After a few years off and a recent New Year resolution, I've decided to get back on my bike (again) - a new bike but one that will take me to new heights and new speeds.
Started riding inside my place during the first week of January - taking advantage of Strava, a modern day fitness app - and have been fairly consistent other than about a month of non-riding due to work and life commitments.
The best way to work a plan is to have one. My plan at the stroke of midnight 2016 was to get back in shape. At the threat of sounding incredibly cliche, I needed a timeline and a goal and apparently, it has stuck.
Thought it would be a good idea to first plan a spring training camp to Mallorca, that way I had something 4 months out to shoot for. Traveling back to Mallorca - where I last visited in 2012 - seemed pretty comfortable but I wasn't able to do too, too much on the bike during my stay, body was still dealing with all of the training I was throwing at it and the time I had taken off surely didn't help matters.
I suppose the body fighting back is normal, yet I always think that I can dive back in and pick up where I left off. I've been 'faking it' for years so why would this time be any different? Perhaps all of my friends that have suggesting that 'everything changes when you turn 40' were right and it was simply a matter of the aging process, leaving my previous life in my 30's.
This stubborn body of mine wasn't cooperating and so it only strengthened my resolve to work harder and train more intelligently. After 3 week off after Mallorca, I started back at it and have been riding ever since. What I find truly fascinating is that after a few long rides in June, my fitness started to return. All of the one to two hour rides weren't doing much so I upped the ante and started riding four and a half to five hours to help serve as a (not so) gentle reminder of who's the boss here - take that inactive body. With testosterone dipping and cortisol abundant, it was time to re-train the process and start to reverse the aging process.
Since I had always taken my health and fitness for granted, I had to do a little experiment of 'letting myself go' - eat out lots, drink socially lots and don't exercise for a few years. The end result: low energy, more body fat, poor sleep quality and general unhappiness with a body that I didn't feel was mine. After hearing my own clients complain about 'life' getting in the way of becoming healthier and more fit, this seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to prove them wrong.
April in Mallorca was a great reminder of what it feels like to suffer when out of shape. There's nothing fun about it but it has to be done to lay the foundation of what's to come. Enter July.
July has always been a favourite month of mine and now that I've started to find my fitness from years past, the suffering has turned from bad to good. There's something fun about suffering when it feels good. You take your body to the limit and then wring out the last twenty percent until there's really nothing left and the best place to do this is in a remote area where opening the Uber app isn't a possibility.
I'm currently in the testing grounds, ready to push myself (and my new bike) to new levels of pain, suffering and elation as I drag myself over mountains in scorching heat and plummet faster than I ever have. Today was day one. In 4.5 hours, I rode 125km, with 3000m of vertical in a temperature of 36C. Strava confirmed I had a good day by telling ranking my 'suffer score' as 204 or Extreme - spending 34% of my ride over 300W.