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Matt Bailey's Blog


Life Doesn’t Always Go To Plan

May 11th, 2013 by mattbailey

Picture this you are overseas (well New Zealand) just having completed a race 2 days ago, which didn’t quite go to plan, so you are really looking forward to getting home and starting your training in preparation for a better result hopefully at the next race. It’s 5.00am in the morning feeling a bit sore and tired (not unusual for most of us after a 70.3), get to the airport too tired to bother eating properly, and grab a coke and muffin for breakfast. Get on the plane and curl up next to the window and fall asleep. Next thing you are lying across 3 seats with an IV drip in your arm and oxygen mask on and the plane preparing to land back in Auckland where it had taken off 2 hours earlier.

After a night in hospital I came to realise, that maybe I should take a break from triathlon and get my life back into balance. So that’s what I did for the next 3 weeks. I didn’t watch or read or even want to talk about triathlon, triathlon did not exist in my life for those three weeks. After my three-week exile from triathlon I was desperate to get back into it, but decided to ramp my training up slowly. I went out on a couple of rides and runs with a few of mates and had some fun with my training no pressure just did what I wanted to do. I entered into a couple of fun runs and was going to do a couple of local bike races again.

About 6 weeks after recommencing training, in fact on the 8th of April (implanted in memory) it was a brilliant sunny day in Melbourne, I hadn’t gone swimming that morning with my squad, hadn’t really done much all day because I had a big weekend planed, 200km bike ride on Saturday and a 10km fun run on Sunday. But I thought why not just go for a swim at the local beach near me, so I invited a mate and we went down to the beach and had a good swim session. We always finish our sessions with a 500m swim sprint and a run up the beach, as I was sprinting up the beach my foot hit a pot hole and instead of face planting I stopped myself and firmly planted all my weight on my hip, which resulted in my hip giving way. For about a minute I was unable to put any weight on the leg what so ever, so I knew I had injured the hip. This wasn’t the first time I had injured this hip 3 years back I had to undergo 2 surgeries on the same hip, so I was a little worried as you can imagine. But after the initial pain it seemed fine so I went on with the day and in fact the whole weekend. Sure I felt it a little on the bike but who doesn’t get niggles when riding 200km. Anyway to cut my story short 5 weeks later after a steroid injection and surgery on my hip it is back to normal (thanks to my awesome orthopaedic surgeon) and I am working my way back to fitness.

Sure the start to 2013 wasn’t what I wanted. But I believe losers are quitters and I am not going to give up on my dream, so even though it may take me longer than I had hoped to get where I want to be in triathlon, these hiccups aren’t going to deter me, they are experiences that are going to make me a better athlete at the end of the day. As Brett constantly tells me “hurry slowly”. I have to thank Brett, Matty Koorey and Alex , Team TBB have been fantastic over the last few months, they have been really supportive and their main concern has always been that I get back to good health. Thanks guys you really are such a supportive team in so many ways.

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Racing i guess

October 25th, 2012 by mattbailey

Here I was the day before the Australian 70.3 pro champs, standing in Mandurah Perth Australia. A race that had some of Australia’s best pro triathletes going around. Since my last race didn’t go as I wanted I was hoping for a solid performance, my lead up to the race wasn’t great but once you toe the start that makes no difference. The course was flat and the field was stacked with very good swim bikers so I expected it to be on from the start.

