Chemmy Alcott talks to Neon Velo about her Olympic ambitions, cycling and the importance of proper recovery and nutrition
Neon Velo is supporting British number 1 female skier, Chemmy Alcott in her recovery from surgery and training for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. We caught up with her recently at home for a chat followed by a massage from a Neon Velo soigneur.
"If I’m feeling a bit reckless I’ll go mountain biking and if I just want to put the hours in I’ll get the road bike out and really enjoy it.”
Neon Velo: How are you feeling after your operation?
Chemmy Alcott: For me this is the last big thing that I needed to do to prepare for Sochi. When I broke my leg in 2010 and I had the metal work in it was an emergency procedure. It just made so much sense for my last Olympics to give it one last shot and get the metal work taken out. That afternoon I was doing physio, one month on and I’m already lifting weights and biking so it was a really good decision to do it… I’m not a bionic woman anymore!
NV: So, how do you rate your chances of making it to Sochi?
CA: I’ll definitely be in Sochi. Everything that I have done for the last four years, even Dancing on Ice, has been so that I can go back and compete and ski well in my last Olympics”
"I’m not a bionic woman any more"
NV: What are your ambitions for Sochi?
CA: Well I’ve come 11th twice now which is fantastic but I know that a top 10 is within my reach so I just need to have a clean run and a little bit of luck on the day and I’m aiming for a top 8. I know it will be really challenging, especially as female skiing has come on a lot in the last four years. It’s super competitive but that’s the goal and I know if everything goes well on the day I’ve got the belief to know that I can execute that.
NV: How does cycling feature in your training?
CA: All of my aerobic training is done cycling. I think skiing and cycling are very compatible in that way. I’ve loved it forever, I’ll wake up and depending on my mood, if I’m feeling a bit reckless I’ll go mountain biking and if I just want to put the hours in I’ll get the road bike out and really enjoy it.
“As you get more mature you realise that rest, recovery and nutrition are just as important as all the hours you put in punishing yourself.”
NV: Have you ever had any moments on the bike when you wish you’d had a support team or car with you?
CA: When I was doing the Etape up in Scotland it made me realise that I was a very ill-prepared, naive cyclist. I knew it was going to be wet but I didn’t want to wear the heavy wet clothes so I just thought I’d tough it out. You can tough things out for half an hour but we were going for 5 and a half hours.
NV: How important are diet and recovery to you as an athlete?
CA: Our season is six months long at altitude and we get one day off on a Monday and that’s a travel day. To keep going at 100% for that whole season, diet, nutrition, rest and recovery – you have got to be super efficient with it. It’s about using your time as efficiently as possible and that’s something I’ve learnt in the last three years. When I was younger I just thought about going harder, I just wanted to get maximum effort all the time but that’s how you burn out. As you get more mature you realise that rest, recovery and nutrition are just as important as all the hours you put in punishing yourself.
NV: How are you finding the compression recovery system from Neon Velo?
CA: I’m massively addicted to it. I don’t know what I’d do without it and that’s not just me saying that. I can see that my legs are less puffy, they aren’t holding water retention. Because of my surgery I get a big indication when I’ve done too much because my right leg puffs up and I’ve had physios work on it for hours and hours and tried to ski the next day and yes the inflammation has gone down but I’ve got so much bruising, just doing the NormaTec for 20 minutes I get the same amount of recovery that I get from hours of physio, and it’s so easy.
NV: What advice would you give to someone taking on a lot of training or thinking about taking on a big endurance event like a cycling tour?
CA: I’d say definitely seek professional advice from the beginning. Don’t be macho, seek advice and listen to what they say and follow it. You only get one chance at theses things and especially if it’s an endurance event you want to be sure you have ticked every box. It’s the same philosophy that I use in my training for the Olympics. I need to know that all the preparation is done and to do that you need advice of people in the know.
Chemmy is benefiting from the same support and recovery that all Neon Velo guests enjoy on our cycling holidays and tours. Check out our packages here to share the experience.