Cycle Training, Do We All Have A Bit Of OCD?

The 7 P,s and OCD are two elements of everyday life that seem to have surfaced in my training diary.

After returning to road cycling a couple of years ago as a way of keeping fit I seem to have been bitten by the bug and the desire to challenge myself a little more. Eighteen months ago the suggestion of cycling 100 miles on a bike seemed like utter madness but after some dedicated training and completing an 84 mile sportive I am keen to attempt a 150 mile coast to coast ride.

The old army adage, Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance is one to which I subscribe but I have also noticed a definite pattern towards Obsessive Compulsive Disorder with the training.  When undertaking any project or hobby I tend to find myself totally immersed in it with research and preparation but for the coast to coast ride it seems to gone beyond that.

For the ride in April the training started in November, yes I know its only 150 miles but the 7 P,s must be observed so most days I would get out on the bike for my 15 mile loop and a couple of days I would extend this to 30 miles. The Christmas holiday saw my first blip on the radar when I was convinced that three days off the bike would undo the previous months training so I had to go out on Boxing Day no matter what, this was followed by accepting the Strava challenge to cycle as many miles as you can in January as a bit of motivational training and although I completed my modest 500 mile goal I found myself obsessed with weather forecasts arranging my life around good days when I could get out on the bike.

February saw another marker in the training when preparation for the hills on the C2C meant a training run around Box Hill and the Surrey Hills including the cat 1 climb up Barhatch Lane and although I completed it I was shattered and realised my previous training regime had subconsciously avoided hills so this needed sorting.

My preparation  continued on schedule but I had to give myself a good talking to and each outing now has to include at least one steep climb,  after a month I am beginning to feel the benefit with several steep hills now being reclassified as minor climbs but Alberto Contador need not worry.  A new spectre now looms large trying to beat my previous best on Strava segments on my rides with fears of doom and failure if I am too far adrift, I guess this is one of the problems of training alone, I find myself trying to go flat out all the time but the ability doesn’t quite match the desire.

As a member of the CTC I afford  myself the luxury of a Saturday afternoon ride with the boys, a mid paced ride of about 30+ plus miles with a tea stop, good company and plenty of chat. This allows me to take stock and enjoy the ride and scenery without the pressure I tend to put on myself with solo training rides

Last Saturday saw a scheduled CTC ride to Winchester so with a 34 mile circuit plus 12 miles each way to and from the meeting point, it would give me  decent mileage especially as it included a climb on the way to the circuit. The forecast was not good with heavy showers but I saw this as a bonus to test my endurance and clothing in bad weather. The ride out started in bright sunlight but with large towering shower clouds approaching. Sure enough just after starting the climb the wind freshened in my face and the rain started. Now most people at this point would stop and put on the wet weather gear but out jumps the monkey onto my shoulder saying I cannot stop on the climb it will appear you are weak so I pushed on until I was thoroughly soaked and on cue the rain stopped at the top, I just could not bring myself to stop on the climb. The ride to and around Winchester was very enjoyable until we got to Alresford on the home leg when the heavens opened, it then got heavier until at Holybourne I encountered a hail storm which really stung, with the ferocity of the downpour I contemplated stopping in a bus shelter until it eased but that damn monkey had me pedalling through it.  I got home soaked to the skin and my new waterproof jacket leaked like a sieve but that is a story for another day, perhaps I should thank the monkey for highlighting the problem with my jacket.

For the final few weeks of training I have set a target of attacking a local hill out of the saddle trying to get a bit further each time before sitting, having set this standard I was then terrified of failing until I watched the recent Tirreno – Adriatico when Cav and a lot of the other pro’s got off and walked up a climb, suddenly the bubble burst all was now OK.  Added to this I must complete my monthly mileage target. Why? is this a genuine part of the 7 P,s or is this OCD at work.

I am generally happy with my training to date and enjoy every minute out on the bike, I have beaten Cav and Sagan a couple of times in the final sprint to my garden gate and I reeled in and took Contador on a recent climb when she had to stop and rearrange the shopping bags on the handlebars.

The upside to this training is that I have cut down on the real ale and wine tasting and started reading the nutrition labels of food packaging, a healthier diet and all this exercise has also seen my weight reduce by about 10lbs so it seems a win win situation.

I think I am now ready for the challenge and will be looking forward to the head to head with the Froomedog up Hartside.

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