Plans for today
I have planned out a ride for today. I will get on the bike sometime in the very early afternoon and set off south-southwest from my home and then bear southeast. After a while I will bear to the northwest and make a large 35 mile circle. I will go up hills that challenge my leg strength and physical conditioning but also challenge me mentally.
For every “cyclist”, and I assume for runners as well, there is the mental component that can be even more of a challenge and more difficult to overcome than the physical demands.
For me there are now two hills that have had my number on recent rides. One is on Two Bridges Road between Lincoln Park and Montville NJ. The other is on Kinnelon Road in Kinnelon NJ. These two hills are not really all that challenging to a good and fit rider and I SHOULD be able to ride them, albeit with a little difficulty this early in the season. I have now walked Two Bridges Road twice in the last two weeks and Kinnelon Road kicked me in the rump a few weeks ago.
I plan to attack Kinnelon Road today and Two Bridges tomorrow. I will continue to attack until my mind learns what the body already knows: I CAN DO THIS.
I can find the excuses if I want to. It is still a little chilly and I do ride better in the warmer weather. I am getting used to the gearing on the new bike. It is early in the season…. These are the excuses of a mind filled with the fear of pushing past the limits it accepts. The body is strong enough. I am confident of that. It is the mind that needs to get past the limits.
The mind needs to learn so the body can follow.
Plans for this weekend
I rode fifty miles last weekend. 28+ on Saturday and another 22+ on Sunday.
Today the goal is 35 miles and I plan on another 22-30 miles on Sunday. I really want to get to 60 miles for the weekend.
Each weekend I want to push myself a few more miles, a bit further. I want to push not just the body but also the mind. My mind has spent too many years convinced it is the governor of a fat and out of shape body. The body knows it is no longer that. The mind is having a little trouble understanding the new dynamics. I notice this when I look in a mirror and I am still a bit surprised at the lean me staring back. I noticed it yesterday when I bought a new jacket. I first went looking for the XXL because that is what I was for so many years. I bought a large. That is what I am now. The mind is still catching up.
The way for me to get the mind to understand this is to continue to push myself past what the mind thinks it can do. I use mantras (if you will) as I hit long hills. YES YOU CAN YES YOU WILL YES YOU CAN YES YOU WILL… DO NOT LET THE HILL BEAT YOU…. Sometimes this works….
My mind is a battleground. The conscious part of me demanding that the body push through. The deepest parts of my brain saying YOU CAN’T DO THIS, YOU ARE A FAT MAN. It is a fight that I am determined to win. The same battle rages within me over food. The conscious part of my brain telling me I have eaten enough and eaten the right foods. The deepest parts saying FEED ME, YOU ARE STARVING ME TO DEATH.
Would that I could…
So this weekend, though not as warm as I would prefer, will be another weekend of pushing the body past the minds limits and trying to do the hills and the distances…
60 miles to go.
I know 60 miles is not all that far spread over two days. To some it is not even far in one morning’s ride. To me it is another step towards to goal. Another part of the plan.