My first week of the 31 Days of Biking challenge is complete and so far, so good.
I’m aiming for 230km per week so after Week 1 I’ve banked 36km in case I have issues later in the month getting in my mileage.
Four of my runs were early mornings, getting away at 6am for a 25km blast before heading to work. This route is nice and simple and doesn’t require too much thought or effort at that time of the morning.
Half of it is on the main N15 and although the roads are still quiet it’s a lot busier than I expected, especially with HGVs. I guess they’re trying to beat the traffic through the night and early morning.
My longest spin was 74km on Sunday, to the Ghost House, but as Monday was a Bank Holiday I also managed to sneak in a bonus 57km spin. This was in support of our Club Beginner Group that is in its second week. I cycled up and down and then completed 25km with the group, providing support and advice as they gain confidence on the road and in traffic. It was a very social night, very relaxed and very enjoyable.
I had planned to get 50-60km in again on Wednesday, my second day off, but life intervened. Family duties took priority which meant I didn’t get out until quite late in the day and was under pressure to get home for 8pm. 33km had to satisfy me but it kept me on track.
Only 7 days in and I’m starting to see benefits already. I can feel my legs getting stronger and I seem to be getting faster as my morning times are improving. I’m not sure how much of this is due to weather conditions through the week but at least they’re heading in the right direction.
Week 2 starts tomorrow with some additional challenges that will require careful time management.
Turned up for the Club Sunday morning spin yesterday determined to keep my momentum going now that I’m back on the bike and back out with the Club again. Nearly shit a brick when they announced it was to be a 100km spin!
I did plan to do a 100km this month but not for another fortnight or so. I didn’t think I had the legs to complete the distance and definitely didn’t think I had the legs to stay with the group over that period of time. But, I did and I did!
It wasn’t all roses though. At times I was really struggling. Every hill I was fighting just to stay with the other guys and I drifted off the back a number of times and had to dig deep to catch up.
The route was a new one for me heading around by Lough Derg, Pettigo and Laghey returning home via Barnes Gap. It’s a road I’ve looked at a number of times but never actually cycled until yesterday. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever been in Pettigo before either.
Great route and a big personal milestone as I haven’t cycled 100km since November 2018.
This morning I went cycling with the Club. That’s a simple statement that covers (up?) a whole lot. Getting to that point was the result of a lot of small steps that took effort and not all from myself. It started with a phonecall earlier in the week from one of the other guys asking me to come back out again. It’s not the first time I’ve been asked and not the first time by this person but this week it came at the right time.
Then came the small steps from me, getting my bike back from service in Halfords, getting my gear ready, getting my lights and Garmin charged, setting my alarm, putting my bike in the car yesterday, filling my bottle, getting dressed and leaving the house. Every one a small step that involved overcoming a separate mental objection resulting in a very enjoyable Club spin.
I was very nervous this morning, full of doubts about my own fitness, my ability to cycle the distance and to stay with the group but also going back out with people I know. Friday I cycled with strangers and that was mentally a whole lot easier.
In the end I surprised myself on all counts. It wasn’t easy and I know the group weren’t pushing too hard but I hung in there, was able to stay with them, not get dropped (except on one climb), enjoyed myself and completed my longest cycle for 3 months.
I’ve always been a quiet person socially and it’s only in recent years that I’ve taken up cycling and found a group that I enjoy and feel part of. Over the last 12-18 months I’ve become more reclusive again, especially over the last year to the extent that today was almost exactly 7 months since I’ve cycled with the Club.
One phonecall was the catalyst to change that. For a non-physical part of the body the mind has such a lot of control.