Today the weather was offically minging. I rode a pitiful ten miles. And yet, in hindsight, those ten miles were not entirely wasted.
Solo Fears are annoying.
In 2015 I rode over 2000 miles on my bike. 30 of those accounted for miles alone. This is a little fear that I have to get over. Luckily triathlon is excellent platform for conquering fears, as I have discovered, and I fully intend to add solo riding to my list of new skills that took determination alongside club swimming, open water swimming, club riding, clipless pedals, descending down small and then big, and then bigger hills.
As a brave friend of mine prepares to depart our shores and cycle the entire length of South America solo (!) I head out for a Saturday ride alone, and experience the familiar nerves and fumbles that accompany solo riding.Wouldn’t it be so freeing if I could crack it?
I can only put the challenge I have with this down to a combination of feeling less secure on the road with cars (less of a presence), less secure in terms of where the hell I am going with my lack of orientation skills, and an age old irrational of being isolated in the middle of nowhere. And today you can add to this pre-menstrual co-ordination challenges (this irritating thing happens every month, and yes, I was pre-menstrual on Ironman day, thanks.)
Some sessions are stars, and some sessions are stones – but in the end they are all stones and we build upon them.
Despite all this, I headed off with the best intentions of riding the Chew Lake loop solo for the first time. Alas the wind was brutally gusty, shaking my bike and threatening, in my mind at least, to throw me into the path of oncoming vehicles which incidentally are all utterly mental today – rushing around on the last Saturday to commit commercially influenced errors like buying frozen sausage rolls made of sad pigs and plastic things to wrap that end up in landfill whilst inebriated and sleepy from what has apparently become the booziest Friday night of the entire year. Uh, modern Christmas.
|A blustery grey Saturday for a ride|
These thoughts of mental sleepy hung over people behind great hunks of metal floated through my mind, just as the rain set in and pelted me directly into my eye balls. I pulled over. My rear light had stopped working again.
And thus, I did a quick risk calculation and did an about turn, heading for a category 3 climb on the way back home so I could feel that I had at least achieved something. Whilst I didn’t crack the 40 miler solo, I will.
So what are the three things you can achieve in just ten crappy miles? Well, I attempted the solo ride, spent 10 seconds on my tri bars (9 more than last time), and got a PB and 9th overall on said climb. Little tiny achievements in the face of lameness. I look forward to saying in your face to my solo riding and tri bar nerves as I train for the 2016 race season.
These are very ‘me’ oriented. Thee three things that everyone will get from a crappy session will be another building block regardless of success, the chance to reflect on what needs to be improved upon and, most importantly some humility.