We are now three weeks into the Year of Awesome and so far the year has been just that awesome. Even the weather has been awesome, but not in the traditional sense of the word, I mean awesome in the fact that I can now say I’ve survived a polar vortex, whatever that is. I just know they are awesome.
So in an effort to keep up with my year awesome, I decided it was time to see if my cycling skills were as awesome as I remembered them being. This year I’ve taken some time off the bike, not a lot mind you, but I’ve taken some time off. It’s been nice, I’ve used my extra time to take up knitting, (not really), basket making (not really,) and have donated some of my time to the rescue of dust bunnies from being killed by brooms (it’s a very worthy cause as brooms kill more dust bunnies in one year than any other cause).
What should my return to serious cycling look like? I thought as I looked upon my bike locked in to the clutches of a trainer. I fancy myself in pretty good shape so I decided take on one of the workouts I was doing while I was nearing peak form last season. I couldn’t have lost all that much fitness, I mean I’m walking a ton in my work for the dust bunnies and I have been riding at small amount. This has to account for something right?
The workout I chose to do was a Sufferfest video. I love these videos combinations of pro race footage, snarky onscreen comments, and good music make the hours fly by while on the trainer. Which for those who have ridden trainers know this is no small feat.
I was barely through the warm up when I realized the grave error in my ways. I mean I was still reading the workout instructions and my legs were already aching. Oh well I’m committed now soldier on there Danny Boy, Soldier on.
Before launching into the workout I had informed my wife and daughter that they might hear some “noises” coming from the trainer room. My daughter describes these “noises” as puking sounds and she’ll often ask how many times I threw up during a workout. While my family thinks these noises are of me vomiting, I like to think of the as grunts of awesomeness.
I was about 10 seconds in to the first interval when the first grunt of awesomeness exploded from my lips. I was gasping for air, legs burning, sweat running down my face and I’d only being riding for 10 minutes. I had another 52 minutes of this to endure….AWESOME!!
I stopped at minute 15 to adjust my bike’s seat. Comfort is key after all when suffering. I nearly bailed out at this point, but for some reason thoughts of my former glory forced me to once again throw my leg over the bar and climb aboard to resume the agony.
This workout features a 20 minute interval where that is does it’s best to mimic a hill climb. Now in the summer I love a good hill, they are some of my favorite things as a cyclist. Something about reaching me top makes me want to sing out like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music. Simulated indoor hills, however, stink. You can climb and climb all day long and not end up at the top of the hill, No you end up exactly where you started. Not Awesome.
So I was about 4 minutes or so into my fake climb to nowhere when my water bottle escaped from my death clutch and landed just out of reach on the floor. Now I realize that during a race there is no stoping for a dropped bottle, but this wasn’t a race this was survival and survival dictates that one must be hydrated so I decided to retrieve the bottle as soon as the interval was over. An agonizing 16 minutes later my throat was as dry as the Sahara and I was grunting awesomeness every 2 seconds. I was miserable, but loving every second of it.
I got off the bike and headed out to fill up my bottle. When I reached the kitchen, my wife and daughter both looked at me with strange looks. I vaguely remember making conversation with them as I filled my bottle, but as it turns out instead of speaking intelligently I was merely mumbling and grunting loudly. Henceforth the strange looks and the cause of my daughter’s next three nights of nightmare.
I don’t remember the second half of the workout. All I remember is waking up on my bike as the credits rolled. My lungs were burning and my legs felt as it they had just seen a very large man with a hammer. A large smile spread across my face as I realized it was over.
It was in that moment I realized something very important. If I want to improve as a cyclist I have work to do and for me that’s AWESOME. Time to punch the clock.