Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Bicyclist's Creed

This is my bicycle. There are many like it, but this one is mine.
My bicycle is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.
My bicycle, without me, is useless. Without my bicycle, I am useless. I must ride my bicycle true. I must ride harder than those who ridden before me. I must kill the hour before the hour kills me. I will...
My bicycle and I know that what counts in this race is not the type of frame, the noise of our chain, nor the saddle we ride. We know that it is the pedalling that counts. We will pedal...
My bicycle is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its fit and its feel. I will keep my bicycle clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready. We will become part of each other. We will...
Before the prophet, I swear this creed. My bicycle and I are the defenders of the cog. We are the masters of our suffering. We are the saviors of my life.
So be it, until 49.710 kilometers is ridden, and there is a new record.

The above is my adaptation of "My Rifle (The Creed of the United States Marine)," familiar to most of us by way of Full Metal Jacket (or, perhaps, Family Guy). It is written specific to my hour attempt. There are some other versions on the internet that are also "Bicyclist's Creed" adaptations, such as this one from Peter Bay.

The modified creed is one of many tricks I am using to keep myself motivated while whiling the hours away this winter on the trainer. It is one thing to spin on the trainer; it is another to hammer oneself every day looking towards the ultimate goal.

Starting at the beginning of the year, I instituted a 2 days on, 1 day off riding rotation to keep myself fresh and focused. My concern wasn't so much about not resting, it was about too much rest and too many days in a row off of the bike. While I haven't adhered to it perfectly, it has helped keep me from finding excuses to take "another" day off during the cold season. This is especially important on those days when it's so cold outside that I have to use leg warmers to ride the trainer in the garage.

Fortunately, I have also been able to get outdoors a few times this winter including a ride this past Sunday in 40 degrees fahrenheit and rain. My fingers and toes got soaked and nearly froze but it felt good to be out and neither my legs nor lungs had many complaints.

For now, until the weather and daylight allow more outdoor riding, it will be a lot of trainer time. Right now I'm in 'segment 2' of a loose plan i created to piggyback with the 2 on/1 off rotation. January's trainer sessions were predominantly a warm up, 45 minutes of effort, and then a cool down. Now that it is February, I've upped the time to 60 minutes, and will up it again to 75 minutes the last week of the month. That will go on until I can get out on the road with any regularity. To keep me motivated, I've been watching a mix of old races, training specific videos, and ride videos streamed from online. While I want to get stronger, i know that doing a Sufferfest-like video every day on the trainer will lead to a burnout sooner both physically and mentally. And I won't have that benefit available to motivate me when riding the hour, so I've got to condition myself to suffer within my own faculties.

I guess I'll have to memorize that creed to keep my mind busy.