“If it’s both terrifying and amazing then you should definitely pursue it.” Unknown
A message of congratulations from my new coach after the morning’s ride, one month of training. Little does he know I’m climbing back into bed at 11am. I’m shattered. Apparently it’s an adjustment period. He’s measured and has incredible taste for a good bowl of porridge.
You’re always going to win me on food.
First week, my new power meter wasn’t working. Apparently you’re meant to calibrate it. Who would have thought?
The crew were fiddling with my pedals while another suggested a screen change for the right data. This app stuff is killing me. So many, Strava, Garmin Connect, Training Peaks and two for the weather. Someone then says I could get this app called Stages.
The screen technician laughs as he watches my heart rate increase on the app as I’m listening to the benefits of yet another app.
I could do with a brown paper bag.
Remarkably similar to our pantry whiteboard where the kids note any items they need at the supermarket. Recently there were five types of tea: ginger/lemongrass, peppermint, calming, black and my favourite, womankind. I wonder where they’re hanging out? It’s a bit like the apps, seriously that many?
I can’t hide anything in this group. The coach gets my data, a whole bunch of scores defining my riding. Having done three units of statistics I still don’t care much for the numbers.
I’ve just purchased an indoor trainer. Yep another app AND they all have to sync. For someone who barely watches TV, this hurts. I just want to pedal but first is there wifi, bluetooth and are the little buggers all talking to each other?
I’m in deep.
This leads to my third ride of the first week, starting at 545am, in what turned out to be teaming rain with howling winds. Coming at us in all directions, water streaming down my face and eventually to my feet. Sopping socks. Dirt splashes off back wheels flicking into my eyes. Way too wet for glasses.
We’re moving at a cracking pace. I’m hanging off the back with the bunch trying to protect me. The monkey mind starts…you’re never going to keep up, this is madness, who are these people?
Blah, blah, blah.
Observing my thoughts, pep talk time: unpredicted wind, new people, dark, wet and cold, yet you are all here. Badass. Just keep pedalling G.
Convincing until I start to fall off the back, my heart rate at 180.
I call out several times but no one can hear. Oops. A random cyclist rolls up, yells “jump on and I’ll get you back on.” I’ve never been more grateful.
After the ride the coach says he’s sorry, he didn’t think the weather was going to turn like that. He wanted to make sure I was okay.
Okay? Let that sink in.
I’ve ordered an almond croissant purely for comfort.
I now understand my teenager daughter after a bad loss at her rep basketball game a few years ago. She asked me to take her to McDonalds. I hate that place but she begged, “Mum I need to eat away my feelings.” She got her fix.
If this wasn’t my first week with this crew, I would have shoved it in my mouth in one go.
The word okay echoes through me as the caffeine and sugar take effect. Drenched the way through, bitterly cold and blown away I survived that.
I know I’m in big time.
The next week we are riding through gates over a railway line. A few of us unclip and the coach sees. He stops us and wants us to try it again. He waits with the others on the other side. I ace it. I roll onto the grass to swing my bike around.
That feeling you know you’re going down. I’m on the ground. Everyone turns around. A moment of silence.
I think to myself man I need another almond croissant.
The coach checks if I’m okay. I want to ask if I need another app for that? Best not draw more attention to myself lying on the grass.
I say how embarrassed I am, and another rider laughs and says “I know what you mean, let me tell you about when…” A ripper story.
We all have those moments.
Perhaps just not in front of your coach going ever so slowly in your first month.
I joke about the quantity of apps needed to assess physiological states and lots of other fancy things. However, what those apps can’t measure are connection and wellbeing found with a collective of people who are pushing their own individual comfort zones, together.
Maybe there is a tea for that?