This time last year I was working towards a goal. I’d just taken delivery of the Fuji (my bike), and was slowly trying to get myself in a fit enough state to be able to attempt John o’ Groats to Lands End. Building up to be able to ride at a pace that I could both maintain, and complete 100 miles per day, for 10 days in a row. Now, in hind site, it’s debatable as to weather there was any real skill involved in doing this or it was just a case of conditioning. But it was a goal nonetheless that I was working toward.
Every Sunday, and every day off, I would head out into the countryside building up my pace and range. When I got to the stage where I could comfortably ride 60 miles in 4 hours, I started to ride with a weighted bag. It was far heavier than it need to be, much heavier than the stuff I would need to carry on The Ride, but I figured that it would help to build up my strength and stamina. As would handicapping myself on my commute to and from work by doing it on a singlespeed, the climbs became steeper and the gearing forced me to pedal all the time.
All throughout this period I changed my bike in a few ways to make it more comfortable, and slowly built up my equipment. Although, for some unknown reason, and even after the very wet Watlington ride, I didn’t get a waterproof jacket. The Bear and I also took part in a couple of the Evans Ride It events where we were encouraged to ride at a faster pace than we’d been training at, and forced to ride further than we ever had before.
Everything was geared toward The Ride. Every Sunday we went out we would undoubtedly ride past several country pubs that would have the aroma of a roast Sunday dinner beckoning us in, which we always resisted and always promised ourselves that after The Ride we would succumb…
The thing is, we never have. And it’s not, as I thought might be the case, because we threw our bikes into the sea when we reached Lands End. Somewhere along the way, through the training, despite the arduous To Poole And Back weekend, and the gruelling ride itself, we found we actually enjoyed it. Since we’ve been back I’ve continued to ride, and continued to push myself. I’ve just bought a new cycle computer that will let me know how I’m doing in comparison to my previous best, which is as frustrating as it is useful. And, I’ve finally bought a waterproof jacket so I’m all set up for training over the winter. But for what reason? I don’t know, it doesn’t really matter, I know it’s not for a triathlon*, I just enjoy doing it. I’m sure one day that we’ll go on another proper big adventure. And I quite like the idea of doing the Paris-Roubaix one year, as I know Simon the guy on singlespeed we met in Kendal is planning on doing. But, for now, I’m quite content riding and training for no other reason at all than I enjoy it.