April #mygoalrox: Un-slumping myself
April 13, 2015 § Leave a comment
Time for a few #mygoalrox reflections, as promised last time. Just so you know, they are mostly downers. It’s getting cold, I’ve got a cold, so I’m having a temporary slump. And as Dr Seuss says:
When you’re in a slump,
You’re not in for much fun.
is not easily done.
So in the interest of un-slumping myself, I’m offloading some of my worries (in no particular order). Number one:
My hill climbing seems to be improving a lot but I’m kind of frustrated by my descending. I’m not comfortable shooting downhills. I brake more than most people. I’m not aggressive on corners. I check behind me too often in case a vehicle is there rather than use the lane. I’m timid I guess.
It doesn’t help that I’m a lightweight, and the power to weight ratio that helps me pass the MAMILs on the way up also means that they sometimes barrel past me on the way down.
Basically, I think at some point in your life you get old and you don’t want to break things because you just have so much other shit to do that you can’t afford to not be doing. Or that’s how it feels to me.
Descending is about developing skill and managing fear. To do that you’ve gotta have number two, which is:
My confidence waxes and wanes like the moon (not in sync with it, as far as I can tell).
Some days I feel really in charge of my body and my bike and the road. Not invincible exactly (that is asking too much of a push bike) but strong and assertive.
Other days I feel like a mobile skittle, trying to dodge my way through the onslaught of peak hour bowling balls and verge debris. Sometimes people yell at you from passing cars, or blow their horns, or pass by so close that you could touch metal. Someone cursed at me from a passing car at 5.30am the other day. Up an hour before the sun and I still can’t escape some asshole in a car.
Then there’s that whole matter of internal confidence. Sometimes it gets replaced by little voices in your head that say unhelpful things, like:
You’re too old for this, what are you trying to prove?
You’re so slow.
(Variations on slow include wrinkly, pale, bloated and saggy. Sometimes all at once!)
Well, this sure is unpleasant.
Hey I wish I was running instead. Running was fun.
(It wasn’t. It was never fun. Okay maybe sometimes.)
2015 will be over soon and then you can quit exercise forever, take up internet shopping and be old, slow, wrinkly, pale, bloated and saggy.
It’s hard to get out there on the days when you feel physically or mentally vulnerable. The problem is that you don’t know what kind of ride you’re going to have until you’re having it.
They say there is strength in numbers, which brings me to number three:
Almost all of my cycling is done solo. Most of my Ks are clocked up riding to and from work, which isn’t compatible with bunch riding and coffee dates. For the most part, I enjoy my own company and it’s good that I don’t need a coach or a program to get me moving, but I do feel LONELY sometimes. So I’m trying to fix that by taking myself outside my comfort zone and riding with other actual humans sometimes.
It seems as though every female cyclist I know has a significant male cyclist in her life. I don’t know if women take up cycling because their partners ride (since male cyclists far outnumber females). Anyway, it’s really common for a female cyclist to have a boyfriend, husband or other household member who is a cyclist.I don’t. My partner runs. The closest he gets to cycling is a spin class. I’m okay with this! But just occasionally I wish he was a cyclist and/or mechanic, and then I wouldn’t have to read hill descending tips and watch Lance Armstrong fix a flat on YouTube. I could just say ‘Should this tight thing be loose?’ or ‘Should this loose thing be tight?’
To be fair, my dad is a cyclist. I spent my childhood at bike races and he taught me a lot. He still rides! But he’s nearly 80 and lives 1,500 kilometres away, so I can’t really count on him for help.
So this is my problem. I am, without question, the most talented cyclist and expert bike mechanic in my household. And that is saying very, very little because number four is:
Honey I’m having a mechanical
I can change a flat, given ten (or fifteen or, uh, twenty) minutes. If it takes longer than that, or if it is freezing and I can’t feel my fingers, or if it happens again, and I have your number, I will phone you. I can clean my bike, if by cleaning you mean washing and degreasing without removing any parts.
Make it look pretty. Do something when it goes flat. That’s it. That’s all I can do. That’s all anyone in my household can do. I don’t know how to adjust anything or service anything (this makes me a good user of the local bike shop). I can’t take a bike apart, or more importantly put it back together, which brings me to number five.
I have entered Amy’s Gran Fondo. This is my Roxcycl goal event. Truth be told it was my goal event last year but, as I said in my video, in the end I couldn’t quite get my head around the logistics of getting myself and my bike to Lorne in one piece.
I’m just a little bit freaked out about how to get my bike to Victoria, but I signed up for a challenge and that is part of my challenge.
Right, I feel SO MUCH BETTER now that I got all that off my chest. Anyone up for a ride?