I'll admit to some hesitation when sitting down to write this post, I've made a decision to keep the blog up to date though and I guess this forms part of the thought process which I set the site up to record.
Bike Races hold a love hate grip over me, I love the thought of something to train for (I very often find that without a date on the calender my training fades). The problem is, in the past I've got myself stressed out over fitness, weather, tyre choice, food choice and a thousand other items which really only deserve as much air time as it takes to dismiss them. Kate finally sat me down a few years ago and explained the impact this was having on her, since then, I've stepped back and taken events as nothing more than an opportunity to ride my bike surrounded by others.
Historically, admitting that I felt fit was setting myself up to be beaten down by others, this is the next step in my 'rehabilitation' and proving to myself I've changed my outlook. Yes, I'll be racing against mates, but if they win then fair enough, I've got a 7 week old baby and a 3 year old toddler who between them ensure that sleep is rarer than rocking horse shit. Getting to the event in itself is going to be an achievement. Trying to teach Dash that it's the effort and the ability to keep trying even if that means an acceptance of failure has highlighted my own past failings, so yeah, here's my own thoughts on me ahead of time, if I'm proved wrong, then I'll be proved wrong whilst giving it my best effort..
I've contemplated the Bristol Bikefest for a few years, it looks like a fun event, it's close to home and the course receives favourable comments from the biking forums. Unfortunately, it's always fallen just ahead of the Mountain Mayhem, an event which was always the big part of my biking year, more recently, it's been only a few weeks ahead of exams.
When my old buddy Ad sent a text and asked if I was free to join him as a pair for the 12 hour race I had a few minutes of contemplation, with exams a (temporary) thing of the past and Mayhem now longer holding any real interest I admit to being very tempted.
The chance to catch up with some friends I've not seen for a few years and the option of riding somewhere new sealed it. It also filled a nice space in my training diary between the Wye Valley Sportive and the Triathlon in August.
So, where am I then in terms of preparation for a race?
Whatever happens, we're going to get a top 10 finish, checking the entry list, it appears that there is only 10 pairs signed up for the Singlespeed category, see? it's all about finding positives. The Singlespeed may be an issue; I've only recently converted after a number of years as a geared rider. I remember that the events I did with only one gear went well, speed wasn't an issue but the way of riding is slightly different and that is something which I'm short on practice at.
I admit I'm getting fitter, distance is no longer a thing of concern, I'm knocking out 35-40 mile rides without issue at present and running wise, I can get out and do a half marathon distance run happily, that's an improvement on previous years; probably not quite to the level I was at 2 years ago, but life has changed since then and I'm probably fitter in a more sustainable way now.
The good thing about the increased fitness is that I feel better in myself about clicking into the pedals and rolling out onto a race track, that, along with the chilled out attitude I'm working hard to foster and I can honestly say that I'm really looking forward it.