24th May – New beginnings.

Two months have passed since I set up this blog! I haven’t yet figured out the direction this blog will take, but it’s been some time since I wrote last. It felt a bit like one of those projects we all start big and ends up becoming a flop because I lost interest after a week or two. I don’t want that to happen to this, because I’m crazy about sport, and if you’re here reading this, I’m sure you’re just as. It won’t. To keep me writing new articles, please leave a comment so I’m encouraged. I appreciate it.

1.5 months went by with no training whatsoever. I can testify that withdrawal symptoms were present. 
1.5 months went by with me telling myself that I needed this rest. Or was I lazy? Let’s not consider that a possibility. It’s been over 5 long years of training 6 days a week, abusing both body and mind. Sure, I needed it. 1.5 was plenty though. 
1.5 months went by with me not touching my bicycle. Not a day. Aerobic endurance is the first to go, in the process of detraining. 

Curfew went from late-March to late-May. 

The last ride before curfew, was 260k, to Galle Fort and back to Colombo. 
I started training again, with 20k. On the loop. 
Shit happens but ???

So I began again from scratch. I had some muscle-memory, and my lovely memories of the long rides. 

Before I log the next two weeks, I will tell you that the first thing I did was figure out why. Why ever. 

There’s this saying: He who has a why can bear any how. 

I didn’t want to half-ass this by forcing myself to do something I didn’t want to do. So I thought: Okay. Let’s figure out why first, and then deal with the how. 

I have no coach right now, and absolutely every race for the next three months at least, is cancelled. It’s perfect: plenty of time to build a strong base. But why? 

I remember asking my rowing coach why people do sport. That was ages ago. He didn’t have too much of an answer for me – maybe he thought it was so obvious that it didn’t need explaining. But why? Is it to attract mates? Is it to demonstrate power or to ascend a hierarchy of dominance? Maybe both. What’s without question is that it’s driven by our innate sense of competition. 

The next question was: Why the hell would I want to get fast on a bike, if I have to first convince myself that I do? 

I think I know why. Sport is what’s kept me grounded. It’s what’s given me a sense of purpose. A dedication to the nth degree, that keeps me feeling like I’m doing something with myself. There are other things looming up on the horizon. Bigger, taller things than myself or my bike, but for now, until then, the bicycle will keep me from flying too close to the sun, or sinking into the quicksand of time. I’ve gotta live out my life, whatever happens, right? And I’ll die someday, you and me both. I’ve got plenty of time till then, so I might as well do something with that time.

That’s still not the answer though. Here’s the next problem.

The brain will not produce the chemicals and electrical energy necessary to get you moving and pushing yourself on the bike. You know it consciously, and you’re aware of the need, but it’s only superficial. It won’t get into your subconscious yet for it to work on the motivation side of things. It won’t reach the biological sphere of motivation until you give yourself a ‘why‘, grounded in firm unquestionable reasoning. And then, your body believes your mind. Things start happening. Ali said it himself.

It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen. 

Muhammad Ali

What the repetition of affirmations do, is that it helps you forget why not, and focus solely on the why. Before that, you need to iron out the kinks in your reason. Your conviction. Your case to your body to punish itself every week, until it adapts to be able to push a 53/15 gear at 110rpm for an hour. That’s around 45kph.  Time-trial winning speeds.

I figured out mywhy‘, and I’ll write it here for you to know, so you don’t go down the same hole: bad things happen when I have nothing to do. I focus on gratification. I become weak in mind, when my mind isn’t focused. Cycling taught me that there’s no downhill before an uphill first, and the mind needs to be focused in order to even begin the uphill. Without focus, all else falls out of focus and become a blur. Priorities misalign, and life descends into meaninglessness. Conviction, dedication, and purpose. They’re all fancy words to talk about the same thing. You know what I mean. It’s getting things done and feeling good about it. That’s why I do sport. 

The first three weeks into it: 

I spent the first week doing 20ks. Some hard, some easy. Usually alternating days, and usually on feel. Going on feel is smarter than spending a lot on power meters. I’m not pro. There’s no means, there’s no need. Richard Bussell won the 10-mile UK National Time Trial on a 1000$ bike made of used and borrowed parts. Why not you? 

I had knee pains and muscle pains here and there, the first week back into it. Stretching into an aero position after 1.5 months of sitting/sleeping, was cracking. My back.

It hurt! But I was okay soon. 

Usually, the longer you’ve been training, the faster your fitness will come back after a break.

Week two: 30ks. Gradually increased to 30, 35 sometimes, and once 40. Easy does it. 

Week three: Two 100k rides, and one 70k ride. Easy does it? 😛 

I felt strong, and I every day spent on the bike is another day I end wanting even more, to win. To win what, I don’t know, but that doesn’t matter yet. 

Ingirya Road was explored, and I found a very hilly route to Avissawella. 98k round-trip, from Spinner. Beautiful landscapes. All I see is green and blue sometimes, and a bit of road in front of me. Empty roads of course. Follow the A4, turn onto Ingiriya, turn left at the school grounds around 5km into Ingiriya Road, turn left at first T-junction, turn left at second T-junction, and turn right just past the big new bridge. You can’t miss it. The road falls onto Avissawella, just past the Puwakpitiya Railway Station. Check out my post on my favorite roads for cycling around SL.

It’s Sunday, and tomorrow is a light day. Active recovery till Tuesday, another long ride. It’ll be to Avissawella and back: 100k. Last run was 3hours and 20 mins averaging 90rpm. Let’s see how this turns out. I’m prioritizing 110-120rpm over speed for the next two months. 

Hopefully, by end-July, 200k will be comfortable. Riding further out of Colombo for two-day training rides will be a possibility then. Will be good to switch things up and explore more. I’ll definitely write about those. Updates every Monday, and you can enter your email below to have new posts sent fresh. 

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