I began my training in September last year, after taking on the challenge of riding the Gibb Solo, a 660km cycling challenge that starts in Derby and finishes in the beautiful El Questro. Its a sensational way to experience the Gibb for every lump and bump in the road, but riding through rocky outcrops, up steep hills and feeling that wind in your hair as you descend a climb there is nothing quite like it. We had previously completed the Gibb as dualists, but this year it was to up the challenge.
There are some unexpected things I have learnt during my training :
1. The obsession with the landscape, namely hills, tracks and long endless roads....make me dream (if Im not on my bike) of riding those spots someday. They create new pathways, new routes I can create and new challenges.
2. The importance of food and proper nutrition, as well as recovery days, allows you to sync to your body where you know every ache and pain and what needs to happen in order to help the body repair. I want to cycle for a long time, not just a good time....so I WILL maintain and look after my body.
3. My bike is best for me, after hiring a few dodgy specimens there is nothing like a bike you know, trust and has been fitted for you. I can not recommend enough a proper bike fit and adjustment, done with cameras and measurements. Worth its weight in gold.
4. The freedom you feel on your bike, out in the open air with the power of your legs that can take you anywhere. Its an amazing way to de-stress from the day and loose yourself out in the open, there is nothing quite like it. If I have had a crappy day, or a big day ahead, a ride even a short one puts my head in the game.
5. Theres always something new you can buy for your bike that will pimp it that little bit more. Cycling is like every other hobby I guess, new gizmo's, gadgets and shiny things you can buy. It just makes the hobby all the more fun when you can combine shopping with it.
6. The importance of patience and going with the flow, sometimes unexpected things come up - winds that are not expected that slow you down, legs that are tired and just don't want to push that hard. Listen to your body, its a great way at connecting with how it works.
7. Days off with no work, bring excitement of an extra long ride....or maybe even 2. Planning where I am going to ride to , picnic stops and just enjoying the magic scenery. The process of being slower on a bike than a car allows me to fully take in my surroundings, I get to experience something new every day - sunrises, sunsets and just the magic of nature.
8. The sense of achievement when you reach a new speed goal, attack a new course or exceed a new long distance. When we set a goal and work hard to achieve it the feelings of self worth just shoot through the roof and the effects are long lasting. Its a new kind of buzz.
I think I may be addicted.....
Looking forward to seeing where else this journey takes us, next thing to plan will be a cycling holiday....