26 July 2011

Training camp in Switzerland pushes me to the limits

Right after my race in Nurburgring, Bruce (my driver coach) and I planned out a 3-day training camp in Switzerland. Switzerland is known to be one of the best training venues because of its high altitude mountains.

We headed to a little town called Villars, which is just over an hour from Geneva airport and stayed in a little chalet with a beautiful view of the mountains. As soon as we arrived, Bruce and I dropped our bags, changed and hiked up the first mountain. The route up followed the cable car, which leads right to the top.

We were going up with a quick pace to get our heart rates up. The first few sections weren’t so bad as the land was still pretty flat. But as soon as we got higher, the route up got steeper and steeper. The air got thinner which makes it even challenging and without me realizing it, I was sweating a lot! It was as though I had a shower. We never stopped pushing and climbed our way to the top.

As we almost reached the top, the land flattened a bit. I still kept on pushing and after two big rocks, we finally made it. Once we had caught our breath we were able to appreciate the view, which was amazing, especially as we could see a little bit of the sunset. We made it up there in about 1 hour and 40 minutes, but we didn’t hang around for long before going back down as we didn’t want to be hiking in the dark and we didn’t want to be late for dinner! I thought it would be easier on the downhill hike, but I soon realized that it’s harder to go down. The rocks and the holes are very tricky, as you can’t see them. I was being very careful and going at a steady pace so that I didn’t trip or fall. We reached the bottom, continued with a jog and finished back at our chalet.

After all our efforts, we had a lovely dinner just down the road at an Italian restaurant. I filled myself up with plenty of pasta and went to bed early to store my energy for the next day’s training.

We started off Day 2 with strength and balance training in the gym. I did loads of weights mainly for my biceps, triceps and my shoulder. On top of this I also did a couple of chin-ups with different handgrips. As we don’t have any power steering in the Formula 3 car, the steering wheel is quite heavy, so this exercise is to strengthen up the key muscles to hold on to the steering wheel.

After a short break for lunch I continued my training with a 7km bike ride in the mountains. There aren’t many cars in Villars so it’s a really good place to do a mountain bike ride. The road has different variation of inclines and it’s very challenging. The weather was also very hot on that day. It really trained my mental abilities.

On my way down the mountain, the decline was fairly steep. We were speeding down as fast as we could and it was such a good feeling. I also had adrenaline kicking in, so I really enjoyed this end to the bike ride.  More training camp updates in part 2, as they say in the cinemas, ‘coming soon…’

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