The bylaws of bicycle blogging compel me to prepare an end-of-year review. These trips down memory lane can be quite tedious affairs, where I tell you about everything I’ve already told you about all year long in one tidy post. These are about as much fun as watching a slide show of Aunt Emma’s and Uncle Norman’s trip to Yosemite National Park.
By the way, do people still conduct slide shows of their trips in family rooms? If not, however friends and family attempt to regale you at length with the details of trips you are only mildly interested in, that’s what I’m talking about. I’m going to try not to do that. I’m going to try something different.
I’m going to tell you what I learned. That may not be preferable to a slide show, but at least it will be different. So here goes:
Things I Learned in 2013:
I learned that ultra long distance cycling and running are not for me. At least not right now. In April I tried to up my game and did my first 300km brevet. Seventeen hours and forty minutes is a long time to be doing anything, including cycling. I finished the event, but the last two hours alone in a moonless night on unmarked country roads were a little too harrowing for me. I also took another stab at running a marathon, which I failed to even attempt due to injuries I developed in training. So, I believe I have found my limits, and there can be too much of a good thing. I’ll try to apply this lesson in 2014.
- Cross training is good, but cross training for very difficult events requires great amounts of time that I cannot give at the moment. Consequently, I let my cycling training suffer in order to improve my ability to run half marathons and more. The result was most of my cycling events had worse times than I wanted and I was not properly prepared for most of my running events (see Lesson #1 above). I think I’m going to reduce my running to a minimum needed for those muscles to remember how to do it, but my cardio training will come on the bike and I’ll trust some of the bike training will transfer itself (poorly, I know) to running.
Triathlons are fun. I only did one triathlon – a sprint – but it was a hoot and it may be exactly the sort of thing I can prepare for given my available time and increasingly advanced age (not a word out of you on this, Tootlepedal and Brian!). Sprint triathlons seem to be my thing – something you can knock out in 90-120 minutes. But maybe the Olympic distance is a possibility (that’s a mile in the water, about 25 miles on the bike and a 6.2 mile run for those of you who are not huge triathlon fans).
Shoes are important. I got some nice white ones this spring and developed some very severe foot pain which I assumed was due to my increased running. After months of pain, I went back to my old shoes (duh!) and things improved immediately. I’m still at a loss on how to buy shoes. The new ones felt fine when I put them on and even did well for the first twenty miles of a ride. I guess I need to count on the liberal return policies of the store I buy them from.
I went to Europe twice this year and didn’t cycle either time. I did see plenty of other cyclists though and was intrigued at how many more cyclists I saw in cold and dreary England in November than warm and sunny Madrid in June. This was more evidence that cycling seems to thrive in colder climates than temperate ones. Why this is so remains a mystery to me.
- Resolutions. I made eight resolutions last January. I accomplished four of them. Not bad. Failures include shrinking (primarily due to my inability to exercise in October and November following running injuries), getting in shape (no excuse), a better pace on the Crystal Ride (stupid foot problems), and riding the Vasaloppet without getting lost (didn’t ride it due to schedule conflict). Successes were completing a 300k brevet, doing a triathlon, taking lots of pictures, and having fun.
So, all things considered, not a bad year. If I’m smart, I’ll learn from my mistakes and apply those lessons to 2014. If history is any guide, though, I’ll end up dealing with a host of new mistakes with all sorts of unintended consequences, most of them comical. And that’s the part of the fun of it, at least as far as I’m concerned.
Happy New Year to all of you and best of luck in 2014!