Well it is a question I was asking myself on Monday, when someone was trying to convince me that really, in my heart, I wanted to do a ten mile time trial. I didn’t want to at all (they are a suffer fest) but it is something that I am considering.
Commitment. First of all, committing to exercising is difficult. I understand that, and people who don’t exercise – you know, I can understand that too. Taking the time every day (or 4 days out of 7 minimum to make me happy) to do something that raises my heart rate sufficiently for an extended amount of time is sometimes very difficult. The English summer is cold and miserable for the most part this year so far. I know, we are only in May, but still. I am very pale for someone who has ridden as much as I have recently. My knee warmers have proven to be the best investment I made of late. When the wind is blowing and the weather is cold and damp, then yes, staying at home does seem like the preferable option.
There was a time in my past where I trained properly, every day. I had a training schedule, and I worked at building up my hours. It worked very well, and I was quick, but then my knee went bang. I have always aspired to get back to that level of fitness, but actually the motivation to train like I did wasn’t there. It was fair to call my approach one of an athlete. I would be upset if I didn’t train. I watched what I ate. I HAD to go and ride at least 4 hours on Sunday. Even in the snow. It was on my training plan. I am actually pleased that I am not approaching it like that now, but, and here it comes, where do I go from here?
I want to ride my bikes. I actually quite enjoyed competition, but enjoyed training more (competition gave me a reason to train – an excuse when questioned about this apparent madness). The feeling of training when others were at home is great. There is a clip of Lance Armstrong mountain training, where the team car is telling him that there is 3 feet of snow at the top, and he can’t ride it. He just ignores them. The idea of being tougher than anyone else is motivation in crap weather.
I think what I am saying is that doing things by halves is not my style. I haven’t competed since 2006 because of my knee. I have rested up completely and recovered. I have trained differently and actually changed by body shape. I do work on my upper body now, not just cycling. I run too, for a shorter, sharper work out. I swam a fair amount too (but haven’t since moving – which is bad). More all round fitness was the quest, and I think it has paid off. I am able to ride, without knee problems. Of course, I am aware of it, and running is just something I do because I dare not ride everyday.
So on my ride on Monday, after not joining the club time trial, I rode on, thinking about a challenge. Perhaps one of the Sportives would be the way to go? I want to build my stamina and my group riding experience, and this seems like a good way to do it. Sport has for me, always being the best that I can be, not about judging my performance against others. A sportive seems to fit this bill. I also want to ride the greats. Go to France and ride the climbs of the tour. Go back to South Africa and do the Cape Argos. All of these things are on my list.
So now I am searching for a Sportive to do. In August from York there looks to be a good candidate – 100 miles and about 1000m of climbing. That isn’t much over that distance.
Monday’s ride was 63km, with an average speed of 30.1km, by the way. Yesterday’s exercise was a 6km run. In the sun, incidentally.