I set myself a couple of targets on the bike last year. The first was to ride 100 commutes. I achieved this on my last working day- December 28th and this surpassed the 2015 total by 22. I suspect that it’s no coincidence that I didn’t post my progress after #70 for that final 30 rides. The graft to the target was just that, a slow grind along twists and turns, up steep hairpins on a long mountainous route whose summit no longer offered the glow of what Maslow would call self actualisation. In short, the achievement offered me no sense of reward and only some of the getting there enjoyable. These were mainly the morning rides, waking up with the day, chasing foxes down deserted country lanes, avoiding kamikaze rabbits and receiving the odd barn owl lead out on an imagined intermediate sprint before daybreak. Stopping for a coffee near the end of the route to steel myself for another days misery at work was becoming a frequent habit.
The second target was set in September and that was to get to 8047km and got there easily before Christmas (that’s 5000 miles for the folks that still use old money). I doubt that I’ll get there again this year, nor do I want to, not because I don’t want to push myself further but because I know that I can do it. I have nothing to prove and after all it is only a number. I also feel a bit jaded, tired of chasing numbers and targets. Besides which, other activities that due to their increasing importance are taking up more of my time. An organised off road event and a springtime Audax were pleasant distractions from the commuting so it wasn’t all doom and gloom but the anxiety of chasing numbers certainly took the gloss of things for me. So this year all I’m planning is to do a couple of organised events and enjoy the rides. This will include longer ride adventures with the boys as their increasing energy levels and stamina demand. Learning to enjoy rather than be task and target focussed will require a lot of mindfulness. A lot for me of late anyway. Today was a typical example of the battle inside my head.
Today is Monday. I can usually fit in a ride outside of commuting as it’s my day off. I chuck the bike in the back of the van before the school run, drop the boys off and park up somewhere close by and take the long way home doing errands. I then return to the van near pick up and collect them and go home. This cuts out 3 journeys into town on Mondays as one of the boys has a swim lesson in the evening.
But that didn’t quite work this morning. In my usual rush due to micro managing a couple of errant and easily distracted boys, I forgot my phone so couldn’t gps my ride. Ordinarily I wouldn’t mind and ride the short route home and compensate by riding a longer ride back to school to collect them but it was also raining and I had a ton of work and cricket admin to do. So I drove home and started on that with a plan to spin a short 20km ride out when the rain stopped. I was so wrapped up in front of the laptop furiously scripting spreadsheets and checking on work emails that before I knew it, it was time to collect the boys. This had an added bonus of maintaining a clean MTB after his wash from yesterday’s fun in the mud. It also means that I’m 40km down on my 161km target which had become quite the obsession in 2016. That member of my melon committee in charge of the “lazy” one(s) has become far too dominant of late (you know the lazy one, he’s the one who would really rather not ride today as that would mean exercising those dreadfully tired legs). I rather fear that the sensible, reasoned and original chair of the committee, the mindfulness member has been branded along with the lazy one as a trouble maker, a threat to fitness rather than his sole purpose of balancing physical fitness and desire with well being. Needless to say, we are all currently working on a strategy to overcome this in a way that suits them all.
Now that the novelty of riding sub zero temperatures of winter is no longer the adventure that it was last year I’ll just ride and see how I go. The targets can wait until September. In the meantime, it’s time to get the gear ready for commute #5 of the year in the morning. After all, the original ideal of B2W of saving money on petrol and parking is still a shared paradigm of the committee.