Thursday, 6 August 2009

being a bike rider

I missed my 7am assignation with the turbo trainer this morning. It was an ambitious plan anyway as I have trained/raced for the last 4 days - an unusual state of affairs in my time and energy deficient world. Even more ambitious was the plan to run home over the moors later today after said turbo session. That would have really tipped the balance toward the dedicated obsessive.........there's still time and energy yet for that particular session though.

This resurgent activity has been prompted by the rapidly approaching 3 Peaks Cyclocross, looming large on my mental horizon, part torture, part anticipated treat. Wholely unique. The Peaks has consumed many a seemingly sane person with its blend of the sublime and the ridiculous - it has an aura about it both on the calendar and on the day. It drives me and scares me like no other race.

Yet underlying all of this extra activity through Yorkshire intimidation is what Molly Cameron recently called 'the secret trap of cycling':

Because I am convinced I can progress. Is that the secret trap of cycling? You can always get better, get fitter right?

There is always a new cross season coming, a re-tilt at familiar sportive challenges - a chance to test out that theory. My own plans laid in the Spring around long sportives came, mostly, to fruition. A nod at laying down base miles before moving into more specific cross training as the summer progresses. An attempted devotion to diet (on and off), more 'on' when a goal looms large. Further attempts to get a bit more sleep, to do that stretching routine more than once in a week. All of which are designed to get me to the start of the season in slightly better shape than last year (or at least in the same shape allowing for the ravages of increasing age....).

Being a bike rider is about doing that little extra, that concession to the abnormal that marks us out. Sure we go about our daily lives looking for all the world like fine, upstanding members of the community - jobs, family, wider responsibilities all get our attention but in our minds we are thinking about improving on the next training ride, the next race, the next experience, and if only we could just go that little bit faster or make it feel that little bit easier next time...........

Being (a) PRO simply takes that to even greater heights but without the pressures of earning a living outside of the bike to complicate things. To those that manage an outwardly normal existence (outside of the PRO ranks) but combine this with elite level results - chapeau! For that is surely the ultimate that any bike rider can aspire to?


Dave Haygarth said...

It's not long is it. I've gone through a stranghe denial process - probably related, - and deliberately not trained for a week. I was looking white as a sheet and probably doing too much (or maybe getting a bug) - but I feel better for it. I'm resolved to keep ticking over now and then hit it hard in another week or so. Keep in touch with how you're feeling though. A good 'play' on the bike does wonders for the morale and gives you a very welcome break from the training.

Mark said...

is it just about the training and improving or is it the fact a bike has a far more reaching significance with in us?
Watching Jack and Matt last night tearing round our garden locking up the back wheels as they dived into the coner before hitting the little jump and burm (it beats a water feature!!!)then pulling long skids in the gravel made me think about the shear joy and freedom a bike can bring.
Is it this connection arking back to carefree days of cycling that still keeps us in the saddle?
Are we really trying to improve or turn back the clock and relive the first rush of getting covered in muck and freedom the bike gives us??