Ready to Ride

My training is way off pace. I’m stressed by the thought of even getting on the bike. I should be on the rollers. I should be focused on losing weight. According to my rough plan I should be hitting my 4-5 hour long rides starting next week – and I honestly don’t even want to ride to the grocery store. The weather has been craptastic – especially when I had my wake up call hard fall a few weeks ago. We’ve been traveling all over this winter, the whole family has been sick (I’m currently battling bronchitis and influenza A), the billable work hours are piling up (and in this economy I’ve been taking most work that comes my way).

Getting the picture. Excuses, excuses, excuses.
But honestly – it just doesn’t sound like fun anymore.

I have 2 main goals for this coming season – qualify for and finish the Endless Mountains 1240k, and enjoy the NE Fleche with our VT team of usual suspects (if we ever get confirmation on its specifics).

Jen doubled down on my EM 1240 goal. I have 3 chances to complain about it – anything from “I’m too slow, I’ll never finish” to “It’s impossible” or “I can’t ride…” No more complaining – or we cancel. And she doubled down on the weight loss, anemia, and asthma that I’ve been a horrible manager of. A good kick in the pants for sure.

Becoming a dad, trying to work part time to help with the family budget while being day to day care provider for our little one has proven more challenging than I could have dreamed. Its also been incredibly rewarding – far beyond the challenges. I just never thought it would be so hard to stay motivated. (One aspect of training I am making great strides in is sleep deprivation – the little one has been sick and going through problems with sleeping… so bring on the late night riding – I think I’m ready)

Looking for some inspiration (aside from lusting after new bike gear) I downloaded David Rowe’s The Ride of Your Life. I’m already pleased and I’m not quite through the introduction. I’ll report back as I progress. As much as I want to tear through it – I just hate reading a ‘book’ like this on the screen. Might have to sacrifice some recycled newspapers and print some of this out…

7 Replies to “Ready to Ride”

  1. Mike –

    Boy can I relate to what you said about the excuses … for me, it’s the negative self-talk. Where does that come from? For the life of me, I can’t figure it out.

    My big hairy audacious goal for 2009 is Race Across Oregon. It’s shorter than a 1200K by about 200 miles. I will have a support van and a 3-person crew caring for my every need. I’ll ride my Litespeed carrying nil nada nothing. I’ll eat and catch my zzzz’s when I’m ready, not at the controls someone else picked … and yet this ride is so big and scary in my head that I’m hearing the negative self talk constantly. Some of the one’s I have heard in my head this week:

    – I’m too old
    – I’m not fast enough
    – I’m wont’ be able to stay awake for 48 hours
    – My knee will blow up
    – My achilles will blow up
    – I don’t want to race my rando buddy, Eric Ahlvin

    I suppose you would think since I wrote the book that I would no longer face these kinds of issues. Ha! I wrote the book so I’d have some tools to use when these mental hurdles pop up – and if you’re stretching for a BHAG like the EM 1240, you’ve got to know that everybody is scared of that ride, and everybody is going to be suffering, and everybody who finishes it will tell you they faced their fears and their pain and they wouldn’t trade a moment of it – not for anything. Finishing a ride like the EM 1240 will be the ride of your life.

    So just get the pedals turnin, again.

    If you aren’t ready for a 4 hour ride, then try don’t plan one yet. Instead, just try to build a habit of getting back on the bicycle. Forget about the event for awhile. You’re signed up. You’re there. For now, just try and find the stoke you feel when you’re riding long – as you’ve done so many times and written about here.

    Then, just put that first 200K in your calendar, go out there, and ride like the wind.

  2. David –

    Nice of you to drop by. I’m fighting the flu and bronchitis… so the sleep thing just isn’t happening. Motoring through to page 33 or so and I saw your post.

    Thanks for the words of encouragement. The light is starting to flicker again. As soon as I feel well enough I will get out for that ride, and in the meantime I’m working on some core values and planning work.

    Good stuff. A nice reminder. Seems every now and again I drift off course and need a redirect, a new siting to the north star. I seem to go through these periods more often now that I’m a ‘responsible’ adult – family, home, work… etc. And they seem to creep most often when it is dark and cold outside.

    Glad to have found your book. Good luck with RAO. I spent some time hiking on Hood in the 90’s. Absolutely loved it. That climb up to Timberline will be epic. Was just out that way last February for work – managed to rent a Brompton instead of a car for all my travels… sweet but long days.


  3. I am so glad to hear you are digging into the Core Values section. More than anything, that will help you to evaluate the wisdom of riding any event.

    As a full-time dad, you have responsibilities that others (like me) do not have. A core value of “family” must be weighed into a decision to ride the EM1240.

    It’s easy for me – an empty nester – to just say, ‘go for it,’ when in fact that may not be the right thing for you to do, at this moment in time. Going forward will have an impact on other areas of life, there’s no question about it.

    Whatever you decide, you have my support, Mike.

    Keep the pedals turnin,


  4. Been there with my own 2 munchkins, and that early, baby-period is amazingly exhausting. You mentioned the sleep deprivation and I can always harken back to that difficulty, even though my youngest is 9. Good luck. You’ve done the training before; you’ll do it again.

  5. Hey Mike,

    You should give yourself a break, man. It’s hard for anyone to be motivated in this dreadful New England winter. Add a new baby and illness to the mix and forget about it! Let yourself heal and don’t push too hard until you’re fully recovered. Try building a base with some intervals on the trainer/rollers (maybe in front of the TV watching the Tour of California) and a 4-5 hour ride should be cake once the roads melt enough for it to be safe.

    I also found the indoor centuries I’ve done this season to be much easier than anticipated and helped me get in my January/February mileage goals without breaking my neck in the process. The Spinervals “Hardcore 100” DVD really helped out. The stress involved with dancing around the weather when you have a big ride planned can be seriously de-motivating.

    You might also try nailing some intermediate goals to the calendar to enhance your motivation. The Connecticut River Double Century race on April 19 is up your way and might help give you something early in the season to focus on in addition to NE Fleche. The profile looks pretty manageable and I’m looking forward to it.

  6. Hi Mike,

    It is apparent that you are going through some tough times. I also read David Rowe’s book and I can assure you he will provide much guidance in balancing a work schedule and achieving your cycling goals. If I may, my advice would be to find a cycling buddy, if you don’t already have one. It is amazing how one can motivate the other. I have so much more fun riding with a friend than alone. Often when I only can ride alone I will lack motivation. Once I am out the door I don’t come back. but it’s taking the steps to get to the door that are difficult. If I lived in NH I would certainly invite you to ride. Keep the pedals turning,


  7. All, thanks so much for the comments. I felt well enough (finishing up the bronchitis and influenza) to ride on Sunday. Met up with the usual suspects – our fledgling VT Rando’s. We did a quick coffee and I joined them for the first half dozen miles. Was great to be out in the sun and following a wheel.

    I actually felt good! Lungs burned and I had to watch my pace so as to not aggravate my asthma which is complicated by the inflamation in my airways – but legs felt strong. First ride non fixed and without studs in forever…

    So, thanks. I got out, spun the cranks, enjoyed the sun, and am looking forward to riding again this week.


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