Filed under: KingsBridge Train | Tags: Belgium, cyclo-cross, vicki thomas, world championships, World Cup
Vicki looks ahead to the upcoming 2011-2012 cyclo-cross season. Our sponsored rider is ready to give it her all and have her best season ever….
Dudes, I’m super stoked right now. I’ve got a fire in my belly and really I just need to get out and ride my bike. What has caused this urgent need to pedal, pedal, and pedal some more? The UCI cyclo-cross calendar for 2011-2012 is out… Oh boy, it is going to be a great season.
I’m pumped that the first two World Cups are in the Czech Republic. I really enjoy racing in the Czech Republic and there is nothing quite like racing in Tabor (where I raced my first World Cyclo-Cross Championships). The UCI calendar looks really good. I’m pleased that are a lot more opportunities for women to race in UCI races in Belgium/Holland. To name a few new races for us gals: Overijse and Baal. I race Overijse in 2008 – what an experience – one of the hardest courses I’ve ever done – can’t wait to race it again.
The only disappointing factor in the UCI calendar is the lack of double-header races in the U.S. For someone like me who has to drive typically eight hours to get to a race in the U.S. – this is a long way to go for one race. But it is what is so I can’t complain – just need to get on my bike and ride.
Yep, so feeling pretty jazzed right now. I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me to rebuild my fitness, build new fitness and to really get my technical skills where they need to be. No issues here – this is just the kind of challenge I thrive on.
Yesterday I was talking with Marc about the World Cyclo-Cross Championships in St. Wendel, Germany… The first year I tried to make the Canadian team, the World Cyclo-Cross Championships were in Hoogerheide, The Netherlands – I didn’t qualify for the team and really didn’t have an emotional connection to the weekend of racing. In 2010 I was honored to be chosen to the team and to race in Tabor, Czech Republic. This year, I did not make the team and really I found this past weekend very hard. I so badly wanted to be there and was thinking about the races all weekend. I guess this is because I now know how special it is to race at the World Cyclo-Cross Championships. I want to have this feeling again.
So, I suppose the next logical step is for me to step away from the computer, to put on my kit and go out for a ride! This is going to be a good season – I can feel it.
Filed under: KingsBridge Train | Tags: Belgium, Bell Lap Coaching, cyclo-cross, cyclo-cross training, Germany, Marc Boudreau, St. Wendel, ulcerative colitis, vicki thomas, world championships, World Cyclo-Cross Championships
Here at KingsBridge we’re all about disaster recovery, and in a way, our sponsored cyclo-cross racer Vicki Thomas is on a path of disaster recovery as well. Read on to learn about Vicki’s recovery process from ulcerative colitis…
Got some excellent news yesterday from my Belgian gastro doctor: my recent blood sample shows no signs of inflammation. This means that I’m on my way to full recovery from this recent ulcerative colitis flare. The other piece of good news is that my body is responding well to the Imuran. Definitely the news I’ve been waiting to hear!
I had four days of excellent riding in a row and ended up taking a much needed rest day yesterday. It is so easy to forget during my recovery process that I don’t have nearly the same fitness, strength or reserves that I had in the past. It is amazing to me how much I’ve lost in such a short time.
I think what did me in yesterday was the three hour ride on Tuesday. In retrospect, this was probably a much too ambitious ride to do considering that four weeks ago I was in the hospital hooked up to an intravenous line and eating only chicken broth and dry toast… But it is this ambition that has got me where I am…
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of my recovery process for me has been my mental state. If you’re a regular reader of this web site, you’ll be familiar with my mental battles. All too frequently I would battle my “crazy brain” and lack self-confidence. Well, I’m proud to say that mentally, I’m feeling 100 per cent. It would be easy to get frustrated about my current lack of fitness and strength – but I know this will come back. How I’m riding and recovery right now will not be permanent. If anything this rotten 2010-2011 season has reinforced my mental resolve and strength – I know I didn’t ride and race like I can – so I’m super stoked to get out there and really race the way I know I can.
This period of recovery has also emphasized to me how important it is to get back to the basics. Basics of cyclo-cross like: smooth transitions and pedaling and focus and aggression on the bike. You might find the word “aggression” a strange on my website. But it is going to be a keyword for my 2011-2012 season. Last night over dinner, Marc pointed out that I’m not aggressive on my bike during cyclo-cross races – instead of fighting for positions at the start, I slip into a complacent mode of being “at the back” – the opposite of how I used to approach my cyclo-cross racing. This we determined is because “I got used to being in the back”. Well this is changing for the new season. I don’t want to be at the back nor am I going to be at the back.
