The best feeling in the world… ambition

With the main summer season drawing to a close, I am already mentally gearing up for the winter training. Working in the Information Technology industry means that I am well-learned from my school days regarding the SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle). The basic principle is that you identify a need, you design a solution, you develop the solution, test the solution and then implement it. By the time you implement a solution, you are back to the point at which you need to start identifying for the next generation of software and needs. I find this directly relates to cycling. *Bear with me here, I know it is a stretch*

We all have heard the story of the two cyclists in the fall. Cyclist A hangs up his bike and settles in for a long winter hibernation, while cyclist B spends the frigid winter either riding or on his indoor trainer. Come spring, cyclist A is starting all over, seeing none of his gains from the summer, where cyclist B is stronger and faster than he ever was.  I will never again be cyclist A. I have a tendency to schedule my most challenging events early in the spring (Gran Fondo NY, Harpoon B2B, etc) and in order to succeed at them, I have to train hard in the winter. I might even go as far as to say that my winter training is more intense than my summer riding. Last year I started training around February or so, with the serious training in March and April. It is now hardly November and I am already plotting my course for the training schedule. 

Last year I was determined to finish these events. This year, I am already setting my eye on strong finish time. I want to increase my overall speed, complete the events in faster time and not suffer through them. Suffering is for training rides, where as big events should be enjoyed. 

So this weekend I am putting away my short sleeve jerseys and taking out the winter gear. It is time to get to work!

A new love affair

When we start to get involved in a new  relationship (boyfriend/girlfriend, etc) we think about them a lot. We might even go so far as to call out sick and play hookey to spend time with them, or maybe take a day off of work during the week and have a nice picnic with them in the park. It is how we impress them, subconsciously stating that “I am available and you are important to me”.

I have decided to take a few days off to make this a long weekend to spend time with Suzy. The weather here is damn-near perfect. The temperature is in the mid 60’s during the day, crisp cool air, the leaves on the  trees are exploding with color and there are 10,000 places begging to be explored. Roads are getting a fresh tarmac in preparation for a snowy winter, and anyone who has had the pleasure will agree that a freshly paved road is pure gold when riding a bike.

I am excited to be out there on the bike instead of in the office on a Friday or a Monday. Instead of conference calls, I  will be yelling “car back” up the line. Instead of meeting reminders I will be signaling turns. Instead of stress causing my blood pressure to go up, I will be climbing hills, causing my heart to race.  Instead of deadlines, I will be holding the line.  I won’t spend time looking at network diagrams and Microsoft Outlook, I will be looking out over a landscape of autumn color from the top of local climbs.

Here’s to this weekend!

Meet Suzy

The new girl

The new girl

There is always something to cheer me up. In this case, it is Suzy, my new S5. Today was her inaugural ride. It was, well, FANTASTIC!!!!!! With all that has been going on lately, a day like today is exactly what I needed. We rolled out around 8AM, the 4 of us going over a route we haven’t done in over a year. Riding Suzy was effortless. Over the course of the next 45 miles, we rolled over some great roads in Westchester County, through towns, over hills and down long descents. I really wanted to put her through the paces so I would know what needs to be adjusted. Other than some slight numbness in my hands around mile 20, it was pure joy. The climbs were faster than I have ever climbed them before and the descents were faster and more stable. I didn’t want the ride to end.

Unless next weekend… when I will give her more road to eat!

Enthusiasm versus obsession

There is only a slight difference between enthusiasm and obsession. An obsession is defined by need where enthusiasm is fueled by desire. When it comes to cycling, it is difficult for me to draw the line.

I have been plagued by a lot of work for my job this week, and have been working long hours. That being the case, as well as a lot of work this weekend meant calling off any riding this weekend. The last thing I need is to get a phone call for work while I am riding and be several hours from being able to get back to a computer. That being said, I feel the pressure of not riding this week.

As I walk by the room I store my bike in, I hear this angel and the devil on my shoulders having the following argument:

Devil: You know you really should be out there on your bike today. 

Angel: But it is just one week off. You deserve some rest.

Devil: The weather is great outside. How often do you think about not being to ride when the weather is just right?

Angel: You would jeopardize your job just because we have some sun?

Devil: Not every ride has to be 100 miles. Just go out for a little while.

Angel: You have so many other things to do right now, including working.

 

This argument goes on and on. While I am sure I captured the argument correctly, I don’t know that I have the right roles. I will let them duke it out for now, but in the end, this is my week off. My time to just relax a little while I focus on work and obsess about the arrival of my new bike.