Lizzie Armitstead blog: I've finally got to the bottom of the stomach illness that has blighted my 2013 season
In the latest instalment of her blog, Lizzie Armitstead explains the illness that has blighted her season.
Last Updated: 24/10/13 2:53pm
I haven't felt 100 per cent all season and, about two weeks ago, I finally found out why.
I have been struggling with my stomach and it turns out that I have got a hiatus hernia, which is basically where your stomach wall protrudes into your oesophagus, so I was having acid reflux all the time. It was kind of like extreme heartburn.
At the world championships last month, I must have been sick about ten times during the race, so to actually have a diagnosis now and to understand why I haven't been feeling great for over a year and why I haven't been able to train as hard as I wanted is a big relief.
I am now on anti-acid medication and that has helped a lot, so I am already quite optimistic about next year.
At the moment, I am kind of in a state a flux between the 2013 season, which has just ended, and 2014. I am going on holiday next week with my boyfriend, Adam Blythe, who is also a rider, and we are going to watch the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, so we have had to plan our break from training around that date.
We know Paul di Resta and his girlfriend pretty well. They are our neighbours in the south of France, so we spend a lot of time with Paul and we will be going over there to cheer him on.
I'm hoping he will be able to get us into VIP hospitality and I think Adam is crossing his fingers that he will be allowed to at least touch an F1 car. Boys and their toys.
Supporting Di Resta
Paul and a few other motorsport drivers ride with us more or less every day where we live. He is pretty handy on a bike and trains really hard, but there is still quite a big void between the cyclists in our group and the drivers.
If we are just out on a steady ride, they can keep up with us, but we couldn't do a mountain ride with them because that is where they struggle with the pace and, obviously, we are training so we can't really be waiting around.
The rides have been quite sombre in the past week or so, though, after the sad death of Sean Edwards in Australia.
Sean raced in the Porsche Supercup and was leading the championship. Adam knew him a lot better than I did. I had been out riding with him a few times so I didn't know him very well, but it certainly hit the group that we ride out with very hard.
We went out for a memorial ride last Saturday and everyone was wearing black as a tribute to Sean.
It's a nice group that we go riding with. There are quite a few drivers and motorbike riders who come along. Jenson Button joins us a few times. It's quite a big group.
When we get back from Abu Dhabi, we will head back to France and get back into winter training proper.
I ride for a Dutch team and the Dutch mentality is that you have six weeks off your bike at the end of the season and you do other sports and don't really touch your bike.
Then the other extreme is the people who say only have a week off. I'm somewhere in the middle. I had two weeks off the bike after the world championships, but I wasn't just sat around - I get irritable if I don't do anything.
I prefer to keep it bubbling over because if you leave it for six weeks you lose all your fitness and it is such a mountain to climb to get it back.
Food for thought
Diet is another aspect where we take a bit of break. During the season our diet is very strict, but at the end of the year we let loose a little bit and eat the food we want to eat, rather than the food we should eat.
During my two weeks off, I put two or three kilos on in weight, which might take two or three months to lose again. It's almost not worth doing it, but then eating how you want to eat is all part of winding down.
As for next season, the obvious target for 2014 will be the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. I won the British title on the same course this year so I know that it suits me well.
Then I will have to see what the world championship course will look like and if it favours me, that will be a big aim too. Hopefully I won't be nagged by the illness I have had this year and it will be a really successful season.