blue I was tumbling down the hill like a washing machine full of shoes… you get me, zero grace, zero coolness. Until this point I’d started to find groomers boring, constantly darting off the tracks and into the trees, it felt so similar to biking: berms, rollers, jumps, ducking through trees – it was biking! Something was up, I couldn’t get down a groomer let alone through the trees. I was starting to dislike skiing, it made me anxious and I started avoiding it, maybe it just wasn’t my jam, I gave it my best shot though.

 

Finally Mike came home and we went skiing, I told him about the issues I was having, something was up, just no idea what. It reminded me of when I first started biking, I knew something was wrong but no idea where the problem was coming from or how to fix it, half the time I’d be horrified to find out my wheel was about to fall off. Now I’m way more in tune with my bike, and if I can’t fix it, I at least know where it stems from. Not with skiing though, even though it seems much simpler… I mean what is there to go wrong? Well I quickly learnt that for an entire month I’d been strapping up my boots the wrong way, such a subtle tweak but made THE WORLD of difference! I instantly felt more controlled, in the biking world it would’ve felt like all my bolts were loose, finally everything is tightened up and ready to go. I couldn’t ski for long that day, it was the first time all season I’d been able to strap my boots up, which means one thing… cramp, lots of cramp.

Now I know I don’t completely suck at skiing I had my zest back. Combined with work and HIIT classes at the gym I was pretty happy with the program I had going on.