The morning of the race I felt good and the weather was perfect no wind and a cool breeze coming off the canals. I had my protein shake and three biscuits for breakfast and headed down to the race venue. I like to get there a least 90minutes before race start. Headed off into transition, I don’t listen to my iPod I like to hear all the chat the other pros are offering up. First thing I heard was that the swim was tide assisted, well that wasn’t going to suit me, so I had to rethink my race tactics.
Now it was time to race, I did a little swim warm up and I was ready. The swim was like every other swim, go hard for the first 200meters and find some feet to sit on. Perfect I got my feet and I was sitting in third place, as I was coming to the end of the swim I wasn’t sure how many people were in my swim pack but I could tell there was a lot by the consistent tapping on my feet from behind. I Came out of the water and ran into T1. Had an ok transition and was out on to the bike. It was fast and furious from the start of the bike, I don’t think my speed dropped below 45km/hr, it was a massive pack of pros with one guy off the front by about 70seconds. I must say there was a lot of drafting going on in this pack 10 pros all in time trail helmets about 7meters apart at the most. Went through the first lap of the bike and we were pulling the front guy back. By now the pro pack had shrunk a little, probably about 7 pros left, as we went further into the second lap we had pulled the front guy back and there was only about 25km left of the bike and I was starting to think about the run and was not concentrating on what was going on ahead of me. I didn’t realise that the pro in front of me was stretching his back and I got a little too close and before I could put the brakes on, the draft buster was blowing his whistle and showing me a yellow card, I couldn’t believe it and I started to lose it at the draft buster, as I calmed down there was only about 15km of the bike to go so I took off and thought well I have nothing to lose now 4minute penalty and the front 7 guys are only separated by a minute, I decide to see what damage I could do in the last bit of the bike, which by the way was no damage what so ever, just damaged myself really.
So I stopped at the penalty box and watched the race ride away from me, I rolled back into T2 and put my runners on and went out on the run, it was really hard to get motivated on the run, I was really frustrated and disappointed and by the end of the first lap I was going further and further back into the field but eventually regained my composure and ran the last 8km hard and finished in 10th place.

I learnt a lesson that day sometimes shit happens, but the biggest penalty can be self-inflected if you don’t handle it well. You’ve just got to keep going because once you let it get to you that is the race over. I should have stayed calm and accepted the penalty and just got on with the race itself.

Next up is Shepparton in just over two weeks and I am really looking forward to get back out there and race again.

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Uni and sport

August 28th, 2012 by mattbailey

As most people who follow me on twitter(@mattbailz) will know that I am back in sunny (I wish) Melbourne. I have been back for a month now, since my last blog my hand injury has healed really well and it has had no impact on my training. Getting back into the swing of things back home was very easy, went to my usual swim squad which hadn’t changed at all. Got back onto my computrainer and the famous beach road for my cycling and straight back to pounding the footpath.

The hardest part of it all was getting back into doing university and studying again. You may not know but I am doing a Bachelor of Sport Coaching, which seems a bit ironical considering that I am learning everything I needed to know about coaching off the best triathlon coach in the world. I spend a lot of the time in lectures and tutorials comparing what the textbook says and what doc would say about certain topics they are quite the opposite. But I am really enjoying having that balance of Uni life and my life as a pro triathlete.

Last weekend I went and raced in Yeppoon, which is in northern Queensland for those who do not know. The race is within a resort; a nice 2km walk down the beach to the swim start and then a very bumpy 5 lap course on the roads of Yeppoon and then to finish it off with a 3 lap course through trails and bush land in the resort grounds. I am not going to bore you with the breakdown of the race all I am going to say is I came 2nd out of the water, 4th off the bike and finished in 5th place overall. Very disappointed with the race but as doc pointed out in his own colorful way I shouldn’t have raced, should have done 12 week solid block of training before getting out there and racing after my injury.

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Ups and Downs on the Swiss Mountains

July 12th, 2012 by mattbailey

How things can change so quickly, as you know I have been training in Switzerland with the team, just over 2 weeks ago the day started like most other days in the mountains, I got up at 6:45 ready to go to the pool for a 7.30 swim session. The swim was fine and I was feeling quite pleased with how things were going with training. Coach said right easy ride today one group go around the bull loop the normal way and the other group go around it the opposite way. I was stoked because I got the so-called easy way around the loop, as we left Leysin it was a beautiful day the roads were dry and the sun was shining. So all was going well but this is how quickly things can go bad, as we were going down a mountain the road went from being dry to wet and full of gravel. My back wheel slipped from underneath me and before I knew what had happened I was lying on the road face down. I got up, didn’t feel too bad there were a few cuts and scrapes on my legs and arms and a couple of holes in my hands, which I thought no big deal easy to fix.

Coach came, picked me up in the car and took me to the hospital in town, they cleaned up all the wounds and stitched up my right hand and sent me on my way. I thought great nothing broken give it a couple of days and I will be back training again, they always fall off in the Tour de France get stitched up and back on the bike the next day so how was my injury to be any different? Well that was over two weeks go and after an operation to remove two stones and gravel that was lodged under the skin on my right hand, I am still not able to do full training due to an infection that occurred as a result of the debris in my hand and all the antibiotics that I had to take to clear it up.

