Axelle Dubau-Prevot talks about her return to UCI racing and shares some insights on the physical and mental preparation for her first big race of the year: UCI Gran Fondo Casablanca.
One month to go
As I'm writing these lines, it’s Friday, January 24. Almost a month to go until UCI Gran Fondo Casablanca and... it's official. I will be on the starting line for this event which is close to my heart. Words fail me when it comes to expressing why it is important for me to participate in this race. Perhaps it is the most beautiful way for me to keep a foot in the field of competition, to have something that is truly mine, and not because I am "the sister of". There are so many more reasons that push me to take on new challenges; because today more than ever I am very clearly a fearless female cyclist.
Better than before
So, off to new challenges. I have this taste of unfinished business, this feeling that I can be even better than I was before. The more time passes, the more comfortable and stronger I feel comfortable on my bike. It is important to be aware of this, and I believe that we are at peace with ourselves when we become aware of who we really are, without any filters, beyond our limits and our desire to surpass ourselves.
Anyway, it's Friday... another great week of training is behind me: another week in the legs and especially in the mind. For me, training has two benefits: mind and legs. Why? Well, if your fiancé is a brilliant cyclist, and you train with him every day and you adapt your training to become harder and harder, you will see why!
My typical week of training
Here's what my week looked like. The training started on Monday: running, core stability, weight training and explosive bike sprints. It's about 4 hours in total and I admit that when the day is over, Hugo (my fiancé) and I look at each other like "That's it. The day is over."
Whether it's Tuesday or Thursday, it's pretty much the same type of day twice a week. I really like this type of training, we never get tired of it. There is so much room for progress and different exercises... it’s important to have fun in training to not get bored.
Wednesday is always my long endurance day - this week it was cycling, sometimes it's trail running. I adapt according to the objectives and the training load. Often 3 hours minimum, 5:30 hours maximum. It depends. In this case I grind my teeth throughout the training to stay on Hugo's wheel. Just like in a competition: lucid, concentrated. I love these moments on the bike. These are the ones that make me progress, that make me stronger and make me give the very best of myself. It mirrors a lot of who I am as a person: I give a lot and I like to make my loved ones proud of me. I train for myself, but I also care a lot about advices from my loved ones and I want to make them happy with what I do, with who I am.
On Fridays, I train on my own. Often times long trail runs with my dog. The area we live in is so rejuvenating and soothing. These trainings and moments for myself are important. During todays’ run, I thought a lot about my trip to Casablanca and my recovery at UCI level, it motivates me to run better, it makes me confident and focused. The following day, Saturday, would be a rest day. Then on Sunday, we simply repeat the Wednesday: full gas, me following my motorbike (Hugo, I mean).
While writing these lines, I realize how much I love the sport and how much I carry it deep within me. All of the training is no burden to me – it’s rather a relief. It was not always like that and I feel proud to be able to write these lines and speak about my passion that way.
State of mind: no fears, no limits.
Casablanca will be the ideal place to start my season, with all this training in my legs as well as two small races already under my belt. I will be leaving for Casablanca fully confident.
So, why Casablanca? I chose this race pretty much last-minute. I decided to go to Casablanca alone and take advantage of this beautiful environment, of this idyllic place to ride a bike and embrace each moment. Sometimes we limit ourselves way too much, and I don't want to regret missing out on great experiences. Life is not just about reaching a destination, but about enjoying every day of the journey. That’s why I chose to hit the start line earlier than expected this year.
The message I want to get across is that we shouldn't let our fears limit our challenges. There are multitudes of fabulous opportunities reaching out to us. Seize them, believe in yourself and realize how far you have come and what you have put in place to be where you are at today and who you are. No matter your level, your investment into the sport, your goals… you can never be too optimistic, you can never dream too big, you can never aim too high. Aim for the moon, you will land in the stars.
Written by Axelle Dubau-Prevot