The natural plan


Millsy descending the bank to Brasted, 15/1/11

Millsy descending the bank to Brasted, 15/1/11

It is one of cycling’s enduring mysteries that feeling good on the bike can occur apparently at random. Last week, I had a series of nights with poor sleep. At work, I was the walking dead; on the cycle commute, I was flying like the demonically possessed. This week, by comparison, I’ve had great sleep and good food, but have felt much less strong in the saddle.

‘Strong’ here is relative. I have no great expectations of my form at this stage of the year. However, on the weekend I did 2 road rides:

  1. Friday – 2hrs 45 – easy
  2. Saturday – 4hrs – easy but with harder hills

Saturday’s ride out was with turbo-addict Simmo, who was climbing like I’ve never seen him climb before, on any ride we’ve done together since we were 16. Look out Millsy for Ironman Lanzarote!

I feel fine about not having ridden much over the winter. Not for me theĀ Rapha Festive 500 (“Riding hard at Christmas is not a paradox” – no, it’s lunacy). It’s been cold, and icy, and snowy – and I’ve been mostly inside.

The idea of seasonal fitness rhythms – peak in summer, rest in winter – seems right to me, particularly in the UK climate. If I lived in Tenerife, maybe I’d have evolved differently, but over here it makes more sense to do a season that starts in mid-February and winds up in early September, than to start stressing at Christmas time and burn out by July.

In any case, I’ve come to realise (over the last 3 years of serious training) that cycling should never seem like a chore; if you don’t feel like cycling, don’t. You will.

Following this kind of ‘natural’ plan allows your mind and body to experience the exhilarating wake-up call of Spring. It was riding home one evening last week, climbing the long drag from Streatham Hill station, that I felt the first deep flicker, the firing of dormant energies coming back to life after the sedentary chill of winter.

I really think my 2011 ‘season’ may have started.

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