So, with a new coach generally comes new extras. While pretty much all coaches these days recommend rolling around the floor with the soccer mums in a pilates class, the gym can still be a contentious topic. Pretty much all coaches recommend some gym work. The trouble is, there's so many different kinds of gyms, different kinds of gym programs, and different variations on those programs. Eventually, I guess, you just have to throw your lot in with one bunch, and decide that you're going to trust them without question.
My coach, Brad, recommended I do some weightlifting. I must've raised an eyebrow or something, because he caught on to my skepticism and insisted I give his mate Peter at the Victorian Weightlifting Centre a call. So I did, and a week or so later headed over the river to Glenferrie Oval, where the Centre is based.
While asking around for Peter I noticed two things. The first was that there were a whole lot of Anti-Doping Officials around, way more than I've ever seen at a cycling event. And the second was that while the dudes there were seriously gigantic, the women were of an average size, and generally not the cliche behemoth weightlifting types. Strange.
Perhaps due to me being about half the size of every other guy there, Peter set me up in a back room, working just with the bar at first, without any weights on it. He didn't tell me until about halfway through that the bar itself weighs twenty kilos. I've been and seen a few experts on Brad's recommendation, and they all seem to share this same slightly sadistic sense of humour. That same session Peter told me that he should be able to fix my posture - and improve my power numbers - but that I'd have to learn to toughen up a bit.
So since then I've been heading out there twice a week. Lately I've also been sharing the back room with a couple of disabled athletes, who - needless to say - can bench press a lot more than me. Peter hums songs to himself in between sets and occasionally fills me in on cycling gossip. The other guys in the gym still look at me like I'm that puny wimp on the beach, but that's ok. My arms crack, my shoulders ache, and occasionally I spend what seems like hours throwing a medicine ball against a wall. I haven't really seen any power gains through the soreness just yet, but like I said earlier, you gotta trust that what you're doing is right.