From mid-November to now, I’ve hardly ridden. I got carried away with hosting many guests in my house, worked well over full-time for most of December, and then took off to live out of my backpack and explore for the past three weeks. Suffice to say my bike has been neglected for quite a while other than my brief ride in Hawaii, and it’s high time I start riding again.
I thought it may be helpful to explore what I’m considering as I prepare to ride again, for those of you who have also taken some time off and are perhaps a bit hesitant to get riding again.
Rediscovering a rhythm is the hardest part. Once there’s momentum, training rides come easier. But until then, the motivation can be hard to come by. It’s mid-winter, here in Victoria it’s cold and grey. I’ve just come back from a life-changing trip in the sun and must bring myself to ride in the cold. I wasn’t expecting such a challenge getting started upon my return though, as I know I want to ride. I suppose that some SAD may be setting in for me right now.
So I’ve taken to planning and preparing as best I can.
My SAD lamp is out for the first time since last winter, ready to be put to use tomorrow morning. I have my collection of forgotten vitamins out to ensure that I have enough Iron and B12, which historically I’ve struggled with. My fenders are on and my bike is tuned(ish).
I’ll carefully and thoughtfully fuel myself with plenty of healthy, warm food every day as well.
Most importantly, I’ve set a time to meet some friends to ride. It can be hard for me to get out the door, so with a time and date set (tomorrow morning), I have a deadline. This will get me out the door and the ball should start rolling. I also know that personally, it’s better for me to ride in the morning in the winter. That way I don’t spend the day allowing time for thoughts of riding dread to interfere. Also, starting the day with a ride has to be one of the best things you can do.
I’m unfit. That won’t be a surprise. How unfit though? I’m not sure. To begin I’ll ride without a Garmin (I don’t know if I’ll ever use one again) and I’ll ride for only a couple of hours at endurance. I’ll start gently and work my way up to intervals later (maybe), and this weekend I’ll partake in my favourite group ride.
Ultimately, anything stopping me from riding is simply a mental block. There’s truly nothing to be afraid of. My stress and concern stem from my current mood and really need not exist. It’s just riding a bike! It’s easy for me to get caught up in worry about being too unfit or slow which serves only to further postpone getting back on the bike. It’s a useless exercise.
Honestly, I can’t wait to be fit again. There’s no feeling like it. I’ll work with my mental challenges to get back to riding consistently again. The key is self-care. Through planning, nutrition, personal precautions and company, I’ll be back to being a weekend warrior pretty soon. Wish me luck!
Oliver Evans 20-year-old cyclist from Winnipeg, currently living in Victoria. In 2019, he will race with Trek Red Truck Racing.