You know it’s time to kit up again when you are already looking forward to the 2022 season. As my coach pointed out, when you want to start training again, wait another week, and then get going.
For a while there I had little to no interest in wearing lycra, or riding my road bike at all. I personally enjoy mountain biking even in the ‘off-season’, the same way scores of cyclists like to run, ski or hike in their down time. We are talking about athletes here after all.
I welcome crisp autumn mornings and the opportunity to trundle leisurely around home roads, feeling the seasons change, and my ambitions rise. The start of pre-season wasn’t throwing myself into a meticulous training programme and gruelling long endurance rides; it was riding when, what, and how long I wanted for a few weeks, an important transition for me. That meant some days off totally at a time interspersed by longer adventure rides, trails with friends and cafe stops that took up more time than the ride itself.
It helps me to have some autonomy over when my body and mind starts to become drawn back to the rhythm of riding, before I can comfortably call it ‘training’ again. After a few weeks of acquainting with my legs again, I did some pre-season testing in a lab. You have to expect that the numbers aren’t going to be pretty. Nor are the sensations after over a month parched of intensity. However, it is also exciting to work away at closing the gap between your personal baseline and excellence. This process is gratifying and challenging all at once.
Fitness is such a privilege. And it feels even better when you reacquaint yourself with it on your own, pliable terms rather than forcing it like quick-fix, hack-your-life culture likes to romanticise. I implore all readers to realise just how good it is to have the opportunity to generate fitness and on your own terms. Although it is my job to be a certain level of fit, for the most part I enjoy the fact that I get to do this. I get to find that level, to explore the boundaries and feelings and most of all the opportunities it gives me to engage fully with life and my surroundings. You don’t need to be a pro cyclist to commit to an exponential exploration of fitness. It fluctuates, and waxes and wanes with the seasons of your life. So relish it, and don’t forget to stop every now and then and appreciate what your body is capable of. See you in 2022 for what I hope is going to be my best season yet.
Fitness is such a privilege. And it feels even better when you reacquaint yourself with it on your own, pliable terms rather than forcing it like a quick fix