our brains have an infinite number of gears, and I suppose you could place them on the same type of continuum.
my bicycling brain, however, has seemed to have very few gears, namely
- go hard
- go less hard
- don't go
don't go, of course, is a complete recovery day. these are the days that increase your strength as your overtaxed muscles rebuild. usually once a week.
go less hard is a riding-recovery day, when I (try to) keep my heartrate at a mid to low level. maybe once a week.
go hard is every other day.
but I threw a spanner in the works this year.
april, 2015, came and went, and I didn't sign up for lotoja. first time in 8 years.
without the carrot of a 206-mile race in september, I, mmm, well, relaxed.
no pressure to ride for 80 miles every saturday, nor to do frequent multiple canyon rides. my longest ride of the summer was 82 miles, and my typical saturday ride has been about 60.
I've ridden at least 1000 less miles than I usually have racked up by the end of september, and I haven't missed the training stress one iota.
however, I still have been limited by those same 3 mental gears. go hard, go less hard, don't go.
I'd had a draining week, and was squeezing a ride in around other commitments. I knew I was mentally depleted, so I promised to go easy on myself. I would ride how I rode, with the only goal being to have a good experience.
the universe gave me a 69 degree start, gentle wind, someone to draft riding to the canyon mouth, and a tailwind all the way back.
I made such good time I stopped at great harvest for a treat on my way home.
I now have a new gear. a fourth gear. I call it go well.
and I plan to use it more frequently.