Pain is weakness leaving the body

Posted by admin on September 1, 2015 in
Haute Route, InfoCrank data analysis

BY TROELS ANDERSON
#MYPOWER RIDER, HAUTE ROUTE ALPS

“Pain is weakness leaving the body”

This has been my mantra for the last 4 years, and has kept me going through icy cold winter mornings, motivational lows and emotional hardship.

I have bipolar disorder, it’s my burden and blessing! Why is this important in this context? you may ask. It is because my story is about staying motivated, about staying healthy, and above all about staying alive.

Being bipolar means having periods with hyper mania – everything is great, I can conquer the world, and periods with deep depressions – everything is dark, I get suicidal. And of course a lot of ‘normal’ periods. Beside the treatment offered through psychiatrists, psychologists and medicine, I’ve found regular excercise keeps me more steady. I need the training to stay mentally healthy, and I need goals to stay focused on the training.

In my yearly search for physical goals I last year came across the Haute Route. First it seemed too ambitous, I had never cycled further than 190 kilometers before, never consecutive days, and never up a mountain (I live in Denmark which is flat as a pancake!). But I signed up…

In 2013 and 2014 I did the Ironman Copenhagen, so I guess my base form was ok, but I lacked a lot of specific endurance and mountain training. Come August 2015 – Nice, the French Riviera – Start of the Haute Route Alps. I had the InfoCrank installed just a few days before arriving, only managing a few short spins and a FTP test (my FTP is app. 340 watts), so not quite sure what to expect – neither from the InfoCrank nor from myself. I met up with Coreen, Ash and Sam from Verve Cycling in the race village, and they sorted me out. My questions got answered and the mechanics were adjusted to perfection.

On the first day of racing I decided to lay my trust in the InfoCrank and the FTP test and theory. For me that meant going for an average of 270 watts on the climbs, trying to keep the power output steady. And it worked! I paced my self perfectly. I never ran out of juice, but on the other hand I wasn’t exactly arriving at the finishline with fresh legs.

Day three was a challenging TT of 12 km with a 1,000 meters of altitude gain. The question everybody was asking themselves on this sunny, but chilly, tuesday morning was “go easy, or go all in?” About five seconds before I was sent off, I decided to go almost all in. I would try to average 320 watts, guesing it would be a 75-85 minute ride. I kept it pretty steady the first 10 k’s and then went deep. My result was 65 minutes with a 331 watt average. It was perfect, and I couldn’t have done it without the InfoCrank.  

The following days I kept my power average and had some amazing days on some of the most iconic cols in the world.

On day six Col de la Madeleine asked me to dance, and on the acsent I tangoed her through the floor, but on the descend she gave me a waltz I will never forget. In a tight right hand corner I came in too fast and crashed – going from 50 kph to 0 in a heartbeat. That hurt! The first medic at the scene told me, that he would call an ambulance and I would be taken to a hospital (he could see my elbow bone through the skin, and he thought that to be a serious injury).

Well I didn’t come all this way to get a DNF, and said “I’m a cyclist, not a footballer, so patch me up and let me go.”

celebratory selfie after finishing the last climb on day 6

celebratory selfie after finishing the last climb on day 6

Off I went to finish the stage. Spent the night at a local hospital getting stitched up. Had a few hours of sleep and got ready for the final stage of this mindboggling race.

At the foot of the first climb I went for it, producing my highest workload of the week and finishing the Haute Route Alps 2015 with #MyPower.

A few things has been key to my ability to complete this rather ‘insane’ endeavour: my amazing wife who always supports me, my inspirational children who always give me joy, my bipolar disorder which has pushed me to continous development, and the InfoCrank which helped me to almost perfect pace throughout the week.

Thanks to the Verve Cycling family for all the support, and to my good friends Philippe (bib 2062) and Michael (bib 2083) who also performed amazingly.

Looking forward to reaching new goals with the InfoCrank as my training partner. Wonder what will become the goal of 2016…

BR Troels

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