To Train or to Ride

Does riding my bike need to transition into training?  This is the question I have been pondering.  In depth, I know, but I have had the time lately to ride my bike and consider this.  What drew me to this sport was the repetition, the rhythm, the scenery, the exploration, the great outdoors, and ultimately—the adventure of it all. 

This has worked out for me so far.  I have ridden my bike when I felt like it, taught eCycling at Endurance PTC when I needed to, and raced my bike when I wanted to.  This very simple, sometimes too simple, philosophy has gotten me where I am today.  However, I continue to solidify my goals and aspirations, what I really want to do with my bike, race in Europe, race in the US, and hopefully continue to learn and develop as a racer.  I have big goals, and they might require some heavy training not just riding, right?

Through my adventures thus far, I have gained in knowledge, experience, confidence, and determination.  What do I want to do with this sport?  I want to take this adventure as far as I can.  Olympics?  Possibly.  World Championships?  Hopefully.  But, ultimately, I would like to also provide something to others, to help someone, to encourage activity and a healthy lifestyle to the community.  My wheels are turning, excuse the pun, to figure out what angle I want to take with this.  More to come later.

As I continue to develop, not only are my strengths exemplified, but my weaknesses are magnified as well.  I have so much to learn, and although I have time, I am impatient.  I like to know how to do everything, right now.  Yet, I am learning that you must be patient, and you may jump in the deep end of the pool, and just because you aren’t drowning, doesn’t mean you know how to swim.  I want to specialize, but I want to be well-rounded, I want to excel, but I am want to learn team dynamics.  So much to learn, there is time, but I want to know it now.  Patience.

What brought me to this sport, what continues to drive me, is merely the thrill of the open road, the bike, and the work.  I love riding my bike.  However, I am learning that I may need to put a little more structure in this.  I sat down with my coach, Charlie Livermore, to discuss our next plan of attack.  Structure will be important to specialize in time trials, but I will also be learning the art of the attack (we won’t call it a sprint just quite yet), and many more entities in the arsenal of the cyclist.  Maybe it won’t be bike love every time I go outside, but the work will provide me with the love that I will always have.  The work will make the races more fun, more successful, and of course, more painful.  I need to buck up and get out there and do some intervals.  I need to push myself when no one is watching.  What will always drive me will be the riding, the outdoors, and the adventure, but what will continue my growth as a cyclist is going to be the training.  Does my riding always have to be training?  Absolutely not.  The great thing about riding a bike is that the training sneaks in there sometimes, and that’s what makes us stronger but also spurs our love.  But, ultimately with a coach, and with power and with structure, I can continue to build on the base and learn to become a champion even when no one is looking.  Learn to suffer on my own to be confident and familiar with the suffering in a race situation.  Enjoy the pain slightly, but most importantly, it will have been done before.  It will be familiar, and welcomed.

Training or riding–it doesn’t turn out to be all that bad after all. The adventure continues.

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