One of the best parts of my recovery process has been the freedom to let my legs and mind wander. While out on the bike I can ride as hard and for as long as I want. My mind is free to simply relax and enjoy the moment. I’m not focusing on wattage numbers, cadence, the next interval, etc. If I am thinking it is typically about the drills and skills I need to focus on when I get home to make me a better racer.
Would I prefer to be in St. Wendel, Germany right now getting ready to race in the World Cyclo-Cross Championships on Sunday? Yes! This was my season goal after all. But everything happens for a reason and I can’t dwell on what didn’t happen. I know that really this season was out of my control. My body took over and I simply couldn’t race my bike.
I don’t know how much longer I’ll be in this recovery phase. I think the next phase will be the re-building stage where with expert guidance from coach Steve Weller, I’ll start getting my fitness and strength back. In a twisted sort of way, I’m looking forward to riding the trainer in my basement in Ottawa – this will be a sure sign that I’m on my way to a bigger and better 2011-2012 season.
Filed under: KingsBridge Train | Tags: Belgium, cyclo-cross, disaster recovery software, Hoogerheide World Cup, St. Wendel Germany, vicki thomas, world championships, World Cup
Vicki checking in here from Belgium with thoughts on riding and training…
I rolled out of the house this morning at around 10:30 for a ride. To be honest, I really didn’t feel much like riding. I wanted to ride but I just really felt kind of lost on the bike. It is strange to be riding with no fixed goal or reason for the ride. I know I’m riding right now to rebuild the lost fitness and strength. But I’m used to having a goal for each work-out – specific power goals, intervals, etc. Right now I’m really just riding. Don’t get me wrong I love doing it, but somedays it is hard to get out there.
So this was how I was feeling at the start of my ride this morning. Directionless. I pointed myself to my favorite twisty roads and decided to ride for as long as I felt. Gradually the sun started to come out and with it my spirits began to lift. I found myself in Veerle and decided to keep on going – typically I turn off and head back to Blauberg via Averbode. Not today. Today I found myself on more twisty roads and on my way to Eindhout.
I ended up having a great ride. I let me bike take me where it wanted. I had some excellent podcasts loaded up on my iPod and really relaxed into the ride. Those twisty roads seemed to give me some excellent therapy. My legs opened up and began to find their rhythm. My heart and soul relaxed and I was able to enjoy the ride for the sake of the ride. In the end, I’m super happy I went out.
I’m guessing that part of the reason I’m feeling a bit directionless right now is because we’re in the big build up to the Hoogerheide World Cup and the World Cyclo-Cross Championships next weekend in St. Wendel, Germany. Well, I’m not in the build up for these races… But pretty much all of my friends are. I’m super stoked for them, but I’m also sitting here wishing I was part of the big show this year. Hoogerheide is one of my favorite World Cups and well, what can you say about the World Cyclo-Cross Championships – simply the ultimate race. I know that I’ll be there next season but next season feels very far away right now….
Tomorrow I’ll get out for another ride. This one will be a longer one, I’m thinking close to three hours of riding on the twisty roads and a few climbs. Just what my legs, heart and soul need right now. I’ll simply let the twisty roads guide me – this seems to be working so far.
Filed under: KingsBridge Train | Tags: Belgium, cyclo-cross, Karl Hoppner, Marc Boudreau, Masters World Cyclo-Cross Championships, vicki thomas
Bit late on this recap of the weekend and the racing that happened… Life just kind of took over….
Marc raced in Langemark, Belgium on Saturday on a very heavy and muddy course. This is a “classic” Belgian race course featuring deep mud and not much else. The feeling before the race was that it would be a leg sucker. Marc had a decent ride and came out with a good result. Some bike trouble at the beginning did set him back but once he got that sorted he was riding really well. I took a bunch of photos and have posted them on Facebook.
On Sunday we were off to Bakel, Holland for day two of the double-header. The race course in Holland was in stark contrast to the race in Belgium. Sentiment was that it was very similar to the racing in the United States. Fast. Twisty. Dry. The course was in a great location – a nature park basically in the middle of the town of Bakel. It was a very relaxing day – warm weather and just the perfect place to have a race. Marc had another decent race, though starting at the back of 64 guys is a bit challenging considering the twisty nature of the course. I took a bunch of photos of Marc, Kevin Hines, Jonny Bold, Peter Webber, Brandon Dwight and Kurt Perham. (Check out Facebook.) After Marc and Rene’s race we hung out and watched Karl, Yohan and Benjamin race.
