Ed Laverack and three other riders are keeping rider journals for The British Continental this season. Ed rides for the new UCI Continental team SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling this season. This is Ed’s 5th journal entry…
I never fail to get excited at airports. They always spell adventure
Travel is one of those small things that if you handle well, you will make a good athlete.
I was told this about 8 years ago and it still rings true for me to this day. Sometimes it’s as simple as driving 2 hours in the morning to a National B race across country at 6am, or it could be a long haul flight to the other side of the globe. Both have their stresses.
For me, I’m currently sat in a small, single hotel room in south west Poland having spent most of yesterday travelling. Breaking a journey up in to smaller chunks can be a saving grace for most athletes. It was planes, trains and automobiles for me. Leaving sleepy Llanelli behind at 6.30 I set off for Bristol by train and then from there to London Luton by car share. We will split the fuel and car park fee, as you do.
I suppose this is where the fun starts. I’ve been fortunate enough to fly many places to race my bike, but I never fail to get excited at airports. They always spell adventure.
Recently I started bringing my own food through security, and it’s worth it. Chicken, sweet potato and roasted red pepper went down a treat while we waited the next 2 hours for the flight.
It’s worth mentioning that travel days can be taxing on the body. First off, you come in to contact with a slightly larger amount of people than at your local Co-op. The word ‘cramped’ is often used. You get grouchy as time passes slow. The trick is to distract yourself. I will generally buy some light snacks at the airport, always thinking ahead to when we land. It’s happened a few times. You land and immediately get in a rental car and get driven another 2 hours to your destination. You need to maintain that energy balance without over compensating.
I suppose the biggest issue I have is sleep. It depends how tired I am, but 8 times out of 10 I will drift off pretty quick in a new bed after a long day. Last night was was one of those other times though. With all the hype built through the day, it can be hard to tune out, especially in a new location when you feel like you are still ‘plugged in’. This is where many athletes struggle, especially on long haul flights. But that’s more down to time zone differences and there’s plenty of hacks to combat that if you read up smartly online.
Truth be told, it’s important to find that sleep rhythm as soon as possible. A number of nights of back to back poor quality sleep can squash the immune system. It’s often the major contributing factor for athletes getting ill or not feeling 100% in the days post travel. So for me, I always have a little bag of tricks. Eye mask, ear plugs, eye drops, nasal spray, hand gel. These small things will sit on the bedside table or be by my side on the flight if needed, creating the atmosphere needed for better sleep and recovery.
Ed races the Polish stage race Wyscig Mjr. Hubala – Sante Tour (UCI 2.1), 31 May – 2 June.
Featured photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com. OVO Energy Tour Series – Round 6: Salisbury