Today I got on my bike for my first ride after AIDS Lifecycle. I had planned to tackle Page Mill Road (a long, very hilly climb), but after looking at the clock and consulting with Mike, I decided to do a shorter ride instead. (We wanted to cook dinner together, and if I went up Page Mill I wouldn’t be back until pretty late.) So I went down Foothill Boulevard to Stevens Creek to Mt. Eden Road to Pierce and back–mostly flat, but with a few tough hills.
It was weird being back in the saddle after two weeks out of it, and even stranger to be out riding with no particular end goal. It was surprisingly hard to motivate myself to do anything–eventually I decided that dammit, I was going to ride the Death Ride next year, I was going to prep myself for that by tackling some of the toughest hills I can find. I’ll lose some form over the winter (that can’t be helped), but at least I’ll have had the experience of going up those hills, and the knowledge that I can do it.
After I decided that, I had a lot less trouble with motivation. I am, as they euphemistically say, “goal-minded”–meaning that, if I don’t have a goal in mind, preferably a stretch goal, it’s hard to get me out of bed. Given a goal, I’ll push hard to achieve it, but I find it hard to just do stuff, like go out and ride, without an end-point in mind. So there we have it: I’m doing the Markleeville Death Ride.
I’ve started trying to lose weight. I don’t know how successful I’ll be if I’m still going out to eat with Mike a couple times a week, but I don’t want to give up our dinners together, so I might try dieting the other days and just losing weight less slowly. I’ll also have to be religious about getting to the gym on days when I’m not riding–I want to build muscle mass and burn some more calories. I want to lose ten pounds of fat to prep me for this winter, when I want to turn away from dieting and start putting on serious muscle in my lower body (which you can’t do while dieting).
The current plan of attack for the Death Ride goes like this:
Summer: Lose weight, practice climbing hills. Hire a cycling coach to teach me ascending and descending skills.
Fall: Lose more weight, start building muscle. Hire a personal trainer (once a week or once every two weeks, so it doesn’t get too expensive) to help me put on leg muscle and develop my core. Work on interval training to build cardio fitness.
Winter: Build muscle. Start building a cardio base again to start training rides in spring. Hire cycling coach to start me training for the Death Ride.
Spring: Work on training for AIDS Lifecycle and for the Death Ride. Ride lots of hills. Lose more weight if need be.
It’s a somewhat ambitious plan, but I think it’ll be enough to keep me motivated for exercise.