Getting on with getting on

The last few weeks have been pretty tough in the life of a part time ‘pro cyclist’. Well, about as tough as they get anyway, which isn’t really that bad when it’s all said and done. After the true grit race (see here) I was enjoying riding and could finally see the hours of ‘training’ this spring starting to pay off. The weather had improved and I was content to be getting out and exploring some new trails, and finally being able to ride dirt roads up high, which are now almost completely clear of snow. The week after getting back from St. George was a tough one, and it turns out that I was perhaps not listening to my body well enough. Having finished a big project at work, I had a load more free time and spent it erroneously doing some harder rides, when I should have been sleeping, eating and relaxing, and recovering from a 50 mile bike ride in the rain.

By the time the next weekend had come around, I was feeling heavy, slow and drained… which I just put down to the riding. Two days later, however, after chasing Bryan and Jordan up and down hills for 4 hours, I knew that I was  going to get a cold. Urgh! So, perhaps belatedly, I did spend the next few days catching up on sleep and resisting the temptation to ride in the glorious spring weather.

I went on two bike rides last week, both of which maximized fun and minimized pain and suffering. The first was a short and relaxed ride with a fellow Brit, who I guided around some local trails. Having just arrived from sea level, the  climb up to Nugget hill may have been a little much, but it was worth it for the scenery and the view across the continental divide.

The Gold Lake trails are really fun and almost completely dry; its getting me in the mood for some  alpine single-track – hurry up and melt Nederland!

The second ride was down in Pueblo; perhaps the most undesirable of all the truck stop towns in Colorado. Surprisingly, though, a short drive from the motorway takes you to ‘Lake Pueblo State Park’, which is a very grand title for a reservoir surrounded by scrubland and cacti! They do however boast some purpose built single-track that does an amazing job of swooping through the canyons and sagebrush to form some flowy and fun loops.

The only thing to watch for is the glass like shingle rock covering every inch of trail, as its rather good at eating tyres! Pueblo is also the windiest place in the world. All day, we could see a weather front forming on the mountains 20 miles away, and the pressure change was pushing 40 mph winds down across the open plains.

There are two races down here in the next two weeks, so it was good to get to know the trails and learn a little bit about where the races might be.

I’m hoping my cold will disappear in the next few days and I can get back to riding my bike. Sometimes I have this weird feeling of not wanting to train. Because training is boring. Who wants to do intervals and count heart rates and pedal strokes? Instead, I just go for a bike ride. I look at the scenery; I let my mind wander to random alcoves of thought that don’t normally escape in everyday life. And normally in the process of riding my bike for fun, I end up riding fast, and feeling good, and enjoying myself, and wanting to race! The next few weeks will be all about riding my bike. I’m not going to worry too much about when, or where, or how fast, or for how long. Because I find that those things come naturally once I have everything else balanced and in order.

For now though, its time to get on with being studious, pretending to know how neuroscience works, and drink lots of coffee in the process: Zeal sunglasses dont help much when I’m staring at a computer screen for 8 hours a day!