Regular readers will know that I am one of those cyclists who has to fit time on the saddle within the universe that also contains family and work and a social life. And this universe is expanding.
My second son was born recently and with it an unquestionable reduction in saddle time. As much as I would love to be exercising, I made a conscious decision not to worry about it too much as life is just a blur of nappies, bottles and pacing up and down the living room at ungodly hours to get the little guy to sleep. Any spare time that I do have within this schedule is usually quickly filled by ironing, washing or sleeping and so I prefer to avoid the stress and guilt of not riding my bike. This is a time for bonding with my new son and a time I will never get back.
That is not to say that I don’t miss being on the bike. In fact during labour I wondered how practical it would be to set-up the turbo trainer in the room. I mean it was basically fourteen hours of me sitting on a chair anyway punctuated by an hour or so of sheer terror when it was time for the baby to make an appearance. I jest of course but I was wondering if Chris Froome squeezed in a training session this way enroute to winning his fourth Tour de France this year.
I miss the feeling of exercising and pushing myself and even though it has only been a week or so of basically doing zero exercise, I can sense my body screaming at me. In my mind, my legs are wasting away and my waist is expanding. I have always prided myself on being the same waist size in university as I am now so if that changes then I have definitely had too much time off the bike.
What I most notice from not exercising is the profound effect it has on my mental well being. I love the feeling of pushing my body to the absolute limit, lungs gasping for that vital oxygen, legs straining to push the pedals and the head questioning the sanity of what you are doing. That sea between comfortable and terrifyingly painful that is controlled by the mind and being able to bridge that is all about controlling your brain. For me there is no fancy technique other than simply taking it to the limit and then switching my brain off. I don’t have to logically justify to my body that what we are doing is good. I don’t have to answer questions as to why we are doing this.
So exercise is important to me and I will get back on the bike. I want to be a fit dad and one that my sons can look up to. I want to lead by example when it comes to exercising and living a healthy life. Also we will probably be heading back to the cycling heaven of Mallorca in the summer and I need to beat my time up the Sa Calobra.