Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009 cycling review

Having goals is good. Goals keep you focused, but have the tendency to induce stress and disappointment if it becomes obvious that the goal moves further away or out of reach, rather than getting closer. So sometimes, not setting goals, or at least setting a lower threshold, is a saner approach, especially for the things in life that are supposed to be fun. Like cycling.

My goal for 2008 was to ride the Diablo Challenge on a new bike, in 1:20h or less. Also, I wanted to ride 3000 miles. Well, a broken collarbone plus surgery, shattered (no pun intended) that goal in August. In November, I attempted to summit Haleakala, but faltered at 6500 ft. Well, there's always a new year, but considering the missed goals, I didn't really make any for 2009.

The 2009 cycling season started on January 10th, followed by a ride up Diablo the next day. With still no goals in mind, I just managed to ride 707 miles until end of April. Then came May and a trip to China, so the total for that month was an astonishing 0 miles. June added a mere 145 miles, and by mid-year, I had only accumulated 853 miles. With 120 miles less than at the same time in 2008, riding 3000 miles seemed already out of reach.

Riding the 2008 Diablo Challenge was not up on my radar until some time in August. I wouldn't commit to the race until being confident that I would be in good enough shape to beat my old record. Once I signed up, I became serious in my training efforts, and rode 954 miles in August and September, more than in the first 6 months of the year. So now I had a race and my "old" goal just ahead of me: ride Diablo on new bike in 1:20h or less. However, a day before the race, the frame cracked, and left me riding on my old clunker. Disappointment was immense, but maybe with that goal gone, some pressure was too, and in the end I rode a new personal record of 1:12:41h.

After the Diablo Challenge, I eased a bit, picked up my new bike (frame) and by the end of October, my total mileage was at 2348. With two months left in the year, and two weeks of Maui cycling coming up in November, making the 3000-mile mark was suddenly back on the horizon.

Riding Haleakala in 2008 was still fresh in my memory, so I was not very much inclined to repeat it again this year. Once on the island, I thought that I just have to do it. Call it 'saving face'. 340 miles cycled in Maui, about 30000 ft of elevation gain, and another 167 miles cycled back home in the month of November, bringing the annual total to 2856 miles.

Reaching 3000 miles was now just a formality. On December 20, I passed the mark, and being European, I set the next goal to 5000 km, which I reached December 29. So what is left for this year ? Today was the 99th ride of the year ... so I am still aiming at number 100. We will see if the weather cooperates, but if today was the last ride of this year, so be it. No need to be stressed out about it.

So if you don't have goals, make them (up) as you go along. Goals are good, if you keep them realistic. For 2010, I have no cycling goals. Considering 3142 miles, 5027 kilometers, a new Madone 6.5-pro frame, from sea-level to 10023 ft, and in 72 minutes up Diablo, how can I possibly beat that ?

1 comment:

GMR said...


I like your less stress philosophy of no goals. And when you're not paying attention getting there anyways. Congratulations on your achievements for 2009!