This is just a quick update of where I’m at now.
My recovery from the 1,010 km Graperide Monster was disappointingly slow. Maybe it was my age (55 years-old) or the fact that this is still all relatively new to me. My plan had been to just have fun in the hills, build my strength, and get ready for a good course time on the 640 km 4-lapper of Taupo 8 months later. But I quickly found myself struggling with what should have been easy group rides and taking ages to recover. After that I really eased off, with things then going down-hill on all fronts.
The slow recovery lasted for ages and I wondered whether I should pull out of long-distance riding for my health’s sake. However, after three months totally off, now some five months after the Graperide, I decided to join the 60/40 group on a five-hour ride with lots of hills. My plan was to stick to the slowest rider and be cautious, but after a while it became obvious that the slowest rider was me. They totally toasted me! But, as I was struggling up the long last hill, exhausted, well off the pack, and bonking from lack of food, I suddenly realised how familiar all this was. I had been here before. What is more, I suddenly felt happy. I knew that I could do it, that I was mentally strong and could continue on and on. I had found my mojo again!
A week later, struggling by myself on what was only a two hour, flat ride, I finally came to a decision. I was going to do Taupo! Only 13 weeks, but I would design a careful training plan that would take me there. It would then just be a matter of slogging the thing out. The gauntlet had been thrown down, a major challenge set, my juices were flowing, and I was going to take it up!
Things have really picked up for me since that decision, not only with cycling, but with work and my general mental health. There's a lesson there! It’s now 4 weeks into the training programme. I started slow and solid, but have been able to ramp things up quickly, even doing well in a 6-hour race of hill repeats last Sunday. Nine weeks left to a tough 640 km race – it’ll be interesting to see how things go!