To close off the day we hopped in our car and followed Rene to his place. We had a great evening of chatting, laughing and good food. To top it off, Marc got a new haircut!
It was very different for me simply being a spectator – I must admit that I definitely did miss racing this weekend. Well, I didn’t really want to race in Langemark but I wish I could have raced in Bakel.
Marc has the Master’s World Cyclo-Cross Championships this weekend in Mol, Belgium. This will be a great time I’m sure – looking forward to cheering on Marc and just being out for the day. We only have a few more weeks left here in Belgium and then we’ll be back in Ottawa… Sigh…
Filed under: KingsBridge Train | Tags: Belgium, Bell Lap Coaching, Canadian National Cyclo-Cross Championships, Champions Systems Canada, Clif Bar, cyclo-cross, cyclo-cross training, Hasselt, KingsBridge Disaster Recovery, Koksijde World Cup, Marc Boudreau, Neil, Oakley, Outdoor Gear Canada, Stevens Bikes Canada, Stevens Carbon Team DA, The Cyclery, ulcerative colitis, vicki thomas, world championships, World Cup
Vicki here with my ruminations on this past cyclo-cross season….
For a cyclo-cross racer, this is kind of an odd time to be writing about my cyclo-cross season. But as you know, my season was cut short in December… I’ve had some time to think about this 2010-2011 cyclo-cross season and I thought I’d let you in on these thoughts….
In a nutshell, this was a very disappointing cyclo-cross season. It didn’t turn out the way I wanted or planned. The goals I set weren’t achieved. And quite frankly I didn’t race the way I can or wanted. This was not for want of trying. In fact sometimes I wonder if I “tried” to hard. I wonder what my season would have been like if when I first got sick again last May, I’d backed off on the training and let my body heal. But hindsight is 20/20. I felt good on the bike and everything was pointing towards the training benefits paying off into the cyclo-cross race season. But this didn’t happen. I fought my body each and every time I got on the bike to race this year. Is this an excuse for why my season didn’t live up to my expectations? I’m not sure – it is what it is.
I worked hard in the off-season on my technical skills. But still I have much more room to improve in this area. In fact more than my struggles with the ulcerative colitis this season, I wonder if my technical skills held me back more than my health struggles? I pushed myself technically this spring/summer/fall, but I still believe I can push myself more. There are skills that I simply need to “get”. Being smooth in my transitions. Really understanding gearing and how it applies to different terrain: sand, mud, steep climbs, off-cambers, etc. Technically I’ve come along way, but this season has shown me that I still have further to go. By making improvements technically, I think I can really improve my cyclo-cross racing.
Really there are no results to write about here. After a few weeks into the season it became pretty clear that the results I had attained last season were going to be pretty darn hard to achieve. Instead I had to look at each races as an opportunity to test myself technically and to simply just focus on getting around for 40 minutes. Not really what goes through the mind of an elite cyclo-cross racer on the start line. But it is what it is. I did have some races that I was happy/content with – my ride at Niel was decent for my first muddy slog of a Belgian race, I had a blast at Aspere Gavere and was stoked to be able to ride the crazy descent, Hasselt was fun as usual, and I really felt like I had a decent ride at Koksijde. Sand is still very challenging for me, but I felt like I rode better at Koksijde this year than I did last. Actually, even the Canadian Cyclo-Cross Nationals were okay for me – I was 16th – not the result I wanted or expected… But through it all, I didn’t quit, I stayed positive and just focused on leaving it out there. It just so happens that this year it was 16th (rather than 7th the previous two seasons…). If anything this cyclo-cross season has taught me more than ever to focus on performance rather than outcome. It would have been so easy to quit and crack if I had been only looking at my name on the results sheet.
