Compared to most of the Northern Hemisphere, the weather in NorCal has been balmy. For this weather wimp it has been too cold to ride… in my current bike kit, in this wind, and so on. I opened up the January-February issue of Bicycling magazine and read several inspiring stories including “Conquer Your Mountain” on page 18 by James Herrera.
Step One is to identify your goal. My big goal is to follow the Tour de France and to ride on a Trek Tour through the first stages in England.
Step Two is to make a plan. I have the tour and hotel reservations done for the Tour de France. The harder part is learning to ride well enough and be fit enough to enjoy the experience. July 2014 seems so far away, so I am making a lot of excuses and not riding any miles lately.
Step Three is to tell the world. Okay, so this blog is not the world, but you are willing to stand in for “the world”, right? I realized that I needed to set some very short term goals, like 2 weeks at a time, to stay on track with my big goal. Even before I could do that I had to go to the bike store and buy some winter riding gear. I do not like trying on kit because it is all so unfamiliar. It feels like just yesterday I bought my first pair of bike shorts; and with the long Indian summer they worked well until about mid-November. Off I went to B&L bike shop in Davis because they have a good selection without an overwhelming number of choices. Jenna helped me find tights, a long sleeve jersey and a windbreaker. I also bought mountain bike shoes for another short term goal: learning to use clipless pedals. I made my purchases on Wednesday, so when do you think I tried it all out? That same day? The next morning? Not until Saturday morning! I will not bore you with all the reasons.
Finally I got on my bike and I rode from 8:45 to 9:22 a.m. I planned to be out the door at 8:00 a.m. but the sun was still creeping up and it was bitter cold. So I waited a few more minutes and then coached myself. How important is my Tour de France goal? Very big deal. So get on your damn bike and get cold.
Step Four is track your progress. There are so many apps to do this. I like Map My RIde for knowing how far I biked and then I make notes in my old fashioned paper journal.
Step Five is be present. I did enjoy my time on the bike today. I am not very fast. I hope that as I drop weight I will see my speed pick up. I am still trying to identify interesting routes of varying lengths near my home depending on my schedule. I picked my way down an olive tree lined path toward the airport, then toodled along a quiet road that serves the University farm, then punched it on a busy county road with a short stretch without a shoulder, then enjoyed the sunshine as I headed back towards home. I noticed a big crow eating walnuts, a lot of runners out pushing themselves hard, and groups of dog walkers with their coffee mugs enjoying a more leisurely pace. I could hear an airplane preparing to land, and cars a long way off on the road (prompting the thought: what will it be like to ride when more and more cars are silently electric?)
Finally, step six to achieving success is put in the effort. Okay, okay. No more excuses.