So yet another year has passed, and it's time to reflect on the kilometers and hours spent in the saddle. As 2016 was the worst cycling-wise, I was looking for a year to get back on track. I managed to do that during the first 3 months of 2017, but struggled somewhat during the latter part of the year to really hit those hours needed to get back to where I was in 2015. I however managed to add some 30% to my total hours, but still was not able to reach my goal. And for those of you who are in here to just check the pictures, you'll find most of them by scrolling down a bit.
The year 2017 also meant a new job, and as usual, you can't plan what life throws at you. I often struggled finding the motivation or time to ride. Sometimes it felt as if I was looking for excuses not to ride, even if that wasn't always the case. Looking at the year from a fitness perspective, I actually was barely able to hold on to what I had. Despite more hours than in 2016, it felt as if my body was just not able to gain power or stamina. And at times, that was pretty depressing. Well, quite often, to be honest. One reason of course was the fact that I didn't manage to hit those critical long rides, nor did I race. It was often looking at the planned training, calculating which route you should take in order to be home as quick as possible. That really kills the fun of it in the long run.
Now I really sound if it was all bad. It really wasn't. While I still worked at Canyon during the first half of the year, I had the great chance to ride different bikes, ride them with great colleagues in Koblenz. Riding with friends in Finland was also great, those rides were not that many, but I'd say we rode more together than the in 2016.
Looking back at a year that passed, raises always the question - what's next? How do you feel about the upcoming season and how motivated are you? I started off with thinking about my goals for the year. I of course want to ride more, at least 350 hours. 350 hours is not much, but I really want to start with something that is doable and feel good about it. I hope it will be enough to start feeling good in the saddle again, a feeling that has been lost for 2 years. I have no precise FTP goals for the season, I just want to feel strong and stable on the bike again. If I can get back to where I was in 2015, I would be more than happy. But really, getting even in the surroundings of those figures would make me happy.
Consistency. That's what I need this year. But I feel I have the motivation, the determination and the will to get back in the game. I also know it won't be easy. There will be schedule changes, and everyday-life events that just do not fit together with the planned cycling activities.
Feeling. It's really a lot about that. The feeling you have when you're fit and happy with your performance, the feeling you have when you progress. It helps you riding through rain and cold, early mornings and in the evening after long days. As I am currently far from fit or making any progress, I need to do what I can, short-term. I thought about what it could be, and figured out that it is shaving my legs during off-season. I've never done that before, I usually shave just before the first outdoor ride. And shaved legs always give you a feeling, a feeling of being a cyclists.
Writing this journal post, reminds me of when I first started writing this blog in March 2010. I was living in Italy, I was looking forward to ride more than ever, and I had plans for the upcoming season. I was going to do my first race, I was going to climb a mountain, and while planning, I could actually see myself achieving those things. Writing down my goals, making them public, felt like taking the first step. Sitting here now, almost 8 years later, strangely brings me back memories, and a similar feeling I had back then. I'm not fit, I need to lose some weight while gaining some muscle. In a way, I feel like a beginner again. And actually, I feel okay about it.
To all of you who actually read all the above, good job (the force is strong in you). And now for the pictures. Thanks for reading - let's make 2018 great!
So that was my cycling year 2017. Hope you survived all the way down here. I will not make any promises about posting frequencies this year. My main target is to track hours and hopefully that will inspire me to write about those hours.
Thanks to all of you, hope to see you out on the roads and on Zwift.