Mentally, this has been my strongest season ever. There was a point at the start of the season when I didn’t know about the ridiculous anemia and the effects the ulcerative colitis was having on my ability to perform that I did worry that my “head had fallen off”. I just couldn’t understand why I couldn’t race the way I believed I should be. Immediately I started to worry that I just didn’t want it badly enough. But deep down, I knew this wasn’t the case. Honestly it was a relief to find out I was fighting my body and not my brain. I’ve come a long way mentally in this bike racing game. It hasn’t been easy. But I think I’ve found my groove. I’m confident. I believe in myself. And I’ve learned to ignore the idiots out there – yes, in our little Ottawa cyclo-cross community there are people who were (and probably still are) talking “trash” behind my back and to others about how “Vicki sucks”. Well, I let this get to me for a bit but then I realized that I just simply don’t care about those idiots. I don’t have time to let them get in my brain. I suppose the hardest part with this has been wondering why people bother saying “crap” about others – what is the point in being outright mean to another person? Sometimes I’m tempted to say something face-to-face to these people – but what is the point – idiots just don’t get it. So thanks to my strengthened mental resolve and confidence, I was able to come out of this negative aspect of the season on top. I’m a good bike racer. I’m a strong bike racer. Those who know me, know this. As for the others – I just don’t care.
So where does this leave me for 2011-2012 cyclo-cross season? Well, I’m eager to start training again. But I’m not rushing things. I have to get healthy before I can do this. I have been out on my bike for the last three days and the riding has been slow but enjoyable. I find the riding now is not “effortless” like it was. But I know the strength and form will come back. I’ve got some goals set for the upcoming cyclo-cross season and I’m hoping to get out to do some road racing this summer as well. I’ll be out on all three bikes this spring and summer: mountain, road and cyclo-cross – plugging away and enjoying every minute of it.
One aspect to this cyclo-cross season that can’t be overlooked is of course my sponsors. I’m a very lucky bike racers. I’ve got amazing sponsors who support me for who I am and what I represent. They are not hung up on my results or podiums – they’re about getting the brand out there with a positive image. For this I’m very fortunate. It was very hard for me to contact my sponsors in December and let them know about the end of my cyclo-cross season. I have such a solid connection with all of my sponsors that I really felt like I was letting them down. The response I received from each and everyone of them was overwhelming. In a nutshell: get better don’t worry about the racing. Yep, pretty darn lucky. So a big thanks to:
- KingsBridge Disaster Recovery
- The Cyclery
- Stevens Bikes Canada
- Champion Systems Canada
- Clif Bar
- Bell Lap Coaching
- Outdoor Gear Canada
And many many thanks to the sponsor behind all of these fine companies: Marc. Marc has once again made this cyclo-cross season a reality. His faith and belief in me really keeps me going. It would have been easy to pack it in this season and change my plans and goals. But Marc wouldn’t let me do this. He was there to keep me steady and to remind me of what is important to me. Right now, I’m getting so much satisfaction from seeing Marc race so well. He is having an awesome cyclo-cross season and I couldn’t be more proud of him. Hopefully his success and experience will trickle down to me.
So there you have it. My thoughts and ruminations on my 2010-2011 cyclo-cross season. It wasn’t what I expected or planned. But it happened and I made the best of it. Do I wish my season was still happening and that I was getting ready to racing in St. Wendel, Germany – damn straight I do! In the end I was 5 UCI point short of making the qualification standards. Pretty darn good, all things considered. This time next year, I plan to be writing a blog post about my thoughts on the upcoming World Cyclo-Cross Championships in Koksijde, Belgium – my thoughts on what I want out of the race. That’s right – I’m going to be there on that start line on January 29, 2012.
Filed under: KingsBridge Train | Tags: Azencross, Belgium, cyclo-cross, cyclo-cross training, Sven Nys, vicki thomas
Vicki checks in from Belgium with thoughts towards next season and lessons from this season….
It’s funny, I’m not really sure to write about in this space right now. I’m kind of cyclo-cross limbo right now. My season is over. I can’t start training for next year until I’m 100 % healthy. All I can do really right now is go out for easy rides – slowly trying to build up the strength I’ve lost. Sadly I don’t have any race reports or details of epic training rides to tell you about. Really, a strange place to be as an athlete.
The good thing through all of this is I’m not battling any mental demons right now. If you’re a regular reader of this site, you will know that I’ve had my fair share of battles with my brain. There was a point when I first began to get sick in December when I thought I might be “done”. I think this was simply the fatigue and frustration of having to battle my body once again.
It was when I was in the hospital watching the Azencross cyclo-cross race that I realized I’m far from done. I was watching Sven pick up his bike and how smooth he is. I watched the top guys, paying attention to the lines they were taking and how smooth and composed they are in the mud. Before I knew it, I had my iPad out and I was brainstorming different drills that I want to incorporate into my cyclo-cross training this spring, summer and fall. I even went so far as to “plan out” where I could best work on specific skills. I’ve got plans of how and where to work on my sand riding, how to really conquer the explosiveness needed to get up and over steep climbs, drills specifically designed to prevent the loss of precious sections when shouldering the bike, and skills that will help me with my mud riding. So yeah, I’m back in the game. Never really left the game – just a small blip.
