Monday, 19 September 2011

Change of mind (set)

I've wittered on at some length in the past, usually to whoever is unlucky enough to find themselves in ear shot about the 'flow'. That mystical thing bikers crave, when bike and rider are smooth and as one, the bike seemingly controlled by thought alone.. Taking responsibility upon itself to hit the sweet spot of each corner perfectly with no loss of pace.  Those kinds of rides don't happen very often for me, I'm usually scrabbling for grip, frustrating myself over a lack of pace or bravery or just wishing i could do it all a bit better than i am.

But what if the problem isn't me.. But is 'me'?  Two things have happened recently that have changed my perceptions.  Firstly I heard an interview about the English cricket team and then i read a book whuch built on the theories already in my head.

The interviewee explained that Englands recent test success and resulting world no. 1 ranking was due, in part to a shift in attitude.  Victories would no longer be celebrated by an almighty piss up and then swept under the carpet before we get too big for our boots, they would instead be seen as reward for hard work and lessons would be learned. Wow. How often are successes analysed as hard as the navel gazing typically associated with a damn good thrashing?

We no longer let the other chaps off either.. Aggression to the end, don't win.. Demolish them without remorse.

The book mentioned setting goals, goals which were SMART to borrow from business speak, but spoke in terms of "by next june i WILL be.." and they should be short enough to be read in less than a minute.. Succinct stays in the head. and, although it wasn't the real theme a message i took from it was about goals and belief.  Too often as adults we let real world cynicism get in the way of achievement.. Its not practical, there isn't enough time, wrong type of leaves on the line..

I've given it a go.  I suffer with the typical British trait of playing down success, doing well can be explained away by a whole load of reasons.. A triathlon i finished 16 out of 200 in was because it was 'only short'.. How stupid.. I'd worked dammed hard, trained and deserved what i got. 

I've set a goal.. I'm going to stop justifying success hard earned in whatever area of my life.

Early days but last week it came good. Whilst on an early morning sunday ride with Rex i kept only positive thoughts in my head. My fitness from countless* hours in the gym were paying off, strong legs strong lungs and a sharper mind.  I loved every second. My reborn confidence saw me carry speed into muddy rooty corners that i wouldn't normally allow.. Whole bike slides were greeted not with a handfull of brake and reduced speed but a small giggle and hard pedalling to the next section.

I had found the flow, not on a dry summer evening but a wet autumnal morning.  Its locked inside us all the time, we just need to find the key.

*Actually that's not true, i know exactly how many it is. I'm both ashamed and proud of the figure

Thursday, 15 September 2011

It's a bit relative isn't it?

As the little count down over there says, it's about three weeks til I swing a leg over my trusty On One Scandal and attempt to ride around norfolk at night.

Hitting 24/12 I'd done no training and I backed out of my planned partnership with FKK Racing on the morning of the race (much to his disgust and my shame).  His race went on to end rather well, mine ended after a single lap and a migraine that saw me trying to escape the sun in a rapidly heating tent on what I think was the only decent saturday of the 'summer'.

Back then, I felt my fitness was lacking (and I was right) after 3 months of practically zero exercise.

Fast forward 10 weeks and mileage is coming along rather nicely, as I've previously mentioned I'm actually enjoying the road bike.  This week I've been doing two sessions a day, weights in the morning and 20 miles on the bike in the evenings.  Speed and strength is increasing and I feel quietly confident in being able to pedal a speed that isn't going to humiliate me.  I've not been training at this sort of level before and I'm only really able to do it because I'm living away from home.  Instead of normal family stuff* I'm able to get up early, exercise, go to work, leave the office, exercise again before heading home and falling in the general direction of bed. Why, then, is it that I feel guilty for having missed today?  When I asked the same question to Kate she answered simply with 'Well, you're obviously just mad'

Maybe she's got a point.

* I'd rather be doing family stuff I can assure you

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Two forward...

And one back..

I've really got back into the swing of getting out putting the miles in over the last month or so, I'm starting to feel better for it too.  My resting heart rate has dropped to around 50 and legs which had softened from a lack of decent training time are now getting me up hills with seemingly less effort and more speed.  I know there is a long way still to go until I feel ready to tackle the big events that normally form the basis of my event calendar, but I'm hoping to take a leaf out of FKK's recent efforts in the 24/12 where they finished a fantastic 9th in the mens race and I'm already starting to fill my mental diary up with a wishlist of events.

Road riding is forming the majority of my biking miles at the present, and, with the stunning scenery of South Yorkshire to play in it's no real wonder, indeed, I think I'd need a clout round the back of the head with a large object if it didn't drag me out and along.

Over the past few weeks I've found myself getting out with absoloutely no idea of where I'm going, rides often teeter close to 40 miles due to my *ahem* navigational issues and such is the enjoyment I've discovered in getting out on the road and letting the miles slip soundlessly under my tyres I've even started looking into Sportive events.. something that I never thought I'd say.. it's too early to go all roadie just yet but never say never

The two back I mentioned at the start of this post is about the sniffle I've got at present, last week I felt pretty good, clocking up about 80 miles on the road and 4 hours of gym time.  Getting home both CJ and Kate were suffering with colds.. I started getting the Vit C into me but I've got a feeling the damage has been done, monday saw me feeling heavy legged and by half 9 I was more than ready for bed, today I feel better, skipping my morning gym session but venturing out on blustery roads to get in 20 miles, 19 of which seemed to be into a bastard headwind, the last 8 saw heavy sideways rain stinging my arms and face but I feel better for getting out.

Lets just hope its not the last of the week eh?