First, a mood update. I seem to be pretty much back to normal, pretty much. For the past week, I’ve at least been in holding-it-together territory; now I’m feeling reasonably comfortable. I guess I’m still not quite 100%, as the thought of rolling up to the start at a ‘cross race just fills me with a kind of sense of “Why bother?” instead of the sense of “Heck yeah!” I would normally expect — but otherwise things are pretty good.
Now, a summary for the month of August.
It was a mixed bag.
Mileage-wise, I pulled down only 454 miles — about a century shy of my goal. Honestly, given that intensely bleak and black stretch mid-month, I’m okay with that.
Time-log wise, I put in 35 hours. Less than July, but not drastically so (a total of 5 hours). That tells me I often rode more slowly in August than in July, which is something I know to be true, but…
Personal-Record wise, I apparently pulled down 15 PRs, up from 9 in July. None too shabby. A number of those were accomplished in the past week, during which I have seen a pretty nice performance uptick (at least some of the time).
A year ago, I don’t know where I expected to be as a cyclist at this juncture. I think that, as usual, I probably had a much larger overall race calendar in mind (I think I’ll probably close out this year with two or three races under my belt).
Racing continues to be a challenge, as the races I want to do (longer-distance road and gravel races) almost always involve travel, which isn’t usually possible and often won’t be unless I get a driver’s license.
I’m still debating what to do about ‘cross this year. I always feel great about ‘cross in May and half-hearted by the time the season starts in September. I think part of that is a question of schedule-juggling (it’s easy to feel stoked for ‘cross season as school lets out; harder when you’re trying to schedule around exams, papers, and stuff).
I also think at least some of it is mood-disorder related. I’ve realized that the end of summer tends to correlate with ebbs or even drastic collapses in mood for me. I don’t think this is a question of being sad about summer ending or anything — rather, I think it’s the crash that follows the high deriving from lots of sun (there’s good evidence out there to support this theory where folks with bipolar illness in general are concerned).
I guess I feel positive about learning to be kind of philosophical about this. I suspect that’s the first step in learning to do something about it.
By way of explanation, imagine that, for much of your life (give or take) you’ve experienced a jolting, jarring, soaring-then-diving kind of motion. You have assumed that that’s simply how the planet operates; that earth has a very, um, lively orbital path.
Then, one day, you open your eyes and you realize you’re on a roller-coaster, and that the rest of the world is moving along on a much more even keel. Maybe people have even told you so — the last time you came through the loading station, perhaps your best friend said, “Hey, you know you can get off the roller coaster here, right?”
But at the time, you still didn’t realize you were on a roller coaster, so you shrugged and said, “No, no, I’m not on a roller-coaster at all! Everything seems to have settled down now. I’m sure it’ll be fine from here on in,” just as the roller coaster pulled out again.
Now, suddenly — perhaps in mid-ride — you realize that, yes, you are on a roller-coaster, and that getting off, or at least moving to the kiddie coaster for a while, might be a good idea.
That’s the point at which you can start formulating a plan, like, “Okay, the next time this roller coaster comes into the station, I am going to take the following steps to get off of it…”
So, anyway, I know I’m on a roller-coaster at least. I am working on my get-off-the-coaster plan. I’m hoping that will make pursuing my racing ambitions (such as they are) more consistently a bit more manageable; certainly it should help with the consistency of my training.
Over all, I feel like I’ve made a lot of progress. I’ve snapped out a couple of sprints in the neighborhood of 27 – 28 MPH this week, which is not something I guess I’d have expected a year ago. I have knocked down a bunch of my climb-related PRs in the past week. Compared to last year or even this spring, I can ride faster with less perceived effort (though I am definitely very, very aware of the impact of higher temperatures on my performance).
Anyway, this is long enough September’s a new month with new opportunities. I’d like to rack up about 500 miles on the bike. It would be nice to finish out the year with 5000 road miles logged (plus whatever I put in on the trainer).
Anyway, this is getting way long, so I’m going to close before everyone gets all TLDR on me.
Tomorrow I will most likely be doing the Mayor’s Healthy Hometown Hike, Bike, and Paddle with Dave Crowell, so I probably won’t be doing the bang-it-out-at-20 MPH thing after all. I’ll have to do my 20 mile time trial another time; hanging out with friends seems much more important right now.
Denis will be back in the afternoon. I can’t wait to see him.
That’s it for now.
Keep the rubber side down!