To say I’m stoked for the upcoming season would be an understatement. I’m far from where I need to be right now. But this is okay. I’ve got some good months ahead of me of recovery, training, learning and racing. I’ve got my big goal set for the 2011-2012 season and soon enough I’ll have to set some smaller mid-season goals.
This has been a trying season. Not the season I had planned on. But if anything it has taught me how much I do love racing my bike and that my desire to get better and achieve my goals is still burning strong. Sometimes the best lessons are the ones that come via the toughest and most challenging route.
Filed under: KingsBridge Train | Tags: Affligem, Belgium, cyclo-cross, Karl Hoppner, Marc Boudreau, Six Days of Rotterdam, vicki thomas
Life revolves around bikes this weekend in Belgium….
Saturday was all about bikes. Cyclo-cross bikes. Track bikes. A very good day indeed.
I tagged along with Marc to Affligem to cheer him on during his cyclo-cross race. I had a great time (rain and wind aside). I hadn’t watched Marc race since Drongen in late November. On top of the bonus of getting to watch Marc race, I had a great time hanging out with Luc before, during and after the race. After the race we chilled out in the cafe and I got to catch up with a bunch of our cyclo-cross friends. Definitely a good way to spend the first part of the day. Marc had a good ride and finished in fourth place.
We zipped back to Blauberg, quick unpack of the car, change into dry clothes and then we were off again. The four of us (Marc, Karl, Alex and I) went to Rotterdam last night to catch a night of track racing. The Six Days of Rotterdam is a very cool and special track racing event. I don’t know much about track racing but it is a pretty fun night out and the atmosphere at the Ahoy! arena is pretty special. The track racing night really is a spectacle. The riders are all introduced with a great deal of fanfare and special song. Through-out the night the announcer keeps things lively and gets the crowd excited. To top it off the music played is over the top – ranging from 80s techno to current day hits, the music really keeps people smiling and cheering. Clearly the crowd favorites last night was the team of Schep and Bos. These guys were pretty darn fast. As was the sprint World Champion Bauge. The speeds that these guys ripped around the track was amazing. As was the size of their legs!
I think we all had a fun time. We had awesome seats – two rows up from the track so we could really feel the speed of the racers as they flew by. Around the arena there were many displays of different bikes, manufacturers, and books. The Right To Play organization was there as well – Marc gifted me a very cool Right to Play zip-up jacket. Right to Play is a special organization and is doing excellent work in the developing world to foster a healthy and safe environment for children.
The track racing went on until after midnight but we were all a bit weary and only managed to stay until just after 11. All in all, a good night was had. To top it off it was Alex’s birthday so when we got back here at about 12:30 we all had a bit of super tasty birthday cake before hitting the sack. Have to say there is nothing quite like the chocolate cake from the Blauberg bakery…
As for today? Well, it is a beautiful day. So riding is in order. Jos and Ed are coming by and we’re setting out on an easy paced ride. Marc and Karl have got specific work-outs to do – so we’ll let the speed demons do their own thing! Then this afternoon it is all about the Belgian National Cyclo-Cross Championships. Truth be told, I’m more interested in the women’s race and how my friends will make out than the men’s race… I think one of the most interesting championship races happening today will be the Dutch Women’s National Cyclo-Cross Championships – it will be interesting to see who comes out on top: Vos, Van De Brand or Van Passen.
Filed under: KingsBridge Train | Tags: Belgium, cyclo-cross, Six Days of Rotterdam, ulcerative colitis, vicki thomas
It’s Vicki here with a quick update on life in Belgium….
Yes, that’s right. Today, I rode my bike. It felt good. One week ago on New Year’s Eve I left the hospital after a one week stay due to my ulcerative colitis. If you had told me that one week later I’d have the energy and desire to ride my bike, I would have laughed out loud. What a difference a week makes. Granted I’m still quite sick. But I have more energy. I’m getting more sleep (about five hours a night now). I’m able to eat more foods – just added in vegetables, fruit and oatmeal today! So all in all, things are progressing along really well.
