Was ready to go today when I notice the front tire was flat. Out of practice, it took me twenty minutes to change the tire. Could not get it back on the rim and did not want to force it so ... Finally hit the road, I was in the zone. Legs strong, mind focused and I was about 16 K into my 60 K ride. When the second flat happened. Ran over a very nasty industrial sized staple. Tired an instant fix - in a bottle. I failed to use that so used the last spare tube. I can never figure out how to get the rear wheel back on without covering myself in chain grease. Got that done and decided the universe was trying to tell me something. I turned back home with a slight detour to make the ride a little longer and get off the highway. Managed 33.1 K and an average speed of 29 kph with the time to change the tire included.
Despite these struggles or maybe because of them, an epiphany hit me. I love getting on my bike, riding very hard but not at a punishing rate and ever so often, sit up, grab a drink and soak in the experience. That if changing a few flats is the price I have to pay, so be it. And even more importantly, I do not need to compete against myself or others. Easy for me to say that given my lack of skill and ability on the bike. Still going to do the Highwood Pass Gran Fondo as I have paid for it and more importantly, it does seem like a really cool ride. At 135 K, the aid stations will make it a much more enjoyable experience. I still want to experience a 100 mile ride this fall. I have signed up to do a du as I have never done that and so again, a neat and new experience. But after this year and those events, I can see myself just cycling. I have just thrown out my training plans as I am going to wing it. A few road rides, some mountain bikes, a few rounds of golf with the odd run or jog, I figure I will do just fine in what I have planned. I may need to rest a little longer at the aid stations but who cares?
At one time I wanted to average 30 kph for these events. But a quick look at the results, if I managed 26 kph I would finish somewhere in the middle of the pack. 30 kph gets me near the top 25% and where I seem to be on the longer rides, 28 kph, around the top 1/3. It hit me that there is no appreciable difference in any of the results or at least not for me. Training right now seems to be too much work, a chore to be done and would corrupt or poison my current love of cycling.
For 15 years, there was something always on my radar or I knew I would find it beyond the horizon. There was always a race that had to run or starting last year, a Fondo or ride to do. But for example, I saw the $150 to do a sprint trail du, Xterra and I went uggh. Then I found out I have to drop off my bike by 7:00 am, pick up the bib, attend pre race briefing and then start the run at 9:15, I went pass. Cost and inconvenience or effort were never a consideration and now, those issues top my list.
Will I do a 5 K road race or equivalent trail race once a year starting in 2018? And maybe a $45 MEC ride but no more than 100 K? I cannot say no but then again, I may say why bother. It is very strange, weird to abandon a certain approach, paradigm, way of life I have followed for 15 years but then again, the Universe will unfold as it should. With that, this is my last biking update.
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