A week in the life of Verita Stewart
Training for Mersey Valley Tour
South Yarra (Melbourne, Australia)
This is Verita’s third year of racing with Specialized Women’s Racing. Verita grew up in country Victoria, and moved to Melbourne to pursue a career in local government five years ago. It was only once she moved to Melbourne that her cycling really took off. She started commuting 8km to work and back. With some early results and good guidance, she quickly progressed through the club grades and started racing at the NRS level. In the peloton she is a talented and dedicated domestique, who would do anything for her team mates.
Verita now loves the Melbourne lifestyle, although enjoys getting home to North East Victoria to visit her family to train on the country roads. She lives and works in the inner city with her partner Purdie (who also is a cyclist), and their siamese cat Frankie (who loves cyclists).
Monday is my rest day after a big weekend of training, so I enjoyed a sleep in. Once up, I have an almond milk, banana and berry smoothie for breakfast whilst watching Sunrise on 7, my guilty pleasure. I always watch the Cash Cow with the dream that one day they will call me! I work at a Specialized bike shop called Total Rush in Richmond, which is only a 10 minute ride from home, so I head off to work at about 9:15 to get organised before the shop opens at 10am. It’s a busy day in the shop so I’m on my feet all day, working until 6pm. Purdie is already home when I walk through the door at 6:39, it’s always nice to come home to her. My evening is spent cuddling Frankie on the couch, dinner of quinoa salad, browsing social media, setting my bike up for a KickR session in the morning before heading to bed at a respectable 9:30pm.
Today my training is different to Purdie. Whilst she is out the door at 5:30 for a ride, I’m sleeping in until 6:30. I’m on the KickR just before 7am ready for a 1h30m time trial session. Today its 2 x 30m threshold intervals on the TT bike, in the TT position. This is a serious sweat session. I use every ounce of my energy not to get out of the TT position, concentrating on my breathing and pedal stroke. My session is done at 8:30, I pack up the KickR, have a shower, make myself a smoothie and head off to work, again at about 9:15. Work is over in a flash, I’m back at home at about 6:30 again. Purdie has been to the store and got our groceries for the week. We spend the evening cooking dinner and relaxing on the couch. More Frankie cuddles of course.
It’s an early day for me today, I’m up at 5:00 to get ready for North Road Ride Long (NRRL). North Road Ride is a really fast bunch ride that on a Wednesday - goes long. Rather than turning at Mordialloc to do about 50kms, we continue on to Frankston, around the Two Bays Loop and head back to Melbourne. The ride is about 3h for me round trip from home and just short of 100kms before breakfast. Purdie is training with me today so it is nice to have someone to push me out of bed (literally). North Road Ride is super fast today, we averaged over 40km/hr on the way down and I got dropped at around Mordialloc on the way home. I keep my pace at tempo for the rest of the ride home so that I’m not late for work.
It is a quick turn around for me, home, shower, smoothie and work. Home again around 6.30 and I’m pretty smashed from the morning training. A quick dinner is in order because we are both totally smashed. We have my favourite, vegetarian burritos. I set my KickR up between Masterchef ad breaks ready for the morning session, then bed.
Up early today at 5:45am to do another KickR session. I have been doing a couple of these sessions per week to get some quality training in. The session is a 10m warm up, endurance tempo for 1h10m broken up with a block of threshold intervals 15 x 20s, where the 40s recovery is just below threshold. I hate this session, because the recovery is not actually recovery. After some solid puffing and panting, the 1h30m is over before I know it. I’m off to work a little earlier today, 8:30am to get some stuff done before the shop opens. As you can tell already, not much happens to me during the week. It is a cycle of training, working, eating and sleeping. I spend a lot of time on the couch. I do spend an hour googling yoga classes. Something that I’ve been looking into is going to a yoga class after work, as a way to switch off and relax, I’ll let you know how I go.
Friday’s are for recovery, so I met my #squad at 5:35am for our early recovery ride down Beach Road. This is a 1h30m slow ride, where we talk rubbish, raz each other and generally just tap along enjoying each others company, followed by coffee of course. Then off to work at 9:00 to get ready for a big day in the shop. I finish work at 7pm on Friday’s, which is the perfect excuse for Purdie and I to eat take away for dinner. Always picked up from our favorite Vietnamese restaurant Miss Chu that is at the end of our street, washed down with some dark chocolate and a cup of tea #livingontheedge. It’s an evening of Purdie yelling at the footy on TV and me sleeping on the couch at 10.
After early starts all week, it is Saturday and I’m sleeping in. Purdie and I wake up with no alarm, eat a quiet breakfast and head out for a 3h30m hill ride to Mount Pleasant Road. I’ve got some efforts to do, 5 x 3m threshold efforts on Mount Pleasant Road, 10 x 30s sprints and a 10m threshold TT effort towards the end of the ride. It’s a really nice day, it’s chilly but the sun it out. A perfect day for a ride. We are home at about lunch time, eat some food, shower then head to the movies to see Trainspotting 2. What an intense movie, I nearly forgot to eat my choc top it was so thrilling! We have a quiet relaxing dinner at home, cuddling Frankie because she has missed us all day.
An unusual one for me but I’m working today at 11am so I have to fit my ride in early. Purdie and I head out for a 3h flat ride to Frankston. I fit in 10 x 50s sprints with 50s recovery, 5 x 20s sprints with 40s recovery and 5 x 1m anaerobic efforts with 3m recovery. After this session I’m totally smashed, a quick turn around at home with food and a shower and I’m at work at 11am. It’s a short day, so I’m finished by 4pm. I meet Purdie at the supermarket on the way home so we can do some grocery shopping and we spend the rest of the afternoon on the couch with our feet in the air, planning for the week ahead. What a solid and satisfying week. This is one of the bigger weeks in my training. I’ve always suffered from lack of consistency with my training, so this is one of my better ones. It is nice to look back on weeks like this and see a box full of green squares in Today’s Plan.
Interesting stats for the week:
Hours of training: 13h40m
Kilometers ridden: 410km
Bananas consumed: 7
Hours worked: 46 hours
What kind of rider are you? Domestique
Where is your favorite place to ride? Around my parents house in Eldorado, North East Victoria.
What are you training for this year? Support role at Hilly NRS events and Tour of the King Valley - my favourite and home race.
How do you keep a work life balance? Enjoying things that aren’t serious and all about training.
Where is your favourite cafe for a #healthycatchup? Palate, Prahran
What is your coffee order? Long black 99% of the time.
Thanks to Verita for contributing, you can follow her here;