I still have to visit my doctor every week so he can monitor my health and ensure the medicine is doing its job. But this is nothing compared to being trapped in a hospital….
So my ride…. Well, this morning Alex, Marc and I hopped in the trusty Peugeout and zipped off to Boom (suburb of Antwerp) to hit up Decathlon, Saturn and Ikea. We had a good browse around – I picked up some awesome thermal tights. As we drove home, the roads were drying up and I proclaimed that if it wasn’t raining in Blauberg, I was going to go for a ride. I think there were a few raised eyebrows, but Marc and Alex know best not to argue…
Within 15 minutes of getting back to Blauberg, I was kitted up and ready to ride. I was way overdressed but the thinking amongst the guys (Karl, Alex, and Marc) was that I should overdress and most of all go very very slowly. This time I listened…. I pulled on my new thermal tights. Put on my brand new winter weight cycling gloves. And wrapped my feet in my brand new shoe covers. Top this off with my Belgian team jacket, super red hat, Oakleys, and Giro Atmos helmet and I was off. Oh boy, that bike felt so good underneath me.
I simply pedaled super easy down the main road to Averbode. I took my time. I think I was grinning the entire time! No music or iPod – just me, the bike and the fresh air. Can’t really complain about riding in 8 celsius on January 7! I stuck to my 30 minutes – it felt good. I do admit that I was a bit tired – my legs felt a bit empty by the time I got back here. Best part was talking about my ride with the guys.
I won’t be riding on Saturday since we have an action-packed day – Marc is racing (really stoked to be going to watch and cheer him on) and then we’re zipping back to Blauberg and hitting the road to Rotterdam. We’re all heading to Rotterdam to take in the track racing at the Six Days of Rotterdam track racing festival. We’ve got plans for dinner in Rotterdam somewhere, track racing and just generally a good time.
I plan to go out again on Sunday. Probably another simple easy ride – I might push it to 45 minutes or an hour. But above all else, I’ll be sure to take it easy. Simply just enjoying be on the bike is good enough for me right now. I’ve also started doing yoga again. It feels good to get my body stretching and bending again.
I’m along way from being healthy. I’m along way from doing real training. For now I’m just trying to get my body moving again and give it the feelings it so very much craves. So far 2011 is only one week old, but boy oh boy do I have great feelings about this year.
Filed under: KingsBridge Train | Tags: Belgium, cyclo-cross, Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Thrive Diet, ulcerative colitis, vegan, vicki thomas
This is Vicki checking in after a rather rough month of December… Life is truly an adventure…
This is the time of year when most people list off their New Year’s Resolutions and proclaim to live a better life. Well, I’m not going to do this…
As you most likely know, December was a very rough month for me. In fact this entire cyclo-cross season, which ended early after the Koksijde World Cup has been very rough. I didn’t race to my potential. My body couldn’t benefit from the hard training I put it through during the spring and summer. I couldn’t benefit from my improved technical skills. I kept at it but it just didn’t come together like I had planned. And then to top things off, my ulcerative colitis returned three days after the Koksijde World Cup.
What I thought was “just a flare” turned out to be the worst ulcerative colitis flare I’ve ever experienced. I’ll be honest here with you (as I always promise to be on this site) – my ulcerative colitis has gone from being mild to severe. It has now consumed my entire colon. By the time I finally let Marc take me to the hospital on Dec. 24, I was on the verge of rupturing my colon. I was sick. I am so sick. But I’ve now been out of the hospital for four days and I’m starting to feel better. I’m not symptom-free but I do have more energy and I’m definitely better than I was two weeks ago. I’m on a new type of medicine (immune supressant drugs) that will hopefully balance my blood cell counts and allow my body to fight this disease. There is no cure for ulcerative colitis so all I can do is learn how with the advice of my doctors how to best manage my disease.
As for racing and riding? Well I can’t start real training until I’m 100 per cent symptom-free. I trained and raced through-out a flare last spring – fall. I thought I did a good of managing my training and flare but by the time the cyclo-cross season came, my body had been pushed to its limit and I couldn’t do what I’d been preparing for. I’m not going to make this mistake again. This last month of being sick has made me realize how much I love racing and riding my bike. I’m hoping that next week I’ll be able to get out for some light and short rides – really light as in small ring only and short as in 30 minutes long.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading about nutrition and the inflammatory effects that food can have on the body. I don’t have any food allergies but I do feel better with less gluten and dairy in my diet. I’ve also been paying attention to how my body feels on a diet of mostly fruits and vegetables compared to a more meat-based diet. This combined with reading the Thrive Diet and poking around on various food and cooking websites, I’ve decided that once I’m healthy again and can eat fruits and vegetables again (for now I’m stuck eating chicken broth, white bread, eggs, and some meat and fish) I’m going to move to a gluten-free/dairy-free vegan diet for 85% of the time – this gives me the flexibility to eat meat, fish and eggs when I want/need them (partly because I struggle with very low iron so I do feel I need some natural heme iron sources). I’m hoping that this dietary change will help me a healthier person and keep my ulcerative colitis in remission.
