I wouldn’t know that until the evening time but the guarantee was in that the day was going to be a cracker and, having tested the waters (read late-night turbo trainer session) and also making some adjustments to the setup on Friday, there was nothing going to stop me from getting up on the bike on Saturday morning.
The fact that I did it, stuck to it, and thoroughly enjoyed it is not lost on me. I would have thought it was only a few months since I had been out on the road, worst case maybe a year, so I consulted Strava. Bar an afternoon jaunt in January in Centre Parcs, it turns out that I’d have to go back to May 2020 for any recorded rides on the road, in the real world. Sure, there was a fair bit of virtual activity between then and now albeit nothing to write home about. But if it’s over three years since I’ve been on the road in earnest then the wait was worth it, even if it was for 25km interrupted by 10 minutes on the phone (there’s a lesson in there, trust me).
Cycling is so much better in the real world
I had carved out a 60-90 minute window for Saturday morning to get a few miles in, if only to test the legs and convince myself that I’m still actually able to cycle out in the open. Virtual routes are great – typically I’ll throw Netflix up on one screen, the trainer on the other, and go from there. Some days you’ll open a window, some days you won’t. Others you might take a pause to go out to the kitchen, grab a drink, and stretch your legs. Then there’s the occasion where you might plan for a certain distance but seeing as you’re already home, you’ll stop when the opportunity presents itself, plug everything out, and walk away. Out in the real world though it’s a little different and so much better..
The hills are real, the inclines are real, the traffic, noise, peace and quiet, wind in your face, sun on your back and when you get a cracker of a day you find you’re asking yourself – quite obviously too – “why am I not doing this more often?”.
Maybe it’s the Rás na mBan being on locally that’s encouraged a return. Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe it’s me realising that after a month of watching my food with the aid of Limbo and getting at least a daily walk in, I’m already in better shape in September than I was in August and that getting back on the bike might just give me an added boost when it comes to getting some high-intensity exercise in.
Oh, and if I haven’t mentioned it already, I absolutely loved every second of it. Everything comes straight back to you – breathing, hand positions, road awareness, timings, transfer of power, cadence, the lot.
With no offence to Zwift, I cancelled my subscription to help offset the cost of the Limbo subscription. Plus, the way I was working up until August meant any “free” time I had was essentially being poured straight back into work rather than myself meaning the sessions were less and less and you’ve got another cost going out the door every month. Maybe I’ll revisit it in the winter months but while there’s a bit of light left in the day and the opportunity to get out on the road even if it’s for an hour or two in a week, I’m going to take it and see where it leads me.
Moral of the story? If you’ve been doing all of your training indoors, get outdoors, even if it’s just for a day.