I have learned a lot about cycling, commuting, and myself since then, so thought I would take a look back and reflect at what I thought was possible, compared to what turned out to be reality.
In late 2017 I said the following were my goals for 2018
4,500 is the I'm looking at I think. Main are improving my climbing, getting out more, and smooth endurance rides.
Elevation would be nice to get 150 next year especially with chasing the 100 Climbs list.
All in all, my main is to be consistent in all I do.
On and positives from this year. I can achieve great things if I commit fully.
I know I have made other comments, suggesting I wanted a Fondo a month, every month. Four 100 mile rides in the year (having never done any before), as many Sportives as I could fit in to name a few.
So how have I done?
Well for starters, it is worth pointing out that it is early Oct at the moment, so still two and a half months left in the year. That is actually the whole point of this post.
From the offset, little did I know, I was slightly over reaching what reality would allow for. Getting lots of climbs done was a lovely goal, and I started out with good intentions, however the year was just not that great for allowing many to happen. A little disappointing, but something that can be revisited at any time with some careful ride planning. Not to mention my physical condition at the start of the year was somewhat short of what was needed to really tackle some of the hills, as I soon found out.
Four centuries, well, that could still happen, if I really put my mind to it. However, I am not entirely sure I want to. Well I WANT to, but the sensible part of me says one more at the most. Given the weather, ride buddy availability, and the levels of enthusiasm left. I want to enjoy as much of each ride as I can, not do it for the sake of proving something. I have done too much of that already. So currently I have two under my belt, and one more possibly on the cusp. Three out of four will do me fine, two out of four, I will survive with that.
Frequency. Well in the early part of the year, 49 days straight with no rest days. Commuting and just getting out there, that in itself was an achievement, albeit a bit of a silly one. But hey, no pain, no gain eh! I have managed to commute most days of the year so far, even in the coldest parts of Jan and Feb, I was still managing to get the miles in, and that has continued. I have had two noticeable breaks from riding, one health induced, the other I chose as I just wanted some time off the bikes. Other than that, my mileage has been pretty regular throughout the year.
Speaking of mileage, my goal was a mildly ambitious 4,250 for the year. Given my total for 2017 was in the low to mid 3,000, I thought 4,250 was a nice step up. However, I seem to have achieved that in a much shorter time than I expected. I have not extended my goal though, as it seems that I would just be pushing myself a bit too much, and for no reason. I set a good goal, and achieved it, anything after is a bonus, not a stretch goal. Currently around the 5,500 mile mark, there are a couple of numbers I have in the back of my mind to reach, but I am not going to commit to them in any way.
Mini goals have been my motivation, my drive, and also my worst enemy so far this year. Statistical numbers, creating targets to reach. Longest ride, longest distance in a month and a week, beating where I was a year before, power, elevation. Wherever I look, there is a mini goal waving at me, trying to tempt me to push harder and harder. And that is where the throttle comes into it...
It's time to throttle back a bit. Ease up on the pressure on myself to achieve, stop trying to prove anything to myself or anyone else. In the midst of all this riding, I have also returned to running, getting 10k fit. It was around that point I started to realise that I was maybe pushing a little too hard. 10k run before work, then commuting to and from work via the longest route practical (10-11 mile rather than 4.2 miles which is the shortest route) 100-180 mile weeks, plus the running. It was only a matter of time before I injured myself. Which.................didn't happen!! Amazing I know (will probably sprain my wrist writing the rest of this blog!)
After 282 days of pushing myself, I have finally decided, the last 83 days of the year will be "no pressure". That is not to say I won't be giving it my best, it just means I won't be pushing close to self destruction. My aim, is to stop setting more and more mini goals. Keep the ones I have in mind right there, and allow myself a little freedom, away from the pressure of must ride, must ride. That said, I have a sportive this weekend coming lol! But that is just for kicks, no pressure, back to enjoying the riding, and reaping the rewards.
From here on in, I want to get a mix of riding and running in over a regular period. Rest where needed, enjoy a day off here and there, and let my body recover a bit. It has seen big changes over this past 10 months. If it was not for the tattoos I would not recognise my legs anymore.
Next year, I want to start fresh, no mileage goals, no targets for riding, other than enjoy myself, and continue being a regular commuter. I want to turn my attention to the other 2/3rds of my body mass, and give that a bit of love too. With a fresh and healthy ethos in mind. Consistency over effort levels, all over rather than just legs, and for me, not for my ego and others.
Floor and core work is key, yoga will return, and getting a little trimmer, while still enjoying life is the key. Weight, just a number, only relevant when calculating my watts per kg on the bike. Well being is the primary goal, feeling good is what I want.
Physically over the past year I have proven I can achieve things I want badly enough. Overcome pain and discomfort to reach the peak. If ever there was a time I proved to myself I am in control of my mind as well as my body, it has been this year. Sometimes to the detriment of my body, that has to stop.
So to everyone who is achieving all their goals, keep at it, I know I am! But look after yourself too. It is nice to keep the ego happy, but better to keep the body and mind happy too. Find the balance :)
Oh before I go, I have to say.... Mentally and physically, I have had my best year for wellbeing in years! The physical activity will have a lot to do with all of that, so I am keen to maintain that. Other than one mid year little hiccup, this has been an amazing year without a doubt, so thank you to everyone who has been a part of it.