Problem is I have loads of my twenty one days holiday left, and it's a case of use it or lose it. Though that's not the reason for my recovery week.
I think for the first, maybe second time in my life I've suffered real stress (yeah I can hear you all laughing). I've never given stress any real credence, thinking no one has stress. Not like I'm in the trenches or anything.
But the signs were there, I'll only mention two as the others are far too personal, and I hated the way I was. Firstly there was losing a stone without dieting, and then staying off the road bike for over two months just because I didn't want to ride were but a few, not sure I've ever been off the bike that long?
So I set the week aside.
I fall at the first hurdle. I simply can't face racing. So I decide to ride with the club instead, but I look at the steady ride and it's fifty miles, I just can't do it. So I simply lay on my bed in my cycling kit and just think about riding instead.
I'm clearly fatigued from hardly any sleep the last seven months.
I spend the day cleaning my bike and my kit and think more about racing in 2016 rather than worry about rushing back before I'm ready.
I prep the cross bike and make plans to ride Monday. But hey ho life has other plans and the ride doesn't happen. Determined to do something I jump on the Watt Bike, and though it has a broken data screen it can still be used manually.
I shove Daft Punk on, the sound of the Pyrenees in 2013 and start an old 'Time Crunched' interval training session. Suddenly I feel alive like I've never been off the bike, three minute sessions at max are still in me. Though the Watt Bike is great and playing a big part in things, far better than the Turbo which now seems erratic in comparison. Forty minutes plus warm up/down and I feel pleased with myself. I make a promise to myself to get out on the Ridley the next day.
The next day and life shows up again and I can't get out. The Watt Bike beckons.
After taking my dose of Ginseng and something called Ginkgo I sit down to look at my heart rate, my maximum and average. I've only got a pulse meter, no power meter and it's been about three years since I tested my maximum going up and down the bypass, and I ain't about to do that again. When I did do those tests the result was pretty much the same as the old fag packet calculation for maximum heart rate anyway. So I'm going with that old one now. 220 minus age 56 equals 164 max heart rate.
Back on the Watt Bike, twenty minutes warm up. Forty minutes at 85% and ten minutes warm down. Done.
The Siberian Ginseng and Ginkgo must be doing it's thang. I've never used anything like this before and I'm desperate not to take meds. I hope it's not all hype, the hippy that recommended it seemed certain of it's powers. I said I needed a pick me up to undo seven months of stress and lack of sleep, and these two are what she advised. Also bought loads of ingredients to make up my own bars, and for my back pockets from her. I'm determined to keep the weight that I lost off, and will be embarking on a good diet from here on in, not a strict one, I don't want to be a bore. Just good enough to actually feel healthy inside and drop the eat anything coz I work and train hard attitude.
So day three, will I eventually get out?
Day three. After two good days on the Watt Bike and supplementary weight training, and the most sleep I've had for nearly a year I've decided to rest and diet. Thursday 'will' be a day out in the hills.
Day four and I'm out. All Belgian'd up and on the Ridley, and heading for the hills.
It's wet and it's windy and my first marker on my ride is a canal side ride parallel to the 'proper' road I'd normally take. The 28c road tyres just hang on, keeping me upright until I turn off and head up Ivinghoe Beacon. As I've been going steady there's no need to drop out of the big ring, instead I stand on the pedals all the way to the top. I'm already feeling good about being out.
I have to put the good feelings on hold as I turn into Ashridge and into a headwind. Gripping the bars near the stem I begin to embrace the conditions and pick up a meandering rider on my way along. Sadly for him I have to turn right and head off for a descent of Toms Hill. Going down Toms today is a bit hairy, my canti's are wide open for cross use and are only just scrubbing off speed as I sweep down over the wet greasy leafy road. So it's with some small relief when I turn off towards Wiggington.
The route from hear is plain sailing, just a small climb up to Wiggington and a series of undulations until the Crong. The Crong was a bastard of a descent today, absolutely filthy and my canti's provided only token braking, I was missing my Campags.
|On the Lion of Leighton|
Before heading for home I took an off road detour to check the conditions of the route we're using for the upcoming Lion of Leighton. They were okay BTW.
Home and job done. Just a good evening out to de stress even more, Duvel and curry and I'm not paying. The week of rest is working.
|Helps wash down the Belgian toothpaste|
Sessions on the Watt Bike done. Time to get ready for another session, the Black Lion-Pizza Express-Black Lion classic. Or the LBRCC Christmas drink/awards night...awards/drink night? never quite sure. Absolutely great night, all you need is two LBRCC riders and a drink and you have a party. Get a whole load of us together and you have a PARTY. Even the other diners and drinkers got in on our festivities. Top night of the year for me.
It's Saturday and I ain't moving. Pants and flip flops all day long.
Sunday and the last day of my break, and I'm on a long overdue club ride. I have trouble recognizing some of the guys it's been so long. The blasted cyclocross season has put a massive three month dent into my club runs. I've not been very chairmanny.
We also have three rides going out again which is nice. I've opted for G2 with Tom D leading and old route of mine. Forty Five miles on some right ropey roads. We set off on a mixed bag of bikes, modern carbon racers, aluminium winter hacks, cyclocrosser, 1960's clubmans bike and whoahhh a stunning loaded Ridley, my favourite brand. I'm a little bit sentimental when it comes to bikes, but when they're Ridley's I'm just plain mental. If you own a Ridley you are duty bound to ride it and never cut a ride short to head home.
Anyway the route was a little bit sketchy here and there, we had rain, but in the end it all dried up a treat. Even the Crong seemed to be fighting back nature. All in all a good six man ride out to finish off a much needed break.
Ready for the Festive 500 now. Though I'm not going to bust my balls for a badge. Happy Xmas.