Monday 17 August 2009


Where do the thoughts of a cyclist begin on Monday? With the weather of course.

I am going nuts. It took me at least a dozen attempts to type that first sentence. My coordination is shot tonight.

The warm spell that we had over the weekend continued into Monday, giving me a morning of non-icy digits and warm arms. Within a few minutes of leaving home, I was cursing the idea of wearing a shirt under my jersey. However, I tempered that with the thought that if I had not worn that undershirt, I would be cursing the cold. Riding is a constant battle between being too hot and too cold. In the colder months, I prefer to be too hot than too cold.

It’s easy enough to stop if the heat really builds up and to remove a layer. I hate doing that – we must push on, push on!, but occasionally common sense breaks through and I will stop. Occasionally. At that point, I normally have so much steam rising through the vents in my helmet that I look like the cooling tower of a power station.

My philosophy therefore is to make the most of it, and to not regret decisions that have been made or to try and second guess them. Make a decision, then get on with it and accept what may. We don’t live in a Utopia, and we never will. Just deal with it.

My untrusty bike computer finally completed an entire trip without tripping out, so I now know that the shortest route into work by my new chosen path is 14.4km. I faffed around on the way home, took a few detours and finished the day at around 35km. All this is important, as it allows me to easily calculate weekly mileage totals and targets. Go to and from work each day the easy way, and I’ll do 144km. Take a detour each day, and I can hit 170km. Do that detour on the way to work as well as coming home and I can hit 200km.

The trick will be to build up in stages. The detour pretty much doubles the number of hills that I have to do, and when you are just used to zooming around on the flatlands, extra hills can be a killer. I’ve resolved to do one detour this week (today) and see how I feel on Friday. If I feel up to it, I’ll do another then. Next week, I’ll aim to stick to two detours, and then do three the week after. Etc etc. I have already hauled the belt in one notch with just a few short weeks of riding to work. If I can get the weekly totals heading north of the magic ton (100 miles), that belt will simply get shorter and shorter.

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