It seems that my life has revolved around cycling ever since I began training for the Trans Am Bike Race last September. Don’t get me wrong, I was pretty obsessive about cycling before that point, but things have subtly shifted up a gear during the last few months.
I had this epiphany at around 10pm Saturday night. While most people were safely ensconced in their local pub, clutching a pint of ale, I was out in the rain, pounding the tarmac between London and Salisbury. The reasoning behind my apparent madness is a bit long winded.
I’d gone up to London to visit a few friends from university (a rarity in itself given how busy I seem to be at the moment) but wanted to make sure that I’d still be able to train over the weekend. Lewy (who astute readers will remember from my November microadventure in Wales) provided a solution, suggesting that we head to Surrey for a Saturday ride.
This plan didn’t quite come to fruition. Rather than having a sensibly early night on Friday, we managed to stay out until the early hours having a thoroughly good time. In fact, as we caught the night bus back to Lewy’s, I felt quite righteous about proceedings — after all this was good practice for the sleep deprivation I’m sure to experience in June!
I felt slightly less righteous the following morning. In fact, I felt entirely awful. The net result of our combined hangovers was that we didn’t make it out to Surrey until mid afternoon. While the ride around the Box Hill area was pleasant, I felt as though I hadn’t managed to make the most of the day off work — I needed to bag some more miles!
Night Ride Home
So rather than head back to central London, I decided to ride back to Salisbury — a distance, as it turns out, of around 90 miles (15 more than the 75 suggested by Google Maps).
The ensuing ride was definitely ‘Type Two Fun’ — i.e. an activity that isn’t fun at the time, but is fun to reflect on. The weather was downright apocalyptic, but I had the roads to myself and I was out on my bike, putting in the hard miles.
I seem to remember reading that Lance Armstrong (not the best person to mention on a cycling blog these days, but bear with me) used to like training in the rain. To him, it was an opportunity to get ahead of all those people that would stay home rather than brave the elements. That was how this ride felt to me — it was unpleasant, it was cold, it was wet, but it was happening. I hadn’t taken the easy option.
I made it home around 10.30, pleased that I’d managed to put in a good ride and glad to have banked a few more tough miles. As I said at the start of this post, cycling seems to have taken priority over the last few months, but that’s how it should be. To use a cliché, nothing worth having is easy. Training hard through the winter isn’t easy, but the results will hopefully be worth having.
Apologies for the sparsity of images in this post — the events took place at night!