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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Brevet Training Time

It is that mad time of year again, brevet training time.  In my head it is my sensible self against myself.  Sensible self, "You're not actually going to try to train for the brevet series, are you."  Regular self, "Well, I thought I might."  Sensible self, "You're crazy.  Why do you want to do this?"  Regular self, "Why not?"  Sensible self, "Because it will hurt, because you don't have to, because there will be wind and bad weather, because you are getting old, because I really don't want to put up with your whining about it again. And you know you will whine and complain and even blame me for not stopping you, particularly on the 600K if you even get that far this year. You might get the puking sickness you had the day of the 300K last year.  Then all that preparation is for nothing."  Regular self, "Too bad isn't it.  You're stuck with me and I'm doing it.  I suppose we could divorce and become a dissociative identity disordered person." Sensible self,"Without me, God knows what you would try and we both would end up dead before our time.  Okay, I give in.  Let's not divorce.  But I won't quit nagging you throughout the brevet season."  Regular self, "I am not the only one who whines;-)"

So far, I have managed to get some long rides in, but not much of the in between, shorter rides due to a combination of work and weather.  And you see, I am a "bicycle trainer" hater.  Yes, I know you can put a tape on television, that you really improve your speed and peddling mechanics while using a trainer.  It just is not my thing.  I am always amazed at and in awe of the mental fortitude of people who spend mind numbing hours on trainers.  They emerge at the end of a long, dreary, snowy winter as strong as ever. And very occasionally I will give in and use a trainer, but it doesn't take a session or two to realize that what I love about cycling has nothing to do with improved pedaling mechanics or increased speed or getting exercise or keeping off weight.  I like those things, but they are not of primary importance or why I love cycling.  Loving cycling has something to do with changing scenery, with the wind in my hair, with the hills that need to be conquered and put in their place, with the hills that conquer me and tame my ego, with the freedom to chose my way, with the surprises you find along the way, with the things you learn about  yourself along the road.  What I love about cycling is being alone and having time to think, being with friends and laughing until my sides ache and I worry that I will wet my shorts.  What I love about cycling are the challenges, the not knowing if I will prevail, and the satisfaction when I do.  What I love about cycling are those times when all the hard work comes together and a difficult ride is easy. And so much more.  But it is not the trainer or the benefits it bestows.  And so, with all the snow and bad weather, brevet training will be a tad more difficult this year than in the recent past.

Oh, well, as T.S. Eliot once said, "If you aren't in over your head, how do you know how tall your are."  Regular self, "So I may be in over my head.  At the end, at least I'll know how tall I am."  Sensible self, "Sighhhhh.  Here we go again."


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