Now we all have those times where everything happens at once and eventually, something has to give. Unfortunately for me, the last few months, it's been riding. Most unfortunate.
I wanted to write something so the next time I fall into a similar rut, I can remember that it's happened before and I got out of it then. So excuse the rather whimsical and anecdotal nature of this particular entry or feel free to skip this entirely and read something more cycling related, as this post contains very little actual cycling.
So like most, I'm juggling work, in my current case, a new job; family, specifically a very understanding fiance and hobbies, of which riding is the main one. The time to do all these things is finite and requires incredible management to ensure they all get the fair lick of the spoon. Considering that currently I've got no kids, I would imagine it only gets more difficult from here.
It all started to go wrong for my riding routine when I changed jobs in August. Take that well honed routine, stick it in the washing machine and start all over. Training sessions, out the window, weekday rides - a thing of the past, even cleaning and maintaining the bike - completely off the priority list and hence heavily neglected. The last few months, I've been chalking up one ride a week as a win, when normality for me would have been 2-3 plus some gym/ turbo work. Personally, this becomes a huge mental challenge. I feel sluggish, somewhat guilty and all around a bit low, likely due to the lack of endorphins my body, under the stress of a regimented exercise routine, has become accustomed to. I've tried to counter this by really throwing myself into the new job for one and secondly, focusing on the 2019 season. Almost writing off the end of the 2018 cycling season and allowing what will be to be. Actually, this has been a positive step, it means the pressure to train, and therefore the guilt when I don't, somewhat ebbs away and is replaced by motivation to do better next year.
I'm looking ahead, I'm making a plan and I'm setting some goals to make 2019 my best riding season yet. That's not necessarily in race results, but in riding experiences. New bike is on the way, to open up new categories and exploration possibilities, a bit of gravel perhaps, a sprinkling of bike packing maybe. Race goals are set, I've got every intention to make a stab at Cat 2 next year and do my first road race: something I've been putting off for years. Somewhere in the middle of the year, there will be some travel, with France and Spain on the radar for bike specific breaks, assuming of course I can get that past the other half. Come this time next year, I'll hopefully be knee deep in mud from the cross season, having been racing for a couple of weeks and cutting my teeth on the most mental of cycling disciplines.
So you see, what a bit of down time does, is force you, one way or another to find some perspective on your situation. It doesn't have to be a negative experience and actually, we could all sometimes do with an opportunity to step back and take a break. Focus on the other areas of life a little more, like the long neglected better halves or the dusty guitar in the corner of the room. Before you know it, it will be Christmas and the end of the year and we can all relish in the extra time we get to spend with family, loved ones and if you're even luckier, the bike.
Enjoy folks and if I don't catch you on another post, Merry Christmas.