Me vs Me

I like this on the Howies website

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Doing laps

No exploration, no map stops, no socialising, no admiring the view. Nothing to distract me from the pursuit of riding my bike as hard as I can for a few hours.

Two laps of Dalby red, with a loop of the world cup xc course for good measure.

First lap. Chasing speed, concentrating on try to hold back, but largely failing. New bike romance is blossoming. Despite the tiny proportion of the ride completed, I can’t help but accelerate into berms, popping off kickers and stamping up short climbs.

Second lap. Testing memory. Half remembered lines through corners. Some noted and ridden faster, others ridden in an identical manner while cursing my poor memory. LIstening to my body for the first signs of tiredness. Was I pushing a harder gear last lap? Am I getting slower? My legs definitely feel a little weaker. Not long to go. Head down and and focus.

Grit teeth.

I needed that.

Maintaining focus

A crap work week ahead. “Other stuff” louding my thoughts. Steep walls to climb, with a tired mind. To be honest, I want to retreat into full hibernation mode. Sleep all day and night, and let things drift over me. Maybe I’ll feel better when I wake up. Maybe everything will just sort itself out.

I can’t do that, it’ll be the death of me (metaphorically, and to an extent, literally. My darkest thoughts happen when I let myself hide).

I want to get the bus home. Lock the door and stay on known ground. Even if that known ground isn’t very good for me.

I’ve got my running kit with me at work. It’s the first step towards breaking the cycle. Run home. Meet Dave and go to the gym. Kick the living shit out of the demons that are gnawing away at my self-belief, my strength, my life. Get home and feel proactive. Feel like a normal person, despite an abnormal need to exercise. Feel able to stand tall and face another day.

Genesis?

1:1 – In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

1:2 – And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

1:3 – And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

Autumn is well and truly upon us. That means limited daylight hours. That means less riding, doesn’t it?

I’ve never been a huge fan of night riding. Expensive lights, can’t go as quick as you would during the day, and generally, well… it’s dark. But I need to keep getting the miles in at the moment. I also want to avoid the turbo trainer as much as possible. It’s not that I can’t stand it, but sitting in the house, turning pedals and watching the TV is a little soul destroying after a while.

I have never owned a decent set of night lights, but have been lucky enough to borrow various units over the years. One thing has always put me off buying a set for myself. Cost. £300+ for lights?? Well, technology evolves, LEDs get brighter, batteries get smaller and lighter. The internet makes the world smaller.

So for a little over £150, including postage I plumped for this package. 1600 lumens. That’s quite a lot. 2 x 2hour batteries (assuming you run the light on full power the entire time, which seems like it’ll be a bit unnecessary). First impressions are that the light unit is, er, light and dinky. The batteries seem pretty well sealed, and are smaller than I imagined. The kit came with some O-rings to mount the light to a handlebar, and a helmet strap, plus a charger, connecting cables and extensions and stuff. Ready to rock.

I’ve charged both batteries, and can’t wait to get out and try them out properly. I’ll keep updating my views in reviews.

Daft Punk

Harder, better, faster, stronger
So. Let’s have a little re-cap. I’ve got my end goal for April. I know roughly where I am now. I know the direction I want to head in. How do I do it? Step-by-step. Ride further and more often. Train harder. Never drink. Turn myself into a MACHINE. Achieve zen-like balance within my body and mind.
Back to reality. I have a job. I need my job to pay my bills and buy bike bits. I have friends. I like to see them and occasionally have a beer or two (or five) when I do. I enjoy riding my bike. Lots. But I don’t enjoy getting up very early and doing hard training sessions. I need to be fully awake and well fed before I think about doing something like intervals.
There are a few constraints there. How the hell do I make sure that I get the quality training in that I need? What is quality training? How many miles should I do? How much cross-training? How intense should my sessions be?
Luckily, I have a bit of help. Greg is working with me to develop a programme. One which should optimise the time that I have. One that I can follow. One that will push me and hurt me and have a real affect. Awesome.

Honeymoon

For the first time in a long time, I’ve felt motivated to train. Not just ride my bike, or go for a run, or go to the gym, but to push myself when I do. I’ve looked forward to swinging a leg over a turbo trainer when I get home from work, and the sofa would normally be a far more inviting option.

Can’t beat having a new goal to aim for. I’m under no illusions, this is very much the honeymoon period. The aches and pains are a welcomed back like an old school friend. The longer morning runs are a novelty. The early nights and deep sleep, a welcome bonus after months of on and off insomnia. But, there is inevitably a reason that you didn’t stay in contact with old school mate. They hang around a bit too long, outstay their welcome. There will be the day that the sofa feels more inviting, that the duvet promises more than a headtorch and a cold, wet morning.

That’s why I need to set myself up with a training plan. Something that structures my week. Something that translates “I must get better” into I will spend x hours today doing y, then do z tomorrow. A commitment. Short term goals.

Better get researching.

To do

  • Work out one of them training plan thingamies
  • Ride my bike lots
  • Oh… get a suitable endurance race bike built up. Light, fast, suspension, big wheels?
  • Write some reviews
  • Ask some companies very nicely if I can borrow some kit
  • Have fun
  • Write about it