Why I ride …

Sometimes I ask myself, why on earth I am doing this? Cycling at 5 degrees Celsius with a fresh north-easterly headwind and pouring rain does not appear to be fun to many people, however I truly enjoyed myself today! It was even rewarding completing the whole ride, I could have taken the train back, as there was a chance to do so. I didn’t even think about it in the end.

This may seem odd to some people, but a good bit of my cycling has always been about tackling barriers, whether they were imposed by myself, or by others. Being on a bike, so strong but yet so vulnerable and fragile, is a very special activity for me, and it mostly has been since I was younger. After today I am more than confident that I will only take the train option if the world around me disappears in a massive snowstorm in December, if it is getting life threatening. Anything else, wind, rain, hail, I had them so many times here in Scotland, and with a bit of determination they are unpleasant, but manageable challenges.

My body has done a great job this year with keeping up all the time, probably the first time since I am seriously into cycling. Most other years have been with ups and downs, which mainly comes from working in a job that sometimes sucks any free time out of you. Entertainment can be as cruel as a blizzard. Funnily I am currently in that phase again, with opening night and season launch one day apart this week. But somehow today was a great day, and a good restart of training until I hit the roads for the ride to Germany in December. After a devastating crash with a car in November 2008 I was off for most of the season in NZ, with any confidence lost, until I got on the bike in December to cycle form Auckland to Wellington, in a blast! Starting with 165km on the first day did set the benchmark for the rest of the tour, which was my most challenging ride so far. It seems peanuts to what I will do in a few weeks, but I am feeling much stronger this time as well, with confidence on an all time high. No cigarettes any more, hardly any alcohol as well, and a body that plainly works at the moment. The timing could have not been better so far, fingers crossed that the injuries stay away.

If anybody is interested: How can you manage to ride 300km in a single day, or an equivalent of 165km with nobby tyres and luggage? The simple questions is, break it up into small pieces, set yourself realistic goals, and set a higher goal once you achieved one. I am pretty much the same off the bike, but the recipe works pretty well. The first 20km, then another 20, then you tackle the 50, get to 80, and once you hit the magic 100 the rest is easy, because you are proud of what you achieved. It’s a wee bit of a different strategy when you tackle 300km in one day, but the principle is the same. More important even is to reward yourself, and discover the joys that biking brings you, most importantly freedom. And often good people to chat to, nice places to see, and a strong body.

So to conclude: my plans seem a bit tough, especially should I take the single speed option, but I am more than confident that I can do the biking easily. Still finishing to final plans, as there are none. And there might not be a plan in place anyway, rather than arriving in time for Christmas, and eating half of my mother’s traditional Stollen in one go.  And have a good Glühwein. With that thought in mind I will easily tackle the 100 miles tomorrow, if not more. And you can do the same!