Monthly Archives: October 2009

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The pain will set you free

Mental note to self: if you’re going to keep doing Thursday night rides after work, make sure you eat enough during the afternoon.

Last night was the first of our Thursday night rides and we did about 40 kilometres (it was 43.21km by the time I got home). We were heading home along Swanston St and I started to feel decidedly woozy. Really, really not good at all. We’d stop at red lights and I’d have real problems getting going once they changed. I just felt totally wiped with no energy left at all. All I wanted to do was get off my bike and lie down. Or throw up. Not sure which would’ve won out if I had stopped. There was a whole ick factor to the experience that was not pleasant at all.

So what I learnt was that I need to snack solidly during the afternoon to make sure I have enough fuel for the ride. I might be a little fattie but a mars bar at 4.30 simply doesn’t cut it.

This isn’t to say the ride was bad. It wasn’t. It was challenging and that’s what I need. If I’m going to ride more, I have to adjust to being in heavy traffic for longer than five minutes. I need to build my confidence and adjust to the physical and mental effort that’s required.

The mental stuff is interesting. I find the rides to be enormously helpful. It clears my head of all the crap I end up thinking about. I’m so distractible these days but the bike riding forces me out of that. If I don’t focus, I will come to grief. I have to pay attention to what I’m doing right at that moment. My riding companion told me to snap out of work mode last night because I really wasn’t paying attention when we got into the heavy traffic. It’s really great to be riding with someone who takes care of me. He decides where we’re going to go and respects my wishes about avoiding heavy traffic. I just have to follow. He’s had the experience of doing this sort of riding (which I’m discovering is very different from commuting) while I push him to ride harder because I’m fitter than him. We’re a good match.

I suppose I’m thinking a lot about why I ride at the moment. I know I love it, I love the sensation of movement that’s caused by my own physical efforts. There’s something amazing about cruising along at a steady pace that you somehow inherently know you can keep at it for hours. I suppose it’s because in the moment, I feel more alive than I do at any other time. I can feel my heart beating, the vibration of the bike, my legs complaining when there’s a hill to be tackled. Sure it hurts but there’s a freedom to be found in it that makes it worthwhile.

Found this on Netti’s web site:
“It says something about the fibre of a person, who even after the advent of the automobile, chooses to ride a vehicle thats engine consists of their own heart, lungs and legs. But the struggle of a hill, the solitude of an endless road, the games you play with your mind, the false promises you make to your screaming limbs, these are all part of the joy of cycling. The fact is – no sport is more gruelling. Cycling demands everything of its riders.”

I’m a little tired now


46.34ks = 28.79 miles.

But it was totally awesome!! I was so tired by the time I got home but I was on a massive high. Of course I’ve crashed now and feel really tired but that was to be expected. It was the first time I’ve been riding with someone and I have to say it was really nice to have some company, especially someone who was willing to pace to me. I’ve never really worked on increasing my endurance or speed so this might be an opportunity to do so. We rode to the Grand Prix circuit in Albert Park and did four and a half laps of it. It’s amazing to ride on. The surface is just perfect. It has some awesome corners that you can lean right into (but I didn’t because I don’t know what I’m doing when it comes to fast cornering).

I remember now why I used to ride so much. It just makes me feel good.