Back at It

It’s been some time since I’ve posted. I’ve been riding, on and off, as the motivation hits me. Mostly, I’ve wrestled with the notion that riding should be FUN, first and foremost. It hasn’t worked very well. Even the prospect of socializing, fresh air, and fun hasn’t done much to keep the riding regular and productive; there’s just so much to distract me…both unavoidable and self-inflicted.

The last few weeks have been a little better…regular training sessions on the Kickr (the quality/time ratio is MUCH more appealing on the trainer), an effective healthy diet, and weight training. But, I’ve been through all this before; how do I keep it up? Even goals don’t seem to help; all the big rides slipped by this year without my entry.

I’m going a different route. I’m riding because I like to ride. I like the way riding makes me feel. Little goals to improve my fitness. No big long-term desires to associated with the sport. It’s fine all on its own. I don’t have anything to prove to anyone; I’m just doing it because it’s fun and good for me.

Of course, Monday I have my first colonoscopy. So THAT should be fun.

Psychology

Cycling is work. I enjoy the work, so I work too much, and then cycling stops being fun and I suddenly stop working. You could call it burn-out, but it’s a cycle I’ve lived with since buying my first racing bike in 1988.

I don’t know what it is, but something COMPELS me to train when I’m on the bike. So many people rave about the fun, relaxing rides they have completed, but my stories seem to consist of training missions and bike photos. What to do? What to do?

After a few months of good training last year, something inside me snapped. I didn’t ride; I didn’t WANT to ride. I thought about the agony of doing another set of intervals, and just went and found something else I could do until I could argue it was too dark to ride. Isn’t it fun, having these rationalization arguments with yourself?

So, I gained from 228# back to 240#.

And here I am, two weeks out from beginning another season of training. I’m doing things a bit differently, this time, with the idea that shaking up my training and resetting goals will help the lifestyle change stick:

1. Riding more than about 65 miles (let’s say a metric century) is unappealing to me. I should train to ride FAST for an hour or two, and that’s all I really want to do. 40k Time trials seem awfully appealing to someone with my size and power profile, unless they intend to build a velodrome in Tallahassee so I can start match-sprinting again.
2. Ride more. I’m sticking with easy recovery rides on days off. But I just said I don’t ride without training, so how do I do that? Easy:
3. Ride bikes I don’t train on. I have a 36er and a pathway racer. Neither are training bikes, and neither would really provide a “normal” workout. So, they’re easy to relax and ride, as they don’t compel me to train.

So, this is my plan. Make cycling fun again, instead of work.

A 36er on Single-track

Weekend rides were GREAT! Took the Black Sheep Darkness 36er out on Redbug Trail over the weekend. Not sure this was such a great idea, as the bike–while it smooths out EVERY bump–is squirrely as heck on the slick, off-camber roots on the local single track. I spent the first part of the ride wrestling with a back end that did NOT want to stay under me. Finally, in a low-speed sandy turn, it slipped and unceremoniously dropped me in the bushes. No harm, no foul…just enough to convince me to get OFF the single track and onto the MUP, where the big wheels eat up ground and excite everyone into spontaneous conversation.

I got a Coke at Higher Ground and of course, let EVERYONE ride the 36er. I love talking about bikes, and it’s the perfect bike to put a smile on your face and get the conversation started. Even at 6’3″, it makes me feel like I am on my Dad’s bike, again, just swallowed up in the space between the wheels.

Riding back, I stuck to the MUP.