December on the Front Range

The icy cold had been burning into my nostrils on each breathe, sucking out the moisture and replacing it with the desire to stop breathing all together. The outside was telling me to go home and stop. Shut up, stop pedalling, stop exploring the mountains around Boulder. I listened. The winter snap that pushed arctic air across the Front Range of Colorado also signalled the freezing of my racing season. By the middle of December I was done with riding bikes. I had other cables plugged into my attention – drawing current away from riding and towards work, England, and rest. I’ve been on the ‘gas’ since the middle of July, when I stepped up my training from ‘seriously disorganised’ to ‘seriously serious’. I had followed every letter in the small print emails; to my surprise, training hadn’t sucked the love out of my lifeblood. I always ride hard and suffer on the bike. Instead of being restrictive, knowing how and when to train opened up a freedom for me to enjoy riding a little more. Every pedal stroke had a purpose greater than could be expressed wihtin that one ride. My exploring and freedoms to ride didn’t change. They were simply enhanced. It paid off, and I got faster. At least, I felt faster; in a game as mentally dominated as cyclocross that is equally important. For me, knowing how long the batteries had been charging for was enough to line up and race confidently all autumn.

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