On being an Athlete again

Over the past year, for various reasons (moving cross-country, fatigue, etc) I’ve spent less time on the bike. I went from doubling up in CX (SS and B race) every weekend to making it to one race. I still took my 29er out for the occasional morning on the trail. I dreamt up excuses (Northwest winter, lack of friends), and decided getting my life settled took precedence. However, I knew my fitness lapsed.

Recently, I’ve started training again. It feels great. I relish the challenge of training. I feel accomplished after doing intervals for the last 45 minutes of a 3:30 hour ride, and limping home. The hunger, the sleep, all feels better.

I paid for my time off on those first few long rides. The rides hurt mentally and physically; I’ve never biked so slowly, and felt so tired afterwards. However, the time off and the first few serious back to back to back days on the bike made me appreciate something I forgot – I was (am) an athlete.

  • I trained with a plan.
  • I trained with a team.
  • I tracked my results.
  • I worked on my weaknesses.
  • I competed to win, not just finish.

When you’re constantly trying to get better, many of your friends are also cyclists, and winning seems a mile away, it’s easy to lose sight of your efforts and accomplishments. More importantly, you forget what you do is not normal.

I’ve created a list of to help me remember my progress.

Respect your on days – take time to celebrate days where you feel great on the bike, or the first to the line.

Respect your off days – there will be days where you’re tired, distracted, or slow for no reason. You can’t set a PR every day.

Respect other’s efforts – encourage your friends who are training for a charity ride, riding to a brewery, or commuting. Remember there was a time when 30 miles was a longer training ride. Not everyone wants to race, and that’s totally cool.

I can’t wait for cross season.

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