Monday, August 1, 2011

Time for a cliché

There’s nothing quite like a perfect cliché to make a point.  I know, they are dramatically over used but sometimes they convey just the right meaning.  In fact, sometimes they are so perfect that they start to become more of a daily mantra.  So, what’s the cliché that’s about to become my mantra?  No pain, no gain!  Yep, it’s time to crank it up a notch or two.

It’s time to quit messing around and ride.  I need to break out of this negative cycle and spend more time on the bike.  Due to all the reasons I mention in my last post, the riding just hasn’t happened this year.  Of course, fewer miles means less strength which means you go fewer miles and so on an so on.  Basically, if you let it go on too long, an easy 45 mile ride quickly becomes a challenging 35 mile ride.  Plus, the longer you let it go the harder it is to get it turned around.

This is the result of a lack of motivation.  I am not pushing myself at all this year.  (On a side note, three my cycling friends have told me they are feeling the same way.)  Instead, I have stayed in my comfort zone on most rides.  I let myself get dropped when the pace picks up.  I look for bail out points if the ride is too long.  I skip my weekday interval sessions.  And, I’ve avoided rides with monster climbs, which I really do enjoy.  Why?  I’m simply not at the correct riding strength at the moment.

Just how far off pace has this year been?  Here’s a break down, based on the number of rides and total mileage, through August 1st.  (As a side, see if you can guess the year I was training for a 200 mile ride.)

  • 2008 – 3,648 miles in 81 rides
  • 2009 – 2,846 miles in 73 rides
  • 2010 – 2,547 miles in 69 rides
  • 2011 – 1,327 miles in 39 rides

How do I turn this around?  Well, you can’t do it without a little pain and discomfort hence the cliché/mantra.  Now, I’m not talking that ultra serious, can’t walk, want to puke at the end pain.  But, I do need to climb out of my comfort zone.  Unfortunately, the phrase “go outside your comfort zone to get stronger” just doesn’t have the same ring as no pain, no gain.  So, for now, I’ll stick with that.

This weekend got things off to a good start.  My Saturday ride included a decent climb and I absolutely attacked the first half of it.  Then, when I found myself wanting to shorten the ride and head for coffee I didn’t.  Instead, I added more little hills and kept riding.  This was in part thanks to my riding partner who is also trying to re-energize her training.  Sunday was more of the same and I finished the ride very fatigued.  But, I finished and that’s what counts.  All-in-all, I cranked out nearly 80 miles this weekend for the first time in 2-3 months. 

The next few weeks are going to be tough but I think I’m ready for them.  I’ll work closely with my coach, ride hard but smart, and continue to use the strength of others to push myself just that little bit extra.  If I do it right, I’ll be up to my old tricks in no time. 

After all, nothing ventured, nothing gained!


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