So this is where I’m at…. There is lots of subtle change going on but no big New Year’s Resolutions on my plate. I do have one mantra for 2011: live everyday to the maximum, smile more, stress less and appreciate it all.
Filed under: Knowledge, Software | Tags: Belgium, business continuity, business continuity software, business disaster, business impact analysis, Continuity of Operations, disaster preparation, disaster recovery, disaster recovery software, England, Europe, KingsBridge Disaster Recovery, Phoenix software, snow, vicki thomas
It is the winter and as happens now in the winter Europe and England get their fair share of snow, ice and wintery weather. This happens regularly now. But for some reason, government officials, city officials and even the residents of these snow-covered communities, insist that this “never happens”. Unfortunately, things have changed and winter is a fact of life now for much of Europe and England – the snow is going to come and it will wreak havoc on the day-to-day lives of people.
The interesting thing about this snow phenomenon is that even though the snow has been coming regularly and more forcefully year after year, people still want to pretend that it simply never happens. On Friday we were chatting with our sponsored cyclo-cross rider Vicki Thomas who is living in Belgium this winter. This is Vicki’s fourth winter in Belgium and the fourth winter in which she has been forced indoors to train due to snow… But as she says, people still will say to her “we just aren’t prepared for the snow. It never snows here.” Vicki told us of people driving in the snowstorms with summer tires on or even simply not leaving their houses when it snows! Imagine living in Canada or the northern U.S. and not leaving your house when it snows!
This past weekend the newspapers and television news were full of stories of the major airports closing due to snowstorms, of stranded passengers, trapped motorists and simply general chaos. This happens every year. But every year, people insist that this “never happens”.
Lets look at this behaviour from a business perspective. Imagine you’re the CEO of a company and every year you and your management team make the same mistakes – poor planning, failure to communicate ideas, and impractical accounting decisions. Imagine the impact this would have on your business – year after year of making the same mistakes and then when asked about these mistakes you respond with “but this never happens”. Exactly, the company would eventually fail and you would be left wondering what went wrong.
This could have been prevented and solved with planning, learning from past mistakes, business analysis and essentially recognizing what has and hasn’t worked in the past. Take the snow in England, if government officials had learned from the past four years of snowstorms that they really do need snowplows and qualified snowplow operators – the roads today would be clear of snow and people would not be stranded in their cars right now on the major highways of England. Think about the CEO, if had learned that his failure to communicate his message and goal for his company was affecting the company’s bottom line, then he would still be a CEO and probably a successful one at that.
So what does this have to do with disaster recovery and business continuity planning? Well, learning from past mistakes, planning ahead and using thorough business analysis of threats and risks is all part of disaster recovery and business continuity planning. Governments and businesses in Europe and England should have disaster recovery and business continuity plans in place so that when the inevitable happens and the snow falls – life goes on pretty close to normal – roads get cleared, schools stay open, businesses are able to function and airports can continue to function. Imagine how different things would be today for these snow trapped citizens if their governments had done their due diligence and recognized their past mistakes, done a threat risk analysis, put together a disaster recovery plan and were ready for the snow…
Where does this leave you? Well, the next time you hear someone say “but this never happens”, really pay attention and think back to years past. Has this “really” never happened? Is this not the same mistake being repeated over and over again? If so, it is time to start asking questions about planning, disaster recovery plans, business continuity plans and basically ask the hard question “so what will you do if it happens again?”.
KingsBridge offers private businesses and government organizations a unique combination of industry knowledge and cost-effective disaster recovery / business continuity solutions. KingsBridge products and seminars provide the tools to assess possible threats and create tailored plans which mitigate risks and minimize losses in the event of a disruption to business. Kingsbridge is headquartered in Ogdensburg, New York, with offices in Ottawa, Canada and Burlington, Vermont. For more information visit us at www.DisasterRecovery.com.