I want to give credit to my Russian coaches, Dmitri and Vlad, for helping me tremendously during these past few months. Of note, Vlad is an Olympic Gold medalist and World Champion cyclist. They've kicked my lazy ass into shape. They've motorpaced me even in the freezing cold. They prescribe lung searing workouts. They help me stay focused and positive. And they make me laugh. Like when I thought I was overtraining, he told me to check my pulse rate while lying in bed when I first wake up in the morning. Then standup and then check my pulse rate again. If the diffrence is greater than 20 then I'm overtrained. And he warns me in his strongest Russian accent, "You must not have sex before standing up. Steve, I serious now. Young man like you feel very strong in the morning and like having sex. OK! I serious."
Another time, I hurt my back and could barely get on the bike. And my coach showed up with a Russian ointment and asked me, "Are you man or are you woman? If you man, you can take this ointment, if you woman, you cannot." Of course, I told them, "I man." 10 minutes later after rubbing in the ointment, my back started to feel like it was on fire. A minute more, my back felt like someone was pouring hot tar. Soon enough, I screamed, "I woman, I woman." My coaches started frantically yelling at each other in Russian. One ran to the car while the other searched for something in his desk. Soon they found what they were looking for, canola oil. It diffused the chemical explosion in my back. They told me that even though my back looked like a 3rd degree burn, it's really not. It's just blood rushing to the skin. Funny stuff like that keeps the training entertaining. But it is also back breaking work. It has to be since I'm competing against the best in the world while playing catchup with my fitness and experience. It's like cramming overnight for the boards.
It's been fun. And I wouldn't have made it this far without their help. Thank you Dmitri and Vlad.
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