Virus 1 , Maghalie 0.

I am always juggling with this idea: Why would anyone care about how my races are going? Why would anyone, outside of my close circle of friends, team, and family, would need to know about how I felt in a race? 

That's why sometimes I just step away from social media, or from writing blogs, for a little while. Don't get me wrong, I care deeply about it, but I just can't wrap my head around the fact that other people would care about these things that I do... It just seems too egocentric to believe that someone else would be so interested in my life. 

I've also been busy recently, so writing a blog wasn't at the top of my priorities. David and I bought our first house and we've been working on it a lot, which has been super fun. Other than that, we've been training a bunch and I've been enjoying that time on the bike. The riding close to our new house is simply amazing. 

Anyway, this morning, I decided to break my blog writing drought, because this weekend I learned a lesson - or strongly solidified a belief I already had - that I think can also benefit other people: Health is the number 1 priority. 

David always says it, and I live by that principle a lot, but sometimes, like yesterday, you get a reminder of just how important health really is. In races, I typically like the climbs. I look at them from the bottom and I get excited to get up it as fast as I can (...so I can get to the downhill quicker!). I usually don't even think about how much - or even if - it hurts. Yesterday, however, during the Horseshoe Canada Cup, as my back, my arms, my neck, my stomach and my legs were screaming, I seriously wondered, more than once, if I'd actually be able to make it up the hill. 

If I'm honest, I was frustrated about that situation for a little bit. "I had some of my best ever workouts last week. Why the hell am I feeling so weak today?!". Baboune La Vieille Poune (my very negative little voice) even made an appearance for a few minutes, after months of not hearing about her. I wanted to give up. Luckily, it didn't take long for me to remind myself that I should just suck it up, and do my best. Because realistically, what else was I going to do? Quitting would make my situation even worse, plus we came all he way here, Scotty and I, and I have this opportunity to get over my struggles and get a good workout, so might as well do that.

"Scotty could have stayed home with his girlfriend, but now he's here with you giving you drinks, so suck it up Maghs!" I told myself.

So I looked up, stayed calm, focused on the obstacles in front of me and turned the pedals one stroke at the time until I crossed the line. It wasn't pretty and I threw up a little bit on 2 of the 5 laps, but at least I got it done. 

Back to that lesson: health is the number 1 priority. On Thursday, I got a little bit sick, which had me spend more time than I would have liked on the toilet. I felt like I had lower energy than usual on Friday, but I felt like I was getting better. I kept it easy in training. By Saturday, I felt good enough. My Heart Rate was higher than usual, but I thought I was okay and ready to race. Honestly, I was really looking forward to a hard and solid battle during the race, so I put aside any small stomach inconfort, or any doubt that I could still be affected by the small "virus" I had a couple days ago. 

What I realized is that, you can feel decent for day to day activities when you are not at 100%. But, when you try to use your body at its maximum capacity, as we do in training or in a race, a few percents can make a huge difference. If I had a more "normal" job, I could have performed well with that little stomach bug. However, the reality of our sport is that you need every ounce of energy you have to perform well and do a good job.

It's very interesting having power meters (we use ROTOR) to be able to gather data from all the races. Yesterday, my power was about 40W below what I normally average in races, while my HR was about the same. So it's not that I wasn't trying, my body just couldn't push past a certain level. It was limited. In a sense, it is comforting to see that data because it reinforces what I was feeling. I did not just FEEL weak, I really was a lot weaker.

Most importantly though, it reinforces the fact that health should be our number 1 priority as athletes. So as much as I would like to go train hard today and tomorrow, I know wha I need to do now is to rest and get healthy. Yesterday was a very good reminder that you can be as fit and as lean as ever, but if you are not 100% healthy, you won't go anywhere...maybe not even to the top of that next hill!  

Maghs

P.S Big thanks to Jamie from Revolution Cycle for the bottle hand ups at the top feedzone :) 

 No matter how the race goes, it's always fun to hang out with the MTB community!

No matter how the race goes, it's always fun to hang out with the MTB community!

 Scott was awesome this weekend, as usual! Putting on some fresh rubber before the pre-ride. Aspen Maxxis Tires were my choice for the Horseshoe Course.

Scott was awesome this weekend, as usual! Putting on some fresh rubber before the pre-ride. Aspen Maxxis Tires were my choice for the Horseshoe Course.

 Scott cleaning my brake pistons. For a step by step of how to do that, istead of just changing your brake pads, check out our team Instagram post:  https://www.instagram.com/p/BjzvxDxBqGf/?taken-by=clifproteam

Scott cleaning my brake pistons. For a step by step of how to do that, istead of just changing your brake pads, check out our team Instagram post: https://www.instagram.com/p/BjzvxDxBqGf/?taken-by=clifproteam

 Using this rest day to cook and relax at home. Strawberry rhubarb jam in the making :) 

Using this rest day to cook and relax at home. Strawberry rhubarb jam in the making :) 

 Dave and I got some chickens!! Rest days are also made for looking at chickens and taking pictures of them :) They are so funny!

Dave and I got some chickens!! Rest days are also made for looking at chickens and taking pictures of them :) They are so funny!