Posted 30 May 2018 - 02:52 AM
on training with Cerrone
This fight with Ovince Saint-Preux is a huge chance for me, so after finding out, I travelled to Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone’s ranch in New Mexico for some serious training.
I was only there for four weeks, but it felt like six months because we were doing so much each day. It was the most intense training I’ve ever done.
Those guys are just non-stop, and they go hard at everything.
A big day would start off with strength and conditioning, then swim sprints and some sparring at Jackson-Winks in Albuquerque.
Then we’d go wakeboarding or something like that.
In the afternoon, we’d go back for another hard session at Cowboy’s ranch, which is about 45 minutes from Jackson-Winks. And that last session was hard – real hard.
That would be a massive day, then they’d turn around and say, “we’re going mountain biking tomorrow.”
And it wasn’t just normal mountain biking, either.
I knew I was in trouble when I rocked up in a singlet and shorts and they’re all wearing body armour and full-faced helmets.
So, I stopped in at Walmart and got some shoes because I didn’t want to wreck my good ones. The one thing I know from road-biking is that those seats get real uncomfortable, so I got some gloves and some of those padded pants, because the last time I went biking without them, my **** was sore for two days.
I’m not sure how far we went all-up, but the first couple of miles was all uphill – and I’m talking a steep, steep hill. I was in the top gear, just spinning. And with the altitude and the air, I just burnt my lungs. For two days afterwards I was coughing and couldn’t breathe properly.
There was one point where we were going downhill – and I’m pretty confident on a bike – but I’d never done jumps before. I’ve never done anything close to what we were doing, and we’re flying downhill and the jumps just come out of nowhere. And again, they’re proper jumps. Real airtime. I almost lost it on one of them.
There was a mountain on one side of me, and pretty much just a cliff on the other side of me, and I hit this jump and knew I was in trouble. I was in a panic – just in survival mode on this bike. I landed and smashed my foot into a boulder. My whole foot went numb and I thought I’d broken my toes because the shoe was all ripped. But we’re in the middle of nowhere and I just had to keep going.
On the last uphill, it was just shale, I was spinning and skidding and pulling the front of the bike up. I could barely get going and was dropped by the rest of the group. They don’t stop for ya. They don’t wait. You’ve just gotta find a way. Cowboy’s thing is “if you get lost, go the harder way, because I’ll always go that way.”
One of the other guys got lost a few days before, and he was out there for about an hour and a half by himself – lost.
So, I was by myself on this mountain in the bush. No phone. No water. We were about two-and-a-half hours into it, I’m dehydrated, my shoe was wrecked and the shoelace broke, I thought my foot was broken and I was starting to panic. It was starting to set in.
I thought this was the one. I thought this was it.
I just kept going, thinking about small wins. I fixed my shoe. Made it to one tree, then another, and another, all the way to the top. And it just went up and up and up.
When I finally got there, the others were all cheering and yelling because they thought I’d turned and gone back.
It was an exhilarating ride, and I know why they do it. Your heart’s racing and everything, but the sense of accomplishment is amazing once you get there. It’s pretty motivating.
I feel I’m pretty confident on a bike, but when you’re sliding around and there’s a cliff face on one side of you, it takes a bit of that confidence away.
And that wasn’t even it for the day.
After that it was back for strength and conditioning. Like I said, they just don’t stop.
I actually had to ease off and have a few days rest when I got back home, because I’d dropped too much weight while I was over there. I was just training so much, because Cowboy invites all the best coaches over there and you just don’t want to miss anything. At the top level, it’s never huge things, but it’s those little things that make all the difference.
I’m so lucky that my training camps are pretty much just holidays. I love it. That’s exactly what I want to do – train, go to cool places and do cool ****.
My holiday is my job. I’m very lucky.
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