With only 90 minutes of training per week, the last two weeks have pretty much been complete write-offs as far as cycling is concerned. Two weeks ago I had business trips to Vancouver, Quebec City and several meetings here in Montreal. I can’t say that “I didn’t have time to ride” but when I had time to ride it was either in a hotel gym, at dinner time at home in the garage, after dinner at home in the garage or at 5 am at home in the garage. So shame on me for not really riding two weeks ago. There is always time to ride, just various degrees of motivation to ride at inconvenient times and/or in difficult places i.e. hotel gyms and garages.
This past week I was stuck with a bad cold and I didn’t ride until today. Honestly I feel bad for not riding more. It dawned on me on Friday night that last September I completed 12 hours of hard riding in 48 hours as a participant in the Make-A-Wish fundraiser while I had a bad cold. So shame on me for not really riding this past week. It is always possible to ride, there are just various degrees of excuses.
So where has my motivation (or dedication) gone? Certainly my 2012 season had a huge impact on my 2013 motivation level. In retrospect, I can categorically say that 2012 left me tired, mainly mentally and it isn’t that easy for me to rebuild my mental strength.
Maybe an even bigger factor affecting my motivation is that 2012 involved too much of a good thing. Think about it: eight days of riding in California in May, ten days of riding in the Pyrenees in July, nine days of riding in Colorado in August, six days of riding in Tucson in November and twelve days of riding in Spain in December. Do the math: that’s 45 days of riding my bike in ideal conditions. And now what? Three hour rides in my basement? Power intervals in my garage? You gotta be kidding. It has never been easy to remain motivated and dedicated to training in the winter months. Everyone prefers a ride on a sunny, 80 degree day to a ride in a garage, gym or basement.
One other specific factor affecting my motivation is that my main event this year is in August whereby last year it was in May. Last year I had to do my training even if it meant 17 hours in four days on my trainer in my basement. This year, well heck, there is time to get ready….The truth is that thinking this way is a sure way to be non-competitive in August.
Myself and eight of my buddies have put together a team that will compete in August in the Haute Route, a race that takes place in Europe. In this third edition, the Haute Route Alps (18-24 August 2013) will traverse the entire length of the mythical French Alps. The route runs from Geneva to Nice, with cyclists covering 866km distance and 21,000 m of vertical ascent. We will race in Switzerland, Italy and France.
There is a part of me that makes me go to the front of every climb and push the pace. There is a part of me that makes me attack every KOM (King of the Mountain). There is a part of me that takes over in steep, fast descents and blocks the fear and pushes me to stay with the peloton. There is a part of me that allows me to ride hard for four, five, six or even ten hours a day and lets me to do it again the next day.
I assume that this part of my personality hasn’t gone away but today I am having a hard time finding it. I am having a hard time convincing myself that being dedicated and motivated as I was last year at this time and getting through countless hours of boredom and pain now “is worth the price”.
If I don’t bounce back soon, I will find myself being dropped by Dr. Forman on the climbs up Mount Lemmon and Kite Peak in Tucson in March. Now that would for sure “wake me up” for the rest of the season but would that be too late to save the season? Most likely. I better wish that I come around soon.