Physically this crash did not really affect me, other than not be able to do basic things like being able to cook or shower because both hands were bandaged, but mentally it has been very hard. Dealing with such a simple crash you would think it would be so easy to cope with considering there had been no broken bones. Apart from being incredibly frustrated at myself because this injury could have been avoided if I had worn gloves. Sitting up in the mountains in my small bedsit I have had to fight a lot of mental battles, thinking that you are loosing fitness and everybody else is just getting stronger, the thought that you are putting weight on because you are not doing the same amount of training as usual but still eating the same amount of food (frozen microwave meals) but the biggest battle has been understanding and accepting that this type of injury takes time to heal and you can’t rush it. Even when the doctors give you the all clear to train they are talking about the injury itself not about the effect it has had on your immune system, which during the course of the injury has had to work three times harder than usual, and the effects that the antibiotics have on your body. So now being back on camp and still not being able to do full training and doing just low heart rate stuff until I go home will be hard, but I know at the end of all this it will be for the good and I won’t fall in a heap a few months down the track because I didn’t give chance for my whole body to recover, not just a lacerated hand.
Thanks Doc for your wisdom even though it has been a bitter pill to swallow.

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Bonjour from Switzerland

June 23rd, 2012 by mattbailey

Well I have been in Switzerland now for a month. This place is nothing like I have been to before, there are mountains everywhere you look and beautiful scenery. I have got to know some of the other members of the team which has been great, you can learn so much from these world class athletes not just how they train, but what they do for recovery and how they back up each and everyday. The training has been just as hard as I thought it would be after doing that camp in QLD. Not so much on the heart as much as on the legs, every ride you climb some sort of hill or mountain, now when they say hill that just means a 14km climb back home. I have done couple of track sessions then the enjoyable climb back up the hill, I have rode around the small lake which is lake Geneva (200 plus kms) been in and out of France in a day which seemed a little strange going into another country by bike, can’t do that in Australia. The weather changes here more than back home in Melbourne. First couple of weeks we had rain and snow on top of the mountains,wearing every bit of winter gear I had, going down mountain not being able to feel your feet or fingers and then the next week I got sunburnt and wearing just knicks and a jersey.

My accommodation is what you would expect being the lower order member in a world class team. Very basic, no TV, washing machine or internet, but in a great location only 200 meters from the pool and situated above a bike store which always comes in handy. The language barrier has been probably the greatest battle; I can climb up a category 2 climb but trying to work out what the labels say on the food and then asking for help when you can only speak four words of French becomes very tricky. The best thing about not being able to speak the language is that when you go riding with the guys the incentive to hang on is huge because otherwise there is no way that I could get back or ask for directions. But in saying this I am loving the training and the country itself, it’s always fun getting up in the morning to go for swimming just to hear what the master himself has to say to you or someone else usually it is always funnier when it’s not you.

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A Month goes by

May 12th, 2012 by mattbailey

This is my 1st weekend back in Melbourne after a hectic 4 weeks following the finish of camp on the Sunshine Coast. A week after camp I headed off to Koh Samui to do my 1st overseas race. Unfortunately things didn’t go to plan and I was unable to finish the race, even so it was an amazing opportunity to experience racing in South East Asia and I learnt so much. Last weekend I raced in Busselton (70.3) I had high hopes of doing well in this race after my poor performance in Koh Samui. The race was very well organized not just for the pros but for the age groupers as well. The atmosphere was electric the whole race. During the race I made a lot of simple mistakes that cost me a high place finish, ended up in 8th place, which left me with mixed feelings. Now I am looking forward to racing Cairns 70.3 and then going off to Switzerland to build on my base in camp.

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1st Camp

March 17th, 2012 by mattbailey

I have been on camp for 4 weeks in not so sunny Queensland and I have been challenged mentally and physically but I have to say it is the best 4 weeks of training that I have ever done. My mates have asked me about Brett and the best way I can describe him is that he is a wizard. I have enjoyed the long,long rides and runs with my team mates and I am looking forward to catching up with other members of the team in the next few weeks. I am back in Melbourne briefly and during this time I have picked up my new P3 bike and had the opportunity to ride it along the famous Beach Road, love the ride on this bike, 1st time using Campag gears love how smooth the gears are and Cobb seat made it a really comfortable ride. Flying back to Queensland today for another 4 weeks of training. Just want to thank Cerevelo, Campagnolo, 3T and Cobb Cycling for sponsoring this great bike.

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