Sunday, October 21, 2018

Bridging the gap


In the winter of 2017, I stepped away from long bike rides to get stronger. Following a consistent routine of ever heavier squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, bench pressing, and chin-ups required time to recover. So I set aside long rides in the cold for shorter, intense sessions under the unforgiving steel bar. Each session was a simple pass/fail test of will and growing strength: either I lifted or I failed.


By February 2018, the sessions had paid off. I found myself stronger than I had been in decades. Truth be told, physically, I am far more suited to strength training than Randonneuring. This kind of training may be the polar opposite of the endurance needed for Randonneuring, but I knew that when I took the step back to rebuild and rebalance. Yet, in the process, I had let months pass without my riding a 200K or even a 100K,

But as the days grew longer, I found myself questioning the wisdom of taking that much time off the bike. Before this break, for eight years I had maintained a streak of monthly 200K rides in part because the prospect of starting over to regain that necessary endurance intimidated me. The first go around to build it, to put it mildly, challenged me. Now, I found myself older, stronger, more experienced, but basically having to start again. 
{"I found myself" - what a strange expression. When you think about it, it becomes complex, hard to explain. Who is the  "I"? What is the "myself" that was found?  How did "I" lose "myself" and what is it about that moment of the discovery that leads to the expression "finding yourself? But I digress, let's return to Spring 2018 ...}