I know cycling isn't something I'll be getting a pay-cheque from - it's a hobby, albeit an incredibly rewarding and enthralling one, but a hobby nonetheless, And even though it's just something I do for fun, I seem to be over-run by anxiety once or twice a year as I prepare for whatever my main goal is that season.
Long ago I knew that I wasn't going to be trying to go professional, if it was even an option, but that didn't mean I wasn't still going set lofty expectations for myself. I take a lot of satisfaction in continuing to progress, finding and testing my limits. I get pretty wrapped up in it. Even though it's 'just' a fun hobby, I don't want to feel like I didn't race to my potential and push to the limits everytime I strap on a race plate. Maybe that's not the right way to treat a hobby, but it just seems to be the way I'm wired. And it probably has to do a lot with why I seem to keep revisiting 24 Hour Solo races, even though I've come to know quite well how much suffering and difficulty they can inflict.
My first 24 Hour Solo attempt in 2010. I've done it 3 times, and likely more to come...
Which is why, at least once a season I find myself stressing about how training is going. Not because I risk losing anything if I don't have a good race/event/etc, but because it would disappoint myself. This year is no different, and as I start my preparation for the Cape Epic, I find myself worrying I'm not doing enough, haven't taken enough down-time, won't be able to improve on 2015's Epic, among a multitude of other things.
It all started with cyclocross season, the first time I entered the fall 100% under-prepared for the short maximal efforts required. But I raced anyways because CX is whacky, fun, and entirely addictive. You'd be hard pressed to see me skip a CX season entirely. So even if I wasn't racing as well as I did last year, I was happy to be out between the race tape every weekend through the fall.
After the Thanksgiving weekend, I came down with a solid flu, the kind that knocks you out for more than a week. I don't get sick often, but when I do, it seems to hit hard. I skipped the following weekend of racing in the hopes to rally quickly, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Instead of being stubborn like I usually would, I'm going to call it quits on CX season (there's only 1 race weekend left anyways) and refocus on the Cape Epic.
But now is where the doubt enters. A CX season that didn't leave any boosts to my confidence combined with a couple weeks of waking fatigue that is keeping me off any sort of fitness routine has me second guessing a lot. Was it a mistake to race the CX season? Have I been incorporating enough recovery time into my training blocks? What if I can't find the motivation to put in the long hours for the next 149 days in preparation for the Cape Epic?
Likely, these questions mean nothing, but there's always a little bit of doubt in the back of the mind. The only cure seems to be more riding... I get a little stir crazy when I haven't done any physical exercise in awhile, and right now I'm going on 10 days of sickness keeping me from getting a sweat on.
There you go - a little window into what is going on in my head. Call me soft if you want. ;)
Here's hoping for some energy and health in time to enjoy the lack of snow. Hopefully I can sneak in a few rides on the new mountain bike before true winter settles in!
Thanks for reading! Look for a post shortly on the bikes myself and Coleman are going to be racing in the Epic. I've only been on one ride on the new 2017 Cannondale Scalpel-Si, but I immediately felt at home on it.
Oh, and have you donated to our fundraiser for the Stollery yet? Because you should! If you don't know what I'm talking about, check out our fundraising page for the story. If you already know the story, or just want to jump right to the page where you can donate, click here.