Equipment Choice

I suppose it comes down to freedom actually.  Freedom to chose, but is that always liberating.  I sometimes feel trapped by the choice presented to me.  This isn’t to be misunderstood.  I enjoy having the opportunities that I have, but sometimes the confusion of choice is quite constricting.

Yesterday I wanted to go for a ride on my road bike.  Now when I first started cycling this was easy.  I had one pair of shorts, wore a t-shirt (I think it had the ‘Muddy Fox’ logo on it) a helmet, and away I would go.  In the winter, then I would wear a long sleeve t-shirt.

Now, well now I have LOADS of kit.  Complete outfits that work in temperature brackets of 5 degrees C.  Get it wrong and it is awful.  Perhaps awful because it is uncomfortable, but more likely because you know that you could be ‘just right’.  Yesterday I wore:

Helmet, buff, thermal long sleeve vest, team issue winter jacket, full winter gloves, shoes, oversocks.

Mistake.  I was boiling!  Only that discovery was only made once I was into my ride.  Prior to that, when I went to get the bike out, I discovered a broken spoke, and once I got going that my bike computer had stopped working (I borrowed a wheel from The Pretty One’s bike to allow me to ride).  It really was almost a reason to go back home.  Especially as everything seems to conspire against you.

I decided however that as it would be the last time that I would be able to ride in the next week or possibly two (more about that later) I needed to ride.  I stopped, removed items of clothing (the gloves spent the whole ride hung from my handlebars and the vest went in my back pocket) and pushed on.  I was glad I did.  Without the computer working, I trained by time, and three hours later I was back home feeling really good.  I figure that I rode about 80km, but felt quite fresh at the end of it.  The damp and chillsome conditions are such a huge contrast to last week, but all the same it was good to be out there riding, and actually there is something about the bloody mindedness of riding in less than ideal conditions (it rained towards the end of the ride) which makes you feel that your training was better for you than if the conditions had been ideal.  You overcame the mental challenge.  You got outside in the fresh air, on a day when most people would have stayed at home, or gone to the pub to watch football, rugby or another sport than pleases the masses.  When I returned home, I put the still dirt splattered bike back away where it will stay until just before Christmas.

So maybe I spend too much time worrying about what I am riding, the kit I am using, the correct gloves, helmet, shoes, top, bottles, energy drink etc.  Maybe I need to set myself a 20min countdown timer to limit the amount of time I waste before getting on the bike?

Right now, however, that is trivial.  I am on an aeroplane somewhere over Poland.

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