Put the feet up, relax, take some time off the bike… About a month ago I was enjoying a huge sense of achievement after finishing the two-day Dulux Trade London Revolution in not too bad a state or time. I’d managed to get some sleep in one of the 2,000 or so closely packed tents, and I could still walk the day after – and ride! Roll on September and the Deloitte Ride Across Britain, 969 miles from Land's End to John O'Groats.
What I hadn’t bargained on was how that feeling of completing the Revolution would impact on my training. Instead of just being a staging post on the way to the RAB, it felt like I’d hit my target, peaked, and now it was time to relax – as if all the months of training had led up to that weekend, and now it was over.
Okay, it wasn’t helped by the fact that, almost straight afterwards I came down with one of the worst colds I’ve had for years. But I’ve recovered now, and I’m still struggling to find the motivation to train. I’ve managed a couple of 50-milers – and enjoyed them once I’m out – but it’s felt like an effort, a bit of a chore, whereas beforehand I was keen as anything.
Is this a common thing, to experience a mid-training-plan lull? Am I alone? What could I do to get myself going again?
As if by magic – or possibly some prior experience of running a challenging event and knowing that some of those taking up said challenge might be needing a motivational kick up the backside – a few days ago I received an email from Deloitte, pointing me to an inspiring documentary following the experience of five riders on last year’s RAB. It couldn’t have arrived at a better time…
Wow. It’s a reminder not only of what a huge achievement completing this ride will be – nine days of riding, only one of them under 100 miles – but just what an amazing experience it will be throughout: all those places we’ll travel through, not just seeing the landscape changing from day to day but really experiencing its contours. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for so long, to travel the length of the country, powered only by my legs.
I just need to remember that my legs (and heart, lungs, head, feet, hands…) will be much more grateful if I keep on putting the miles in beforehand.
I’d been doing so well, too – determined to keep up at least one 70-plus miler a month, a 50-miler or more every week, cycling into work every day, rain or shine… okay, maybe not so determined about that one.
I have the training plans, I even look at them sometimes. But life just keeps getting in the way – work, children, dogs, the garden, visitors…
Time is ticking, too. A post to the excellent and motivating RAB 2017 riders Facebook forum mentioned ‘100 days to go’ and that was quite a few days ago now. We’re down to 82 as I’m writing this…
And the really silly thing is, I love it. I love being out on my bike, cruising through pretty villages, climbing hills and whizzing down the other side, getting lost in my thoughts along quiet country lanes, not to mention stopping for cake without worrying about weight – I’m lighter and fitter than I have been for years.
In fact, what am I waiting for? My biog below says I love paper maps. I really do! So I'm now going to pick one off my shelves and start plotting Saturday’s training ride…
Thanks Deloitte – for the inspiring documentary, and for your continued support of the RAB, enabling me, my hubby, and nearly 800 others to take it on this year, and many more for years to come.
Tass is our production pedant, who boldly goes hunting for split infinitives, rogue apostrophes and other things up with which she will not put. She joined road.cc in 2015 but first began working on bike magazines way back in 1991 as production editor on Mountain Biking UK, then deputy editor of MTB Pro, before changing allegiance to road cycling as senior production editor on Cycling Plus. She's ridden off-road but much prefers on, hasn't done half the touring she'd like to, and loves paper maps.